8 Best Movies to Watch From Studio Babelsberg

Staff & contributors
Michael “Eddie” Edwards (Taron Egerton) was a man with big glasses and even bigger dreams. As a physically disabled child-turned-oddly determined young adult, he tried his hands at all kinds of sports to earn himself a place in United Kingdom’s Team, only to be shunned and rejected more times than one can count. While his coming home a hero can easily be attributed to Great Britain’s lack of a ski jumper representative to the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, the world has Eddie’s perseverance and never-say-die attitude to thank. A story about conquering greater heights and just taking flight, Eddie the Eagle shows the world how winning doesn’t always mean taking home the crown.

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama, History

Actor: Ania Sowinski, Anthony Chisholm, Aria DeMaris, Christopher Walken, Daniel Ings, Daniel Westwood, Daz Black, Dexter Fletcher, Dickon Tolson, Edvin Endre, Graham Fletcher-Cook, Hugh Jackman, Iris Berben, Jessica Allain, Jim Broadbent, Jo Hartley, Joachim Raaf, Jozef Aoki, Keith Allen, Mads Sjogard Pettersen, Marc Benjamin, Mark Benton, Matt Rippy, Rune Temte, Taron Egerton, Tim McInnerny, Tom Costello

Director: Dexter Fletcher

Rating: PG-13

Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life) is back in full form with this three-hour movie based on a true story. His creation has one of the most beautiful depictions of happiness ever seen in film, portraying the simple yet joyous life of a farmer in the Austrian mountains. You'd have to see it for yourself to understand, but how Malick depicts this character's love for his wife (and her love for him), their children, and even their farming rituals are nothing short of cinematic wizardry. 

This peaceful existence changes when World War 2 intensifies and this farmer is called to serve for the Nazis. He refuses to enroll out of principle and puts himself and his family at great danger and alienation from their village. The question at the center of the film is one that other villagers and the church ask him a lot: what good can his actions do? And the title of the movie is taken from A George Eliot quote: "The growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs."

Genre: Drama, History, War

Actor: Alexander Fehling, Alexander Radszun, August Diehl, Bernd Hölscher, Bruno Ganz, Chris Theisinger, Dieter Kosslick, Dimo Alexiev, Ermin Sijamija, Franz Rogowski, Joel Basman, Johan Leysen, Johannes Gabl, Johannes Krisch, Johannes Nussbaum, Jürgen Prochnow, Karin Neuhäuser, Karl Markovics, Katja Lechthaler, Leonard Kunz, Maria Simon, Mark Waschke, Martin Wuttke, Matthias Schoenaerts, Max Malatesta, Max Mauff, Michael Nyqvist, Michael Steinocher, Monika Lennartz, Moritz Katzmair, Nicholas Reinke, Sarah Born, Sophie Rois, Thomas Mraz, Tobias Moretti, Ulrich Brandhoff, Ulrich Matthes, Valerie Pachner, Waldemar Kobus, Wolfgang Michael

Director: Terrence Malick

Rating: PG-13

Ralph Fiennes plays a mild-mannered British diplomat in Kenya who is stunned by the news of his wife Tessa’s (Rachel Weisz) sudden death while in the company of another man. He sets off to investigate the suspicious death––and secret life–-of his late wife, within a tangle of personal betrayals, political threats, and corporate conspiracies. This film presents an exquisite contrast between Justin’s (Fiennes) gentle, contemplative demeanor and the progressively gripping details he uncovers; between rapturous romanticism and darkly corrupting interests. It’s a touching, smart, and suspenseful feast of a movie.

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Anneke Kim Sarnau, Archie Panjabi, Bill Nighy, Danny Huston, Donald Apiyo, Donald Sumpter, Gerard McSorley, Hubert Koundé, Jeffrey Caine, John Keogh, Juliet Aubrey, Nick Reding, Pete Postlethwaite, Peter King Nzioki, Rachel Weisz, Ralph Fiennes, Richard McCabe, Rupert Simonian, Sidede Onyulo, Teresa Harder, Thomas Chemnitz

Director: Fernando Meirelles

Rating: R

Isle of Dogs has all the hallmarks of a Wes Anderson picture—it's stylish, otherworldly, and deadpan hilarious. But the film is also uniquely its own thing, a stop-motion animation deeply and gorgeously immersed in Japanese history and lore. Instead of merely relegating culture in the background for mere aesthetic purposes (as Anderson has done in the past with The Darjeeling Limited), culture here plays a vital role in the adventure and overall plot of the film. It's up to the viewer to decide whether Isle of Dogs is a case of appropriation or appreciation, but what can't be denied is that this is a movie with a strong and unforgettable bite to it. 

