Welcome to our exhibition

Divided - United

Hit movies in Germany


50 years of
German cinema history
in movie posters
in the Haus der Geschichte collection

Going to the movies is one of the favorite leisure-time activities of millions of people. This was also true of the two Germanys for four decades. In 1989, movie attendance totaled 107 million in the Federal Republic of Germany and 65 million in the GDR. Box office hits are indicators of cultural and social trends.

In addition to our virtual exhibition entitled Divided - United, portraying 50 years of German history in East and West German cartoons, we are now presenting a poster display of 50 years of German cinematic history, selected from the 18,000 posters in our collections.

The exhibition is arranged chronologically. It juxtaposes one popular movie each from East and West Germany for every year from 1949 to 1989. The exhibition thus goes into the differences and the similarities of movie-going in the two Germanys. The entertainment motive emerges as a point in common: "E.T." and "Dirty Dancing" were - in different years - box office hits in both German states. In other years, contrasts in everyday experience are shown in the choice of movies: The hugely successful film "Die Legende von Paul und Paula", for example, reflects the existential feelings of many people in the GDR at the beginning of the seventies. For the period after 1990, we present the major box office hit of each cinema season in united Germany

We based our selections on available attendance figures. The film reviews included are designed to generate discussion. Please join in the discussion and send us your views. For more detailed information, check the Impressum for various links on the topic of films and movies.

And now, enjoy your virtual excursion into cinema history.

August 1999

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