20 German Must-See Movies of the 21st Century Films
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20 German Must-See Movies of the 21st Century

This list is an overview of the best German movies of the 21st century. Many of these movies, some of which can be found on Netflix or Amazon Prime, have helped carve the identity of German cinema since the turn of the century. 

Which German movies from the 21st century are a must-see? Which movies have defined German cinema? You'll have to read through to find out. 

Also, feel free to take a look at Best Foreign Legion Movies, Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Films, and Funny Foreign Film Title Translations

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    Gegen die Wand , the fourth film by acclaimed Turkish-German director Fatih Akin, is a vibrating masterpiece about the complicated love affair and search for identity of two people who are stuck between two cultures.

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    Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's insightful drama about the system of observation in the former Eastern Germany. Das Leben der Anderen is a powerful portrait of an opressive society as well as a moving character study.

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    Michael Haneke's Oscar nominated film Das Weisse Band is a powerful tale about authority, guilt and violence. Shot in spellbinding Black & White, Das Weisse Band depicts family life and society just before the beginning of World War I and serves as a striking analysis of the origins of terrorism.

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    Nirgendwo in Afrika , Caroline Link's Oscar-winning film, is the story of a Jewish family that emigrates to Kenya during World War II to escape the N***s. Filmed on location in Africa, Nirgendwo in Afrika was well received by critics and received the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2003.

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    Though Der Schuh des Manitu may not be a revelation of excellent filmmaking, this parody of old Westerns is one of the most successful German movies in recent history, starring some of Germany's most famous comedians.

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    One can certainly disagree with Oliver Hirschbiegel's and Bernd Eichinger's approach to German history, and therefore Der Untergang remains a film worth watching.

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    A touching film, heavily influenced by the Dogme 95 movement, Andreas Dresen's. Halbe Treppe was shot almost entirely on location in the German city Frankfurt (Oder), using handheld digital video. The performances are improvised, following only a rough idea of where the scenes should lead.

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    Good Bye, Lenin was the most succesful film of 2003 in Germany. A heartwarming tragicomedy about a boy who, in the year 1990, tries to set up the GDR again for his mother, who just awoke from a coma and needs to avoid any excitement. Problem is, the world around her has changed completely in just a few months.

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    An exciting thriller inspired by the events of the Stanford prison experiment, Das Experiment was more appreciated by audiences than by the critics. The film was remade in 2010 in the US, starring Adrien Brody and Forest Whitaker.

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    Based on the novel "Perfume" by Patrick Süskind and directed by Tom Tykwer, Das Parfum - Die Geschichte eines Mörders tells the story of Jean-Babtiste Grenouille, an olfactory genius, who on his search for the perfect smell takes on a homicidal quest. The film, one of the most expensive German movies of all time, was a huge success, especially in Europe.

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    A widely praised film by Turkish-German director Fatih Akin. The complex and interwoven story of Auf der anderen Seite is set in Germany and Turkey and depicts various people with different cultural and social backgrounds whose paths meet in the course of life-changing events.

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    A piano teacher gives lessons in a women's prison, where she meets the talented but overly aggressive girl Jenny. Step by step, Vier Minuten reveals the wounded souls of the two protagonists.

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    Wer früher stirbt ist länger tot , the debut of bavarian director Marcus Rosenmüller is a small film that offers a funny and touching portrait of childhood and rural life in South Germany.

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    This co-production of Austria and Germany won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Films (Austria). Based on true events, Die Fälscher centers on the Jewish counterfeiter Salomon 'Sally' Sorowitsch, who with other prisoners is forced to help the N***s on a secret operation in the concentration camp Sachsenhausen. Their plan was to destabilize British economy by flooding it with forged bank notes.

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    Three young idealistic outsiders kidnap a rich executive, but soon they are confronted not only with the consequences of their choice, but also with the fact, that the man is not the big shot a*****e they expected him to be. Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei stars the acclaimed German actors Daniel Brühl and Julia Jentsch.

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    Tom Tykwer's drama Heaven , starring Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi, is based on a screenplay by famous Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski. Heaven was planned to be the first part of a trilogy, but Kieślowski died before he could start production. Finally Miramax asked Tom Tykwer to direct the film.

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    Sophie Scholl - Die letzten Tage depicts the last days of the famous member of German anti-Nazi student resistance group White Rose. Sophie Scholl was executed on February 22, 1943. Young German actress Julia Jentsch gives a striking performance in this Oscar nominated drama.

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    Herr Lehmann

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    Another take on German history, Der Baader Meinhof Komplex depicts the early years of the West German militant group "Rote Armee Fraktion" (Red Army Faction, or RAF). The film by director Uli Edel and producer Bernd Eichinger is like a Who's-Who showcase of German actors. Der Baader Meinhof Komplex was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film for the 81st. Academy Awards.

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