20 best German films of recent years

If the “Made in Germany” label on products has always given value to products, then German cinema could not boast such a reputation. In the last century, representatives of the New Wave tried to turn the tide – to break out from under the Hollywood commercial canons, and enter an independent artistic voyage. But only in the 21st century did German directors manage to regain their domestic audience and gain worldwide recognition, which confirms the success of the best German films of recent years.

Farsi Lessons (2020)

The action of the full-length military drama takes place in 1942 on the territory of occupied Europe. A Belgian of Jewish origin finds himself among the prisoners of a concentration camp and realizes that inevitable death awaits him. Gilles Cremieux pretends to be a Persian, but lies bring him new danger. The concentration camp cook dreams of moving to Iran after the war, so he wants to learn Farsi. When Cremieux, who does not know a single word in the oriental language, is brought to him, he decides on an adventure.

What do you think, is it worth filming a sequel, and what should be in it?

Original title:
Persian Lessons

Genre:
Drama, military

Actors:
Lars Eidinger, Nahuel Perez Biskayart, Leoni Benesh…

Country:
Russia, Germany, Belarus

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.3, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:
16+


Narcissus and Chrysostom (2020)

The novelty of German cinema with a high rating is the film adaptation of the philosophical work of Hermann Hesse. At the insistence of his father, Chrysostom comes to the monastery for training, where the humble Narcissus becomes his mentor. The guy receives an excellent education, but the walls of the cell begin to burden the creative nature. Chrysostom leaves the monastery, where he could not find the freedom of the spirit. However, fate prepares the novice for a new meeting with a mentor under unusual circumstances.

Original title:
Narziss und Goldmund

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Yannis Nivener, Sabine Tambrea, Henriette Confurius…

Country:
Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.3, IMDb – 6.2

Age limits :
16+


The Collini Case (2019)

Aspiring lawyer Caspar Lionel faces a difficult criminal case. An ordinary mechanic Fabrizio Collini commits a daring crime, after which he surrenders to the police . The worker’s victim was an influential businessman, and there is no apparent motive for the murder. The defense process is complicated by the fact that the mechanic refuses to cooperate with the lawyer, and Kaspar has to delve into the details of the crime on his own.

Original title:
Der Fall Collini

Genre:
Detective, drama, crime, thriller

Actors:
Elias EmBarek, Heiner Lauterbach, Alexandra Maria Lara…

Country:
Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.4, IMDb – 7.2

Age restrictions:
16+


Love Between the Lines (2019)

A novel on the net, started due to a typo in a virtual address, is the plot of a new German film in the melodrama genre. Leo is a linguist with a successful teaching career, unhappy in love. After the confession of his chosen one about the betrayal , the man remains alone. Emma is like Leo – a woman also does not feel happy surrounded by children and her husband. An absurd accident connects two destinies, and virtual correspondence runs the risk of turning into a real relationship.

Original title:
Gut gegen Nordwind

Genre:
Drama, melodrama

Actors:
Nora Tschirner, Alexander Fehling, Ulrich Thomsen …

Country:
Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 6.5

Age restrictions:
18+


Secret Life (2019)

The German war drama is based on real events that took place in a small village in Austria. Farmer Franz’s life changes with the advent of the Wehrmacht, when the man refuses to swear allegiance to Hitler. The daredevil is the only one in the village who is not afraid to speak out openly against the actions and plans of the Fuhrer. Franz understands that a rebuff could cost him his life, but he rejects even a formal participation in the swearing-in ceremony to the dictator.

Original title:
A Hidden Life

Genre:
Drama, military, biography, history

Actors:
August Diehl, Valerie Pachner, Maria Simon…

Country:
USA, UK, Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.3, IMDb – 7.4

Age restrictions:
16+


Work without authorship (2018)

One of the best films produced in Germany tells the exciting biography of the German painter. Kurt Barnert’s childhood fell on the period of Nazi rule. The victim of the regime was the boy’s own aunt, who was taken to a psychiatric clinic and then executed. The grown-up Kurt makes a quick career as an officially recognized artist in the GDR. But the guy, along with his beloved wife, moves to Germany to engage in creative experiments. Suddenly Barnert discovers his wife’s terrible family secret.

Original title:
Werk ohne Autor

Genre:
Biography, drama, military, melodrama

Actors:
Tom Schilling, Sebastian Koch, Paula Ber…

Country:
Germany, Italy

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.9, IMDb – 7.7

Age restrictions:
18+


100 things and nothing more (2018)

Best friends, business partners, and connoisseurs of real comfort make a strange bet. Tony and Paul decide to test which of them can survive a hundred days without their usual things. The guys’ property is sent to the warehouse, from where they can get only one item per day. The real test awaits the debaters when a pretty girl appears in their life. How to impress a beautiful woman in an empty apartment, without money and fashionable clothes? The film is worth watching for fans of light European comedies.

