German War Movies

We all know that World War II has been a dramatic experience for the entire world. Even if some countries didn`t participate in it directly, the War reminiscence has lasted for generations. 

This is one of the main reasons why so many movies were filmed about WWII. While some of them follow a typical pattern of a battle, there are some that show the life of people during and after wartime from a completely different point of view. Those are the movies that allow us to penetrate the souls of people on both sides and see that the world isn`t divided into black and white, that there are many shades and views.

We have selected for you the most impressive German war movies. They will let you feel the bitterness and grief of the entire nation. People who believed in an idea but were betrayed, abused, mistreated, and forgotten, people who were forced to leave their families and beloved ones to fight for a phantom and paid a dear price for it - this is the motif of many German World War 2 movies. Are you ready to discover a new image of World War 2? We have found for you the best German war movies, and you can choose those that talk to your soul.

Land of Mine (2015)

Land of Mine (2015)

Foto: YouTube

The title of the movie is filled with gentleness and love. What do you think, what is the movie about? Don`t let the title trick you though! Here is a short plot for you to understand that the truth might be not so straightforward.

Denmark was among the winners. But after the war, huge minefields were left there. What about using German war prisoners to clear the landmines? Who would grieve over them, in the very end?

Typically, German soldiers would be depicted as villains. You would expect that the movie shows that they somehow deserved such treatment. 

However, this is one of the few movies that shows the story from an entirely different point of view. In “Land of Mine”, we don`t see soldiers. We see people who feel themselves in a trap, and the only escape from it is death. And some of them didn`t even want to participate in the war but were forced for the sake of the people they loved. Yeah, now, you see the meaning of the movie title. Now, it doesn`t sound so nostalgic and gentle but rather frightening. 

Lore (2012)

This is a film about the family of a Nazi officer. They are forced to run away from their home and flee across the country. Now, they have not just to put up with the collapse of their idea but to find a way to survive. 

Here, you are guaranteed a mixture of the most controversial feelings, starting from “well, they deserved” and completing with the same feeling of desperation like the family is in. This movie shows people as they are. They are not perfect, and everybody makes mistakes. However, it is needed to pay for everything you or your family make, and the graver the errors are, the bigger is the payment. 

Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (2005)

Sophie Scholl The Final Days (2005)

Foto: In Cinema Cafe

A student Sophie Scholl is protesting against the war. She distributes pamphlets around the campus where she lives. Of course, such an action doesn`t stay unnoticed. She is arrested and executed. 

The movie is created based on the interrogation reports. It shows the last six days of life of the brave student realistically and as accurately as it is possible. 

This is one of the most touching German WW2 movies. It is not about torturing, fear, and defeat. It shows us the fight against injustice and the power of a young girl.

13 Minutes (2015)

13 Minutes (2015)

Foto: Portland Mercury

Did everybody believe in Hitler? Usually, it is shown as if the entire country was in hysteria. However, this movie tells us a completely different story. 13 Minutes is based on the true story of a Wehrmacht officer. Claus von Stauffenberg decided to assassinate the Führer. A similar attempt was made 5 years before by George Elser, a worker. But Hitler has missed the bomb that had to kill him by just 13 minutes…

In the most carefully compiled German war movies list, 13 Minutes would take a special place. It shows that not only simple people didn`t want the war but also those who were believed to be the base of the Third Reich. 

Stalingrad (1993)

Stalingrad (1993)

Foto: Kino24

The Stalingrad battle was the turning point in WWII. Thus, there is nothing unusual that not so many movies show this even from the German perspective. One of such movies is Stalingrad. 

A platoon of German soldiers is transferred from warm and sunny North Africa to fight for Stalingrad. They are full of hope and life. But soon, it all turns into despair and death.

Once more, we see not the ideology but people, their feelings and hopes. “In the name of the Führer” gets a different sense here, when it is about the Stalingrad battle. This is one of the most impressive WW2 movies from German perspective. It shows people surviving in  the most disastrous conditions. It shows how these people understand humanity, and how they handle their own feelings. The movie also shows that everything can change in the most unpredictable way within seconds. 

