Great Books and Films about Berlin

Planning a trip or move to Berlin? Here’s a list of some of the best books and films (just scroll down).

Take a look too at my own portrait of Berlin, published by Reaktion Press (2017).


Adam, Hans-Christian, Berlin: Portrait of a City (Cologne, 2007)

Anonymous, A Woman in Berlin [1954], trans. Philip Boehm (London, 2004)

Beachy, Robert, Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity (New York, 2014)

Bernt, Matthias, Britta Grell and Andrej Holm, eds, The Berlin Reader (Bielefeld, 2013)

Braun, Markus Sebastian, ed., Berlin: The Architecture Guide (Salenstein, 2012)
Clay Large, David, Berlin (New York, 2000)

Darnton, Robert, Berlin Journal, 1989–1990 (New York, 1991)

Deutschkron, Inge, Outcast: A Jewish Girl in Wartime Berlin (New York, 1990)

Döblin, Alfred, Berlin Alexanderplatz [1929], trans. Eugene Jolas (London, 2004)

Elon, Amos, The Pity of it All: A Portrait of the German-Jewish Epoch, 1743–1933 (New York, 2002)

Fallada, Hans, Alone in Berlin [1947], trans. Michael Hofmann (London, 2009)

––––, Iron Gustav: A Berlin Family Chronicle [1937], trans. Philip Owens (London, 2014)

Fontane, Theodor, Effie Briest [1895], trans. Hugh Rorrison (London, 2001)

Funder, Anna, Stasiland (London, 2003)

Gay, Peter, My German Question: Growing Up in Nazi Berlin (New Haven, ct, 1998)

Haffner, Ernst, Blood Brothers, trans. Michael Hofmann (New York, 2015)

Isherwood, Christopher, Christopher and his Kind [1976] (London, 2012)

––––, Goodbye to Berlin [1939] (New York, 2012)
––––, Mr Norris Changes Trains [1935] (London, 2005)

Jordan, Jennifer A., Structures of Memory: Understanding Urban Change in Berlin and Beyond (Palo Alto, ca, 2006)

Keun, Irmgard, The Artificial Silk Girl [1932], trans. Kathie von Ankum (New York, 2002)

Ladd, Brian, Ghosts of Berlin: Confronting German History in the Urban Landscape (Chicago, il, 1997)

Larson, Erik, In the Garden of Beasts (New York, 2011)

Maclean, Rory, Berlin: Imagine a City (London, 2014)

Özdamar, Emile Sevgi, The Bridge of the Golden Horn, trans. Martin Chalmers (London, 2007)

Richie, Alexandra, Faust’s Metropolis (London, 1999)

Ross, Alex, The Rest is Noise (New York, 2007)

Roth, Joseph, What I Saw, trans. Michael Hofmann (New York, 2003)

Schneider, Peter, Berlin Now, trans. Sophie Schlondor (London, 2014)

––––, The Wall Jumper, trans. Leigh Hafrey (Chicago, il, 1989)

Shirer, William L., Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent, 1934–1941 (New York, 1941)

Till, Karen E., The New Berlin: Memory, Politics, Place (Minneapolis, mn, 2005)

Tucholsky, Kurt, Berlin! Berlin!, trans. Cindy Opitz (Berlin, 2013)



-Aimée and Jaguar, dir. Max Färberböck (1999). War love story between two women, one Jewish and the other the wife of a Nazi.

-Berlin Calling, dir. Hannes Stöhr (2008)-Berlin is in Germany, dir. Hannes Stöhr (2001)
-Berlin, Schönhauser Corner, dir. Gerhard Klein (1957)
-Berlin: Symphony of a Great City, dir. Walter Ruttmann (1927) (1927 film, silent. I saw it recently set with live electronic music. The original score is not as beep beep beep…)
-The Bourne Supremacy, dir. Paul Greengrass (2004)
-Cabaret, dir. Bob Fosse (1972)
-Christiane F., dir. Uli Edel (1981)
-Different from the Others, dir. Richard Oswald (1919)
-The Divided Sky, dir. Konrad Wolf (1964)
-Downfall, dir. Oliver Hirschbiegel (2004)
-The Edukators, dir. Hans Weingartner (2004)
-Emil and the Detectives, dir. Gerhard Lamprecht (1931)
-A Foreign Affair, dir. Billy Wilder (1948)
-Germany, Year Zero, dir. Roberto Rossellini (1948)
-Ghosts, dir. Christian Petzold (2005)
-Goodbye Lenin, dir. Wolfgang Becker (2003). A woman goes into a coma before the wall comes down, she wakes and everything has changed.
-Harvest, dir. Benjamin Cantu (2011)
-The Last Laugh, dir. F. W. Murnau (1924)
-The Legend of Paul and Paula, dir. Heiner Carow (1973)
-Life is All You Get, dir. Wolfgang Becker (1997)
-The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, dir. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (1943)
-The Lives of Others, dir. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (2006). The Stasi invade and destroy the delicate lives of two artists.
-Lola and Billy the Kid, dir. Kutlug Ataman (1999)
-M, dir. Fritz Lang (1931)
-Metropolis, dir. Fritz Lang (1927)
-Murderers Among Us, dir. Wolfgang Staudte (1948)
-Neukölln Unlimited, dir. Agostino Imondi and Dietmar Ratsch (2010)
-No Place to Go, dir. Oskar Roehler (2000)
-Oh Boy! (A Co ee in Berlin), dir. Jan Ole Gerster (2012)
-Olympia, dir. Leni Riefenstahl (1938)
-One, Two, Three, dir. Billy Wilder (1961) Billy Wilder comedy about a Coca Cola executive trying to sell his beverage to the Soviets.
-People on Sunday, dir. Curt and Robert Siodmak (1930)
-Possession, dir. Andrej Żuławski (1981)
-Rabbit à la Berlin, dir. Bartosz Kanopka (2009)
-Run Lola Run, dir. Tom Tykwer (1998). Enervating sprint through the reunited city. Lola has thirty minutes to obtain a large amount of cash.
-Solo Sunny, dir. Konrad Wolf (1980)
-Sonnenallee, dir. Leander Haussmann (1999)
-Stroszek, dir. Werner Herzog (1977)
-Three, dir. Tom Tykwer (2010)
-Victoria, dir. Sebastian Schipper (2015). Filmed in a single shot, this film about a young woman drawn into a Berlin criminal gang advises you (don’t believe it!) not to make the mistake of falling for a local…
-Walk on Water, dir. Eytan Fox (2005)
-Wings of Desire, dir. Wim Wenders (1987). Wim Wenders story about angels who console Berliners. The first thirty minutes are genius, then you can watch something else.

City magazines

*In Berlin, you should check out TIP for listings of what’s on. Although note that their print version has gone monthly and it’s not quite as up-to-date as it used to be:
Ex-Berliner is the ex-pat magazine in English:

The German gay listings are:

Here’s the index to the Moving to Berlin Guide, click on what you want to read next!

-Introduction to the Guide

-Why Berlin?


-Looking for an Apartment

-Property Prices and Rents

-Monthly Costs


-Setting-up Checklist

-Getting Around Berlin

-Where to Learn German?

-Staying Fit

-Media, Films, and Books about Berlin

This is an independent guide to Berlin, with no ghostwritten content and no sponsored links or tips, from The Needle

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For a history and portrait of Berlin, do check out my book!

(the author asserts his right to copyright, revised 07/2023)