Switzerland’s scenic alpine landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for beautiful, thought-provoking works of cinema and television. These Swiss films and TV shows are a great way to immerse yourself in the Swiss culture and lifestyle. Just as importantly, they can help you learn any one of the four major languages spoken across Switzerland!
German is the most widely spoken language in Switzerland; over 60% of the Swiss speak it as their mother tongue. But Swiss German’s many dialects can be tricky to understand even if you have a good grasp of the German language. Fortunately, we have a selection of our favorite Swiss German movies and TV shows to help you acclimatize to the nuances of the language and learn to speak like a true Schweizer*in.
Learn languages at your pace
Great Swiss German movies
Die Schweizermacher (The Swissmakers)
Widely regarded as the most successful Swiss film of all time, Rolf Lyssy’s Die Schweizermacher (1978) follows two Swiss immigration officers and an eccentric cast of immigrants seeking to become Swiss. While poking fun at the Swiss naturalization process and some quirks of the national character, the movie still manages to address the emotive topics of immigration and identity. Timeless characters, and their conflicting perspectives on the world, make this a poignant and hilarious film that continues to resonate with today’s audience.
Heidi (2015) is a heartwarming family film about a little orphan girl whose aunt hands her over to her grandfather to live high in the Swiss Alps. Although her grandfather, Alpöhi, is a gruff and reclusive figure at first, he develops a profound affection for Heidi as they spend time together tending his herd of goats.
Heidi’s aunt later returns to take her to Frankfurt am Main in Germany, where she lives with the wealthy Sesemann family as a companion to Klara, a protected girl in a wheelchair. Heidi is very unhappy and yearns for her grandfather, but she tries to make the best of her new situation. There are many twists and turns in this wonderful film, which is sure to increase your appreciation of the Swiss German language and Swiss landscapes.
Die Herbstzeitlosen (The Late Bloomers)
Die Herbstzeitlosen (2006) is a tragicomedy made by the Swiss director Bettina Oberli. After the death of her husband, 80-year-old Martha Jost continues to run his dusty old corner shop but has lost all joie de vivre. In an effort to reclaim it, she decides to transform the shop into a chic lingerie store with the help of her three closest friends. As you might imagine, this stirs much indignation in the traditional, prudish Swiss village of Trug in the canton of Bern. There are plenty of twists and turns in this film to keep you locked into the story, so it’s no wonder that Die Herbstzeitlosen is one of the most successful Swiss films ever made.
Great Swiss German TV shows
Neumatt (New Heights)
Neumatt is a compelling Swiss drama series comprising two seasons. The series focuses on Michi Wyss, a successful consultant living the high life in the city of Zurich, Switzerland’s financial capital (and one of its best cities to visit). When his elderly father takes his own life, the tragedy draws Michi home to a struggling family farm. With his mother and siblings, Michi is left in charge of the farm. Facing hefty financial debts, he must confront conflicting duties to his family and his own ambitions — and ultimately dive into the rural past he longed to leave behind.
A young detective, Rosa Wilder, returns to her home high in the Swiss mountains after a long absence. The reason? To commemorate the death of her brother, who perished in an accident years before. But when a murder occurs in the small town, Rosa decides to stay on to investigate. Filmed against a beautiful alpine backdrop, Wilder is a gritty crime drama that deftly balances the intrigue of a murder mystery with the personal battles of its central heroine.
Nele and Gianni have been happily married for a decade. But when their love life begins to falter, each of them secretly turns to online dating to escape the monotony. When a surprising (and awkward) twist finds them matched with each other, they’re forced to confront their marital problems head-on. Seitentriebe follows the couple as they plant themselves in front of a relationship therapist and end up pursuing some non-traditional solutions to their marital rut. They must learn to face the challenges and confront the taboos surrounding their new, “mostly monogamous” relationship structure. Can they make this nontraditional marriage work?
Watch your way to Swiss German fluency
Whether you’re looking for a classic comedy, a heartwarming family romp or a deep-cutting drama, there are plenty of Swiss German films and TV programs to draw you in. If you want to learn the language or immerse yourself in the culture, this list of must-watch Swiss films and television shows is just a start!