Downfall (2004)

Downfall (2004)

Foto: Movie Posters

Again, this is a movie about people, namely - about Adolf Hitler and his surroundings during the very last days of the once-powerful Third Reich. Berlin is the frontline city, however, Hitler still believes that everything can be fixed. He is hidden in his bunker, and it seems that he is far from reality. Meanwhile, even his most devoted officers admit that he must be insane but they still have to stay with their Führer, for different reasons. 

Meanwhile, civilians are already paying for all the mistakes of the Third Reich with their blood. However, their Führer insists that they have deserved it because they have betrayed him and the country.

This is one of many WW2 German movies that shows Hitler during his last days, however, the picture isn`t one-sided. In the very end, everybody suffers, and you might feel sympathy for everybody. 

Jojo Rabbit (2019)

Foto: Amazon.com

When it comes to WW2, it is difficult to film a movie that can be classified as a comedy, well, rather a drama-comedy. However, Taika Waititi has managed to do it. His Jojo Rabbit has won plenty of awards, and it has happened for a reason.

Jojo is a member of Hitler Jugend. He is naive and believes in the new doctrine. It continues until he discovers a fact that overwhelmed him: his mother is hiding a Jewish girl. Moreover, later, he notices that his mother was leaving a “Free Germany” leaflet somewhere. 

His world breaks down, and he tries to confront Elsa, the Jewish girl. However, after some time passes, he discovers that he has some feelings for her. His feelings grow to the extent that when the Gestapo comes to search the house, he presents them with the documents of his sister to prove that Elsa is the latter. A Gestapo officer asks Elsa about her birth date to confirm her identity. Later, while checking the documents, she discovers that she told a wrong date and that the officer saw it but didn`t reveal her…

Das Boot (1981)

Das Boot (1981)

Foto: My Hot Posters

This is one of the oldest movies on the list. It shows us how a crew manages their lives on a German submarine. The movie shows the most diverse personalities and how they handle their lives in stressful conditions in a closed space. This is one of the most realistic German movies about WW2.

The Counterfeiters (2007)

The Counterfeiters (2007)

Foto: YouTube

This is a movie about an ambitious plan of Nazis to flood the British economy with counterfeited British currency to cause hyperinflation. Ridiculously, the counterfeiter who had to manage the operation was a Jew, and he had to run the entire operation from a concentration camp Sachsenhausen.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)

Foto: The Zofiroh

When we speak about WW2, we mean battles, resistance, and similar. This topic has very strong associations. “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” is different though. This movie allows us to have a look at WW2 with the eyes of an 8-year old boy, a son of a Nazi officer. 

Bruno lives the life of a normal boy until his dad, a Nazi officer, gets a new job. They all have to move to a “farm”, but for some reason, all the farmworkers are wearing striped pajamas. Bruno asks his parents about this strange fact but they don`t reply clearly enough. Thus, the only way to find out is to check everything on his own. While trying to find out why the farmhouse doesn`t look like a farmhouse, Bruno meets a boy from “the other side”, a boy in striped pajamas. 

The film shows not only all the common horrors of war. Instead, it shows what is hidden behind. This movie tells not only about specific people and their destinies, it shows the tragedies of the entire countries. Those people “in striped pajamas” who manage to return home will discover that there is nowhere to come back anymore. They will bitterly discover that their homes, their life-savings were confiscated, and they are left without anything. And the most bitter fact is that those were not Nazis who did it. It was the fault of the country they lived in before World War II started. Big tragedies at the national level happen not because one nation is guilty but in a silent collaboration of every single participant. 

Generation War (2013)

Generation War (2013)

Foto: YouTube

Ok, this is not a movie. But these miniseries definitely deserve your attention. It is a story about five friends who believed that they are young “and the future is ours”. However, the future was destroyed by the war. Not only their future was destroyed, but their friendship, beliefs, values. In the end, only a photo reminds about how happy they were before the war.

Two friends are sent to the front as Wehrmacht soldiers. There, while fighting against the Soviet Union, they understood that the war is not what they expected it to be.

One of the five friends is a Jew. He escapes death into the forests. There, he joins Polish partisans in their fight against the Nazis.

One of the girls becomes a nurse and fights against death in hospitals.

Finally, the fifth friend, a girl becomes a Nazi mistress.

The miniseries show how war can break lives and change people. It will definitely not leave you indifferent. For sure, it can take its rightful place among the best German WW2 movies.