Switzerland is not Hollywood. And filmmaking has no great significance in Switzerland. Nevertheless, Swiss directors always manage to convince with high-quality and entertaining films. Here is a selection of the best and most successful Swiss films.
There are countless versions of the movie “Heidi”. The black and white production of director Luigi Comencini, which was shot in Bergün (Graubünden), is considered one of the best. “Heidi” is THE typical mountain and homeland film with a lot of nature, little dialogue and a big happy end.
«Uli der Knecht» (1954)
The film adaptation of Jeremias Gotthelf’s novel may no longer stand up to today’s views. And you have to be able to deal with quiet some kitsch if you want to enjoy the movie. But how the good-hearted (and lazy) servant finally finds his happiness after a lot of confusion, that’s just beautiful.
«Die Schweizermacher» (1978)
With 941,321 sold tickets, Die Schweizermacher is the most successful Swiss film of all time. This comedy has definitely played its way into the Swiss hearts. In it, Emil Steinberger and Walo Lüönd, who play merciless civil servants in their parade roles who put foreigners willing to naturalize to the acid test.
«Les Petites Fugues» (1979)
There are also very successful French-speaking movies, such as Les Petite Fugues. After 30 years of working on the same farm, the old farmhand Pipe buys a moped and makes surprising discoveries. Yves Yersin’s film poetically depicts the process of self-liberation.
This story of two tennager brothers and sisters on the Alp tells of incest, puberty and the identitary struggle of this age. “Höhenfeuer” shows the supposed mountain idyll and romantic isolation for once from a completely different perspective.
Ein Schweizer namens Nötzli (1988)
In this lively comedy, Walter Roderer plays the naive, lovable accountant Nötzli, who is promoted to the management of a chemical company in Berlin due to a mysterious mix-up. If you’ve always wanted to know what a Swiss “Bünzli” is, you’ll get your answer in this movie.
«Ernstfall in Havanna» (2002)
Sabine Boss’s amusing comedy intensifies diplomatic relations between the USA and Cuba. Embassy employee Stefan Balsiger is confronted with an emergency in Havana. It is up to him to avert the second Cuban crisis. The two comedians and actors Giacobbo and Müller have been responsible for the laughs ever since their joint late night show.
«Achtung, Fertig, Charlie!» (2003)
When Antonio Carrera (Michael Koch) is called into duty by the military police during his own wedding, there is only one thing for him – to get out quickly, because who wants to trade wedding crack for camouflage suit? The film comedy about the recruit school is especially popular with a young audience.
«Mein Name ist Eugen» (2005)
Cheeky rascal adventure of four friends who run away from home in search of their idol Fritzli Bühler – the king of rascals. My name is Eugen takes us on a fast-paced Tour de Suisse, which has some surprises in store for the four runaways.
A topic that kept the whole of Switzerland in suspense in 2001: The exciting economic drama is about the last days of the Swiss airline Swissair. In the documentary feature film, director Michael Steiner combines archive footage with recreated and completely fictional scenes – in addition, the personal fates of the people affected by the grounding are highlighted. A film that touched the entire nation, since the Swissair grounding was one of the most drastic events in the Swiss economy.
«Die Herbstzeitlosen» (2006)
In the Swiss Feel Good comedy, 80-year-old Martha (Stephanie Glaser) regains courage after the death of her husband and opens a boutique where she sells erotic lingerie. That makes for red heads in rural Emmental. An excellent film about the fact that life in old age is not over yet and how to face the narrow-mindedness of small villages.
Who doesn’t know it – the Swiss children’s classic Schellen Ursli by Alois Carigiet. In 2015 the story was brought to the big screen by director Xavier Koller. The story revolves around Ursli, wounded with pride, who embarks on a daring adventure to show off his “bell” in the traditional Chalandamarz procession.
«Die göttliche Ordnung» (2017)
«The divine order» is one of the latest Swiss films. In it, a Swiss housewife fights for the woman’s right to vote. The documentary comedy by Petra Volpe deals with the struggle of women for emancipation and equality in 1971. The film was nominated for the best foreign-language Oscar.
And the oscar goes to…
Switzerland has submitted 45 films for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film since their first entry in 1961. Swiss filmmakers received the golden statue twice. 1984 for «Dangerous Moves»and 1990 for «Journey of Hope».
Do you still need subtitles?
We hope you enjoyed watching those movies. Did you have to watch them with subtitles though? Then it may be time for you to learn Swiss German and sign up for our online course. So next time, subtitles won’t be necessary anymore.