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The Best New German Cinema Movies Of All-Time

“What are the best New German Cinema Movies?” We looked at 96 of the top New German Cinema films, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question!

The top 20 films, all appearing on 3 or more “Best New German Cinema” movie lists, are ranked below by how many times they appear. The remaining 75+ movies, as well as the sources we used, are in alphabetical order on the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!



Top 20 Best New German Cinema Movies Ever Made



20 .) Fox and His Friends (1975) directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Fox and His Friends (1975)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Flick Chart
  • IMDB
  • Wikipedia

Fox, a former circus performer, wins the lottery of DM 500,000 and can now have the life and things that he has always wanted. While he wants to climb up the social ladder, it isn’t without turmoil, and being torn between his old working class roots, and the shiny new facade of middle class consciousness.



19 .) I’m an Elephant, Madame directed by Peter Zadek

I’m an Elephant, Madame

Lists It Appears On:

  • Film School Rejects
  • Film School Rejects
  • MUBI

I’m an Elephant, Madame ( Ich bin ein Elefant, Madame) follows a class of high school students in 1968 Bremen during their last year at school, their lessons, their protests, their private life. Focuses in particular on the troublemaker & provocateur Rull who in his apolitical chaotic way takes on both the authoritarian school administration and the leftist protesters.



18 .) Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979) directed by Werner Herzog

Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Flick Chart
  • IMDB
  • Wikipedia

Jonathan Harker, a real state agent, goes to Transylvania to visit the mysterious Count Dracula and formalize the purchase of a property in Wismar. Once Jonathan is caught under his evil spell, Dracula travels to Wismar where he meets the beautiful Lucy, Jonathan’s wife, while a plague spreads through the town, now ruled by death.



17 .) Paris, Texas (1984) directed by Wim Wenders

Paris, Texas (1984)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Flick Chart
  • Taste Of Cinema
  • Wikipedia

A man wanders out of the desert not knowing who he is. His brother finds him, and helps to pull his memory back of the life he led before he walked out on his family and disappeared four years earlier.



16 .) Stroszek (1977) directed by Werner Herzog

Stroszek (1977)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Classic Art Films
  • Flick Chart
  • IMDB

Bruno Stroszek is released from prison and warned to stop drinking. He has few skills and fewer expectations: with a glockenspiel and an accordion, he ekes out a living as a street musician. He befriends Eva, a prostitute down on her luck and they join his neighbor, Scheitz, an elderly eccentric, when he leaves Germany to live in Wisconsin.



15 .) The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972) directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Flick Chart
  • IMDB
  • MUBI

Petra von Kant is a successful fashion designer – arrogant, caustic, and self-satisfied. She mistreats Marlene (her secretary, maid, and co-designer). Enter Karin, a 23-year-old beauty who wants to be a model. Petra falls in love with Karin and invites her to move in.



14 .) The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974) directed by Werner Herzog

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Flick Chart
  • IMDB
  • MUBI

The film follows Kaspar Hauser (Bruno S.), who lived the first seventeen years of his life chained in a tiny cellar with only a toy horse to occupy his time, devoid of all human contact except for a man who wears a black overcoat and top hat who feeds him.



13 .) World on a Wire (1973) directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

World on a Wire (1973)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Flick Chart
  • Taste Of Cinema
  • Wikipedia

Cybernetics engineer Fred Stiller uncovers a massive corporate conspiracy involving a virtual reality computer project.



12 .) Yesterday Girl (1966) directed by Alexander Kluge

Yesterday Girl (1966)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Film School Rejects
  • MUBI
  • Wikipedia

Yesterday Girl is an acerbic, deliriously fractured, incisive, and darkly comic satire on a young German woman (and archetypal embodiment of the postwar generation), Anita G.’s (Alexandra Kluge) search for happiness, liberation, and independence in the illusive wake of a transformative national recovery



11 .) Young Törless (1966) directed by Volker Schlöndorff

Young Törless (1966)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Film School Rejects
  • MUBI
  • Wikipedia

At an Austrian boys’ boarding school in the early 1900s, shy, intelligent Törless observes the sadistic behavior of his fellow students, doing nothing to help a victimized classmate—until the torture goes too far. Adapted from Robert Musil’s acclaimed novel, Young Törless launched the New German Cinema movement and garnered the 1966 Cannes Film Festival International Critics’ Prize for first-time director Volker Schlöndorff.



