Ever since the very first modern movies were shot well over a century ago, Germany has always stood out as a nation with a proud passion for diverse and artistic cinema. While movie making is seen as a business across much of the world, Germany prefers to view it as an art. Despite having weathers all manner of turbulent times, the legacy German cinema remains both strong and enviable as the world moves into the 21st century. And here we've selected 10 best German movies online for you.
10 Best German Movies Online for German Learners
Das weiße Band “The White Ribbon” (2009)
The story in “The White Ribbon” takes place just before the outbreak of the First World War, during which time a northern German town seems to be plagued with some very strange events. A ritual of punishment is destroying the lives of the children in the village, though the origins and reasons for the cruelty are less obvious. A great movie for language learners thanks to the compelling storyline and mostly simple dialogue.
The Wave (2008)
It seemed like a good idea at the time to get across what it is like to live in a land without democracy by setting up a fake dictatorship. That’s precisely what the tutor in “The Wave” does for the benefit of his High School students, though things take a rather sinister twist that really none could have seen coming. This is, as well, a brilliantly original storyline and a great movie for German learners.
Das Leben Der Anderen “The Lives of Others” (2004)
The winner of multiple awards, “The Lives of Others” may be a little too complex to watch without subtitles but is still a wonderful choice for language learners. The story follows a secret police agent in Germany in 1984, who after being tasked to watch over two young artists finds himself somewhat obsessed with their personal life. The plot gets very tense so fast that makes it a real winner.
Der Untergang “Downfall” (2004)
With a remarkably compelling and revealing title and perhaps one of the most spectacular movies to come out of Germany this century so far, the multi award-winning “Downfall” is a must for anyone…not just language learners. It tells the secret stories of what exactly went on in Adolf Hitler’s bunker in Berlin as World War Two drew to a close through the eyes of his secretary Traudl Junge.
Good Bye, Lenin! “Good Bye Lenin!” (2003)
As far as original storylines go, they just don’t come much more original than “Good Bye Lenin.” Set in the 1990s and after the fall of the Berlin wall, the main character’s mother has been in a coma for some time and has no idea she’s no longer living in the same German she used to know and love. Therefore, rather than tell her, he goes out of his way into making her think that nothing has changed in the meantime and all is as it was before she lost consciousness.
Vaya con Dios “Go with God” (2002)
If you’re the type that prefers watching light hearted and humorous movies to learn a foreign language, then “Vaya con Dios” might be the perfect choice for you. It tells the story of a three monks who after finding themselves unable to pay the rent at their current facility are forced to travel to a new Italian monastery. It’s charming, it’s funny and the language is mostly easy to get to grips with.
Das Experiment “The Experiment” (2001)
A famous title that makes this thrilled movie popular all over the world, “The Experiment” is a gorgeously dark tale that tells the story of the Stanford Prison Experiment. It’s all about a test in which a prison was created in laboratory conditions, so the subjects could be studies. However, it isn’t long before both parts of the test start to go wrong and fight against each other, and things get out of hand. The language gets complex, but the story is easy to follow.
Nirgendwo in Afrika “Nowhere in Africa” (2001)
“Nowhere in Africa” scooped up an Academy Award in 2002, which is pretty understandable from the first time you see it. It follows a Jewish family’s struggle after leaving home prior to World War Two and setting up a new home in Kenya. Their new life may not be ideal, but it’s a far cry from what’s happening back home when war breaks out. It’s a great for language learners simply because of the movie’s overall brilliance.
Lola Rennt “Run Lola Run” (1998)
This is another example of a movie that, despite its somewhat humble origins, went on to become an absolute smash hit all over the world. And it’s the original storyline we’ve to thank for that, which follows a young German girl named Lola who needs to come across 100,000 Deutschmarks in no longer than 20 minutes to save her boyfriend from his kidnappers. The backdrop of Berlin is amazing, the language is mostly simple and the storyline is as weird while wonderful as it is.
Hitlerjunge Salomon “Europa Europa” (1990)
“Europa Europa” is the kind of movie that follows a storyline you may have come across though reaches a final perspective you will simply never see coming. It tells the story of a Jewish Boy who pretends to be a German orphan and eventually ends up in the Hitler Youth. Based on a true story and with a lavish dose of emotion thrown in from starts to finish, it’s great for language learners as it’s so very memorable.