Original title:
100 Dinge

Genre:
Comedy

Actors:
Florian David Fitz, Matthias Schweighofer, Miriam Stein …

Country:
Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.9, IMDb – 6.5

Age Limits :
18+


Dead Man Call (2018)

Feature film in the genre of thriller filmed in collaboration with German medical specialists – consultants of the film. Pathologist Paul Hertzfeld receives the body of a psychopath victim. In the head of the corpse, the medical examiner discovers a capsule with a note. On a piece of paper, Paul sees the name of his daughter, with whom he has not communicated for a long time. A serial maniac starts a twisted game by leaving clues for Hertzfeld in the bodies of new victims.

Original title:
Abgeschnitten

Genre:
Detective, thriller, crime

Actors:
Moritz Bleibtreu, Jasna Fritzi Bauer, Lars Eidinger …

Country:
Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.7, IMDb – 6.6

Age restrictions:
18+


It’s a fucking heart (2017)

The list of the best films continues with the comedy about the slacker Lenny, who refuses to grow up. A young man burns his life, spends his parents’ money on entertainment, and does not want to take up his mind. After another trick, Lenny’s father gives his son a difficult task. He assigns him to care for his patient, who is diagnosed with a serious heart condition. David is not destined to come of age, but friendship with Lenny opens up new facets of the world around the teenager.

Original title:
Dieses bescheuerte Herz

Genre:
Drama, comedy

Actors:
Elias EmBarek, Philip Noah Schwarz, Nadina Vrits …

Country:
Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.5, IMDb – 7.0

Age Limits :
16+


No matter what (2017)

In the top of famous German films is the filmed real story of a talented entrepreneur. Salia Kahavatte dreams of a career in the hotel business, but a sudden illness interferes with the ambitious young man’s plans. The guy begins to sharply lose his sight, and after examinations, he is diagnosed with retinal detachment. Doctors are powerless to stop the course of the disease, so Salia retains only 5% of her vision and sees only blurry silhouettes. The disease does not stop the guy who decides to make his old dream come true.

Original title:
Mein Blind Date mit dem Leben

Genre:
Comedy, drama

Actors:
Kostya Ullman, Jacob Machenz, Anna Maria Mue …

Country:
Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.5, IMDb – 7.1

Age restrictions:
16+


Tony Erdmann (2016)

Lonely music teacher Winfred misses his daughter. Iness is a successful business woman who often travels on business trips and forgets to visit her father. Winfred decides to follow his daughter to Romania, but does not want to displease her. The man changes his appearance, invents a pseudonym for himself, and follows Iness on his heels, not thinking about the consequences of strange behavior.

Original title:
Toni Erdmann

Genre:
Drama, comedy

Actors:
Sandra Hüller, Peter Simonishek, Michael Wittenborn …

Country:
Germany, Austria

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.8, IMDb – 7.4

Age restrictions:
18+


Duel of brothers. History of Adidas and Puma (2016)

A modern German film will touch on the history of the rivalry between two legendary companies. The brothers Rudolf and Adolf Dassler open a shoe factory in 1924, quickly outperforming competitors. Athletes of world renown became clients of enterprising relatives, but during the Second World War, production stopped. Financial difficulties and disagreements led to the division of the business, and in 1948 two giants were formed on the basis of the former family factory: Puma and Adidas.

Original title:
Duell der Brüder – Die Geschichte von Adidas und Puma

Genre:
Drama, biography, history

Actors:
Ken Duken, Torben Liebrecht, Jesse Albert …

Country:
Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.2, IMDb – 6.9


Victoria (2015)

Love at first sight, in tandem with youthful recklessness, can drive you into a life trap, as happened with Victoria. The girl moves from Spain to Berlin, but she does not speak German well. One day after work, she meets a group of local guys. The guys offer the girl a walk around Berlin, promising to show the real life of the city. Victoria agrees, not suspecting that she is getting involved in a dangerous crime.

Original title:
Victoria

Genre:
Thriller, drama, melodrama, crime

Actors:
Laya Costa, Frederic Lau, Franz Rogowski …

Country:
Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.8, IMDb – 7.6

Age restrictions:
18+


Who Am I (2014)

A popular German film – a great detective story , exciting from the first minutes of viewing. Since childhood, computer genius Benjamin liked to imagine himself as a superhero , trying to isolate himself from cruel reality in fantasies. With age, the guy became a complete loser, to whom no one pays attention. A meeting with the charismatic Max changes the fate of the modest Benjamin – and an ordinary computer scientist turns into the most wanted hacker.

