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Top 10 German Language Movies on DVD


Here's a selection of recommended movies on DVD for German, chosen by your Guide. To compare prices and order, just click on the title. All DVDs and listed here are for use in North America (Region 1/NTSC). For reviews and more about German films, see our GERMAN MOVIE GUIDE (link below).

1. Run Lola Run

Set in modern-day Berlin, this film heads my list of top German films. While some critics might place one of the many older German film classics in the first spot, I consider "Lola rennt" a classic for its time. Director Tom Tykwer and star Franka Potente haved pulled off a real cinematic coup - a unique combination of action, humor and visual treats. And this DVD version is one of the finest out there! German with English subtitles.

2. Nowhere in Africa

Fleeing Nazi Germany, many Jewish families found that a new life was as difficult as any hardship they had previously known. This German drama, based on a book by Stephanie Zweig, tells the true story of a German family coping with life in Africa. Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. German with English subtitles.

3. The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl

A fascinating look at the woman who went from movie starlet to Hitler's favorite director. She was an active still photographer up until her death in 2003 at age 100. English and German with English subtitles.
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4. What To Do in Case of Fire

In the 1980s, Tim (Til Schweiger), his girlfriend Flo, and their roommates Terror, Hotte, Nele, and Maik—collectively known as Group 36—live as anarchist punks in an abandoned West Berlin warehouse. Gregor Schnitzler's WAS TUN, WENN'S BRENNT (orig. title) is the story of a group of German ex-radicals who try to avoid their past after the explosion of a bomb they planted many years earlier. In German with English subtitles.
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5. The Harmonists

Originally entitled "Comedian Harmonists," this German film directed by Joseph Vilsmaier is based on the true story of a German acapella singing group of the 1930s, the creation of 27-year-old drama student Harry Frommermann. An inspiring tale featuring original recordings from the legendary vocalists. Winner of the 1998 Award for Outstanding Feature Film at the German Film Awards.
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6. Far Away, So Close

Director Wim Wenders made "In weiter Ferne, so nah" (German title) in a Berlin that had changed radically since he made "Wings of Desire" in the same city. Most of "Far Away, So Close" was filmed in the eastern half of the city, a location denied him before the Wall fell. The previous cast (including Peter Falk) is joined by Nastassja Kinski and Willem Defoe in this sequel. English and German with English subtitles.
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7. The Inheritors

This 1999 Austrian film directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky won critical acclaim. It's a mystery tale of what happens to a group of Austrian farm peasants ("Die Siebtelbauer") after the farm's owner dies under strange circumstances. German with English subtitles.
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8. Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary

Traudl Junge, who worked as one of three private secretaries serving Hitler, has an extraordinary ability to communicate to others what it was like to be one of the minions who had unparalleled access to the Führer. Junge is a riveting presence as she takes you from when she was hired to be one of Hitler's secretaries in 1942 to the bizarre horror of what it was like during the final days in Hitler's bunker in Berlin in 1945.

9. Downfall - Der Untergang

Academy Award nominated film about the last days of Hitler and the Third Reich. Seen through the eyes of Hitler's 22-year-old secretary Traudl Junge (see "Blind Spot" above), this German production is largely set in the Führer bunker in Berlin during the final days of World War II. Swiss actor Bruno Ganz is exceptional as Hitler.

10. Rosenstrasse

Although her film opens in modern-day New York City, Margarethe Von Trotta's ROSENSTRASSE goes back to 1943 Berlin. It is based on the true story of German Jews who were cruelly separated from their Aryan husbands and wives without warning, and were placed in a holding cell in the Rosenstrasse district. ROSENSTRASSE tells the story of the courageous women who protested this action by the Nazis.
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