Babelsberg Filmstudios - German film industry

written on 17/09/2020
by Gabi Breitenbach

You might not know that Babelsberg Film Studio, located in Potsdam-Babelsberg outside Berlin, Germany, is the oldest large-scale film studio in the world, producing films since 1912.

With a total area of about 460,000 square metres and a studio area of about 25,000 square metres, it is Europe's largest film studio.

Everything I had to know about filmmaking I learned in Babelsberg. - Alfred Hitchcock

Some world famous movies were filmed in Babelsberg, such as Metropolis, V for Vendetta, Budapest Hotel, Inglorious Bastards, Bourne Supremacy, The French Dispatch and series like Dark and Babylon Berlin, just to name a few.

The film studios are closely connected to Germany’s history:

Fritz Lang spent two years working in Babelsberg on his visionary sci-fi epic "Metropolis" (1927), a masterpiece of silent cinema and at the time the most expensive film ever made.

The futuristic urban dystopia is one of the most influential movies of all times.

Many stars started their international careers in Babelsberg, but Germany's most successful film export was without a doubt Marlene Dietrich. The 29-year-old actress had her big breakthrough in 1930 with Joseph Sternberg's classic, "The Blue Angel," filmed in both an English and German version. 

After the Nazis seized power, all Babelsberg productions were put under state control. About 1,000 films were produced from 1933 to 1945 under the direction of Hitler's propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels.

The Babelsberg Studios were in the Soviet zone of occupation. The state-owned film company DEFA started filming there in 1947, producing over 700 feature films throughout the history of East Germany.

Some gained international acclaim, such as Frank Beyer's "Naked Among Wolves" with Armin Müller-Stahl.

In 1989, DEFA was acquired by the trust which was responsible for privatizing East German state enterprises. In July 2004, Vivendi sold Studio Babelsberg to the investment company FBB (Filmbetriebe Berlin Brandenburg GmbH).

Learn more about Babelsberg on this website.