My favourite German movies
1105 8.6 8.51. M (1931)
Original Title: 'M'
Directed by: Fritz Lang
With: Peter Lorre
Plot: When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt.
Note: It is the ultimate psychopath movie. The last 80 years(!), they have tried to improve it but they never beat the formula developped in this feature. There is no chases, no shooting, no explosions. Just a frightening and fascinating psychological study of a sick mind.
848 8.2 8.42. Das Boot (1981)
Original Title: 'Das Boot'
Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen
With: Jürgen Prochnow
Plot: The claustrophobic world of a WWII German U-boat; boredom, filth, and sheer terror.
Note: After the ultimate psychopath movie, the ulimate U-boat flick! It has been imitated numerous times but this feature remains the reference in its genre and it will remain so a for a long time.
1260 7.8 8.33. Downfall (2004)
Original Title: 'Der Untergang'
Directed by: Oliver Hirschbiegel
With: Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara
Plot: Traudl Junge, the final secretary for Adolf Hitler, tells of the Nazi dictator's final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII.
Note: I believe it is the last great war movie. It is that good. A fascinating story, a very good directing and, of course, an impressive perfomance by Bruno Ganz. An great achievement and a must see.
1264 8 84. Nosferatu (1922)
Original Title: 'Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens'
Directed by: F.W. Murnau
With: Max Schreck
Plot: Vampire Count Orlok expresses interest in a new residence and real estate agent Hutter's wife. Silent classic based on the story "Dracula."
Note: After the ultimate psychopath movie, the ultimate U-boat movie, the ultimate vampire movie! I wonder how many so called horror fans have watched it. It has been made 90 years(!) ago, it is still an amazing feature and all the vampires made after that became its legacy.
605 8.3 85. Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972)
Original Title: 'Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes'
Directed by: Werner Herzog
With: Klaus Kinski
Plot: In in 16th century, the ruthless and insane Aguirre leads a Spanish expedition in search of El Dorado.
Note: Probably the most famous movie directed by Werner Herzog. He seems to have an interesting theory that to make a movie about an insane man, you have to become literally insane and Klaus Kinski shared his point of view. It is a rather debatable theory but you can't argue that the results are rather amazing.
428 7 7.56. Christiane F. (1981)
Original Title: 'Christiane F. - Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo'
Directed by: Uli Edel
Plot: This movie portrays the drug scene in Berlin in the 70s. 14 years old Christiane lives with her mother and little sister in a typical multi-storey apartment building in Berlin. She's fascinated by the 'Sound', a new disco with most modern equipment. Although she's legally too young, she asks a friend to take her. There she meets Detlef, who's in a clique where everybody's on drugs. Step by step she gets drawn deeper into the scene.
Note: It is the most hardcore movie concerning drugs I ever seen (even worse than Requiem for a dream). There is absolutely no joy, no happiness whatsoever, just total despair. Actually, it should be compulsory viewing for any teenagers.
294 8 7.97. Head-On (2004)
Original Title: 'Gegen die Wand'
Directed by: Fatih Akin
Plot: A 40-something male from Mersin in Turkey has removed everything Turkish from his life. He has become an alcoholic drug addict and at the start of the movie wants to end it all. Sibel a 20-something female from Hamburg wishes to please her Turkish parents yet yearns for freedom. She too attempts suicide and she first approaches Cahit there at the Hospital. Sibel asks Cahit to marry her, as she believes this to be the way out of her parent's house.
Note: I wasn't sure if I should add this flick on this list because it is also a Turkish production but I think it fits eventually since it is about immigrants or children of immigrants living in Germany. Anyway, the story is spellbinding and the directing and acting are just awesome. A deserved winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlin film festival.
1439 8.3 8.48. Metropolis (1927)
Original Title: 'Metropolis'
Directed by: Fritz Lang
Plot: In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.
Note: I finally saw it again and it was definitely worth a it. It is quite extraordinary how insane and visionary this movie is! It is definitely the first Science-Fiction masterpiece and 80 years later, it's still hold up pretty good. It is a great classic and a must-see for any movie lover.
1192 8.2 8.59. The Lives of Others (2006)
Original Title: 'Das Leben der Anderen'
Directed by: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Plot: In 1984 East Berlin, an agent of the secret police, conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover, finds himself becoming increasingly absorbed by their lives.
Note: It is one of those cases that you hear so many good things about a movie, you get such high expectations that it becomes impossible for the concerned picture to meet those expectations. The story is very interesting and it is very well done but the main issue for me was that I didn't care much about any characters, neither the secret police agent or the intellectual couple. Don't misunderstand me, it is still a very good picture and it is definitely worth a look though.
258 7.5 7.610. The Tin Drum (1979)
Original Title: 'Die Blechtrommel'
Directed by: Volker Schlöndorff
Plot: Oskar Matzerath, son of a local dealer, is a most unusual boy. Equipped with full intellect right from his birth he decides at his third birthday not to grow up as he sees the crazy world around him at the eve of World War II. So he refuses the society and his tin drum symbolizes his protest against the middle-class mentality of his family and neighborhood, which stand for all passive people in Nazi Germany at that time.
Note: I think it is a rather forgotten movie but it's quite a shame because it is a deep and thoughtfull picture. Definitely worth a look.
1503 7.6 7.711. Good Bye Lenin! (2003)
Original Title: 'Good Bye Lenin!'