10 .) Alice in the Cities (1974) directed by Wim Wenders

Alice in the Cities (1974)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Flick Chart
  • IMDB
  • MUBI
  • Wikipedia

German journalist Philip Winter has a case of writer’s block when trying to write an article about the United States. He decides to return to Germany, and while trying to book a flight, encounters a German woman and her nine year old daughter Alice doing the same. The three become friends (almost out of necessity) and while the mother asks Winter to mind Alice temporarily, it quickly becomes apparent that Alice will be his responsibility for longer than he expected. After returning to Europe, the innocent friendship between Winter and Alice grows as they travel together through various European cities on a quest for Alice’s grandmother. ×



9 .) Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980) directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Film School Rejects
  • Flick Chart
  • White City Cinema
  • Wikipedia

Berlin Alexanderplatz, originally broadcast in 1980, is a 14-part television film adapted and directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder from the Alfred Döblin novel of the same name, and stars Günter Lamprecht, Hanna Schygulla, Barbara Sukowa, Elisabeth Trissenaar and Gottfried John. The complete film is 15½ hours long.



8 .) Marianne & Juliane (1981) directed by Margarethe von Trotta

Marianne & Juliane (1981)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Film School Rejects
  • IMDB
  • Taste Of Cinema
  • Wikipedia

Germany, 1968: The priest’s daughters Marianna and Juliane both fight for changes in society, like making abortion legal. However their means are totally different: while Juliane’s committed as a reporter, her sister joins a terroristic organization. After she’s caught by the police and put into isolation jail, Juliane remains as her last connection to the rest of the world. Although she doesn’t accept her sister’s arguments and her boyfriend Wolfgang doesn’t want her to, Juliane keeps on helping her sister. She begins to question the way her sister is treated. ×



7 .) The Tin Drum (1979) directed by Volker Schlöndorff

The Tin Drum (1979)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Flick Chart
  • IMDB
  • Taste Of Cinema
  • Wikipedia

Oskar is born in Germany in 1924 with an advanced intellect. Repulsed by the hypocrisy of adults and the irresponsibility of society, he refuses to grow older after his third birthday.



6 .) Fitzcarraldo (1982) directed by Werner Herzog

Fitzcarraldo (1982)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Classic Art Films
  • Flick Chart
  • IMDB
  • Taste Of Cinema
  • Wikipedia

Fitzcarraldo is a dreamer who plans to build an opera house in Iquitos, in the Peruvian Amazon, so, in order to finance his project, he embarks on an epic adventure to collect rubber, a very profitable product, in a remote and unexplored region of the rainforest.



5 .) The American Friend (1977) directed by Wim Wenders

The American Friend (1977)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Film School Rejects
  • Flick Chart
  • Taste Of Cinema
  • White City Cinema
  • Wikipedia

Tom Ripley, who deals in forged art, suggests a picture framer he knows would make a good hit man.



4 .) The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (1975) directed by Volker Schlöndorff

The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (1975)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Film School Rejects
  • IMDB
  • Taste Of Cinema
  • White City Cinema
  • Wikipedia

After a chance encounter with a man, a woman is harassed by the police and she takes violent action.



3 .) The Marriage of Maria Braun (1978) directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

The Marriage of Maria Braun (1978)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Film School Rejects
  • Flick Chart
  • IMDB
  • Taste Of Cinema
  • Wikipedia

Near the end of World War II, Maria marries Hermann, who is immediately sent off to battle. When the war concludes, Maria believes that Hermann is dead. She starts working at an Allied bar, where she meets American soldier Bill. They start a relationship that is interrupted when Hermann returns alive. During a scuffle between the men, Maria accidentally kills Bill. Hermann takes the blame and goes to jail, while Maria begins a hard new life.



2 .) Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) directed by Werner Herzog

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Film School Rejects
  • Flick Chart
  • IMDB
  • MUBI
  • Taste Of Cinema
  • White City Cinema
  • Wikipedia

A few decades after the destruction of the Inca empire, a Spanish expedition leaves the mountains of Peru and goes down the Amazon river in search of gold and wealth. Soon, they come across great difficulties and Don Aguirre, a ruthless man who cares only about riches, becomes their leader. But will his quest lead them to “the golden city”, or to certain destruction?



1 .) Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974) directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Film School Rejects
  • Flick Chart
  • HLC Cult Critic
  • IMDB
  • MUBI
  • Taste Of Cinema
  • Wikipedia

Emmi Kurowski, a cleaning lady, is lonely in her old age. Her husband died years ago, and her grown children offer little companionship. One night she goes to a bar frequented by Arab immigrants and strikes up a friendship with middle-aged mechanic Ali. Their relationship soon develops into something more, and Emmi’s family and neighbors criticize their spontaneous marriage. Soon Emmi and Ali are forced to confront their own insecurities about their future.



