Learn German with Movies: 10 Great Films for Real-World German

Learn German: Recognizing regional dialects and slang is essential for comprehending German. With between 50 and 250 dialects to choose from, you’d best start getting used to them! One approach to developing an ear for these common regionalisms is to watch German films. Continue reading for some suggestions to get you started!

Why Study German Through Movies?

It’s simply that simple. Here are three of them:

Movies are just enjoyable and engaging. You may save them for times when you’re too tired to accomplish anything more strenuous (e.g. talking to your language partner or doing flashcards). It’s the same as saving your most difficult exercises until the conclusion of a workout when you have the least energy. If you really want to study German, the best way is to join the top German language classes.

Movies also frequently employ natural conversational German

Also, watching movies is an excellent method to become more culturally aware. Discussing a famous film is a terrific way to connect with German friends. Consider how many English discussions you would miss out on if you didn’t know any prominent English-speaking celebrities.

So put down your Hochdeutsch textbook for the time being and start watching one of the German-language films listed below! They will undoubtedly knock your socks off.

How to Learn German by Watching Movies

To learn German as successfully as possible, watching movies and hoping to absorb the language is not sufficient. You should keep an eye on them and keep note of new terminology. If you come across a new term, jot it down and check it up in a decent dictionary. Review them regularly and share your knowledge with your German friends.

It would help if you also used the learning programs accessible to you. You may, for example, use Anki to phrase mine from movies (or utilize one of the many user-made decks already out there).

Consider this: instead of searching up strange words phonetically in a dictionary, you may use a tool that defines unknown words in movies. One software that achieves this is FluentU: It includes actual German films, including movie snippets and trailers, and interactive subtitles that allow you to look up the definition of any word you watch. To add an extra difficulty or boost, toggle the English and German subtitles on and off as needed.

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Learn German with Movies: 10 Great Films for Real-World German

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  1. “Lola Rennt” (“Run Lola Run”) (1998)

If you’re planning a trip to Berlin and want to learn the Berlinerisch accent, this clip could be for you. This famous German film follows Lola, who has twenty minutes to locate 100,000 German marks to save her boyfriend’s life. Her lover, a minor criminal, has stolen his boss’ money and will be executed unless Lola comes up with the money.

The film is told in three separate “runs,” each beginning with the same idea but finishing in a completely different way. This fast-paced and captivating video is the ideal diversion when you’re tired of conjugating verbs!

  1. “The Other People’s Lives” (“Das Leben der Anderen”) (2006)

Do you want to know what it was like to live in communist East Germany? This drama/political thriller follows Stasi Captain Gerd Wiesler, tasked with spying on writer Georg Dreyman.

The film follows Wiesler as he becomes emotionally interested in the lives of individuals he is supposed to spy on and disillusioned with the East German government’s techniques. This video will not only enhance your German by exposing you to a variety of dialects, but its popularity among Germans makes it an excellent conversation starter when you want to practice your Deutsch!

  1. “Der Untergang” (“Downfall”) (2004)

What was Hitler thinking and doing in his final ten days? This is the tale told in this film. Look no further if you seek a historical drama. This contentious yet fascinating portrait of Hitler will have you clenching your teeth.

You could even learn a little about the Austrian dialect since actor Bruno Ganz has studied recordings of Hitler to perfect his accent for his depiction of the Führer. Perhaps not the best method to learn about Austria, but this video is a must-see!

  1. “The White Ribbon” (Deutsche Band) (2009)

This sobering picture of religion, power, and violence in a tiny northern German town in the early 1910s come from one of Europe’s most acclaimed directors, Michael Haneke.

Wet days are not the best time to watch this movie! Despite being captivating and beautiful, the film deals with society and family in a grim way that can be difficult to contemplate.

On the other hand, if you’re searching for a movie with a punch, “The White Ribbon” will deliver as it takes you through the incomprehensible chain of events that begin to haunt this quiet Protestant community. This video is especially ideal for German students since the characters talk slowly and clearly on topics that are simple to understand.

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  1. “Goodbye, Lenin!” (2003)

When you feel like watching a comedy, this movie could be a better fit! In October 1989, Alex’s mother, an ardent supporter of East Germany’s Socialist Unity Party, has a heart attack and slips into a coma. During her coma, the Berlin Wall collapses, and East Germany is invaded by Burger King franchises, Coca-Cola ads, and West German refugees. When Alex’s mother awakens, the doctor warns him that another shock might result in a deadly heart attack.

To protect his bedridden mother from the changing world around her, Alex resorts to strange and frequently amusing techniques. Again, if you’re planning a trip to Berlin or the old East Germany, this film should be at the top of your list!

  1. “Revanche” is number six (2008)

Here’s another film for you Austrian fans! “Revanche” is excellent if you want to get a sense of the type of German you’ll encounter in the land of schnitzel and strudel! The film is a thriller about Alex, a Viennese ex-con, and Tamara, a Ukrainian prostitute, who want to escape Vienna and start a new life together.

Alex tries to rob a bank to fund this scheme, but the plot goes terrible. The film keeps you on the edge of your seat as it addresses themes of guilt, redemption, and fate, and it gives you a good glimpse into a side of Austria that you may never get to see!

  1. “Petra von Kant’s Bitter Tears” (“Die Bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant”) (1972)

This is another German classic that serves as an excellent introduction to German cinema. Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s New German Cinema depicts an isolated dreamland of jealousy, psychosis, and dominance set solely within Petra von Kant’s home walls.

Fassbinder pulls you inside Petra’s complicated mind as she psychologically abuses her maid Marlene and falls madly in love with the attractive working-class Karin. Imagine you’re organizing a trip to the south of Germany.  In that case, this film will introduce you to the distinctive and endearing Bavarian dialect through the enigmatic Karin!

  1. “Nirgendwo in Afrika” (“Nirgendwo in Afrika”) (2001)

This heartbreaking video provides a one-of-a-kind glimpse of German culture outside of Europe. It follows a Jewish family as they flee Nazi Germany and settle in Kenya to operate a farm in 1938. The video depicts the experience of relocating to a new country, particularly to East Africa.

Living between two worlds, Germany’s memories, and Kenya’s realities, the family must adjust and strive to build a new existence. There is no other German film with a more humane take on Jewish refugees and World War II history. Though Swahili and English are interwoven, the characters in “Nowhere in Africa” mostly converse in plain, simple German, ideal for German students!

  1. “Der Baader Meinhof Komplex” (German for “The Baader Meinhof Complex”) (2008)

Based on Stefan Aust’s book, this action-packed picture depicts the early years of the legendary far-left militant group, the Red Army Faction, from 1967 to 1977. If you’re searching for a film featuring weapons and explosives, “The Baader Meinhof Complex” is the place to be.

It depicts the aggressive political activity of young post-Nazis who feel that American imperialism is the new face of fascism. If you don’t know much about the RAF, a contentious group in Germany today, this film will keep you glued to your seat and acquaint you with plenty of slang jargon!

  1. “Paradise:Love” (“Paradies: Liebe”) is number ten (2013)

This is a one-of-a-kind film. It’s both culturally perceptive and unsettling, as well as intriguing. Teresa, a 50-year-old Austrian woman, is followed as she travels to a beach resort in Kenya. When traveling, Teresa engages in sex tourism, selecting young prostitutes to sleep with and then worries about if they genuinely find her attractive. “Paradise: Love” is a film that will stay with you for a long time. It is both humorous and unsettling at moments.

It’s ideal for brushing up on your Austrian dialect. There is no better film to prepare for your impending vacation to Vienna because it was shot without a regular screenplay!

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