16 Great German movies and shows to watch on Netflix in 2024

May 8, 2024

Do you ever feel like you should be more productive while binge-watching Netflix? 

The good news is, you can be!

With a few smart viewing choices, you can improve your German language vocabulary and comprehension while you watch. German movies on Netflix are packed with real-world conversations, slang and regional dialects to help you develop an ear for spoken German outside the classroom. 

German kino (cinema) has a long history dating back to the late 19th century. Whether you’re at one of Berlin’s premiere art-house cinemas or at a chain, you can expect an intermission during long movies to stretch your legs and buy tiny ice creams, sweet popcorn, or bier from an attendant. 

Today, of course, you can create your own German movie experience on the small screen at home. In the past few years, Netflix has amassed an impressive collection of 17,000 international titles in over 60 languages in its content library. While French, Spanish and Korean titles have captured the spotlight, German titles represent a small but mighty contingent of these. 

From independent films to German Netflix series, you’ve got plenty of choices to help boost your German learning, from comedy to drama to thrillers. 

Can I learn German by watching German movies? 

While movies shouldn’t be your only language-learning strategy, they’re certainly a good supplement to move you toward fluency or maintain your level if you’re no longer in the classroom. Here are a few recommendations to get the most out of your viewing: 

1. Use German language audio only

While you can switch almost any movie or show into German dubbing, we recommend watching content with German as the original language. Having the audio match up with the actors’ mouths helps you hear and understand the words better. 

2. Use subtitles as an aid.

Listening to an all-German film can leave you lost if you’re just starting out. If you’re a beginner, use English subtitles to help you follow the plot. If you’re an intermediate or advanced learner, switch to German subtitles to help you follow the story in German and reinforce German spelling and writing.

3. Use playback.

Unlike in a movie theater, if you didn’t catch a phrase or sentence the first time, you can rewind and watch it again. 

How to find German movies on Netflix

Finding German-language movies on Netflix is simple on a web browser thanks to the ‘Browse by Languages’ tab on the upper navigation bar. Click ‘Browse by Languages’ then search by setting your original language to German. 

In the Netflix app, you can simply search for ‘German language’ or ‘Deutsch’ in the search bar.

8 best German movies on Netflix

Ready for the list? Here are the best German movies you can watch right now on Netflix. Just remember, the availability of titles may vary from country to country. 

1. Im Westen nichts Neues (All Quiet on the Western Front) – 2022

Genre: War Drama

All Quiet on the Western Front is an anti-war epic set in the final years of World War I. This critically acclaimed movie – nominated for 9 Academy Awards and winner of Best International Feature – follows a young German soldier whose romantic notions of war are shattered. In a parallel storyline, the film depicts the armistice negotiations to end the war.

2. Berlin, Berlin: Lolle on the Run – 2020

Genre: Romance, comedy

This comedy follows Lolle, who finally found love with her best friend Hart and is ready to get married. If she can get through interruptions from her crazy ex and the series of misadventures that ensue, they may finally make it down the aisle.

3. Into the Beat – 2020

Genre: Romance, drama

Looking for a feel-good dance flick with Save the Last Dance vibes? In this movie, a talented teen must choose between her destiny as a ballerina and her newfound love of hip-hop. 

4. Isi & Ossi – 2020

Genre: Comedy

If you’re looking for a romantic comedy, here’s the ticket. Heidelberg heiress Isi wants to pursue life as a chef against her family’s wishes. After meeting a cash-strapped boxer, the pair decide to pose as a couple to appease her parents, and both get what they want. 

5. Alles ist Gut (All is Well) – 2019

Genre: Drama

If you’re looking for a thoughtful social commentary to make you think, try out All is Well. When a woman is sexually assaulted by her boss’ brother-in-law, she tries to move on. But the trauma of the event starts to tear her life apart, piece by piece. 

6. Wolkenbruchs wunderliche Reise in die Arme einer Schickse (The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch) – 2018

Genre: Comedy, drama

In this Swiss comedy, Motti is predestined to marry an orthodox Jewish woman. There’s just one problem – he’s fallen for a woman who’s anything but. You’ll get good exposure to German dialects in this film with Swiss German and Yiddish. 

