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Cinemas & Film festivals

Films, stars and red carpets

International Film Festival Berlin
In front of the Berlinale Palace © KARSTEN THIELKER

Eager for films, cinema and celebrities

Berlin’s cinemas offer exciting diversity – besides major multiplexes showing the latest blockbusters, you’ll also find arthouse cinemas with discerning programmes and charming historic cinemas. As a moviegoer in Berlin, you’ll be spoilt for choice every day: the latest mainstream hype, experimental art film or classic masterpiece rerun? Take your pick. We’ve put together a list of tips for a particularly special cinema experience.

By the way: Berlin has been nominated for the European Location Award 2021 for the series The Queen's Gambit - the only German location to enter the race for the prize. The result will be announced at the Berlinale in 2022.

 

Babylon Berlin: Ilja Tretschkow (Tim Fischer) in the Dutchman

Babylon Berlin

The spectacular TV series from Berlin

  • Who's who? The actors of the series
  • A look behind the scenes: Interview with an extra
  • Where was it filmed? The locations

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You know cinema? Berlin’s film museums

Visit the Museum für Film und Fernsehen on Potsdamer Platz for a fascinating trip back in time through the history of German filmmaking. Fans of Marlene Dietrich will love the museum especially – her former possessions are the exhibition’s centrepiece. Her tiny shoes and her make-up case and costumes, including the legendary swan down coat, present to be marvelled at.

The film museum in Potsdam and the other museums and filming locations also make for exciting visits if you’re a film fan.

5 reasons why the focus is on Berlin

 

Exhibitions, Festivals and Events

Film not only in the cinema: In Berlin, numerous exhibitions, plays, events and even concerts are dedicated to film.

Berlin - City of films

Berlin is the city of films, of stars, of glamour: Berlin is the site of German film shoots as well as international blockbusters, stars meet on festivals’ and premieres’ red carpets. If you’re lucky, you might sit down in a restaurant to find yourself side-by-side with George Clooney.

In the cinemas the current blockbusters, art house productions and exciting film series are shown. The big cinemas are at the cutting edge of technology. The IMAX overwhelms you with never-before-seen impressions. Other cinemas, such as the International in Mitte, inspire with their architecture. And the smaller neighbourhood cinemas have their own individual charm. 

Skyline of Berlin
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Be there or be square: Berlinale and other film festivals

In Berlin, everyday is film festival day. Besides the regular cinema programmes, there are minor and major festivals all the time highlighting particular genres, countries or directors. The biggest and most important film festival is the Berlinale in February. Since its inception in 1951, Berlin’s film festival is one of the major international festivals alongside Cannes and Venice. Besides the competition, at which stars of international fame present their films, there are a variety of other genres like ethnic cinema, children’s films, newcomers and experimental cinema.
And what tops it all: the films shown at the Berlinale are publicly accessible – get a ticket and you might be going to a film with Michael Fassbender or Angelina Jolie. Be there when they roll out the red carpet.

 

Film locations

What was shot where?

Boats on the Spree at the Oberbaumbrücke in Berlin Kreuzberg
Brandenburg gate in Berlin: Reflection of the Brandenburg Gate in a puddle
© (c) visumate

Brandenburg Gate: "One, Two, Three"

Filming of the American comedy directed by Billy Wilder lasted from June to September 1961. The main location for the comedy about the East-West conflict was Berlin. But after construction of the Wall began in August, the Brandenburg Gate had to be reconstructed at the Bavaria Film Studios because the filming could no longer be completed in the border zone. Because of its contemporary relevance, the comedy received largely negative reviews and it took until the 1980s for "One, Two, Three" to enjoy success with an audience now ready for a satire on the Cold War.

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Sacrow church in Potsdam bei Berlin
© TMB-Fotoarchiv/Bernd Kröger

Heilandskirche: "Rabbit Without Ears"

The 1844 Heilandskirche at the port of Sacrow is famous for its stunning location and exceptional architectural style, including a free-standing bell tower. In the 2007 film "Rabbit Without Ears", day-care centre manager Anna (Nora Tschirner) tries to confess her love at her favourite spot to philanderer Ludo (Til Schweiger), but unfortunately the passing ships drown out her words and her plan fails. But in the end, of course, everything turns out well. So much so, that the film’s had one sequel and more may be forthcoming.

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Peninsula Stralau in Berlin
© visitBerlin, Foto: Dagmar Schwelle

Rummelsburger Bucht: "Die Legende von Paul und Paula" ("The Legend of Paul and Paula")

Scenes of the DEFA classic, "The Legend of Paul and Paula", were shot on the Rummelsburger Lake - viewers will find the scene with the boat ride especially memorable. In honour of the film, a stretch of the waterfront has been named "Paul and Paula Shore" and a lovers' bench has been installed.

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Eberswalder Straße and Schönhauser Allee
© visitBerlin, Foto: Dagmar Schwelle

Schönhauser Allee: "Berlin - Schönhauser Corner" / "Oh Boy!"

Schönhauser Allee is THE backdrop for many a camera crew wanting to capture a piece of the "real" Berlin on the silver screen. The famous DEFA film of 1957 "Berlin - Schönhauser Corner" is about a gang of youths hanging out under the U-Bahn bridge. And haphazard Niko (Tom Schilling) from the tragicomedy "Oh Boy!" lives right on Pappelallee at the corner of Schönhauser.

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Our tip: celebrities in Berlin

Imagine standing on Alexanderplatz – and all of a sudden, Matt Damon runs past you! That means you’re slap in the middle of the film shoot for the latest blockbuster. The whole city is regularly the backdrop for action films, comedies and thrillers. When Shah Rukh Khan shot his new film DON-2 in Berlin in autumn 2010, he was topic number one everywhere in the city. Fans came from as far away as Moscow to see their idol. You’ll have excellent chances to see your favourite actor in person at the major premieres. The CineStar in the Sony Center and the Zoo Palast regularly roll out the red carpet for a premiere.
But if you want to go celeb spotting, the film city offers more opportunities than just the film sets and premiere parties. After all, Berlin is popular with the stars, who often take to the city without any pomp or circumstance. Finding yourself sitting next to Tilda Swinton in the cinema or facing Tom Hanks on the next table across in the beer garden isn’t anywhere as rare as you might think. We’ve put together some tips for celeb spotting. Good luck!

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