Germany for beginners politics and society

Recommendations for movies and series

Here I would like to list some important or recommendable German films, series and television series. Background: Until 1933, the German film had world renown. Today he is not that important internationally. But there are still good films and some good series that are fun and also provide an insight into the country.


Das Leben der Anderen (2006)
Drama, History
Surveillance of the GDR state security in the cultural scene of East Berlin, playing in the 1980s

Die Blechtrommel (1979)
novel adaptation
Story about an unusual child in Germany of the 1930s and 1940s, interesting with a look into this time.

Der Untergang (2004)
Drama, History
well made film about the last days of Hitler and the last fights in Berlin Especially as it shows a part of the man of Adolf Hitler (based on the memories of his secretary)

Das Boot (1981)
War drama, thriller
Submarine war in the Atlantic in World War II, action and experiences of the crew.

Film review by The Critical Drinker

Baader-Meinhof-Komplex (2008)
Drama, about the RAF, left-wing terrorist group in the 70s.

Eberhofer movies (Rita Falk – novel adaptations)
Mixture of comedy and Bavarian homeland crime. Attention! They speak often Bavarian …
– Dampfnudelblues (2013)
– Winterkartoffelknödel (2014) – Winterkartoffelknödel – OFFIZIELLER TRAILER
– Schweinskopf al dente (2016) – SCHWEINSKOPF AL DENTE – offizieller Trailer
– Grießnockerlaffäre (2017)
– Sauerkrautkoma (2018) – SAUERKRAUTKOMA – offizieller Trailer

Lammbock (2001)
Comedy. Two friends who run a pizza delivery service in Würzburg, but also grow marijuana.

Good Bye, Lenin! (2003)
Comedy in which a son of his mother fooled over years that the GDR persists.

Sonnenallee (1999)
Comedy, about the life of East Berlin youths in the 1970s

Animation, comedy with North German humor, based on the Werner comics (for adults)
– Werner – Beinhart (1990) – Werner Beinhart Fankanal
– Werner – Das muss Kesseln!!! (1996) – Werner 2 – Das muß kesseln!!! | Trailer
– Werner – Volles Rooäää!!! (1999)
– Werner – Gekotzt wird später! (2003) – Werner 4 – Gekotzt wird später! | Trailer
– Werner – Eiskalt (2011) – Werner Eiskalt – Trailer

Herr Lehmann (2003)
Tragic comedy, set in 1989 in West Berlin

Berlin Calling (2008)
Film about a Berlin DJ. The main role is played by the real Berlin DJ Paul Kalkbrenner – Berlin Calling (2008) – Trailer


Babylon Berlin
Series about the Berlin of the 20s

Türkisch für Anfänger (Serie, Comedy)
Comedyserie über eine Deutsch-Türkische Patchwork-Familie

Der Tatortreiniger
Comedy series about a “crime scene cleaner”, so someone who professionally cleans the place after a crime.

4 Blocks
Drama series, about Arab clans (Mafia) in Berlin.

Tatort (English “crime scene”):
Crime series with 90-minute episodes, which comes on Sundays 20:15 clock in the first German television.
It is the most popular thriller series in the German-speaking countries. There are a number from Munich, Berlin, Dortmund, Dresden, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Kiel, Freiburg, Wiesbaden and even more (including Vienna, Austria and Lucerne, Switzerland). There are then about one to four crime scenes in one city per year.
The crime scenes should be realistic and comprehensible. In recent years, there have also been some “experimental” crime scenes that play a little bit with reality. In addition, current topics are taken up.
The character of the rows is always a little different. Often, the personality of the investigators and the interaction of the teams in the foreground. There are also series that are rather comedies: Münster and Weimar “Tatorte”.
The basic concept is always the same: 1. There is a murder (typically someone dies in the first few minutes). 2. The murderer is identified (it is typical that he / she is not determined until the very end).
The setting, so the places, the characters timeless and current topics but very diverse. There are also some fan clubs and people meet for a common “Tatort-watching”. How well known and popular the “crime scene” is, you can also see in the detail of the Wikipedia article:

Polizeiruf 110 (English “Police call”):

In the GDR, the “Polizeiruf 110” was produced as a counterpart to the West German “Tatort” since 1971. (Tatort: Start 1970 in West Germany). The police riot films are also thrillers, but in the GDR period there are differences in details and peculiarities, the reasons lie in the completely different state system. In contrast to the “western”Tatort there was usually no murder, but it was “minor” crimes enlightened and it was more the police work in the foreground and less action.
After the reunification, the “Polizeiruf” has become more akin to the Tatort, but it still exists, especially in East German cities.
When the police call I can recommend the from the city of Rostock (shot since 2010). Also the police Munich with “Hanns von Meuffels” (2011-2018) are recommended.

Documentary / docutainment

In terms of documentary I can’t recommend anything special, because there is a lot of interesting things around. In addition, it depends heavily on your own interests. I only introduce a few documentation series here.

Terra X
The documentary brand of ZDF. There you find well made documentaries on really many topics.
Terra X (ZDF, Mediathek)
Die Geschichte des Essens (1/3) – Vorspeise
Ritter (1/3): Helden aus Eisen (Entstehung des Rittertums) 
Ein Tag in Berlin 1926  -> Experience the life in Berlin, in the year 1926
Kanada – Schatz der Kälte
Russland von oben (1/5)  -> “Russia from above” about landscape highlights and the people who live there

Also interesting:
ZDF-Produktionen in 360° 

Phoenix “History

Phoenix “dokumentationen

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