 


The 75+ Additional Best New German Cinema Films



 

# Movies Directors Lists
21 Artists Under the Big Top: Perplexed (1968)   MUBI
Wikipedia
22 Even Dwarfs Started Small   Flick Chart
MUBI
23 Germany in Autumn (1978)   Taste Of Cinema
Wikipedia
24 Germany, Pale Mother   Film School Rejects
White City Cinema
25 Heart of Glass (1976) Werner Herzog Flick Chart
IMDB
26 Hitler: A Film from Germany (1977) Hans-Jürgen Syberberg IMDB
White City Cinema
27 Lola (1981)   Flick Chart
Wikipedia
28 Machorka-Muff (1963)   Taste Of Cinema
Wikipedia
29 Part-Time Work of a Domestic Slave   MUBI
White City Cinema
30 The Second Awakening of Christa Klages (1978)   Taste Of Cinema
Wikipedia
31 Under the Pavement Lies the Strand (1975)   Taste Of Cinema
Wikipedia
32 Veronika Voss (1982)   Flick Chart
Wikipedia
33 Wings of Desire (1987) Wim Wenders Classic Art Films
IMDB
34 Woyzeck (1979) Werner Herzog Flick Chart
IMDB
35 48 Hours to Acapulco   MUBI
36 A Degree of Murder   MUBI
37 Beware of a Holy Whore   MUBI
38 Bübchen   MUBI
39 Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach   MUBI
40 Circle of Deceit (1981) Volker Schlöndorff IMDB
41 Cobra Verde (1987) Werner Herzog IMDB
42 Coup de Grâce (1976) Volker Schlöndorff IMDB
43 Deadlock   MUBI
44 Detektive   MUBI
45 Dream City   MUBI
46 Effi Briest   MUBI
47 Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, The (1974)   Classic Art Films
48 Hunting Scenes from Bavaria   MUBI
49 In a Year with 13 Moons (1978) Rainer Werner Fassbinder IMDB
50 It   MUBI
51
It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Lives
  MUBI
52 Jonathan   MUBI
53 Karl May   MUBI
54 Katzelmacher   MUBI
55 Kings of the Road (1976)   Wikipedia
56 Love Is Colder Than Death   MUBI
57 Ludwig: Requiem for a Virgin King   MUBI
58 M: A Town Looks for a Murderer   HLC Cult Critic
59 Malatesta   MUBI
60 Marriage of Maria Braun, The (1979)   Classic Art Films
61 Martha   MUBI
62 Metropolis   HLC Cult Critic
63 Nightshade   MUBI
64 No Shooting Time for Foxes   MUBI
65 Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror   HLC Cult Critic
66
Not Reconciled, Or Only Violence Helps Where Violence Rules
  MUBI
67 O.K.   MUBI
68 Palermo or Wolfsburg   White City Cinema
69 People on Sunday   HLC Cult Critic
70 Querelle (1982) Rainer Werner Fassbinder IMDB
71 Red Sun   MUBI
72 Rosa Luxemburg (1986) Margarethe von Trotta IMDB
73 San Domingo   MUBI
74 Sheer Madness (1983) Margarethe von Trotta IMDB
75 Signs of Life   MUBI
76 Sisters, or The Balance of Happiness (1979) Margarethe von Trotta IMDB
77 Summer in the City   MUBI
78 Table for Love   MUBI
79 Tattoo   MUBI
80 Tenderness of the Wolves   White City Cinema
81 The All-Around Reduced Personality   Film School Rejects
82 The American Soldier   MUBI
83 The Blue Angel   HLC Cult Critic
84 The Boat   HLC Cult Critic
85 The Brutalisation of Franz Blum   MUBI
86 The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari   HLC Cult Critic
87 The Case of Lena Christ   MUBI
88 The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach   White City Cinema
89 The Death of Maria Malibran   MUBI
90 The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick   MUBI
91 The Inextinguishable Fire   MUBI
92 The Merchant of Four Seasons   MUBI
93 The State of Things (1982) Wim Wenders IMDB
94
The Sudden Wealth of the Poor People of Kombach
  MUBI
95 The Young Törless (1966)   Taste Of Cinema
96 Wrong Move (1975) Wim Wenders IMDB

 


 


9 Best New German Cinema Film Sources/Lists



Source Article
Classic Art Films New German Cinema
Film School Rejects A Beginner’s Guide To New German Cinema
Flick Chart The Best New German Cinema Movies of All Time
HLC Cult Critic New German Cinema
IMDB New German Cinema
MUBI New German Cinema: The Displaced Image
Taste Of Cinema 15 Essential Films For An Introduction To New German Cinema
White City Cinema A New German Cinema Primer
Wikipedia New German Cinema

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