Genre: Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Drama

Actor: Akira Takayama, Alex Orman, Anjelica Huston, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Bryan Cranston, Chris Benz, Courtney B. Vance, Edward Norton, Elaiza Ikeda, Erica Dorn, F. Murray Abraham, Fisher Stevens, Frances McDormand, Frank Wood, Greta Gerwig, Harvey Keitel, Jake Ryan, Jeff Goldblum, Kara Hayward, Ken Watanabe, Koyu Rankin, Kunichi Nomura, Liev Schreiber, Mari Natsuki, Nijiro Murakami, Roman Coppola, Ryuhei Matsuda, Scarlett Johansson, Shota Matsuda, Taichi Kodama, Takayuki Yamada, Tilda Swinton, Yojiro Noda, Yoko Ono

Director: Wes Anderson

Rating: PG-13

The Reader is a German-American drama from 2008, based on the best-selling novel by author Bernhard Schlink. The storyline begins with adult Michael (Ralph Fiennes) reminiscing about his adolescence in post-World War II Berlin and his fateful relationship with an older woman named Hannah (Kate Winslet). 15-year old Michael is beset by Scarlet Fever and helped off the street one day by Hannah. Taken into her care, they soon begin a passionate affair, quickly forsaking family and friends for every opportunity to ensconce themselves in a world of lust and desire. As their time together progresses, Hannah begins urging Michael to read to her daily—to which he draws from many classic novels and delights in their rich interchange. Hannah suddenly disappears from Michael’s life, however, only reappearing several years later when young law student Michael is stunned to find her facing a World War II war-crimes tribunal. Tied to a real-life series of trials against former Auschwitz employees, The Reader is a strikingly original and exceptionally well-made film that is recommended to those who appreciate sophisticated, emotionally mannered cinema.

Genre: Drama, Romance

Actor: Alexandra Maria Lara, Benjamin Trinks, Bruno Ganz, Burghart Klaussner, Carmen-Maja Antoni, David Kross, Fabian Busch, Florian Bartholomäi, Hannah Herzsprung, Heike Hanold-Lynch, Jeanette Hain, Jürgen Tarrach, Karoline Herfurth, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Block, Lena Olin, Linda Bassett, Ludwig Blochberger, Margarita Broich, Marie Gruber, Martin Brambach, Matthias Habich, Moritz Grove, Ralph Fiennes, Susanne Lothar, Sylvester Groth, Vijessna Ferkic, Volker Bruch

Director: Stephen Daldry

Rating: R

Of course, with wartime spy romances, it’s expected to have conflicted desire, twisty betrayals, and the internal war between personal love and national duty. Black Book delivers this in spades, infusing the drama with writer-director Paul Verhoeven’s propensity for sex and violence, which he brings back to his homeland after two decades apart. The drama is well-made, especially with the talented Carice van Houten as a survival-first composite spy character inspired by several resistance members, but the familiar plot, the melodrama, and the pacing can make the 2 and a half hour runtime feel a bit tedious for some viewers. Still, for fans of the genre, Black Book isn’t a terrible choice to watch.

Genre: Drama, Thriller, War

Actor: Bert Luppes, Carice van Houten, Christian Berkel, Derek de Lint, Diana Dobbelman, Dolf de Vries, Frank Lammers, Garrick Hagon, Gijs Naber, Halina Reijn, Hugo Metsers, Johnny de Mol, Marcel Musters, Marisa van Eyle, Matthias Schoenaerts, Menno van Beekum, Merel Pauw, Michiel Huisman, Mike Reus, Nolan Hemmings, Peter Blok, Pieter Tiddens, Ronald Armbrust, Sebastian Koch, Theo Maassen, Thom Hoffman, Timothy Deenihan, Waldemar Kobus, Xander Straat

Director: Paul Verhoeven

Rating: R

It's a pretty nifty idea to expand on just one section of Bram Stoker's Dracula that's essentially just a footnote but implies something much more violent and horrific. And to its credit, The Last Voyage of the Demeter takes this sliver of the source material very seriously—with strong, period-specific production design and a cast that brings humanity and morality to their otherwise two-dimensional characters. Unfortunately, the film just doesn't know what to do with itself. As a creature feature, the thrills are uninspired and difficult to see properly on screen; as a supposedly character-driven horror movie, it only ever gestures toward deeper ideas but fails to give the tragic nature of its story any weight. And Dracula himself has none of the terror or the sophistication that has made him such an enduring figure throughout all of fiction. He's just a thing with wings.

Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

Actor: Adam Shaw, Aisling Franciosi, Chris Walley, Christopher York, Corey Hawkins, David Dastmalchian, Graham Turner, Javier Botet, Jon Jon Briones, Liam Cunningham, Malcolm Galea, Martin Furulund, Nicolo Pasetti, Nikolai Nikolaeff, Noureddine Farihi, Sally Reeve, Stefan Kapičić, Vladimir Cabak, Woody Norman

Director: André Øvredal

After a strong first act that has lots of fun playing with fake identities donned by its characters (and with a particularly entertaining supporting turn from Bill Nighy), Role Play slows down significantly and only ends up spinning its wheels. In its attempt to inject some more drama into the central relationship between Anna (who goes by Emma with her family) and Dave, the film articulates itself awkwardly, overemphasizes the obvious, and loses precious time for the plot develop in interesting ways. By the third act, Role Play practically teleports itself into entirely new circumstances, where the emotional stakes are neither high enough or clear enough to begin with.

Genre: Action, Comedy, Romance

Actor: Angus McGruther, Bill Nighy, Connie Nielsen, Cornell Adams, David Oyelowo, Dominic Holmes, Erkan Sulcani, Jade-Eleena Dregorius, Jonathan Failla, Julia Schunevitsch, Kaley Cuoco, Lucia Aliu, Moritz Berg, Reagan Bryan-Gudgeon, Rudi Dharmalingam, Simon Delaney, Sonita Henry, Stacy Thunes, Steffen Jung, Stephanie Levi-John

Director: Thomas Vincent

Rating: R