Berlin is no doubt a good-looking city on film. With sweeping boulevards, an impressive skyline and myriad architecture, it has featured as the backdrop to many well-known movies as well as many more lesser known ones in the past. Here is a selection of some of the best movies to inspire you to visit Berlin.
One, Two, Three (1961)
This slapstick comedy by Billy Wilder about an American Coca-Cola executive in Berlin looking for his daughter was filmed before the Berlin Wall was erected, but released after. It highlights many iconic Berlin landmarks, such as the Brandenburg Gate and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church as they were fifty years ago.
Funeral in Berlin (1966)
Starring Michael Caine, this spy film is part of a series in which the actor plays secret agent, Harry Palmer. His mission is to retrieve a Communist defector from East Germany, meaning he has to cross covertly from West to East Berlin. Areas around the Wall feature heavily in the film, as well as Tempelhof Airport.
Wings of Desire (1987)
Following several invisible angels watching over Berlin who comfort the city’s distressed inhabitants, this black and white film by Wim Wenders shows off the city with beautiful camera work. One prominent Berlin location featured in the film is the State Library at Potsdamer Platz, which is one of the only buildings remaining from the time of the film in the area, as it was completely rebuilt in the early 21st century with skyscrapers, malls, museums and theatres.
Run Lola Run (1998)
This iconic film depicts three alternative realities as the title character, Lola, runs to try and obtain 100,000 marks in 20 minutes to save her boyfriend, Manni, from being killed for failing to make good on a deal. The film does not feature many famous landmarks of Berlin, but shows an intersection of every day 90s Berlin, though Berlin’s best-looking bridge, Oberbaumbrücke, does feature briefly.
Goodbye Lenin (2003)
A story of Alex, a young East Germany boy, whose mother is put into a coma during the lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and then wakes up in a reunified Germany. However, doctors tell Alex that the potential shock of such a revelation could give her a heart attack, so she must not be told of what has happened. As a result, Alex and his friends have to recreate the illusion of the GDR in his mother’s apartment for her, while outside, the two former countries are unifying.
Chasing Liberty (2004)
This romantic comedy about the daughter of the US President falling in love with a secret agent is partly set in Berlin, and features a couple of different locations around the city, including a scene during the Love Parade, an electronic dance music festival which took place in Berlin annually during the 1990s and early 2000s.
Telling the story of the final days of Hitler’s reign of Nazi Germany in 1945, this film is noted not only for its exceptional acting, but also its historical accuracy. While the vast majority of the exterior scenes of war-torn Berlin were actually filmed in St Petersburg, the production crew were indeed very dedicated to their task of recreating what Berlin looked like at the time.
The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
Largely set in Berlin, this movie features various locations around the city, including a tense foot chase at night through the Zoologischer Garten station and onto the river Spree nearby as the character of Jason Bourne is trying to evade the local police. Many scenes in the film set in Moscow were actually also filmed on location in Berlin.
Aeon Flux (2005)
As a dystopian science fiction movie, you might not think this is one that would inspire you to visit Berlin! Though set in a fictitious future city, much of the film was actually filmed on location in Berlin and features some of the city’s more unusual and futuristic architecture, such as the House of World Cultures and the Bauhaus Archive.
The Lives of Others (2006)
Set in 1984 in the GDR, this film depicts the climate of Stasi spy activity of civilians and personal vendettas and grudges that laid behind them. The film was very well received for being an honest and unflinching portrayal of life in the GDR and won several awards. It was widely praised for its historical accuracy, especially given the fact that the director did not grow up in the GDR and was just a teenager when the Berlin Wall came down.
PS You may want to checkout an earlier post from Kash on 13 movies that inspired him to visit Europe