Vistawide - World languages & cultures, foreign language learning tips, study & work abroad, free language study resources.German language learning - German culture resources - German-speaking countries & customs
Career resources Study abroad Forum Books & Media

Books & Media

Search for more
DVDs and Videos

at amazon:

Search Now:

Culture fact
The submarine models built
for the filming of Das Boot
were the same ones used
in Raiders of the Lost Ark
that same year.

Netflix, Inc.
Netflix has over 5,500
foreign DVDs
available for rental.

More film rental options:

For UK residents

For residents of Germany

German Film (6)

BROWSE GERMAN FILMS: Contemporary German films 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 | New releases | East German films
German film classics & collections 1 - 2 | German directors &actors | Documentaries | German movie soundtracks

GERMAN FILM INDEX (alphabetical)
<< BACK | BROWSE GERMAN FILMS (chronological): | NEXT>>

Watch 3000+ foreign films for free with Amazon Prime.

(West) German Films Since 1970 on DVD and Video 6

Das Boot

Drama / War (1981)
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Starring: Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann
REVIEW: This 282-minute version of Das Boot is the full-length TV series, originally shown in six parts but here edited into a seamless whole. Director Wolfgang Petersen has since graduated to mega-budget Hollywood productions (2004's Troy for example), but has never managed to even come close to this, his German-language masterpiece. Petersen and his sterling cast (including Jürgen Prochnow in his best role as the U-boat Captain) went to great lengths to ensure that this claustrophobic depiction of life aboard the German sub U-97 while attacking British convoys in the Atlantic is thoroughly authentic, and totally convincing. Even the set itself, which is a replica of a U-boat interior, had no false walls, so all camera angles are necessarily from within its horribly narrow, overcrowded and sweaty confines. The result is certainly the finest submarine drama ever made, and one of the most compelling depictions of the physical, psychological and emotional effects of warfare.
This miniseries is rather longer than the movie version, which is also available on DVD in a director's cut version. The differences are not in matters of plot, but in the pacing: everything here takes longer to happen, while the crew must sit around, bicker, swear, and sweat it out--the agonizing searching for action, the tension of the attack, the terrible stress of hiding from enemy destroyers. Everything unfolds as if in real time, which is the great advantage a TV production has over a movie (contrast, for example, Band of Brothers with Saving Private Ryan). This, therefore, is the definitive presentation of a World War II classic.
Review by Mark Walker
Buy DVD or VHS at AMAZON | Find film at alibris


Drama (1981)
Director: István Szabó
Starring: Klaus Maria Brandauer, Krystyna Janda
REVIEW: In films about wartime collaboration, Mephisto earns a special niche, because it also manages to include so many acute observations about the world of the theater, and, in particular, the delusions under which some artists operate. Hendrik Hofgen is an actor of some talent and even greater ambition. That ambition, to work on the best stages in Berlin after an apprenticeship in regional theater, also serves to blind him to the rise of Nazism and what it means to freedom-loving artists such as himself. Dismissing the Nazis as mere thugs, Hofgen believes that his status as a stage performer exempts him from dealing with them. If his wife's leaving Germany for France, where she works to undermine Hitler's regime, isn't enough of a signal, then the treatment accorded to his black mistress by the Nazis should be. Hofgen keeps living in denial until it is too late to back off from a cozy relationship with the regime. Klaus-Maria Brandauer's performance is flamboyant in all the best ways, and István Szabó's direction guides us without a misstep into Hofgen's dilemma.
Review by Tom Wiener
Buy DVD or VHS at AMAZON | Find film at alibris

The Tin Drum / Die Blechtrommel

Drama (1979)
Oscar-winning adaptation of Günter Grass's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.
Director: Volker Schlöndorff
Starring: Mario Adorf, David Bennent
REVIEW: This Oscar-winning adaptation of Günter Grass's novel is an absurdist fantasy about a little German boy (David Bennent) who wills himself at the age of three not to grow up in protest of the Nazi regime. Made unnecessarily notorious in recent years due to overzealous censors in some parts of the United States, the film is more startling and surreal than obscene. Bennent is very good, and while the 1979 film doesn't meet the high standards of the best work from the then-renaissance of German film, it has a special place in the hearts of many who saw it upon its release. Directed by Volker Schlöndorff (The Handmaid's Tale).
Review by Tom Keogh
Buy DVD or VHS at AMAZON | Find film at alibris

