8 Excellent German Movies to Watch and Learn German

Learning German can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be boring. One way to make the process fun and engaging is to watch German movies.

In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the best German movies that you can watch to help you learn German.

Can I learn a language by watching movies?

It definitely can! But it also depends on what you wish to learn. You might have heard of people learn a new language solely by watching movies. But the reality is there are things that movies are good at teaching you and things that they are not.

What can you learn from watching movies

Vocabulary: Watching movies is a great way to learn new words in context. By hearing words spoken naturally by native speakers, you can understand and remember vocabulary more naturally.

Pronunciation and speaking skills: By listening to native speakers at natural speeds with authentic expressions, you can pick up on the nuances of the language, such as tone, accent, and intonation. This exposure helps you build oral comprehension skills.

Dialects and Slang: Movies are also an excellent way to learn about different dialects and slangs used in different German speaking areas.

Culture: Besides learning the language itself, watching movies can also offer insights into the culture of the speakers. You can gain a better understanding of social norms, values, and beliefs that contribute to the language’s use.

What you (probably) can not learn from watching movies

Grammar and sentence structure: While movies can help with vocabulary and oral comprehension, you may have difficulty understanding sentence structures or complex grammatical rules.

Written language: Due to the form of “teaching”, movies cannot teach you how to write correctly or read fluently. You may sound like a native but find it hard to put your ideas into written form. So it is essential to balance films with other types of learning such as reading and writing.

If you are serious about learning German, there are better ways than watching movies that can help you learn German more comprehensively. For example, LingoDeer is a language app to learn 13 languages from scratch.


8 Best German Movies to Watch and Learn German

Now let’s dive in to the 6 best German movies to complement your German learning.

Goodbye, Lenin!

German movies: Goodbye Lenin

  • year of release: 2003
  • genre: Comedy/Drama
  • IMDb rating: 7.7

Released in 2003, Goodbye Lenin! is a comedy-drama that takes place in East Germany in 1989, just as the Berlin Wall is about to fall. The story follows a young man named Alex as he tries to protect his mother, who has just woken up from a coma, from the shock of the political changes happening around her. The movie is not only entertaining but also provides a glimpse into life in East Germany before and after reunification, making it an excellent choice for German learners who are interested in history and politics.

Lola Rennt

German movies: Lola Rennt

  • year of release: 1998
  • genre: Action/Thriller
  • IMDb rating: 7.6

Run Lola Run is a 1998 thriller that has become a classic in Germany. The movie follows Lola, a young woman who has 20 minutes to gather 100,000 Deutschmarks to save her boyfriend’s life. The film is known for its non-linear narrative structure and its use of vibrant colors and music. Watching this movie can help German learners improve their listening skills, as the characters speak quickly and use a lot of slang.

Das Leben Der Anderen (The Lives of Others)

  • year of release: 2006
  • genre: Drama/Thriller
  • IMDb rating: 8.4

Das Leben Der Anderen is a 2006 drama set in East Berlin in the early 1980s. The story follows a Stasi agent who is tasked with spying on a playwright and his girlfriend. As he becomes more involved in their lives, he begins to question the morality of his job and the regime he serves. 

The movie won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2007 and is widely regarded as one of the best German movies ever made. Watching this movie can help you improve your German vocabulary and comprehension of complex themes.

Der Untergang (Downfall)

  • year of release: 2004
  • genre: Drama/War
  • IMDb rating: 8.2

Der Untergang is a 2004 historical drama that depicts the final days of Adolf Hitler’s reign. The movie is set in the Führerbunker, where Hitler and his closest advisors are holed up as the Allies close in on Berlin. The movie is tense and dramatic, with plenty of complex vocabulary and historical references to challenge German learners.

Das Boot (The Boat)

  • year of release: 1981
  • genre: Drama/War
  • IMDb rating: 8.3

Das Boot is a 1981 war drama that tells the story of a German submarine crew during World War II. The movie is a thrilling ride, with plenty of action and suspense to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. The movie is also excellent for learners looking to improve their vocabulary related to military and naval terms.

Kästner und der kleine Dienstag

German movies: Kästner und der kleine Dienstag

“Kästner und der kleine Dienstag” is a German film based on the life of the famous children’s book author Erich Kästner, who wrote “Emil and the Detectives.” The movie tells the story of Kästner’s friendship with a young boy named Hans, who becomes his inspiration for one of his most famous books.

This film is good for learning German language as it features authentic German dialogue and can help learners improve their comprehension skills while also providing insight into German culture and history. Additionally, the film’s storyline is engaging and inspiring, making it an enjoyable way to practice German language listening and speaking skills.

Die Welle

German movies: Die Welle

Die Welle (The Wave) is a German film based on a true story that explores the dangers of group thinking and conformity. The film follows a high school teacher who creates an experiment to teach his students about totalitarianism, but finds himself losing control as the students become increasingly devoted to their new movement. It’s a thought-provoking and intense film that raises important questions about the power of authority, peer pressure, and the role of the individual in society.

Die Welle offers an immersive experience in the German language, with authentic dialogue and cultural references that can help you better understand the language and context. The movie also features a clear storyline, engaging characters, and themes that can spark discussions and improve language proficiency.


Deutschstunde is a German drama film based on the novel by Siegfried Lenz. The story revolves around the life of a young painter, caught between his father’s expectations and his own artistic ambitions during the Nazi regime.

For German language learners, Deutschstunde provides an opportunity to immerse oneself in authentic German dialogue and practice listening comprehension. Additionally, the historical context of the film offers insight into German culture and history, making it a valuable resource if you are interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the language and its cultural background.

Tips for Learning German with Movies

Ready to level up your German skills with these 6 classical and engaging movies? Just one moment. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your movie-watching experience.

Start with beginner-friendly movies

If you’re just starting to learn German, it’s important to choose movies that are appropriate for your skill level. Look for movies that have simple dialogue and clear pronunciation, so you can follow along without getting too lost. Some good options include children’s movies or films with subtitles in both German and your native language.

Use subtitles

It’s a good idea to use subtitles when watching German movies, especially if you’re still learning the language. You can choose to have the subtitles in German, which will help you improve your reading comprehension, or in your native language for better understanding. You can also download the subtitle file and use a tool like this one to extract all the unique words in the subtitle and make a vocabulary list out of it.

Pay attention to pronunciation

One of the benefits of watching German movies is that you can hear native speakers pronouncing words and phrases correctly. Pay close attention to how the actors pronounce certain words and try to mimic their intonation and accent. After watching the movie, try dubbing some parts of the movie or repeating phrases or sentences from the movie.

Take notes

While you’re watching a German movie, take notes on new vocabulary or phrases. Write down the word or phrase in German, as well as its translation into your native language. Include example sentences as well so that you know the context.


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1 month ago

Great recommendations, but the flag in the title is wrong. It’s not German 😉

22 days ago

(German dus have to be boring

22 days ago

The recommendations are appreciable. Let me watch the movies for further comments.