Couple watching TV with remote and popcorn

How to Learn with German Dubbed Movies Online

What if I told you you could watch your favorite Hollywood blockbuster and improve your German all at the same time with German dubbed movies and films?

In this guide, I’ll explain the benefits of watching German dubbed movies, and give your information on where you can go to find these movies.


Where to Find German Dubbed Movies Online and Offline

Finding movies dubbed into German is not always as easy as it should be, given the fact that in our modern world everything is connected. However, here are some of the ways you can find them.

DVDs and Blu-rays with German soundtrack

Amazon offers a wide collection of DVDs and Blu-ray discs of which some have German voice tracks. You can find them via the Amazon advanced search. Here you can choose German under “Language audio tracks” and hit search. For me it yielded over 32,000 results, however, not all movies that show up actually offer German as a language. Always make sure to read the product description before ordering.

eBay Germany also sells many movies in the native language. Lots of sellers will also ship worldwide. Make sure you pick the destination country in the upper right corner of the search results. Of course the website itself is in German, so you need some language proficiency (or a browser that automatically translates web pages) to order movies from here.

Buy movies locally

If you have the opportunity to go to a German-speaking country, you can then merely walk into a store and get a supply of your favorite movies with German dubbing and take them back home. Or, if you have German friends, ask them to get some for you and send them via mail.

Note: Beware of the region code. DVDs and Blu-ray discs come with a region code which only allows them to be played on certain players. There are ways to get around this code and there are also region code-free discs as well as players. However, make sure that you will actually be able to play the movies you are about to buy in order to avoid frustration.

Video-on-demand services

The second option are online services that allow you to buy or rent movies in digital form for download, or even let you stream them directly. These are becoming more and more common, and several offers exist in Germany. However, not many of them are available outside of the country due to licensing reasons.

There are ways to get around it with the help of VPN services. Essentially, a VPN makes it appear as if you’re using the internet elsewhere rather than the United States (or wherever you are). By using a VPN service like HideMyAss! VPN, you can access content as if you were in Germany, Austria or Switzerland.

This is great for everything that’s available to stream online for free. However, in pretty much all cases with paid video services you will still have to provide a German billing address, credit card or other way of proving you are inside the country. If you can do that, these services let you watch any dubbed movie you want.


  • Selection: Very large – allegedly 45,000+ movies
  • Price: Subscription 7.99€/month, from 4.99€/movie without subscription

Amazon Germany Instant Video

  • Selection: Large
  • Price: Included in the price of Amazon Prime (check Amazon’s website for current pricing).

iTunes Germany video

  • Selection: Very large
  • Price: From 0.99€/movie, ca. 10€ for new releases (ca. 4€ to rent)

Netflix Germany

  • Selection: Number of movies unknown, but probably in the thousands
  • Price: From 7.99€/month


  • Selection: Small – 2,000+
  • Price: From 0.99/movie (rent), from 2.99€/movie (buy)


  • Selection: Small
  • Price: ca. 4€/movie (rent, new releases), ca. 14€/movie (buy, new releases)

The Benefits of Dubbed Movies for German Students

The production value of German dubbed movies is often high, translations stay as close to the original as possible and only veer completely off script when something just does not carry over from one language to the other, such as puns or other jokes.

However, even in those cases the translation will be a grammatically correct sentence that makes sense and is of value to you as a German student. Therefore, dubbed movies can provide a fun and immersive way to learn German. And there are other advantages.

They are set in a familiar context

Movies made in your home country or native language are set in a familiar environment. You will understand its setting, the cultural background of the protagonists and don’t have to puzzle out whether what is happening on screen refers to things that non-Germans have a hard time understanding.

They provide a lot of valuable content

Ninety minutes of screen time give characters a lot to talk about. Depending on how dialogue-heavy the movie is, this means you are exposed to a great amount of new words, phrases and whole sentences. All while munching popcorn!

They are fun

An important aspect of using dubbed movies to learn German is this: it’s enjoyable. Fun is a factor that should not be underestimated. When we are enjoying something and are exposed to things that really interest us (unlike the content of many textbooks), it becomes much easier to put in the time to study. Many projects and undertakings have died because people simply lost interest.

They come with background knowledge

An especially good learning opportunity is watching the dubbed version of a movie you already know. Why? Because in this case you can anticipate what is going on. You know what will happen next in the plot, you have an idea of what people are talking about or even know the exact lines they are going to use.

That way you don’t have to pay attention to how the plot is moving forward, but can instead concentrate on the language aspect. Because you already have a blueprint of the movie in your head, you can focus on filling in the blanks of your German knowledge.

