armin mueller-stahl

German Films: Armin Mueller-Stahl

Armin Mueller-Stahl is a man who has repeatedly had to reestablish himself. First, as an actor of the film and stage in East Germany. Then, in the mid-1970s he was blacklisted along with others for protesting when singer-songwriter Karl Wolf Biermann was stripped of his East German citizenship while on tour in West Germany. Mueller-Stahl himself emigrated to West Germany in 1980. He again found work in film. The actor then set his sights on Hollywood. There, he proved himself yet again with a transition to English language films. In 1996, he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the film Shine.

Get to know Armin Mueller-Stahl and practice your German skills with three of his films from both sides of the German-German border: Her Third, Lola, and Die Manns – Ein Jahrhundertroman.

der dritte armin mueller-stahl

Her Third (Der Dritte)

Based on Eberhard Panitz’s shortstory Unter den Bäumen regnet es zweimal, Her Third (or Der Dritte in German) was directed by Egon Günther. The 1972 East German film stars Jutta Hoffmann as Margit Flieser, a twice-divorced single mother. The film follows Margit as she searches for a third husband. Mueller-Stahl portrays a blind man who is Margit’s second husband.

lola armin mueller-stahl


Directed and co-written by New German Cinema wave legend Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1981’s Lola was one of Mueller-Stahl’s first films in West Germany. In the film, Mueller-Stahl stars as von Bohm, a building commissioner in post-WWII era Coburg, West Germany. As the new building commissioner, von Bohm comes into the town and wants to change the system, eliminating corruption. Unsurprisingly, the current town officials don’t appreciate his leadership. Lola (portrayed by Barbara Sukowa), a cabaret singer and prostitute, pursues and seduces von Bohm. He becomes consumed by his desire for her and is consequently sucked in to the town’s seedy underside. As a result, the upstanding commissioner isn’t so squeaky clean anymore.

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Die Manns – Ein Jahrhundertroman

Armin Mueller-Stahl returned to Germany, not for the first or last time, in for the 2001 television mini-series Die Manns – Ein Jahrhundertroman. The series follows the famous literary family the Manns. Mueller-Stahl portrays Thomas while Jürgen Hentsch is Heinrich.

Actress Veronica Ferres also stars in the film.

Practice practice practice! Discover other great German language actors and actresses previously featured.

Top photo by Siebbi ( [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

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