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German movies and shows to watch where you can practice your German
There are so many great German movies and TV shows that you can watch to improve your German! Especially with the internet, you can get many English subtitles for German movies and TV shows these days, so in case you are stuck with a certain phrase or sentence, you can use the subtitles to help you learn. We will go over a few of our favorite German movies and TV shows.
Babylon Berlin (2017)
Babylon Berlin is a crime drama series that takes place in Berlin during the Weimar Republic, starting in 1929. The TV show is about Gereon Rath who is a police inspector that has been assigned to take down an extortion ring. Gereon Rath is a soldier from WW1 and became a policeman after. He is then transferred from Cologne to Berlin and this is where the story starts. Soon, the story delves deeper and the viewer is pulled into the complexities of the investigation, as well as the chaos enveloping in the Weimar Republic. Liv Lisa Fries also plays Charlotte Ritter, a police clerk who aspires to become the Berlin Police's first female homicide detective. English subtitles are available for this television series to take advantage of the subtitles to practice and improve your German.
The Lives of Others (2006)
The Lives of Others is a great spy movie. In East Germany, a spy, Gerd Wiesler, is asked to spy on the playwright Georg Dreyman, who is famous around the world. Gerd Wiesler will pry on the personal life of Georg Dreyman, including finding out who he has a relationship with, and the current actions of Georg. The movie shows the complexities of living in East Germany during the Cold War, and the mistrust between various parties during this time period. This is a fantastic movie with suspense, drama, and great acting from Ulrich Mühe, Sebastian Koch, and Martina Gedeck. Ulrich Mühe is especially good as Gerd Wiesler and he encapsulates the viewer's attention each time he is on scene. The movie has won many awards, including "Best Foreign Language Film" at the 79th Oscars.
By now, you have probably seen the internet memes that spawned off of the movie Downfall. Anytime something goes wrong in a famous situation, people are quick to make a meme using clips from Downfall. Memes aside, Downfall was such a famous movie because it depicts Hitler's final days in the bunker. The movie stars Bruno Ganz, who portrayed Hitler in the movie. Bruno really gets into the role and at times, you would think you are watching a real scene from Hitler's final days. The sets, props, background, costumes, and makeup is also very well done for this movie and in general, this movie has gotten good reviews from critics. There was some controversy on making a film about Hitler because the filmaker didn't want to make a martyr out of Hitler. However, the director, Oliver Hirschbiegel, portrays Hitler in a reasonable way and you can see that in Hitler's final days, he was losing his grasp on reality and his followers started to desert him in his final days.
This is a comedy series that takes place in the office of "Capitol Versicherung AG," a fictional insurance company. The story revolves around an incompetent boss, Bernd Stromberg, played by actor Christoph Maria Herbst, as he makes life difficult for his subordinates. It's a great comedy that shows the funnier side of working in an office in Germany, and the absurd politics and relationships that follow in this television series. Viewers of this show will see some similarities between the BBC show "The Office." Eventually, the creators of Stromberg had to acknowledge the similarities between their show and "The Office" and eventually, an "inspired by" credit was given to the creators of "The Office," Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais. This show should help you to improve your vocabulary around topics used in the office for a German company so make sure you watch this show with subtitles.
Bad Banks (2018)
Bad banks is about the world of banking in the setting of Frankfurt, the financial center of Germany. If you were there during the financial crisis in 2008, you remember the chaos and uncertainty when Lehman Brothers collapsed, followed by the bailout of AIG. Bad Banks takes a look at banking world and how it can have disastrous effects on the economy. The show is about Jana Liekam (played by actress Paula Beer) who is a banker and a structurer in the banking industry. Jana is fired by her current bank, but then she is offered a position with a competitor. Jana is put into a position where she crosses morale lines and the viewer gets to see the shady and questionable side of the banking industry. There are some technical finance terms in this TV show so this will be good if you are trying to improve your finance, banking, and economics vocabulary in German. You probably want to find some good subtitles for this show so that you can understand all the finance linguo to help you follow along the conversations in the show.
Das Boot (1981)
Das Boot is a famous German movie about a U-Boat during the Second World War. It follows the crew of U-Boat U-96 in the Atlantic. However, German U-Boat losses become to climb during the Battle of the Atlantic and the crew of U-96 try their best to accomplish their mission, while trying to survive against the omnipotent Allied armada. You get a feel of what it was like to serve in the German navy aboard a U-Boat during the movie, including the struggles of the crew, the dangers they experienced, and the politics inside a submarine during that time period. A full mockup of the interior of a U-Boat was created as a set for this movie, to mimick the interior of an actual U-Boat. It was directed by Wolfgang Petersen, who directed other well known Hollywood movies such as The Never Ending Story, Air Force One, The Perfect Storm, Troy, Poseidon, and Outbreak. This is a very popular movie so you should easily be able to find the English subtitles for this movie.