1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

KINO favorites: Top 10 German comedies

Scott RoxboroughJuly 15, 2016

DW's cinema team sets out to find Germany's sense of humor, picking the 10 funniest German films of all time. From slapstick to satire, the jokes in these movies don't get lost in translation.

Scene from the film "Almanya: Welcome to Germany," Copyright: picture-alliance/dpa/C. Hartmann
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/C. Hartmann

For the second edition in our series on our favorite German movies of all time, we're taking on the stereotype that Germans are a dour, humorless lot. We set out to prove that German humor exists by selecting our favorite funny films from German cinema history.

Among German movies, comedy is actually the most successful genre. The vast majority of local box office hits are home-grown laughers.

Sadly, many of them are untranslatable. Humor is often closely tied to language, turns of phrase, local culture, and even dialect: things that make nearly impossible to explain to an outsider. This is why comedy has a hard time crossing borders.

So, for our favorites list, we've picked 10 films with a universal brand of funny - comedy that you can understand even if you didn't major in German at college. But every one of them is unmistakably German in its tone, subject or style. These are comedies that couldn't have been made anywhere else and that find the funny in the ordinary lives, obsessions, fears and fascinations, of Germans today.

Unlike our best dramas list, our KINO comedy favorites are remarkably current. Two of the films on our Top 10 list are from the 1980s, but the majority is less than 10 years old. Maybe Germans are getting funnier? Or maybe comedy doesn't age as well as drama. What made us laugh 20 years ago often makes us groan today.

Another theme running through our comedy favorites is social commentary. Our favorite funny films take on society's shifting gender roles, the new generation gap, the struggles of multiculturalism, and the problems of German reunification. We even have a comedy about Adolf Hitler on the list. It's dark and disturbing but, we promise, also very, very, funny.

Take a look and tell us what you think by writing us at kino@dw.com. Maybe we can change your opinion on German humor.