Side fun fact: In the German version of “Die Hard 2” (“Stirb langsam 2″), Bruce Willis’s iconic line is “Yippiyayeah Schweinebacke.”

A tip on learning German with dubbed movies

To learn German effectively, don’t just watch the movies and expect to soak up the vocabulary. Watch them actively, and keep track of new vocabulary. If you hear an unfamiliar word, write it down and look it up in a dictionary. Review them on a regular basis and use them with your German friends.

You can reinforce your learning with apps by saving new vocabulary in your favorite flashcard or learning app.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

P.S. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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Movie Dubbing in Germany

Many major films released in Germany get dubbed. Thanks to voice actors, Brad Pitt, Robert DeNiro and Sandra Bullock all speak German fluently and accent free (to be fair, Sandra Bullock actually speaks German).

Practically all foreign films, shows and TV series in Germany, Austria and the German-speaking part of Switzerland appear in dubbed versions on television and in the cinema.

Though subtitles exist, they are not as accepted in Germany as they are in other countries in Europe. Even computer and video games are often localized with German dialogues and videos. It appears we are a picky bunch. Or maybe it’s just because the German dubbing industry does such a good job.

Voice-over actor as a career

An interesting side effect of this phenomenon is that there are a few German voice-over actors who have accumulated quite some fame for themselves for lending their voices to famous people. While many Germans could not tell Hollywood stars apart from their original voices, many would, on the other hand, recognize their German alter egos.

This is especially confusing because some voice-over actors actually fill in for several Hollywood stars as you will see below. Plus, because people started recognizing their distinct voices, these actors also frequently get hired for TV advertisements and video games. Especially the German “Bruce Willis” seems to be everywhere.

Famous German voice-over actors:

  • Christian Brückner (Robert De Niro)
  • Manfred Lehmann (Bruce Willis)
  • Simon Jäger (Matt Damon, Josh Hartnett, Heath Ledger)
  • Sabine Arnhold (Sandra Bullock, Lisa Edelstein (Cuddy from “House M.D.”), Daisy Duck)
  • Gerrit Schmidt-Voß (Leonardo DiCaprio)
  • Thomas Danneberg (Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, among others)

Horrible title translations

Another special characteristic (and huge pet peeve of mine) is the tendency of the German movie industry to provide horrible translations or adaptations of English movie titles. Most notable among those is the practice to change the original title to another English title but then add a subheading in German.

Why? Your guess is as good as mine. But the result is often worthy of ridicule.

To give you a small taste, here is a short list of movie titles, their German titles and a re-translation of that title back to English (when necessary). The original movie titles are in bold, the German title in italics, the English translations in parenthesis, and any of my own side commentary will be found italicized in brackets:

  • Taken96 Hours [if you’re gonna go with an English title after all, why not keep the original?]
  • Black EagleRed Eagle [ah ok, it makes much more sense now]
  • Airplane!Die unglaubliche Reise in einem verrückten Flugzeug (The Amazing Journey in a Crazy Airplane)
  • Cruel IntentionsEiskalte Engel (Icecold Angels)
  • CellularFinal CallWenn er auflegt muss sie sterben (Final Call – If He Hangs Up She Has to Die)
  • CrashL.A. Crash [opened up a whole new perspective on the movie for me]
  • Escape from New YorkDie Klapperschlange (The Rattlesnake)
  • Face/OffIm Körper des Feindes (In the Body of the Enemy)
  • Forgetting Sarah MarshallNie wieder Sex mit der Ex (Never Again Sex with the Ex) [subtle]
  • Hot Tub Time MachineHot Tub – Der Whirlpool… ist ‘ne verdammte Zeitmaschine! (Hot Tub – The Whirlpool…Is a Damn Time Machine!) [That one’s gotta be my favorite]

You get the picture…


As you can see, dubbed movies are a great way to enhance your German knowledge and also have some fun doing it.

While it might take a while to get over the fact that the words you hear and the lip movements don’t fit together, watching these movies will provide you with a plethora of new phrases and material.

And One More Thing...

Want to know the key to learning German effectively?

It's using the right content and tools, like FluentU has to offer! Browse hundreds of videos, take endless quizzes and master the German language faster than you've ever imagine!


Watching a fun video, but having trouble understanding it? FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive subtitles.


You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don't know, you can add it to a vocabulary list.


And FluentU isn't just for watching videos. It's a complete platform for learning. It's designed to effectively teach you all the vocabulary from any video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you're on.


The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you're learning, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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