Even five years ago finding films in their original language in Hamburg was a challenge. But the tides have recently begun to shift, and now you can find movies in English every night of the week, not to mention screenings of films in other languages ― from Spanish to Polish to Korean ― with regular frequency.
While the majority of cinemas still mostly show Hollywood flicks dubbed into German, there are plenty of theatres in Hamburg specialising in films in English and other original languages, and more still that offer undubbed screenings with some regularity.
See our list of the best cinemas to catch undubbed films.
All / Mostly Original
A treat for students, Abaton Kino is located right by Hamburg University and offers a wide variety of films (including festival darlings, documentaries and successful indie features) almost entirely in their original languages. While many of these are in English with German subtitles, speakers of other languages (such as French, Spanish and Turkish) will regularly find screenings in their mother tongues as well.
Allendeplatz 3 / Ecke Grindelhof
Don’t look to FilmRaum for the usual blockbusters or even well-known critical hits. This Eimsbüttel cinema has a range of lesser-known films from many different countries. While nearly the entire programme is comprised of films in their original language, that language is only sometimes English, making FilmRaum a wonderful resource for film lovers who speak languages other than English or German, as well as those who enjoy undubbed films in any language and can read German subtitles.
The smallest cinema on this list, Lichtmess Kino only holds several screenings a month, but they’re usually of films you won’t catch anywhere else. Specialising in documentaries as well as experimental and short films, it’s well worth keeping an eye on Lichtmess’ programme so as not to miss something truly special.
Metropolis Kino is a must-visit for anyone craving films off the beaten path. While this centrally located cinema usually screens a selection of smaller new and recent releases from a variety of countries, their programme also includes rotating film series that run over the course of a few days, weeks, months or throughout the year. Ongoing and previous series’ themes include ‘Original : Remake’, ‘Bizarre Cinema’, ‘Soulfood Cinema - Urban Spaces’, and tributes or retrospectives on such film industry artists as Bernardo Bertolucci, Helmut Herbst and Romy Schneider. Films are rarely dubbed, but viewers should be prepared for German subtitles as not all films are originally in English.
Kleine Theaterstrasse 10
Film buffs in the know all agree that Savoy Filmtheater is the hub of English-language cinema in Hamburg. In addition to blockbusters and major critical successes, this centrally located cinema also hosts regular screenings of older ‘nostalgia films’, recordings of live theatre, and the occasional non-English international hits with English subtitles ― all of which can be enjoyed in luxurious seats (some of which fully recline) with a cocktail or longdrink in hand.
At the intersection of Sternschanze, St. Pauli and Altona Altstadt, Studio Kino serves up a mix of mainstream hits and smaller critical darlings in a classic cinema setting. They usually have quite a large programme, so there’s something playing for nearly everyone. Don’t forget the popcorn, which is freshly prepared behind the counter.
Founded on the belief that film should be accessible to everyone, 3001 Kino in Sternschanze offers reduced prices to anyone who needs them, whether students, seniors or adults with a reduced income. You won’t find blockbusters here, but you will find a colourful mix of smaller international films, with screenings alternating between German dubs and original versions, so be sure to check their website for details.
Schanzenstrasse 75 (through the courtyard)
In the heart of St. Pauli, B-Movie is the place to go if you’re looking for something a little different. In their own words, this little cinema specialises in ‘smaller, unknown and controversial films’, which may include, for example, genre films, older blockbusters, documentaries, exploitation, trash, underground and experimental films.
Ottensen’s Zeise Kino shows a mix of critical successes, documentaries and successful independent films from a variety of countries, including the US, the UK and other English-speaking countries. Screenings alternate between German dubs and original versions with German subtitles, so do check their website to ensure you get the version you’re after.
Alabama Kino in Winterhude plays a mix of smaller films from a variety of countries, including a fair number of children’s films. While much of their programme is dubbed, they usually offer a few original language screenings a week.
Although the historic Passage Kino in Hamburg's city centre isn't usually known for screening films undubbed, it is home to both the Hamburg International Queer Film Festival (all films screened in their original languages) and a weekly English-language Sneak Preview.
If you’re used to big films on big screens in big multiplexes, Cinemaxx and UCI are the places for you. Mostly showing Hollywood blockbusters dubbed in German, these multiplex chains offer the occasional undubbed screening as well (sometimes with German subtitles, sometimes without).