You think you’re that far from German cinematography and hardly remember any remarkable representatives? Check out this Top-5 by German TV Company and you’ll be surprised how close the outstanding actresses ‘aus Deutschland’ have been around all this time. Here we go:

Romy Schneider

Romy Schneider (The Empress) (1938-1982) made her film debut at age of 15, but the real breakthrough came after the role of Empress Elisabeth of Austria in trilogy Sissi (1955-1957). In 1958, Romy performed the lead role in the French film Christine alongside Alain Delon. Their stage romance led to engagement and further moving to France, where Romy collaborated with notable directors of that era - Luchino Visconti (the role of Elisabeth of Austria in Ludwig (1972), Pupe in Boccaccio ’70 (1961)), and Orson Welles (Leni in The Trial (1962)).

“I am nothing in life, but everything on the screen.”

Romy’s achievements in French cinematography brought her the first ever Cesar Award (French ‘Oscar’) for ‘Best Actress’ for That Most Important Thing: Love (L'important c'est d'aimer, 1974). In 1978, she repeated her success in A Simple Story (Une histoire simple). Apart from numerous European film awards, Romy was also nominated for American Golden Globe as ‘Best Actress’ in a drama film The Cardinal (1963).

In the period from 1953-1982, Romy Schneider appeared in over 60 motion pictures.

Interesting facts:

  • French journalist Eugène Moineau initiated Prix Romy Schneider, one of the most prestigious awards for upcoming actresses;
  • In 2003, German TV program Unsere Besten ranked Romy Schneider as the second greatest actress after Marlene Dietrich.


Marlene Dietrich

Marlene Dietrich (Aura of glamor and luxury) (1901-1992). Marlene started out as a cabaret performer and silent movie actress in 1920s. Her first international fame came after the role of Lola-Lola in The Blue Angel (1930), followed by a contract with Paramount Pictures. The film director Josef von Sternberg took Marlene to Hollywood and after successful roles in Morocco (1930), Shanghai Express (1932) and Desire (1936), Marlene Dietrich became the highest-paid actress of her time.

“I am at heart, a gentleman.”

In 1939, Dietrich received the US citizenship and renounced the German citizenship showing her negative attitude towards Nazism. After the war, Marlene limited her cinematic career and focused on live shows: from the 1950s to the mid-1970s, she appeared as a cabaret artist in large theaters of Las Vegas, Broadway, and major cities worldwide.

Marlene Dietrich’s legacy includes over 80 appearances in feature films, 8 music albums with numerous soundtrack performances, and 4 books.

Interesting facts:

  • In 1937, Marlene donated her entire honorar for Knight Without Armor ($450,000) to refugees;
  • First German actress to be Oscar-nominated.

Franka Potente

Franka Potente (The Ever-changing hair color). A German actress of Sicilian descent started her acting career in the 1995 student film Aufbruch. She was accidentally spotted by a casting agent in a public restroom and later appeared in Nach Fünf im Urwald (1996), which brought her Bavarian Film Award for Young Talent.

Franka’s national breakthrough came after the role of heroine in the 1998 art house film Lola Rennt (Run Lola Run). Lola received many positive acclaims and won 28 various European and American film awards.

“Everybody is great when things are great. It's the 'not great' stuff that matters.”

After success in Germany, Potente continued her acting career in Hollywood. Her first notable appearance was supporting role in the 2001 Blow co-starring Johnny Depp. In 2002, Franka delivered prominent performance in The Bourne Identity and reprised her role in The Bourne Supremacy (2004) alongside Matt Damon. In 2008, Potente landed a lead role in biographical film Che (2008) directed by Steven Soderbergh.

Franka’s next appearance will feature the BBC drama miniseries Taboo co-starring Tom Hardy. The show is set to be released in early 2017.

Interesting facts:

  • The director Tom Tykwer wrote Run Lola Run specifically for Franka Potente;
  • It took Franka 2 months to acquire a proper American accent for her role in Blow.

Diane Kruger

Diane Kruger (Helen of Troy) always dreamed of becoming a ballet dancer, until the injury put a cross on her career. Diane decided to focus more on modeling career and moved to France, where she successfully collaborated with Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Giorgio Armani, D&C, and Chanel. Kruger soon became interested in acting and gradually stopped modeling.

Her first high-profile role was the portrayal of Helen of Sparta in Troy (2004) alongside Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, and Sean Bean. The same year, Diane co-starred with Nicolas Cage in National Treasure and its sequel National Treasures.The Book of Secrets (2007).

“I don't know about style. I know about my personal style.”

The role of German actress allied spy in Tarantino’s ‘Inglourious Basterds’ (2009) brought her ‘Best Supporting Actress’ award from Screen Actors’ Guild. In 2012, Diane was the member of the Jury for the Main Competition at 2012 Cannes Film Festival.

Kruger’s latest film performance features autobiographical criminal drama The Infiltrator starring Bryan Cranston.

Interesting facts:

  • Active supporter of UNICEF;
  • Lived three weeks in a mental hospital to shoot Frankie (2005).

Kirsten Dunst

Kirsten Dunst (Blondie) made her film debut when she was just 6, but the real breakthrough came in 1994 after successful performance in Interview with Vampire. The role of Claudia brought Kirsten the MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance and her first nomination for a Golden Globe Award.

Appearances alongside famous actors in Jumanji (1995), Wag the Dog (1997), Dick (1999), and Get Over it (2001) didn’t bring Kirsten such a mainstream success as the role of Mary Jane Watson in the superhero film Spider-Man (2002). Kirsten reprised her role in sequels in 2004 and 2007, making the trilogy her most financially successful films.

“I'm very mature for my age, but I'm also innocent in a lot of ways.”

After Spider-Man success, Kirsten performed lead roles in romantic comedies Wimbledon (2004), Elizabethtown (2005), and Marie Antoinette (2006). The role of depressed woman in Lars von Trier's drama film Melancholia brought Kirsten the Best Actress Award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. In 2015, Dunst got nominated for Golden Globe Best Actress Award for the role of Peggy Blumquist in criminal drama series Fargo.

The actress is currently working on an adaptation of The Bell Jar for her directorial debut.

Interesting Facts:

  • Beat out Christina Ricci for roles in Interview with Vampire (1994);
  • Became a naturalized German citizen in September 2011.