German War Movies

Saturday, April 2 by Sarah Sullivan

German war movies are fascinating for history buffs and movie lovers alike. For those who aren’t bothered by subtitles, films in German, particularly those about war, are an exceptional option to American offerings. The following are some of the best German war movies to get you started.

  1. “Das Boot” aka “The Boat” Considered to be one of the most expensive German films in history, “Das Boot” is also one of its most famous. This fictional epic takes viewers down into the heart of a German U-boat and amongst its crew. The film documents the U-boat crew of U-96 throughout their journeys during World War II, the battles, the tedium in between and the thoughts and feelings of men stuck together in the bottom of the ocean.  
  2. “Stalingrad” A war drama set on the Eastern Front of World War II, “Stalingrad” tells the story a group of naïve German soldiers who are transferred from Italy to Russia, where they are unwillingly thrust into the legendary Battle of Stalingrad.  
  3. “Der Untergang” aka “The Downfall” Featuring the legendary actor Bruno Ganz as Adolf Hitler, “Der Untergang” is centered around the last ten days of Hitler’s life in his bunker in 1945. These final ten days of one of the most feared dictators in history is filled with tension as Nazi Germany begins to crumble and Hitler and his followers plot to take their fate into their own hands.  
  4. “Joyeux Noel” aka “Merry Christmas” This true story of the World War I Christmas Truce along the Western Front is told from the perspectives of six main characters, each from different countries: Scotland, France and Germany. Set amongst the German trenches in France, an unofficial truce begins when the Scots sing Christmas songs, leading the rest of the men across the lines to do the same. The soldiers meet in no-man’s-land and wish each other Merry Christmas, exchange gifts, talk and even play a game of football. But despite the hope and joy that this encounter brings, the men must face the consequences from their superiors.  
  5. “Sophie Scholl — Die letzten Tage” aka “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days” The film following the final days of 21 year-old Sophie Scholl received high praise when it was released in 2005. It won Silver Bear Awards for Best Director and Best Actress and was also nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2005. Scholl was a member of the non-violent anti-Nazi student resistance group known as The White Rose, a part of the German Resistance Movement. The film documents the events leading up to Scholl’s capture, revealing that she was found guilty of high treason February 21st and executed February 22nd.
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