The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum / Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum

Drama (1979)
Directors: Margarethe von Trotta, Volker Schlöndorff
Starring: Angela Winkler, Mario Adorf
REVIEW: A striking examination of the power of the police and excesses of the media, The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum grows more pertinent every day. When the police burst into Katharina Blum's apartment, they fail to find the suspected terrorist they've been tracking and arrest Blum for harboring a fugitive. Immediately she becomes a media sensation; between the ruthless interrogation of the police, the even more invasive muckraking of a notorious tabloid, and harassment from the sensation-hungry public, Blum's ordinary life is turned inside out until she has to lash out to defend her own sanity. A German film made in 1975, The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum could have been made today in the U.S. Angela Winkler gives a compelling performance as Katharina, but the entire movie is superbly realized: suspenseful, compassionate, and shot through with dark humor.
Review by Bret Fetzer
Buy DVD or VHS at AMAZON | Find film at alibris

The Marriage of Maria Braun / Die Ehe der Maria Braun

Drama (1979)
Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Starring: Hanna Schygulla, Klaus Löwitsch
REVIEW: Hanna Schygulla was a true star in this remarkable, semi-allegorical drama by Rainer Werner Fassbinder about a woman whose new marriage soon becomes a long history of waiting for reunification with her husband as he goes off to war, gets lost on the Russian front, ends up in prison, and goes to America. Meanwhile, the phantom marriage suspends the title character in a destiny that leads to power and wealth while still anticipating his return. One of several cinematic metaphors by Fassbinder for the identity and experience of post-war Germany, this 1978 film looks more than ever like a masterpiece.
Review by Tom Keogh
Buy DVD or VHS at AMAZON | Find film at alibris

In a Year With 13 Moons / In einem Jahr mit 13 Monden

Drama (1978)
Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Starring: Volker Spengler, Ingrid Caven
REVIEW: In 1974, Rainer Werner Fassbinder made Fox and His Friends, inspired by his relationship with working-class butcher Armin Meier. When Fassbinder dumped his longtime lover in 1978, the distraught Meier committed suicide, and Fassbinder fell into a deep depression. Whether driven by guilt or helplessness, the director drew from the experience for another film, the story of transsexual Elvira Weishaupt (Volker Spengler in a haunting performance). Elvira, formerly Erwin, is a working-class butcher who changed her sex for a lover who promptly left her. She now spends her days wandering the alienating industrial Frankfurt cityscape while reminiscing about her painful past. Coming after the lush, soft-focus beauty of the international hit The Marriage of Maria Braun, the bleak landscape of Frankfurt and Elvira's harsh, stylized flashbacks are almost shocking. The faint of heart should be warned of a gruesome slaughterhouse scene where cattle are killed and butchered--a display of cruelty that echoes the emotional brutality of Elvira's past. It's one of Fassbinder's most personal projects (in addition to writing and directing he serves as cinematographer, editor, and set designer), a strikingly stylized film and one of his most emotionally wrenching works. Meier may have inspired Elvira, but Fassbinder invests himself into the character, and his identification creates a powerful, painful portrait drenched in despair.
Review by Sean Axmaker

Buy DVD or VHS at AMAZON | Find film at alibris

The Stationmaster's Wife / Bolwieser

Drama (1977)
Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Starring: Elisabeth Trissenaar, Kurt Raab, Bernhard Helfrich
REVIEW: The Stationmaster's Wife, a drama of post-WWI Bavaria based on Oskar Maria Graf's novel Bolweiser, was originally presented as a three-hour-plus event for German television. In preparing his theatrical cut, director Rainer Werner Fassbinder shaved away the subplots and supporting characters to focus tightly on the story of railway stationmaster Bolweiser (Kurt Raab) and his philandering wife Hanni (Elisabeth Trissenaar). Set in late-1920s Bavaria, Bolweiser is a Nazi party man surrounded by grotesque, toadying underlings at the station but is pathetically servile to his increasingly frustrated, unhappy wife. Disgusted by her weak-willed husband, she finds passion in the arms of the butcher. Bolweiser ignores the town gossip and even perjures himself to defend his wife in a trial--an act which later dooms him. Exquisitely photographed (by Michael Balhaus) and beautifully designed, Fassbinder's lush, romantic style suffuses his caustic portrait of the self-destructive Bolweiser (a painfully perfect performance by Raab), and the petty small-town citizens who seal his fate. Even as Bolweiser sinks to the depths of self-pity, Fassbinder's gorgeous, shimmering canvas makes the small-minded doings look so much more tawdry.
Review by Sean Axmaker
Buy DVD or VHS at AMAZON | Find film at alibris

The Marquise of O. / Die Marquise von O.

