Skip to content

German Movies Nominated for an Oscar (Categorie "Best Foreign Language Film")

UPDATE: Germany's The Lives of Others has won the Oscar!
Director Von Donnersmarck thanked Arnold Schwarzenegger "for teaching me that the words 'I can't' should be stricken from my vocabulary."
I know many Germans, who learned this can-do spirit in the United States. This optimism and positive attitude is one of the main reasons, why many Germans are fascinated by Americans and love the American way of life. [End of update]

"If there is any justice, this year's Academy Award for best foreign-language film will go to The Lives of Others," writes the The New Yorker about a German movie dealing with the system of observation in former East Germany.

The IHT writes "Oscar-nominated 'Lives of Others' arrives in US from Germany, where it prompted national debate."
Trailer with English subtitles below and at google video. You might have to click twice on play.

Boston Globe starts its review with this paragraph:
The Bush Administration has taken a pounding for its unauthorized spying on American citizens in the name of national security. But imagine living in a country, the former East Germany, in which the secret police, known as the Stasi, had 100,000 employees and 200,000 informants, and whose stated goal was "to know everything." And all this for a population that never exceeded 16 million. A new German film, "The Lives of Others" (Das Leben der Anderen), which opens Friday, makes the horrors of this police state concrete by focusing on the relationship between a writer, Georg Dreyman (played by Sebastian Koch), and his actress wife, Christa-Maria Sieland (Martina Gedeck), and a Stasi agent named Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Mühe) who monitors every minute of their waking lives through the listening devices planted in their apartment. The film has already won a host of prestigious prizes in Europe and is one of five finalists for the foreign-language Oscar this year.
• The only German movies, that won an Oscar for best foreign film, were set in the Nazi era: "The Tin Drum" and "Nowhere in Africa." The last two years the academy nominated films about Nazi-Germany as well: "Downfall" and "The Final Days." I like best The Tin Drum and The Final Days about Sophie Scholl of the resistance group White Rose.

I have created an aStore at with direct links to all four films and a few more good German movies, including "The Boat" and "Beyond Silence," which were nominated for an Oscar in 1983 and 1997, as well as three excellent German movies, which were submitted for the Academy Award, but did not receive a nomination: "Run Lola Run" (1998), "The Experiment" (2001) and "Good Bye, Lenin" (2003).
Three more decent movies ("Manitu's Shoe," "Edukators," and "Rosenstrasse") are included as well.
My favorite German movie is "Run, Lola, Run."  What is your favorite German movie?
German Films has a list of German films submitted for the Academy Award (OSCAR) for Best Foreign Language Film.

• "German films are riding on a wave of critical and commercial acclaim as directors find that they can make people laugh—to everyone's surprise," writes the (via: TheYellowDuckPond)


Atlantic Review on : Historical Revisionism in Germany?

Show preview
Tyler Cowen, professor of economics at George Mason University, criticizes in his blog Marginal Revolution a "disturbing, trend in contemporary German culture to whitewash the past." Prof. Cowen took the Oscar winning movie The Lives of Others


Display comments as Linear | Threaded

Zyme on :

Actually Das Leben der Anderen would be the best german movie I can think of right now. What a great one !

Pat Patterson on :

How can you not mention Anatomie 2 with my all time favorite German actress, Heike Makatsch.

2020 on :

My favorite German Movie: [url=]Welt am Draht[/url] by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1970) And of course those with America's greatest hero: Old Shatterhand I, II and III.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Welt am Draht (aka "World on Wires" or "World on a Wire") sounds interesting. Fassbinder's only Sci-Fi movie. Unfortunatly, not available at Your link says that it is based on Simulacron-3. That's a famous Sci-Fi book, right? I know nothing about sci-fi beyond a little bit of Star Trek. has Old Shatterhand, but without English subtitles. Does anybody know, whether Old Shatterhand and Winnetou and the other Wild West movies are on US TV from time to time? The movies were based on Karl May books and made in the 60s and 70s, I believe. Filmed in Yugoslavia and Spain, I believe. Very popular. Good and "romantic" stuff. [url][/url] "Manitu's shoe" is a great parody, filmed a few years ago. Link in the aStore at

2020 on :

Well, you don't take that Old Shatterhand stuff serious, I hope. What would he have been without Sam Hawkins?

ROA on :

What about living in a country where everyone's credit cards can be searched? [url][/url]

JW-Atlantic Review on :

What about it? Didn't we learn from countless movies, that credit cards are searched? ;-) The case you are referring to was about investigation into child pornography. The search was approved by a judge. The German law enforcement authorities did not check all German credit cards. Rather they asked the credit card companies to make a search for five specific criteria. The credit card companies then identified 322 suspicious accounts and gave information about those 322 accounts to the authorities. This was explained in the comments at Medienkritik. What problem do you have with that kind of search? Isn't that kind of search happening in the US as well? I hope it is. Isn't that like checking the records of the motor vehicle department for red mercedes cars with a license plate of B-22xxxx? Aren't there even more extensive credit card searches in the US? Like Identifying complex patterns? I don't know what the US is doing exactly, and what are just media speculations. In the German investigation there were five specific criteria, like a transaction for 79,99 Dollar. The US seems to be looking for more broad stuff in the war on terror. The German credit card companies did not give any information about non-German credit card accounts to the authorities. The US seems to be tapping into non-American accounts via SWIFT.

David on :

Favorite German movie from the last 5 years is "Gegen die Wand" (Head On). Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to see Lives of Others. It only just recently opened in NY and LA, and has not made it to the hinterlands. Nor on NetFlix.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Pat, David, I have added "Anatomie 2" and "Head on" to the list of recommendations at [url=] aStore[/url].

Zyme on :

Other great german movies would be "Das Millionenspiel" from 1970 and "Metropolis" from 1927. Anyone knows these?