7. Buba – 2022

Genre: Action, noir, comedy

Is dark comedy your style? When a small-town con artist joins the local mafia, his struggle to keep his karma balanced gets tricky. 

8. Blood & Gold – 2023

Genre: War, action

A German deserter and a young woman take down gold-hunting Nazis at the end of the second world war. A tightly directed action flick packed with Tarantino-esque levels of blood and violence.

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8 best German shows streaming on Netflix

The great German content on Netflix doesn’t stop at movies! If you have less time on your hands or want a series to follow, look no further. Netflix has invested heavily in original German content with winners including Dark, Barbarians, and local remakes of Queer Eye and Nailed It!. 

Watching reality shows and recurring episodes can help you with German retention and conversation. Here are the top German shows you should be watching on Netflix now:

1. Queer Eye Germany – 2022

Genre: Reality TV

If you’re a fan of Queer Eye, you can’t miss this 5-episode German remake for a quick feel-good reality binge. This lifestyle show follows five LGBTQ+ lifestyle experts as they pull off external and internal makeovers in each episode. This show gives you an incredible dose of useful, everyday lifestyle vocabulary such as hair, fashion, and home décor. 

And that’s not all! This list could easily be filled with the excellent German versions of other Netflix originals like Nailed It! Germany (for cooking enthusiasts), Criminal: Germany (for anyone who likes a police procedural), and steamy reality shows like Too Hot to Handle: Germany, Love is Blind: Germany, and Risqué Business: Germany/Netherlands.

2. The Empress – 2022–present

Genre: Historical drama, romance 

Based on the true story of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, The Empress follows 15-year-old Sisi (Elisabeth), as she makes an impression on the Emperor, who’s supposed to marry her sister. She finds herself betrothed to him and thrust into a new life in the Habsburgs’ court. The show proved popular and is set to get a second season.

3. How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) – 2019–present

Genre: Comedy, drama

An unlikely teen starts selling ecstasy online to impress his girlfriend – and becomes one of the largest dealers in Europe. How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) has been a hit among critics and audiences, with three seasons so far and a fourth in the works. 

4. Kleo – 2022–present

Genre: Spy, crime, action

Set after the fall of the Berlin wall, Kleo follows a vengeful former East German spy as she looks for the people who betrayed her. 

Fast paced, suspenseful and surprisingly funny, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 92%, this one’s a fan favorite. And, like much of Netflix’s German content, Kleo has another season coming soon!

5. Dark – 2017–2020

Genre: Crime, drama

Dark was the first original German series created for Netflix and has taken the platform by storm, with 24 award nominations and a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 

The disappearance of two children reveals a dark past in a small German town. As their families search for them, the hunt for the truth uncovers twists and turns in this mind-spinning mystery thriller. 

6. Unorthodox – 2020

Genre: Drama

In contrast to the levity of Mitti Wolchenbruch, this dramatic limited series shows a Hasidic Jewish woman fleeing from an arranged marriage in Brooklyn. She finds a new community of musicians in Berlin, only to find she can’t discard her past as easily as she thought. 

The show uses a mix of Yiddish, German and English, so make sure you turn on the German subtitles. 

7. Barbarians – 2020–2022

Genre: Action, adventure

This action-packed Netflix original series follows German warriors fighting to stop the spread of the Roman Empire in 9 A.D. And, with an 86% score on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s audience- and critic-approved.

8. Dogs of Berlin – 2018

Genre: Crime, drama

Police investigate the murder of a famous Turkish-German soccer player, emblematic of the cultural and ethnic divisions in Berlin. As two cops investigate, the past of one of the cops snags the investigation. 

How to change your subtitles on Netflix

To change your audio or subtitles in Netflix, follow these simple instructions:

On desktop:

Start, then pause, the movie or show. Hover over the speech bubble icon on the bottom for the ‘Audio & subtitles’ menu to appear. The original language will be marked as ‘original.’

On the mobile app:

Start the content, then tap the screen. Click the ‘Audio & subtitles’ menu item that pops up on the bottom right of the screen. 

Ready to pick up the remote and soak up some language skills while you watch? Never feel guilty with this ultimate version of double-tasking.

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