Drama (1976)
Based Heinrich von Kleist's novella.
Director: Eric Rohmer
Starring: Edith Clever, Bruno Ganz
REVIEW: After Eric Rohmer completed his "Six Moral Tales," and before launching into the "Comedies and Proverbs," he tackled two projects very different from anything else in his career. In the first of these, The Marquise of O, based on the novel by Heinrich von Kleist, Rohmer leaves the young intellectuals of Paris for Italy during the Napoleonic wars. During the Russian invasion, the beautiful young marquise (Edith Clever) is saved from certain assault by a handsome and dashing count (Bruno Ganz). She spends the night guarded by her chivalrous savior, who returns months later to rather insistently court her. Only when he leaves does she discover that she is, unaccountably, pregnant. Rohmer's style is both more lush (shot in rich colors by Néstor Almendros) and less intimate than his previous romantic comedies, directed in painterly compositions at a removed distance. Unlike the self-obsessed young adults of his modern films, the count and the marquise act out of moral duty and social responsibility, and their actions reverberate through family and community. Yet this is still a Rohmer film, filled with carefully tooled dialogue (spoken in German) and informed by irony. The story of innocence and corruption, and the shades that lie within even the best of men, ends on a note of delicate forgiveness and understanding. Rohmer followed this with an even more unexpected stylistic experiment, the beautiful and beguiling Perceval.
Review by Sean Axmaker
Buy DVD or VHS at AMAZON | Find film at alibris

Fear of Fear / Angst vor der Angst

Drama (1975)
Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Starring: Margit Carstensen, Ulrich Faulhaber
REVIEW: If not among the better-known films by the gifted German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Fear of Fear is nevertheless an absolutely characteristic work. A housewife, locked into a dull life with her distracted husband and two small children (plus nattering mother-in-law and sister-in-law living in the apartment upstairs) finds herself seized by uncontrollable anxiety. Although the wife has an affair with a doctor, there is little conventional melodrama; instead, Fassbinder strips away plot mechanics in favor of a complete identification with the woman's mysterious angst. The central role is tailor-made for one of RWF's favorite leading ladies, Margit Carstensen, whose regal cheekbones and elegant air belie the instability beneath the skin. Fassbinder's eye is exacting--the apartment is a dead-on purgatory of bourgeois nothingness--and his framing shows the influence of his Hollywood idol, Douglas Sirk. This is a small work in the bulging Fassbinder canon, but it's impeccably realized.
Review by Robert Horton
Buy DVD or VHS at AMAZON | Find film at alibris

Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven / Mutter Küsters Fahrt zum Himmel

Drama (1975)
Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Starring: Brigitte Mira, Ingrid Caven, Margit Carstensen
REVIEW: When Hermann Kusters goes berserk at his factory and murders his manager before killing himself, a media blitz descends upon his middle-aged wife (Brigitte Mira) and her adult children. Her daughter attempts to use the situation to improve her cabaret singing career, but Frau Kusters remains distraught that her husband has been depicted in the papers as a boozing maniac. Her search for some solution leads her to the communist party, then finally to a group of anarchists who take drastic action. While Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven isn't one of German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder's more lively films--the pace is almost monotonously steady--but Fassbinder's eye for selfishness, hypocrisy, and manipulation remains sharp. The movie shifts from a darkly comic tone to a deep sadness; perhaps unable to decide which mood to commit to, Fassbinder shot two strikingly different endings, both of which are presented.
Review by Bret Fetzer
Buy DVD or VHS at AMAZON | Find film at alibris

GERMAN FILM INDEX (alphabetical)
<< BACK | BROWSE GERMAN FILMS (chronological): | NEXT>>

Vistawide - All About Learning Languages & Knowing Cultures

All content on this site is copyrighted. © 2004- VISTAWIDE.COM
Contact - About us