Original title:
Who Am I – Kein System ist sicher

Genre:
Fiction, thriller, drama, crime, detective

Actors:
Tom Schilling, Elias EmBarek, Wotan Wilke Meurin, Antoine Monod ml …

Country:
Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.4, IMDb – 7.6

Age restrictions:
18+


Honey in the head (2014)

After the death of his beloved wife, Amandus develops Alzheimer’s disease, and Niko decides to take his father to her. However, the strange antics of the pope and the discontent of his wife make the life of the family unbearable. Nico seriously considers sending his father to a nursing home, but his daughter Tilda decides to help her grandfather. The girl runs away with Amandus to Venice, where he made a romantic proposal to his beloved many years ago. Tilda hopes that the fond memories will heal her grandfather, and the journey turns out to be full of surprises.

Original title:
Honig im Kopf

Genre:
Drama, comedy, adventure

Actors:
Emma Schweiger, Dieter Hallervorden, Til Schweiger…

Country:
Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.9, IMDb – 6.6

Age restrictions:
12+


Honorary teacher (trilogy 2013 – 2017)

A German comedy film about the adventures of an extraordinary teacher has gained popularity far beyond Europe. Zeki Muller was engaged in robberies , putting his goods in a cache at a city construction site. During the next outing, the guy is arrested and sent to jail. Once free, Zeki returns for the loot, and the school gym is at the construction site. Muller is trying to get a job as a security guard at an educational institution, but, by an absurd accident, he is accepted as a teacher.

Original title:
Fack ju Göhte

Genre:
Comedy

Actors:
Elias EmBarek, Carolina Herfurth, Katya Riemann …

Country:
Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 6.9

Age restrictions:
16+


East wind (film series, 2013 – 2019)

Mika does not finish the school year with the highest grades, so instead of a fun vacation with friends, the schoolgirl will have a rest with her grandmother. Parents are sure that in a calm environment, the daughter will study hard and fill in the gaps in knowledge. At the farm, Mika learns that her grandmother used to be an excellent rider and now breeds horses. The girl is indifferent to beautiful horses, but friendship with the black horse Ostwind changes her attitude towards amazing animals.

Original title:
Ostwind

Genre:
Adventure, family, drama

Actors:
Hanna Binke, Marvin Linke, Cornelia Froboess…

Country:
Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 8.0, IMDb – 6.8

Age limit:
12+


Guardian Angel (2012)

The list of German films continues with an action movie about corruption and the struggle of one person against the system. An orphan teen witnesses a crime, and her friend becomes the victim. The killer is named businessman Thomas Backer, who insists on self-defense. Nina’s testimony suggests the opposite, so the entrepreneur wants to eliminate her. The girl’s life turns into a struggle for survival, where the only defender on Nina’s side is the honest policeman Max.

Original title:
Schutzengel

Genre:
Drama, Action

Actors:
Til Schweiger, Luna Schweiger, Moritz Bleibtreu…

Country:
Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.8, IMDb – 5.7

Age restrictions:
16+


Breakfast Fans Don’t Stay (2010)

Lila spent a year in America on a student exchange program, and missed a lot in the cultural life of Germany. During her absence, an interesting youth group appeared, known throughout the country. The glory of the boy band has not yet reached the United States, so a chance meeting with a new star did not impress Lila. The hit artist Christopher was hurt by the girl’s indifference, but in the process of communication, he sincerely became interested in the student. The lovers are in for a lot of trials, because under the contract, the members of the group are not allowed to have novels.

Original title:
Groupies bleiben nicht zum Frühstück

Genre:
Melodrama, comedy

Actors:
Anna Fischer, Kostya Ullman, Inka Friedrich…

Country:
Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.3, IMDb – 6.6

Age restrictions:
16+


Seducer (2010)

Screenwriter Henry is going through a period of creative crisis and is interrupted by odd jobs. Fleeting novels remain the only entertainment, but bachelor life changes with the advent of eight-year-old Magdalena. The girl is Henry’s daughter, as he learns from her mother’s cover letter. The screenwriter will have to give up bad habits, start earning and caring for a child, along the way understanding himself and his own feelings.

Original title:
Kokowääh

Genre:
Melodrama, comedy

Actors:
Til Schweiger, Emma Schweiger, Jasmine Herat …

Country:
Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.5, IMDb – 6.3

Age restrictions:
16+


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Jared Lambert/ author of the article

I’ve been writing about movies, TV shows and anime for over 3 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

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