Where To Watch German Movies Online: 6 High-Quality Sites for German Immersion
Just because you’re ready to unwind with a movie from a long day doesn’t mean that your German skill development has to be put on hold.
What follows includes not only six great sites to watch German movies with must-see cinematic selections to be found on each one, but also tips to get the most out of movies and bolster your German.
Get the popcorn popping, put your feet up and get ready to improve your German.
- 6 Seriously Useful Sites to Watch German Movies Online
- 7 Tips for Learning German with German Movies
- And One More Thing...
6 Seriously Useful Sites to Watch German Movies Online
To make sure you have access to thousands of German-language movies, here are six great sites and some fun movies you can find on them.
A German television channel, ZDF includes a wellspring of free German movies, both dubbed and in the original language, all free for streaming. You’ll find a list of different movie genres as well as movies that are new to the website.
Must-See Movie: “Du sollst hören” (Petra K. Wagner, 2022). This emotional movie tells the story of a family who is told that, with an implant, their 2-year-old daughter, who is deaf, would be able to hear. The family’s rejection of this implant results in the case being taken to court.
Both a television and radio channel, MDR also includes a free library of both movies and television shows. The site is constantly updated as these movies and programs are shown on German television, so you can keep up with the same movies that are being shown to the native German audience.
Note: movies on MDR don’t stay archived, so check back frequently for new releases!
3. Das Erste
Not only can you enjoy live streams of German television shows as they’re being played, but you’ll also be pleased to find that Das Erste offers a huge variety of German movies.
Must-See Movie: “Unzertrennlich nach Verona” (Andreas Herzog, 2018). In this rom-com, a couple that has separated decides to work together to find their daughter who has gone missing while traveling to Verona.
Netflix is one of the most famous platforms to watch movies, series and TV shows. With so many options to choose from, you’re sure to find a great movie to watch!
Must-See Movie: “Faraway” (Vanessa Jopp, 2023). This rom-com tells the story of Zeynep, a woman who is unsatisfied with her life who, upon finding out that her late mother left her a house on a Croatian island, decides to travel to Croatia. What she doesn’t know is who she will meet when she arrives and the impact he will have on her life.
While it’s often best to watch an original native German movie, you could also try searching for a movie or series that you’ve already watched in your native language as many come with German dubbing and subtitle options. This is a great way to start getting used to listening to and understanding German in movies as you’ll already know the plot and be able to focus on vocabulary and grammar.
Check out this post for more great options on Netflix:
5. Amazon Prime Video
On Amazon Prime Video, you’ll be able to find a variety of German-language movies, as well as movies in other languages with German dubbing and subtitles.
Must-See Movie: “Frantz” (François Ozon, 2016). “Frantz” is set in Germany in 1919 and tells the story of a German woman called Anna, and Adrien, a French soldier, who she first sees at her fiancé’s grave, claiming to be an old friend. As Anna and Adrien grow closer, Adrien decides that he has to tell Anna the truth about how her late fiancé died.
Check out this post for more of Amazon Prime’s German offerings:
The Goethe-Institut has tons of German-language movies available to watch online. The website has different genres from children’s movies, comedies and culture to history.
Must-See Movie: “Sweet Disaster” (Laura Lehmus, 2021). If you enjoy comedies, this movie is a good option. After falling pregnant and having her partner, Felix, leave her for his ex, Frida decides to create a plan to get back together with him.
7 Tips for Learning German with German Movies
Learning a new language takes time. Although reaching fluency doesn’t happen overnight, we still want to get there as quickly as possible. This means making the most of the effort we put into our German studies.
With this in mind, here are seven key tips to ensure that you’re picking up the most German possible while still being entertained.
- Don’t Stop the Movie Too Often Unlike televisions with their clumsy remotes, it’s very easy—and tempting—to hit the pause button on your media player or rewind the movie back a few seconds. It’s alright to do this once in a while to satisfy your curiosity about a word or to really understand a dialogue that may be crucial for the plot. However, you should limit your pausing and rewinding. Avoid interrupting the flow of a movie too much. Not only do interruptions take away from your enjoyment, but they prevent your brain from meeting the challenge of hearing German conversations in real-time.
- Use the Context of the Scene to Guess Words Much like speaking or listening to German in real life, you can use the context of the situation and the words that you already recognize to figure out what’s going on. Even better, in movies this context is often acted out, giving a more complete, audiovisual picture of what the dialogue is about.
- Have a Notepad/Word Processor Handy to Write Down New Words The words you hear over and over again in a movie are already more likely to stick in your brain. So, what better way to increase your vocabulary than by recording the new words that you find in the movie? Jot them down with your best guesses at their meanings, along with how they contributed to the dialogue in the movie. By the time the credits roll, you’ll probably have heard quite a few new words. You might even have a pretty good idea of what they mean from the context alone. Even so, it’s always a good idea to write these words down and confirm their definitions and usages with online German dictionaries.
- Rewatch the Movie for Clarity It’s tempting to always move right on to a new adventure with a different movie, but there’s a lot to be gained by taking the time to watch the same movie again. Knowing the plot and having already heard the dialogue once, you’ll be able to pick up some of the words and sentence structures that you missed the first time.
- Watch Clips and Trailers on FluentU Actively watching is the key to actually learning from German movies. If you find yourself struggling to keep up or unable to stay focused on your learning, then you may benefit from using a program like FluentU.
- Try Both Dubbed and Original Language Movies
As you delve into the world of German-language movies, you’ll notice that they come in two varieties: (1) movies originally made in German and (2) movies which have been dubbed. Germans love their dubbing. The benefit of seeking out your movies online is that movies of both varieties are commonly available with German and/or English subtitles.
Movies originally in German are arguably easier to follow, and perhaps even more enjoyable to view. The language has a more natural rhythm, with real German actors delivering those lines. You also can feel proud that you experienced something you couldn’t have without knowing German.
Dubbed movies often feature faster speech, to fit in all the German syllables in the same amount of time. Don’t be afraid to challenge your ear with them. Braving the dialogue of dubbed movies will make original German movies seem much easier to understand.
- Alternative: Take Advantage of Your DVD Collection You can always peruse your shelf for DVDs that include a German option. Many movies come with either the possibility of putting on German subtitles or watching the entire movie dubbed in German. It usually says so on the back of the box. Enjoy old favorites in a new way!
Who thought learning German could be so relaxing?
Why let a weekend stay-home night go by idle without using it to improve your language skills?
With access to thousands of movies in German—and some great insight into how to make the most of watching them—you’ll be able to speed up your progress without adding any additional stress to your life.
Movie night, anyone?
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 stores.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn German with real-world videos.