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DVD Guide for German Films:
DVD Guide | DVD Region Codes | Blu-ray Codes | Films
The DVD revolution (and now Blu-ray) has been a boon for German-learners. All of the DVDs and Blu-ray Discs below are in German with the option of turning the English subtitles on or off. Some of them (Run Lola Run) even have an English-dubbed soundtrack option, but for German-learners that is less useful. You’ll also find some hit Hollywood films in German listed below! Watching a German movie on DVD or Blu-ray is great way to hear real German and pick up new vocabulary. Enjoy!
Rental of German Films
Most of the films below are well worth buying, but if you want to rent some of them, I recommend NetFlix. (Note: I have no connection with NetFlix other than my own subscription.) They have a large selection of films in German on DVD and Blu-ray.
Also see The Best German Christmas DVDs.
German Cinema on Blu-ray and DVD
The following Blu-ray and DVD films will play on normal US/Canadian players (Region 1 and Region A):
Anatomy (Anatomie, DVD)
Amazon: "The German thriller Anatomy is a Grand Guignol display of medical horror, dwelling on dissected flesh and body organs in jars. Paula (Franka Potente, the star of Run Lola Run) is a smart young medical student with a lot of family history: her grandfather is a celebrated surgeon and her father runs a low-income medical clinic."
The Baader Meinhof Complex (Blu-ray, 2008)
This film about German home-grown terrorism in the 1970s and '80s stars Martina Gedeck and Moritz Bleibtreu. Directed by Uli Edel. In German with English subtitles.
Blind Spot (Im toten Winkel, DVD)
From The New Yorker: “Traudl Junge started working for Hitler in 1942 when she was twenty-two years old. She took dictation and typed his private communiqués, and was one of the few people to survive the final days in the Berlin bunker. After the war, she kept herself and her story out of sight until two Austrian filmmakers, André Heller and Othmar Schmiderer, interviewed her ... shortly before her death. The film is just Frau Junge and the camera, unadorned with newsreel footage, still photography, or even a fade. The starkness is deliberate…”
Casino Royale (Blu-ray SteelBook [Region Free])
This is the German version of the James Bond film with Daniel Craig. It will play on a regular US Blu-ray player and also has the original English soundtrack option.
The Counterfeiters (Die Fälscher, Blu-ray)
From the back cover: “Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, The Counterfeiters tells the true story of Salomon Sorowitsch (Karl Markovics), a swindler who made a name for himself as Berlin's ‘King of the Counterfeiters.’ However, his life of women and easy money is cut short when he's arrested and placed in a Nazi concentration camp. ...Sorowitsch makes a sobering deal with his captors: in exchange for a comfortable bed, good food and fair treatment, Sorowitsch, along with the other hand-picked specialists, must counterfeit bank notes to fund the Nazi War effort. If he does as they say, he lives another day. If he rebels, he faces the same fate as the rest of the camp's prisoners. But if he lives, will he be able to live with himself?” Also available on DVD.
Downfall (Der Untergang, Blu-ray)
From Amazon: “The riveting subject of Downfall is nothing less than the disintegration of Adolf Hitler in mind, body, and soul. A 2005 Academy Award nominee for best foreign language film, this German historical drama stars Bruno Ganz (Wings of Desire) as Hitler, whose psychic meltdown is depicted in sobering detail, suggesting a fallen, pathetic dictator on the verge on insanity, resorting to suicide (along with Eva Braun and Joseph and Magda Goebbels) as his Nazi empire burns amidst chaos in mid-1945.” Also available on DVD.
The Experiment (Das Experiment, DVD)
Stars Moritz Bleibtreu from Run Lola Run. Amazon: “Inspired by a famous 1971 psychological experiment, Oliver Hirschbiegel's German-language movie finds a group of 20 volunteers randomly divided into 12 prisoners and eight guards and asked to play out their roles for a fortnight while scientists study their reactions.”
German Expressionism Collection (DVD set)
This 4-DVD set features these classic German films: The Hands of Orlac, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Secrets of a Soul, and Warning Shadows.
The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen, Blu-ray)
From Amazon: “Nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, this is a first-rate thriller that ... opts for character development over car chases. The place is East Berlin, the year is 1984, and it all begins with a simple surveillance assignment: Capt. Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Mühe in a restrained, yet deeply felt performance), a Stasi officer and a specialist in this kind of thing, has been assigned to keep an eye on Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch, Black Book), a respected playwright, and his actress girlfriend, Christa-Maria Sieland (Martina Gedeck, Mostly Martha).” Also available on DVD.
Men in Black (Blu-ray SteelBook [Region Free])
This is the German version of the sci-fi classic. It will play on a regular US Blu-ray player and also has the original English soundtrack option.
Mostly Martha (Bella Martha, DVD)
This "rich addition to the recent banquet of movies about food" is a love story set in a Hamburg restaurant.
NIRGENDWO IN AFRIKA won an Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 2002.
Nowhere in Africa (Nirgendwo in Afrika, DVD)
Winner of the Academy Award for best foreign film in 2002. The story of a Jewish family that flees the Nazis by going to live in South Africa.
Paris, Texas (Blu-ray)
This Wim Wenders’ classic, set in the USA, stars Harry Dean Stanton and Nastassja Kinski.
The Princess and the Warrior (Der Krieger und die Kaiserin, DVD)
Stars Franka Potente (Run Lola Run). In director Tom Tykwer's follow-up film to Run Lola Run, Potente is a nurse who saves a mysterious stranger's life after a traffic accident.
From the back cover: “In the cold Berlin winter of 1943, hundreds of women stood, and waited, in defiance of the Nazis. While countless Jews were being sent to concentration camps for execution, Jewish husbands of Aryan wives suffered a different fate; they were separated from their families and imprisoned in a factory on a street named Rosenstrasse. On that street these women stood in protest, in the name of love until they were reunited with their men.”
Run Lola Run (Lola rennt, DVD or Blu-ray)
Lola (Franka Potente) runs through the streets of Berlin — and to box-office records. If you only own one German movie on DVD or Blu-ray, this is the one! A modern classic by director Tim Tykwer. Also available on Blu-ray Disc.
Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (DVD)
From Amazon.com: “Through its simplicity and scrupulous attention to historical detail, Sophie Scholl: The Final Days proves to be both thrillingly suspenseful and emotionally devastating. During the peak of the Third Reich, Sophie Scholl (Julia Jentsch, The Edukators), along with her brother Hans and other students in Munich, formed a resistance group called the White Rose and distributed anti-Nazi leaflets. The tension only increases as they are arrested, interrogated, and swiftly convicted in a brutal show trial.”
Wings of Desire (Der Himmel über Berlin, Blu-ray)
Wim Wenders’ 1987 classic divided-Berlin film looks great in hi-def! It's is also available on DVD.
Also see The Best German Christmas DVDs.
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