German Movies and Television: Heimat Films

Figure 1.--"Wo die alten Wälder rauschen" is a good example of a German Heimat film. This image comes from an old movie playbill so the quality of the colours are different than images from the actual film.

A popular film genre in Western Germany was the Heimat film. They were also made in Austria. The first appeared even before the end of World War I, but were most popular after World war II. Heimat means a native homeland film. They are sentimental films, often teat jearkers. They were made in West Germany, but not East Germany. They were shot in senic rural locations--often the Alps. Many were low-budget rather formulaistic films. Of course with the appearance of television, the Hedimat theme was ised in manu television shows, especially during the 1950s and 60s.


A popular film genre in Germany was the Heimat film. The classic Heimat films were nostalgic movies of simpler times in Germany and Austria. There is nearly always something endangering the idyll. And there is a love story in it as well. Heimat means a native homeland film. They are sentimental films, often tear jearkers. They were shot in senic rural locations--often the Alps. A major feature of these films is not only the sentimentality, but the highly simplistic nature of the moral issues presented. They were reportedly especially popular with rural people or urban residents with rural roots. Films made in the 1950s and early 60s are some of the best known Heimat films, saccrine films dripping with sentimentality. We note TV productions beginning in the 1970s with Heimat in the title. These are not Heimat films in the classic sence of sentimental tearjearkers. They are, howewver, nostalgic productions about the native homeland. These more modern productions take a more sophisticated look at family life iver the years. While the 1950s Heimat films tended to write the NAZIs out of the script, the more modern Heimat films included the NAZIs in the family accounts. A German reader writes, "some time you wrote about the German tv series "Heimat" and put it in the Heimatfilm section. That's not right. "Heimat" is not a Heimat film. It absolutely does not fit in the Heimatfilm genre." Our reader is of course correct. These modern productions like "Heimat" are not classic Heimat films. (Note that classic Heimat films never had the word Heimat in the title.) We tend to see them as an evolution of the genre, but another interpretation as our reader expresses is to see them as a different type of production.


Heimat films are primarily a German phenomenon. Some were made in Austria, but most were made in Germany with its larger film industry and market. While most of the films were made in Germany, the different German governments had different views on the Heimat genre.


The best known Heimat films today are those made during the 1950s. These are perhaps the classic examples of this genre. They began to becopme more serious in the 1960s as German film making began to make better financed films and the public became more sophisticated. There is a considerable tradition of Heimat films in German film making. There were Heimat films and TV shows made in the 1990s, but almost always they were set in the past.

Production Values

Many Heimat films were low-budget rather formulaistic films. This was especially true of the "classic" Heimt films of the 1950s. This is especially interesting because it affected the costuming. While painfully sentimental and formulistic, low budgets mean that not a lot of money was spent on costuming. Many of the children may have worn their own cloyhes rather than costumes. There were a few well-made Heimat films with better production values, such as ."Der Schandfleck"

Individual Heimat Films

Heimat films were made in both Germany and Austria. Most of the films we are familiar with were made in West Germany after World war II. We have archieved several individual Heimat films on HBC. We are crossrefferencing them here, although there are some posted before we created this page. We will cross reference them as we come across the ones already archived in HBC's film pages. Hopefully our German readers will tell us about their favorite Heimat films. Many did not have interntional releases and are unknown outside Germany.


Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main West German movie page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Theatricals]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Satellite sites] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Created: April 29, 2004
Last updated: 8:39 PM 12/12/2004