Directed by: Wolfgang Becker
Plot: In 1990, to protect his fragile mother from a fatal shock after a long coma, a young man must keep her from learning that her beloved nation of East Germany as she knew it has disappeared.
Note: The only comic picture on this list. Even though it was not as good as I thought it would be, I still enjoyed it and I thought it was pretty good. The clash between the Eastern and Western world is very well set and this movie allows you to think about it but also to laugh about it. So, it is a deep but also funny movie.
210 7.5 7.612. Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (2005)
Original Title: 'Sophie Scholl - Die letzten Tage'
Directed by: Marc Rothemund
Plot: A dramatization of the final days of Sophie Scholl, one of the most famous members of the German World War II anti-Nazi resistance movement, The White Rose.
Note: Honestly, before watching this movie, I wasn't aware of this page of history so just only for this, it was really interesting to watch this movie. For once, a WWII feature were Germans were not only nazis but also heroic role models. Quite refreshing.
564 7.6 7.513. Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)
Original Title: 'Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht'
Directed by: Werner Herzog
With: Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz
Plot: Jonathan and Lucy live in Wismar and the Count wants a house there. Varna is a port on the Black Sea, close to Dracula's castle.
Note: Of course, it is not as groundbreaking as the first one but it is still a damned amazing remake. I thought that Klaus Kinski was amazing as usual. The mood and directing are just great.
1911 7.3 7.814. Run Lola Run (1998)
Original Title: 'Lola rennt'
Directed by: Tom Tykwer
With: Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu
Plot: A young woman in Germany has twenty minutes to find and bring 100,000 Deutschmarks to her boyfriend before he robs a supermarket.
Note: It is definitely a cool movie but is it as great as many viewers think (check the IMDB rating)? I don't think so... But I think Tom Tykwer is a great director and it is thanks to this movie that I discovered him. And even though it is not a masterpiece, it is still a very entertaining and enjoyable piece.
684 8.4 815. Wings of Desire (1987)
Original Title: 'Der Himmel über Berlin'
Directed by: Wim Wenders
With: Bruno Ganz, Peter Falk
Plot: An angel tires of overseeing human activity and wishes to become human when he falls in love with a mortal.
Note: Even though I liked it, I can't say that it was really a masterpiece. But even though I didn't think it was a masterpiece, I still could see that it is a true work of Art. I guess it is like going to a museum and you stare at a painting and you know it is Art and your respect it but it just doesn't appeal to you. I had the same experience with this movie. Maybe I should give it another try. Definitely worth a look though.
251 7.4 7.316. The Baader Meinhof Complex (2008)
Original Title: 'Der Baader Meinhof Komplex'
Directed by: Uli Edel
With: Moritz Bleibtreu, Alexandra Maria Lara, Bruno Ganz
Plot: A look at Germany's terrorist group, The Red Army Faction (RAF), which organized bombings, robberies, kidnappings and assassinations in the late 1960s and '70s.
Note: I'm always interested in politics, especially left-wing so this flick was a must see for me. First of all, I thought the story was just fascinating. In spite of its flaws, it is still an interesting and valuable historical movie.
177 8.1 817. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)
Original Title: 'Angst essen Seele auf'
Directed by: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Plot: Emmi, a woman truly in the second half of life, falls in love with Ali, a Berber guest worker more than ten years younger. When they both decide to marry, everybody seems to be against them. When the folks calm down a bit, Emmi and Ali get deeply unsure about their relationship.
Note: Unfortunately, I haven't seen many movies directed by Fassbinder so I cannot really judge his work. This flick is the one which made the best impression on me. The directing and acting are very sober and realistic and it makes the whole thing rather fascinating to watch.
102 7 7.318. The Princess and the Warrior (2000)
Original Title: 'Der Krieger und die Kaiserin'
Directed by: Tom Tykwer
With: Franka Potente
Plot: Young nurse Sissi lives a secluded life, seemingly entirely devoted to her patients at Birkenhof asylum. Her first encounter with ex-soldier and drifter Bodo has a lasting impact. He causes an accident that results in her lying under a truck, unable to breathe. While he provides life-saving first aid, mesmerized Sissi begins to wonder whether he may be the man of her dreams. But when she tracks him down weeks later her affection is rejected, as Bodo is stuck somewhere between a traumatic past and a criminal future.
Note: This is the second movie directed by Tom Tykwer starring Franka Potente. It is not as flashy as 'Lola rennt' and I think it wasn't really successful but it doesn't matter. It is a rather deep picture and I may have not understood all the symbolism but it remains a very well done movie and quite a mesmerizing story.
219 7.6 7.819. The Edge of Heaven (2007)
Original Title: 'Auf der anderen Seite'
Directed by: Fatih Akin
Plot: A Turkish man travels to Istanbul to find the daughter of his father's former girlfriend.
Note: Another movie which deals with immigrants or children of immigrants living in Germany. I was expecting a lot from this flick since it was directed by the guy who did 'Gegen die wand' but unfortunately, it was not that good. It was still a good movie though with some very good directing and some amazing actors. Definitely worth a look.
848 8.2 820. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
Original Title: 'Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari.'
Directed by: Robert Wiene
Plot: Dr. Caligari's somnambulist, Cesare, and his deadly predictions.
Note: It is probably one of the oldest movies I have ever seen. Expect for comedies I get quite restless with mute movies so I can't say I was blown away by this one. Still, it is one of the most famous movies coming from the German expressionism and it also a precursor for all the horror movies that came afterwards. So, it remains a rather impressive work.
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