Do you ever feel like you should be more productive while binge-watching Netflix?
The good news is that you can.
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 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 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:
- 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. You also have the added benefit of German.
- 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.
- Use playback.
Unlike in a movie theatre, 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. This is also where you can search by dubbing or subtitling languages.
On a mobile app, 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. 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.
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 flic 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)
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. All is Well/Alles ist Gut (2019)
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’s brother-in-law, she tries to move on. But the trauma of the event starts to take her life apart, piece by piece.
6. The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch/Wolkenbruchs wunderliche Reise in die Arme einer Schickse (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. Lommbock (2017)
Stefan is determined to start over with the love of his life in Dubai. But a quick trip back to Germany proves it’s easier said than done to leave a life of drugs, friends, and exes behind.
8. Schubert in Love (2016)
This offbeat comedy follows Olaf Schubert, who doesn’t have time for a girlfriend but begins the search for one to continue his family line at his father’s demand.
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8 best German shows streaming on Netflix
If you have less time on hand 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 German remake as your feel-good reality binge. This lifestyle show takes five experts to pull off a makeover in each episode. This show gives you an incredible dose of useful, everyday lifestyle vocabulary such as hair, fashion, and home décor.
2. Nailed It! German (2020-)
If you love cooking and reality shows, this one’s for you. Amateur cooks try to recreate lofty culinary creations to win 5,000 euros. As a bonus, you can consume all the food and dessert-related vocabulary you want.
3. How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) (2019-)
Genre: Comedy, drama
An unlikely teen starts selling ecstasy online to impress his girlfriend—and becomes one of the largest dealers in Europe. With a Rotten Tomatoes score of 89%, this one’s a fan favorite.
4. Babylon Berlin (2017-)
Genre: Crime, drama
Amidst the glamour of 1929 Berlin, a Soviet train hijacking leads a cop and a typist to investigate a political conspiracy. Beautiful cinematography and a fast-paced plotline make this award-winning Netflix original a must-watch.
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 94% audience 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)
In contrast to the levity of Mitti Wolchenbruch, this drama 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)
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. Netflix viewers love it with an 83% audience approval rating.
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
If audio dubbing is available in your default language, it will automatically start playing rather than German. To change your audio or subtitles in Netflix, follow these simple instructions:
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 a 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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