Published: January 4, 2024

10 Great Movies in German: Learn German Through Video | 2024 (with Pictures)

Great Movies in German: Learn German Through Video

If you are looking for movies in German to help you learn the language, you've come to the right place. We have put together a list of 10 excellent German movies with subtitles to get you started.

You can watch these movies on:

  • Netflix
  • Youtube (sometimes)
  • An app called Lingopie

We hope this article helps make learning German easier and more fun.

Learn German with Movies: 10 Great Movies for Learning Real German

Learn German with Movies: 10 Great Movies for Learning Real German

German dialects, accent variations, and slang are key to understanding the German language. There are between 50 and 250 dialects in Germany.

One way to acquire an ear for these everyday regionalisms and boost your language skills is to learn German through music.

However, one of our favorite ways to learn real German is through German films.

1. Das Boot (The Boat)

Das Boot (The Boat)

The story is about a German submarine fighting the Allies in 1941. The film is rich with World War II references and military-German language dialogue that you may not normally hear while walking around the streets of Frankfurt!

The story is gripping and tense and will leave you somewhat claustrophobic. Almost the whole movie takes place below sea level.

The film was released in 1981 and has a 98% rating on IMDB and a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 98%.

Why Do We Recommend Das Boot As One of Our Movies to Learn German?

  • Incredibly entertaining German movie
  • Relatively accessible to view
  • Easy to find with English subtitles for all learners

2. Lola Rennt (Run Lola Run)

Lola Rennt (Run Lola Run)

Run Lola Run is a 1998 German thriller that takes place in Berlin. The main character has 20 minutes to recover 100,000 Deutschmarks in 20 minutes.

This movie is geared towards a younger generation and includes lots of fun slang and phrases. It's like Crank meets Sliding Doors (with Gwyneth Paltrow) - but in German!

If you're interested in Berlin, the movie will be the right one for you. It was filmed in and around Berlin and gives you an idea of not only what the city is like, but also what the local German dialect sounds like.

Why Do We Recommend Lola Rennt As One of Our Movies to Learn German?

  • Famous, popular movie in Germany
  • Available with subtitles in multiple languages
  • An entertaining watch particularly for beginners

3. Downfall (“Der Untergang”) (2004)

Downfall (“Der Untergang”) (2004)

This controversial but fascinating portrayal of Hitler will have you white-knuckling your sheets. Actor Bruno Ganz is known to have prepared intensively for his portrayal of the Führer.

He watched videos of Hitler in preparation for the role and in order to imitate the accent (which is actually Austrian, not German) perfectly.

This movie is based on the last 10 days of the Fuhrer's life during the Second World War in what later became East Germany. It has been released in cinemas in the UK, Australia, Canada, and Germany.

Why Do We Recommend Downfall As One of Our Movies to Learn German?

  • High level of German dialogue
  • Widely accessible movie
  • Easy to find with English subtitles

4. Das Experiment (2001)

Das Experiment (2001)

Das Experiment is one of our favorite German movies. This German thriller is based on the true story of the Stanford prison experiment in the 70s.

The storyline is about 20 male participants who are hired to play prisoners and guards in a prison. The 'prisoners' have to follow seemingly mild rules, and the 'guards' are told to retain order without using physical violence.

Half of the participants chose to pose as prison guards and the other half as their prisoners. When the guards kidnap Tarek after a few days into the project, the situation escalates.

The drama blurs the fine line between play-acting and reality beyond recognition.

Why Do We Recommend Das Experiment As One of Our Movies to Learn German?

  • Gripping narrative and storyline
  • One of the most famous movies in Germany
  • Relatively easy to find with English subtitles

5. Goodbye Lenin (2003)

Goodbye Lenin (2003)

The German Democratic Republic is torn down one year after Mauer Wall falls. Our main protagonist, Alex, takes part in demonstrations by anti-capitalist activists in Berlin.

His mother suffers a heart attack due to his arrest and ends up in a coma. When she awakens, East Germany is no more and the country has turned to capitalism. Alex pretends that nothing has changed and tries to hide it from her to protect her from having a fatal heart attack.

This tragic-comedy will have you laughing your socks off, but it's also about the transition of the nation to capitalism, a key part of Germany's modern history.

The cast includes several of Germany's most popular actors, including Daniel Brühl, Katrin Saß, and Chulpan Khamatova.

Why Do We Recommend Goodbye Lenin As One of Our Movies to Learn German?

  • Different genre from the others
  • Highly entertaining viewing for learners of any level
  • Relatively easy to find with English subtitles

6. The Lives of Others "Das Leben der Anderen" (2006)

a movie poster with a man and woman

This is another of our favorite German movies. Das Leben der Anderen is the feature film debut of Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.

The storyline is about the monitoring of East Berlin residents by agents of the Stasi, the GDR’s secret police.

It stars Ulrich Mühe as Stasi Captain Gerd Wiesler, Ulrich Tukuras as his superior Anton Grubitz, Sebastian Koch as the playwright Georg Dreyman, and Martina Gedeck as a prominent actress Christa-Maria Sieland.

It is a suspense-filled plot meticulously set in a dark period of German history.

Why Do We Recommend Das Leben der Andersen As One of Our Movies to Learn German?

  • High level of suspense
  • Contextualizes German history
  • Easy to find with English subtitles

East Germany - A little context

After World War II, East Germany fell into the hands of the Soviets (the USSR). This split East and West Germany, with the East German portion taking on communist ideologies.

The area remained under Soviet control throughout the Cold War period, until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Many German films are set during this fascinating period of history, including Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (2008).

