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The Man Behind Hitler
Top Ten Most Popular German Films During the Nazi Period

A November 1944 confidential German government report listed the most successful films of the Third Reich. These films were ranked based upon total box office and number of domestic tickets sold.


  1. Die Goldene Stadt ("The Golden City"), 1942
    This film was directed by Veit Harlan, who also directed Goebbels-sponsored propaganda films Jud Suss and Kolberg. After the war, Harlan was put on trial for war crimes, but was acquitted. "The Golden City" tells the story of a young German girl who disobeys her father, leaves home, and becomes pregnant. When she tries to go back home, she is turned away.

  2. Der Weiße Traum ("The White Dream"), 1943
    This film, which recounts a young ice skater's struggle for success, premiered on October 5, 1943. The Nazis were struggling militarily after the advancement of Allied forces in Italy and the toppling of Mussolini during the summer of 1943.

  3. Immensee, 1943
    This color film about a love triangle was based on the 1849 Theodor Storm love story of the same name. During the Nazi era, Storm's novella became popular for its nationalistic sentiments.

  4. Die Große Liebe ("The Great Love"), 1942
    The love affair of a famous singer and a German pilot is this film's subject. Their intent to marry is prevented by World War II.

  5. Wiener Blut ("Viennese Blood"), 1942
    This costume-rich musical was directed by Austrian Willi Forst, who himself was a star in stage musicals before turning to film in the 1930s. The film explores a young woman's experience as a dancer, and takes its title from a popular 19th century Austrian waltz.

  6. Das Wunschkonzert ("The Request Concert"), 1941
    Two lovers who met during the 1936 Olympics reunite years later, only to be separated again by World War II in this musical. The two communicate through the Wunschkonzert, a popular German radio program that allowed listeners to send in their song requests.

  7. Schrammeln ("Schrammel Music"), 1944
    This period piece portrays the personal lives of popular 19th century Austrian musicians Joseph and Hanns Schrammel, whose musical style was a staple of Viennese taverns.

  8. Zirkus Renz ("The Renz Circus"), 1943
    This film depicts a love triangle involving Ernst Jakob Renz, who in the 19th century established the popular Renz Circus.

  9. Die Frau meiner Traume ("The Woman Of My Dreams"), 1944
    A popular singer takes a break from her career and visits the countryside, where she falls in love with a local engineer. When her manager finds her and the engineer learns -- and disapproves -- of her celebrity, the relationship is threatened. Filled with extravagant musical numbers, the color film offered respite from the worsening war situation.

  10. Münchhausen, 1943
    German audiences welcomed this special-effects-filled retelling of the outrageous adventures of an 18th century German nobleman as an escape from the war. With visual effects surpassing Hollywood efforts, Joseph Goebbels proclaimed in his diary, "Now we can again present our business cards to the world."

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