Berlin Movie Guide
Berlin is known for it’s pivotal role in cinematography, both on and off screen. In fact, one of the biggest film festivals, the Berlinale, is hosted by the city each year. Whether you are about to head to Berlin and want a sneak peak, or you are missing the city like so many visitors do, we have a great list of films to get you back to Berlin!
Without a doubt the most raved about film to hit Berlin in some time. Most of the open air cinemas in fact had to put on extra screenings. Victoria is a young Spanish woman who has recently moved to Berlin. Struggling with her new life in Berlin, she meets four guys getting kicked out of a club and we then follow her adventure. IN REAL TIME! The film is in fact a single continuous take.
A tragicomedy set in Berlin, in which a young techno DJ ‘Ickarus’ (played by real life DJ Paul Kalkbrenner) is institutionalised for his drug addiction. About as Berlin as it gets; sex, drugs and techno.
This is a must see for anyone interested in Second World War history. The film, relatively accurately, depicts the final 10 days of Hitler’s reign over Nazi Germany in 1945. Set predominately in his bunker in the centre of Berlin, which is in fact one of our stops in both our All-in-One City Tour and our Third Reich Tour.
(Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck/2006)
This film actually won the 2006 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, so definitely worth a watch. We follow an East German playwright as, unbeknownst to him, he becomes the focus of the East German secret police (Stasi). Many former East Germans were stunned by the factual accuracy of the films set and atmosphere.
Here we have the story of a son who keeps the reunification of Germany a secret from his fiercely communist mother. Right at the fall of the wall Alex’s mother suffers from a heart attack falls into a coma. Luckily she pulls through, however Alex (Daniel Brühl) is warned by a doctor that should she have any sudden shock then she may easily die, so he scrambles to hide it from her.
Based on the book by Christopher Isherwood. The film is set in Berlin during the Weimar Republic in 1931, under the presence of the growing Nazi Party. We follow a wild American dancer (Liza Minnelli) in her bohemian Berlin life. Back in the good old days.
(Jan Ole Gerster, 2012)
Shot in black and white, ‘A Coffee in Berlin’ tells the melancholic story of a mid-twenties law school dropout Niko and his absurd interactions. A gentle comment on generation Y living in Berlin and the prolonged adolescence of today’s youth.
(Tom Tykwer, 1998)
After losing a bag containing 100,000 deutsche marks on the subway Lola and her boyfriend, Manni, must find the money again and deliver it to a gangster or Manni will likely be killed. The only catch is the only has 20 minutes to do it…
(Florian Henckel von Donnersmark, 2006)
A great depiction of what life was like in 1980’s East Berlin, if not a little stylised. And a great insight into the methods and practices of the Stasi, the secret police for the East German government. It’s an endearing story following one agent as he re-assesses the morality of his actions.
(Oliver Hirschbiegel, 2004)
Probably the most accurate portrayal of Hitler you will see on the big screen. A fantastic glimpse into the chaos of the closing days of the war, and how the Nazis were able to carry on fighting until the very end.
(Wim Wenders, 1987)
In wings of desire you are shown a divided Berlin through the perspectives of two angels as they hover over the city. They are only observers taking notes, and cannot change anything or take part, but occasionally descend to comfort a man contemplating suicide, or listen to the thoughts of the people on the streets. The film is beautifully shot with great views of Berlin over the wall.
(Uli Edel, 1981)
Based on actual events, this film illustrates the horrific and heart breaking experiences of a young girl, Christiane, who between the ages of 13 and 15 descends from being a typical teenage girl with normal and relatively mild problems, to funding a serious drug addiction with prostitution and surviving on the brink of death.
(Uli Edel, 2008)
When a peaceful protest in West Germany turns violent, Meinhof, a journalist and pacifist, turns to other methods of opposition and becomes involved with the violent RAF. The Rote Armee Fraktion were a militant group active between 1970 and 1998 who sought to oppose what they perceived as a fascist and imperialist West German government.
(Roberto Rossellini, 1948)
Shot on location in war-torn Berlin this film offers you amazing footage of the extent of Berlin’s destruction and also depicts the tough experiences of ordinary Berliners in the aftermath of the allied invasion and obliteration of the city centre.
Ok, so not strictly a film but more of a TV mini-series. Think Band of Brothers but from a German perspective, Generation War follows 5 close friends from the eve of the invasion on the eastern front until the end of the war. What was quite interesting was the aftermath of this production, over 7 million Germans tuned in to watch Generation War and has been very controversial with praise and criticisms from respected historians. The war generation, the witnesses to these events are all soon to be gone, so the next few years will be the last chance for dialogue with these people.
(Cate Shortland, 2012)
Lore is an indoctrinated child of a high-ranking SS officer who has to make her way through occupied Germany after the end of the war. Her parents head off to a POW camp after burning their documents and leave Lore in charge of her younger siblings. As she makes her way through a defeated Germany, certain truths are revealed to her.
(Christian Petzold, 2012)
Set in 1980’s East Germany, Barbara is the tale of a doctor has been relegated to a remote country side hospital after trying to apply for an exit visa to the west. She has been given a state owned apartment and is under constant surveillance from the Stasi, East Germany’s notorious secret police force.
(Marc Rothermund, 2005)
Sophie Scholl was a member of the non-violent White Rose group, an active resistance group in Nazi Germany. The film focuses on her last days and prosecution after she was caught distributing anti-Nazi leaflets at her university.