7. The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (“Die Bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant”) (1972)

The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (“Die Bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant”) (1972)

This German-language movie is another classic and a great introduction to German cinema.

The storyline follows Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who creates an insular dreamland of jealousy, madness, and domination. The film is set only within the walls of Petra von Kant's home.

The movie exposes you to the quirky and cute Bavarian accent via the elusive Karin. If you’ve traveled to the south of Germany, this film will help you to pick up on the German language nuances within this part of the country.

Be sure to take notes throughout!

Why Do We Recommend The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant As One of Our Movies to Learn German?

  • Easy to watch
  • Exposes you to the Bavarian variant of the German language
  • This German movie shows how beautiful the German region of Bavaria is!

8. Head-On (2004)

Head-On (2004)

This German movie is about the Turkish-German culture clash. It's a story of two brothers who are very different in temperament and life choices, but somehow always manage to find their way back to each other.

Head-On is the first full-length film from filmmaker Fatih Akin. The movie was awarded with the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film and European Films Award for Best Director in 2005.

Head On has been screened at over 250 international film festivals worldwide since 2004 where it won more than 80 awards including the Grand Prix (the main prize) at Cannes Film Festival 2004, three César Awards in France (Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Music), an Academy Award nomination - 2006 Oscar winner as best foreign language film.

Why Do We Recommend Head-On As One of Our German Movies?

  • Easily accessible
  • High level of German language dialogue
  • Won many prizes

9. The Edukators (2004)

The Edukators (2004)

The Edukators is a 2004 adaptation of a novel. It is a darkly comic story about three West German activists who decide to start robbing department stores, ostensibly in order to redistribute the money.

However, their plan goes wrong when they get caught and have no other choice but to go on the run from authorities while trying not to betray their radical beliefs.

This German movie focuses on general conflict, following the lives of anti-capitalist youth fighting the system in a provocative way.

Why Do We Recommend The Edukators As One of Our Movies to Learn German?

  • Easily accessible
  • Modern film which is easy to watch
  • High level of German language dialogue

10. Requiem (2006)

Requiem (2006)

Requiem is the final part of Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke's fictional trilogy which follows seven people in Vienna, Austria.

The story begins when Georg (Ernst Jacobi) moves into his new flat and meets next-door neighbor Anna (Ulrich Muhe). Despite their age difference, he is 75 and she is 14, they form a special bond.

The narrative is about Georg and Anna's relationship developing, which is made difficult by his age difference from her, as well as Anna's father who may not permit their friendship.

This film also explores how most people are unable to relate to each other because they don't understand enough about each other.

Why Do We Recommend Requiem As One of Our Movies to Learn German?

  • Easily accessible online
  • Modern film featuring useful vocabulary
  • High level of German language dialogue

Tips on Learning German through Movies

Tips on Learning German through Movies

FluentU is one of the best websites and apps for learning German the way native speakers really use it.

This app turns real-world videos, movie trailers, news, and inspiring talks into personalized language learning lessons.

Using real-life videos, the content is kept fresh and current, and interactive. It keeps track of the words you’re learning and gives you extra practice with difficult words.

It also reminds you when it’s time to review with multimedia flashcards. You'll find our review below and the opportunity to trial the app free of charge.

FAQs About Learning German from Movies

Let's look at some frequently asked questions about learning German by watching German films and why language learners should incorporate movies into their learning journeys.

Will Watching German Movies Help You Learn the Language?

Yes. Watching movies in a foreign language is one of the best ways to pick up and learn vocabulary, idioms, and cultural references that are necessary for fluency.

Even with subtitles, it is beneficial to watch foreign language films as you become more used to listening to the German language (or any language you happen to be learning).

Don't watch dubbed versions of films. This won't help you!

How Can I Watch German Movies with English Subtitles?

If you want to watch German films with English subtitles, we recommend signing up for a streaming service like Netflix.

If you download films via other sites, you are not guaranteed good quality or the ability to switch on English subtitles.

Does Netflix Have Movies in German?

The answer is yes. On its global website, Netflix has a limited selection of movies in German in the TV and Films section. There are several entertaining TV sitcoms and programs to explore.

We also recommend Lingopie's streaming service for good German films that will keep you entertained whilst you learn.

What subtitle options should I select for German movies?

Beginners may opt for English subtitles to provide additional support in case they encounter unfamiliar words or phrases. Meanwhile, intermediate learners may choose movies with German subtitles to associate spoken words with their written form, improving vocabulary recognition and overall understanding.

Some movies offer dual-language subtitles, displaying both German and English translations simultaneously. This option provides a valuable reference for comparing the two languages and understanding the context more easily.

As your language skills progress, challenge yourself by watching movies without subtitles. This will enhance your listening comprehension and allow you to fully immerse yourself in the German language.

Summing Up: 10 Great Movies in German: Learn German Through Video

Watching movies can be a highly effective and enjoyable method for learning German. It provides an immersive experience that enhances listening comprehension, vocabulary acquisition, and cultural understanding.

By selecting appropriate subtitle options, such as German subtitles, English subtitles, or dual-language subtitles, beginner and intermediate learners can tailor their viewing experience to their language proficiency level.

The combination of audiovisual input, contextual cues, and engaging storytelling makes watching movies a valuable supplement to traditional language learning methods. 

So grab some popcorn, sit back, and let the world of German cinema inspire and enrich your language journey.

If you’re interested in learning German with German movies, check out the link below and sign up for free to Lingopie, a language-learning platform which allows you to watch German movies with subtitles.