Some Of The Best German Movies Set in Berlin

Photo of Anna Poeltl
18 December 2016

Berlin is not only the capital of Germany, but also a hub for culture, lifestyle, and design and an amazing setting for movies. Many German directors have acknowledged this fact and chosen Berlin as the background for their films.

© X-Filme Creative Pool

Lola Rennt (Run Lola Run)

This 1998 German thriller can be counted among the most famous German movies of all time. Tom Tykwer directs with style, and stars Franka Potente and Moritz Bleibtreu had both already had success in Hollywood. Bleibtreu plays a small-time criminal who loses the money for his boss and asks his girlfriend (Potente) for help, because he will get killed if he does not show up with the agreed sum. And so Lola starts to run…


Sonnenallee, which is a street name in Berlin’s Neukölln district, is a comedy film about life in East Berlin in the late 1970s. Directed by Leander Haussmann, both the script and and a corresponding novel were written by Thomas Brussig. The movie is about the life of a group of young people in the GDR; the inner fight between principles and compliance; and life, pop-culture, and art — difficult concepts under the Iron Curtain.

Good Bye, Lenin!

Set around the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Good Bye, Lenin! stars Daniel Brühl as a youth who gets arrested in front of his mother’s eyes, and she instantly passes out at the sight and falls into a coma. The Berlin Wall then falls, and the boy takes on a new job at a Western firm. When his mother awakes from her coma, she is both physically and mentally weakened and unable to survive the trauma of shocking news, so the boy pretends that the wall is still up, for her sake.

Herr Lehmann

Frank Lehmann, played by Christian Ulmen, is about to turn 30 years old, which is why his friends tease him by calling him Herr Lehmann. When his parents decide to come visit him, he falls into a crisis, because they expect something more from him than being a barkeeper, so he decides to pretend to be a restaurant manager. As if that was not enough of a challenge, the fall of the wall swirls Herr Lehmann’s life even more around. Herr Lehmann was shot at many famous places in Berlin-Kreuzberg, such as Prinzenbad and the bar Zum Elephantine at Heinrichplatz.

© Sabotage Films GmbH

Berlin Calling

Berlin Calling is set in Berlin’s infamous electronic music scene. The main character is portrayed by the well-known producer and DJ Paul Kalkbrenner. He suffers from a drug-induced psychosis and is thus admitted to a mental hospital, which endangers the release of his new album and his upcoming tour. The locations used for the movie include the already closed Berlin clubs Bar25 and Maria. The clinic is set at the health and medical center in Moabit. Also Alexanderplatz is shown in the movie.


This 2010 comedy was directed by Markus Goller and stars Matthias Schweighöfer and Friedrich Mücke. In 1989 Berlin, two friends decide to travel to the westernmost point of the world after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Their money only brings them to New York, where one of the boys reveals that the real reason for the journey is to find his father, who fled the GDR years ago. Various coincidences and the lack of money lead the friends finally to San Francisco, where the movie’s finale is set.

© Solaris Film

Christiane F. – Wir Kinder Vom Bahnhof Zoo

Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo was directed by Uli Edel and is a 1981 German film which portrays the drug scene in the west part of the city during the 1970s. The movie is based on the non-fiction book of the same name and immediately acquired cult status. Christiane, at the age of 12, is bored with her life and is a big fan of David Bowie. At his concert, she gets to know older teens who introduce her to drugs. By the time she is 14, Christiane is a full-blown heroin addict who steals and prostitutes herself for drugs. The movie is mostly set at Berlin’s train station Bahnhof Zoo, where the children hang out.

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