Pat Patterson on :

Yikes, I was being facetious! Blue Angel and M are much more deserving. Plus if any of the Karl May themed films were shown widely in the US I would be greatly surprised. Strictly made for European and mainly German consumption. Though that's not to say that the US didn't make some Godawful Westerns in the '60's.

YellowDuck on :

Thanks for the mention :) Recent favs do include Run Lola Run and The Lives Of Others (which happily won the Oscar last night I hear on the radio). I quite enjoyed Grizzly Man by Werner Herzog, although that is more of a documentary. Early Wenders is tolerable enough: I hold Alice in den Städten (Alice in the Cities) quite dear. Aimee and Jaguar is a bit overlong, but moving nonetheless. And Lichter (Distant Lights) is one of my all time favourites. I didn't like Der Bewegte Mann (The Most Desired Mann?) much, but most people I know seem to consider it a seminal work of German comedy. Oh well, I could go on and on. Personally I think German cinema has always been a bit too underrated.

Ulli on :

Still loving Good Bye Lenin. :) And "Der Untergang". What's up with all those depressing topics. I guess we Germans just don't do comedy well, do we know. :) I was really excited to hear they won. My father was a political prisoner in East Germany for 13 years, first under the Russians, then the East German Police (before my time now, he's an oooooooooooooooooooooold German)....still, it's our history and I am excited to see Germans be brave and take a step forward and address our history on an international level. YAY To Germans!

Axel on :

Ulli, I think you know very well that German humour is a very serious matter... To be honest, I'm sure that really good German humour is nearly untranslatable because it's mainly based on cultural or even regional sterotypes, profound knowledge of language and dialects (why do Germans laugh if someone speaks Sächsisch?) and other German "common sense" knowledge. Take Olli Dittrich and [url=,1872,1020246,00.html]"Blind Date"[/url] or - the ultimate improvisation comedy - [url=]"Dittsche"[/url] as examples. And I'm not so convinced that non-Germans will find [url=]Hape Kerkeling[/url] in his role as Horst Schlemmer, deputy editor of the Grevenbroicher Tagblatt, very funny. Is [url=]Loriot's[/url] brilliant humour (e.g. "Ich heiße Erwin Lindemann und bin Lottogewinner" or Herren im Bad - "Die Ente bleibt drin") intercultural? I have my doubts because he typically used misunderstandings and communication paradoxes in his sketches. There are lots of good humorous German films available. Some of my personal favorites are: [url=]"Man spricht deutsh"[/url] (no typo!), [url=]"Superstau"[/url] and [url=]"Kehraus"[/url] with Gerhald Polt. If you want to see the many faces of the modern "ugly German" in action, then these two films are first choice. [url=]"Kein Pardon"[/url] with Hape Kerkeling is a nice satire about show-biz. [url=]"Wir können auch anders..."[/url] from director Detlev Buck is some kind of a surreal road movie taking place in the German Wild East shortly after unification. Well, there is also a lot of trash like "Supernasen" movies with Mike Krüger and Thomas Gottschalk or "Otto" movies or - to mention the worst - movies with Karl Dall and Bea Fiedler...

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Thanks for the great info on German humor! "To be honest, I'm sure that really good German humour is nearly untranslatable" I guess you are right, but Americans really miss a lot in their lives, if they never watch Loriot... ;-) When I have more time, I will look for some Loriot clip with English subtitles and post it to see, if perhaps the humor does translate after all. Probably not ;-(

bob on :

What about Sonnenalle and Die Winterschlaefer? I always appreciated Sonnenalle's treatment of the East German oppression more than the Ostologie of Good Bye, Lenin. Of course, they are both very different movies in tone and purpose, but Good Bye, Lenin had a little too much of good will towards to the DDR in my sight; and it had, Teresa Weissbach naughty Saxon minx. I prefer Winterschlaefer to Run Lola Run because its use of the circulative narrative technique is not so obviously lifted from Tarrantino. Winterschlaefer is not half as well crafted, but it does not contain all those annoying 70s gems: philandering rich dad, alcoholic mom and the kids, who are awight, trying to do good in a world gone mad...However, I thought the 'die fetten Jahren sind vorbei' was a satire for several months until I was corrected. Who knew living in a railroad apartment with your best friend, getting drunk, enjoying a Westphalia van and an interet connection would constitute privation of a sort to demand terroristic action? Regardless, also the Legend of Rita was okay and Fassbinder's BRD trilogy was art of the highest order. Where is the love for Heimat, people?

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Shame on me. I still have not seen Sonnenalle and Die Winterschlaefer.

Zyme on :

Resident Evil was a great german horror movie, I think it is from 2004.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

I don't think it is a German movie. Pat's favorite German actress Heike Makatsch is in it, but that is it, I believe

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Thanks for the great movie recommendations. I will look for them at and add them to our list, if they are available in the US. I guess, trying to rent them at Netflix is also a possibility, but I don't know how good Netflix is.

David on :

Netflix is so good it can be addictive. Nearly all of the good German movies are available, including the complete Fassbinder, as well as the classics (Nosferatu, etc.). Speaking of comedies, how about [url=]Maenner[/url] from Doris Doerrie - very funny!

bob on :

to clarify, I ment "Heimat" not an actual Heimat.

Nanne on :

Heimat is stunning, amazing, breathtaking... best film series I've seen (and I haven't seen it all).

Mad Minerva on :

Hello, everyone! I also liked "Run, Lola, Run," but I think my favorite is still "Goodbye Lenin." I'll confess to not having seen some of the other films mentioned in this thread. I'll have to put them on my ever-increasing list of things to do!

Add Comment

E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.

To prevent automated Bots from commentspamming, please enter the string you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.

Form options