East German Film and Television Programs


In the GDR, the movie industry was very active. Besides folksy movies, the movie-industry became known worldwide for its productions, especially children's movies ("Das kalte Herz", film versions of the Grimm brothers fairy-tales and modern productions such as "Das Schulgespenst"The film industry was remarkable for its production of Ostern, or Western-like movies. Indians in these films often took the role of displaced people who fight for their rights,


The Deutsche Film-Aktiengesellschaft, better known as DEFA, was the state film monopoly founded in 1946.

Many of the DEFA films are available for sale here.


Die Legende von Paul und Paula ( The Legend of Paul and Paula 1973) based on the novel of Ulrich Plenzdorf and one of East Germany's most popular films. The rock band The Puhdys plays many songs in the movie, which made them famous .


This cross cultural romance follows Paula, a free spirited mother of two, and her courtship with Paul,an unhappily married, stuffy conservative. Paula attempts to liberate her boring companion to further their relationship, but it is tragedy that hastens their growing admiration. A popular East German film statement upon its 1973 original release, this film from Heiner Carow (COMING OUT) includes the music of the underground German band The Puhdys.

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Scene from  "Die Legende von Paul und Paula"  with English subtitles




 Fünf Patronenhülsen (Five Bullet Shells) 1960 about fighters Spanish Civil War , starring Ernst Busch



Solo Sunny 1980 Story of a pop singer, very popular with the youth of the time . The last completed film by the famous East German director Konrad Wolf - and commercially his most successful one.


Sunny (Renate Krößner) is a singer who remains perennially single due to the long hours she spends on tour. Determined to find love, she falls for a philosopher named Ralph (Alexander Lang), who spurns her advances. Meanwhile, several suitors make their desire for Sunny known, but she rebuffs them and ultimately gets kicked out of the band. Her reemergence in East Berlin's underground scene sparks a resurgence in her fortunes. SOLO SUNNY was co-directed by Konrad Wolf and Wolfgang Kohlhaase and caused a sensation in Germany on its release in 1980, largely because of its unnerving accurate portrayal of East German youth.



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Ich war neunzehn ( I was 19)  1968  end of WWII filmed in black and white Konrad Wolf, the director, was among the first troops to reach Berlin in 1945


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Osvobozhdenie (Russian) Befreiung (German)

East German-Soviet film about WWII, most expensive movie made in the USSR. The films are a dramatized account of the liberation of the Soviet Union's territory and the subsequent defeat of Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War, focusing on five major Eastern Front campaigns: the Battle of Kursk, the Lower Dnieper Offensive, Operation Bagration, the Vistula-Oder Offensive and the Battle of Berlin.


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Der Untertan ( Man of Straw) 1951 comedy. Based on the satirical novel by Heinrich Mann about the kind of citizen who allows himself or herself to be used for military and totalitarian purposes. A rare film from post-war Germany.


scene from Der Untertan find Der Untertan on eBay


The Sons of the Great Bear, 1966 It was the first of a series of successful Westerns from the East German DEFA Studios, featuring Native Americans as the heroes, rather than white settlers as in John Ford's Westerns.


When Tokei-itho, a young and fearless chief of the Dakota tribe, attempts to protect his homeland from grubby gold-seeking white invaders, he finds that his struggles are in vain. Forced to endure horrific living conditions, he and his tribe ultimately leave the reservation on search of more verdant lands in Canada. This is the first installment in a series of German-produced films that became one of the most successful box office serials in the history of East German cinema.



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Freies Land  1946, Neorealistic film dealing with the hardships of rural life after the war



Dean Reed 1938-86 an American who moved to East Germany and filmed movies there



Dean Reed performing "Thunder And Lightning" in the East German film "Sing,cowboy,sing!"(1981)



Bertolt Brecht ( 1898-1956) poet and playwright


Documentary on Bertolt Brecht


Ernst Busch (1900-1980) famous East German actor and singer


East German Scifi 


There were some East German science fiction movies such as In the Dust of the Stars , Eolomea,  The Silent Star and  The First space Ship on Venus



The First space Ship on Venus

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First Spaceship on Venus, German: Der schweigende Stern (en: The Silent Star), Polish: Milczaca Gwiazda, is a 1960 East German/Polish science fiction film directed by Kurt Maetzig and based on the novel The Astronauts by Stanislaw Lem. The film is also known as Planet of the Dead, Silent Star, and Spaceship Venus Does Not Reply.


Gunther Simon, Yoko Tani. An intrepid group of astronauts receives a cryptic message that appears to have originated from an ancient civilization on Venus. When the crew arrives at the long-dead planet, they learn that the species destroyed itself with nuclear weapons. 1962/color/78 minutes . In 1990, the film was featured in the 2nd season of Mystery Science Theater 3000.


In the Dust of the Stars

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A retro '70s vision of the future, IN THE DUST OF THE STARS was made by the DEFA film studio. A radio signal attracts a team of astronauts to a mysterious planet. Once there, they are warmly welcomed by an alien race, but are soon suspicious of what is really occurring on this strange land. Although it looks dated now, IN THE DUST OF THE STARS carries a certain period charm, with the bearded space explorers resembling those in John Carpenter's amusing 1974 space romp DARK STAR.




Eolomea  - general purpose robot

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A thoughtful science-fiction film that springs from the infamous DEFA studio, EOLOMEA was filmed just a few years after Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY captured cinemagoers imaginations. The title refers to a message received from space by citizens still on earth. As they puzzle over what "eolomea" could mean, eight space craft go missing and a vast space station breaks off all communication. Although the special effects are a little creaky, the search for the missing vessels makes for absorbing viewing, and encompasses a broad range of familiar sci-fi themes; fans of genre classics such as Tarkovsky's SOLARIS and Douglas Trumbull's SILENT RUNNING should find much to love here.



 East German TV Programs



Aktuelle Kamera (in English roughly translated as Current Camera) was the state television newscast of the former German Democratic Republic




Ein Kessel Buntes ("A Kettle of Color") was a television variety show in the former East Germany. It broadcast from 1972 to 1992. A total of 113 shows were made, six per year.



East Germany's answer to 007 Das unsichtbare Visier ( The invisible visor)

ran from 1973-79 

A  70s East German Spy TV series made with co-operation of the Stasi.

 It starred Armin Mueller-Stahl in the role of Werner Bredebusch, a Stasi agent active abroad .

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Unser Sandmännchen   (Our Little Sandman) was a German children's bedtime television program using stop motion animation.

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Created by the puppetmaster and director Gerhard Behrendt, the show represented everyday life, travel, and fantastic adventure, as well as a certain amount of propaganda. Some people claim that the title character bears a resemblance to the then leader of the DDR, Walter Ulbricht, and the show was often a showcase for DDR and Socialist technology and success. This is one of the reasons why he often arrived in awe-inspiring vehicles like futuristic cars and flying devices.  The production of the Western version of Sandmännchen ceased in 1991, following the unification of Germany. However, episodes from the DFF show are still run on German television today.




Der schwarze Kanal Commentary on West German news reports 



Some 1960s East German tv commercials








 Vergangenheits Bewaltung

 Mastering the Past


East German Writers