When you are out there learning German, mixing movies with your education could be an eclectic choice.
As one of the most widely spoken foreign languages in the world, and in Europe particularly, learning German from movies can give you a seamless access to a rich vocabulary and diction in tandem.
In this post, we introduce you to the best movies to learn German as a foreign language.
Also, for what’s better, we have categorized them as per one’s learning skill so that you can seamlessly move from a beginner to advanced, and as you do so, you get to learn and have a fun time too.
Why Learn German Languages through Movies and Films?
Before we mull over the list of movies, it’s worthwhile to consider learning German by watching movies.
The reasons aren’t obscure to scan :
- For starters watching a movie is always a delightful affair. Maybe you are in a full time job already and want to enhance your learning experience by adding one more language skill in your kitty. That way watching a German movie to learn German could be a great way to unwind yourself after a hectic day.
- When you learn German with films, you automatically adapt the neutral, conversational tone, just the way an expert in German language would speak. In other words, you gain fluency with German culture, wods, phrasal verb forms, greetings, and whatnot. It’s like your normal day-to-day English conversation.
- You can participate freely in several German-language-led conversations without any hesitation. Ain’t that a great thing to actually be a part of any conversation where natives are discussing a particular subject that you already have mastery and now you can share your views as you speak their tongue? Think about it.
- As you learn German by watching German movies, you can also pick up the traits to get yourself out of any unseen circumstances where language could have been a barrier for expression.
And now, let’s get on with our list of the best five german movies to watch, from beginner to expert levels.
The best films to learn German for beginners
Lola Rennt (English title: Run Lola Run) (1998)
Where to watch : Netflix
Lola Rennt requires no introduction for German movie lovers or world movie lovers for that matter. This all time classic revolves around the protagonist, Lola who has to find no less than 100,000 German marks in just under 20 minutes to save her boyfriend from getting killed.
The film is thoroughly narrative and is being depicted to the viewers from three different angles, all based on the same premise, however with different endings.
As a mainstream German classic, Lola Rennt is extremely fast paced and downright entertaining to the core that will surely keep you glued to the screen. A fine choice for sure when you are looking to get yourself distracted from the otherwise boring foreign language learning basics.
IMDB rating : 7.7
Das Leben der Anderen (English title:The Lives of Others) (2006)
Where to watch: DVD
When learning German for the first time, it is important that you catch a hold of commonly used phrasal verbs and German colloquialisms.
The Lives of Others is one such movie that will help you in this regard as the movie is set at the backdrop of East Germany, during the communist times. As a political thriller, the story revolves around Stasi Captain Gerd Wiesler assigned to spy on playwright Georg Dreyman. Soon, Wiesler gets emotionally involved and ultimately finds himself disillusioned with the way the Government works.
“The Lives of Others” will not only help you brush up your knowledge about erstwhile Germany but also introduce you to a whole range of German accents which is essential to understand and comprehend. A great pick if you want to practice your Deutsch anyday!
IMDB rating : 8.4
Der Untergang (English Title: Downfall) (2004)
Where to watch : Netflix
Germany and Hitler are somewhat interconnected.
Despite the dictator’s notorious reputation, there was a lot going on in his life, especially during the last ten years. “Der Untergang” tells the same story to the audiences.
If you are looking to brush up your German speaking skills and fancy a historical drama, this is the movie you ought to watch. Although the movie soon became a center of controversy following its release, there is no denying the fine portrayal of the protagonist, Hitler, essayed by actor Bruo Ganz who is known to have undergone special training to ace the role. From mastering the great dictator;s gait to accent, this film is a classic in its making and certainly among the best picks for anyone looking to master their German speaking skills.
IMDB rating : 8.2
Das weiße Band (English title: The White Ribbon) (2009)
Where to watch : Netflix, DVD
“The White Ribbon” is yet another riveting offering from the powerhouse of German moviemaking and is directed by one of the most celebrated names in the German film industry, Michael Haneke.
The movie is a blatant yet balanced portrayal of a series of events that mostly revolves around violence, religion, and authority in tandem dating back to as early as 1910.
In essence, it’s a dark movie, however, it does not mar your German learning as the actors in this movie speak quite slowly and clearly. Besides, it also discusses some of the major themes of German society which can also offer a great insight for any newbie starting out on learning about German culture as well as the German people in general.
IMDB rating : 7.8
The best films to learn German for intermediate level
Where to watch : Netflix
“Good Bye Lenin!” (2003)
Fancy a comedy? Or may be a comedy that is dark in its setting and a narration that leaves a lasting impact?
“Good Bye Lenin” is one such modern day masterpiece that will not only offer a differential perspective of German cinema but can significantly contribute towards your learning German as a foreign language.
The story of “GoodBye Lenin” follows Alex whose mother had a heart attack resulting in coma during October 1989. While at it, the Berlin Wall falls with East Germany undergoing a massive change with brands like Burger King, and Coca Cola coming into the picture and aso bringing in its trail several migrants from West Germany.
As the doctor’s warn Alex to ensure that his mother doesn’t get a shock again, Alex sorts out humorous ways to design scenes that mimic Germany before the Berlin Wall fell.
In essence, the movie also poignantly depicts a son’s undying love for his mother that made him do incredible things which no matter how hilarious holds vitality and affection in tandem.
IMDB rating : 7.7
Nirgendwo in Afrika (English Title: Nowhere in Africa) (2001)
“Nowhere in Africa” is a deeply moving tale with a rather unique depiction of Germany as a nation and its culture as envisioned outside the European boundaries.
The center of the film has a Jewish family who had just escaaped the clutches of Nazi and migrating to Kenya o be able to run a farm. The film at its very basic level deals with the first hand experience of immigration and that too in a difficult locale like East Africa.
What makes this movie a gem to watch is the disparity between two different cultures and how a family holding onto each other and nothing left to lose tries to embrace and adapt to new settings and fight off challenges in the way.
IMDB rating : 7.5
If you have been wondering Here comes another film for you Austria aficionados! “Revanche” is great if you want to get a good feel for what kind of German awaits you in the land of schnitzel and strudel! The film is a thriller about the foredoomed relationship between Alex, a Viennese ex-con, and a Tamara, a Ukrainian prostitute, who wish to leave Vienna and start a new life together.
To finance this plan, Alex decides to rob a bank but the plan goes awry. As it addresses the themes of guilt, redemption, and fate, the film keeps you at the edge of your seat and gives you a good glimpse into a side of Austria that you may never get to see!
IMDB rating : 7.5
Learning German, as much as any other foreign language, can always be a bit of hindrance.
As such, watching movies can be a fun-filled way to get a first hand grasp of the language and master German step by step. Plus, watching movies always enriches people like nothing else in comparison as you get exciting insights about the culture.