Austria has a rich history of filmmaking, with many critically acclaimed and influential films produced over the years. Some of the most famous Austrian filmmakers include Michael Haneke, Ulrich Seidl, and Stefan Ruzowitzky.

Austrian cinema has a reputation for its exploration of darker and more challenging themes, often examining issues of identity, history, and morality. Many Austrian films also have a distinct visual style, with an emphasis on composition, lighting, and mise-en-scène.

Some of the best-known Austrian films include “The Piano Teacher” (2001) directed by Michael Haneke, “Funny Games” (1997) also directed by Haneke, “The Counterfeiters” (2007) directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky, and “Import/Export” (2007) directed by Ulrich Seidl.

Best Austrian Movies

In recent years, Austrian cinema has continued to thrive, with a new generation of filmmakers exploring a range of themes and styles. The country also hosts several international film festivals, including the prestigious Viennale, which showcases the best of Austrian and international cinema.

1. Dog Days (2001)

“Dog Days” (original title: “Hundstage”) is a 2001 Austrian movie directed by Ulrich Seidl. The film follows the lives of several people living in a suburb of Vienna during a sweltering heatwave. The interwoven stories range from a bored housewife, a group of elderly women who hang out in a cemetery, a young man who films himself performing extreme stunts, and a woman who runs a struggling pet shop. The movie has been praised for its unflinching portrayal of everyday life and its exploration of themes such as loneliness, desperation, and the search for happiness.


Dog Days (Unrated Director's Cut)
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Maria Hofsttter, Christine Jirku, Viktor Hennemann (Actors)
  • Ulrich Seidl (Director) - Ulrich Seidl (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)


2. Poppitz (2002)

“Poppitz” is a German comedy film released in 2002. The movie is based on the true story of Erich Poppitz, a former East German bureaucrat who was fired from his job after reunification. The film follows Poppitz as he attempts to navigate his new life in capitalist Germany and find a new job. Along the way, he encounters a range of eccentric characters, including a former Stasi agent, a paranoid security guard, and a group of radical anarchists. The movie is known for its satirical take on the East-West German divide and its portrayal of the absurdities of post-reunification society.

3. Darwin’s Nightmare (2004)

Darwin’s Nightmare is a 2004 Austrian/French documentary film directed by Hubert Sauper. The movie examines the ecological and social impact of the introduction of the Nile Perch fish into Lake Victoria, Tanzania, and the subsequent decline of the lake’s ecosystem and local fishing industry.

The film reveals how the Nile Perch, a non-native species introduced into Lake Victoria in the 1960s, has led to the near-extinction of over 300 other species of fish, which were once the main source of food and livelihood for local fishermen. The Nile Perch has also disrupted the lake’s ecosystem, causing environmental and health problems for local communities.

Darwin’s Nightmare explores the political and economic factors behind the introduction of the Nile Perch and its impact on the local fishing industry. The film also raises broader questions about globalization, international aid, and the impact of Western capitalism on developing countries.

The film was highly praised by critics for its powerful message and bold storytelling. It won several awards, including the Best Documentary Award at the European Film Awards and the Grand Prize at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. Darwin’s Nightmare is a thought-provoking and deeply moving film that sheds light on the complex and often devastating consequences of human actions on the natural world.

Darwin's Nightmare
  • Elizabeth 'Eliza' Maganga Nsese, Raphael Tukiko Wagara, Dimond Remtulia (Actors)
  • Hubert Sauper (Director) - Hubert Sauper (Writer)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

4. India (1993)

“India” is a 1993 Tamil-language film directed by the acclaimed Indian filmmaker, Shankar. The film tells the story of a man named Senapathy, who is seeking justice for his daughter’s death and becomes a vigilante to fight against corruption in society.

The film is known for its social commentary on corruption, poverty, and inequality in India. It also features a powerful performance by Kamal Haasan, who plays the dual roles of Senapathy and his son, Chandra Bose.

“India” was a critical and commercial success and won several awards, including the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment. The film’s soundtrack, composed by A.R. Rahman, was also a hit and remains popular to this day.


Overall, “India” is a landmark film in Indian cinema that tackles important social issues and features strong performances and memorable music. It continues to be widely regarded as one of the best films of Shankar’s career and a classic of Tamil cinema.

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5. The Bone Man (2009)

“The Bone Man” (original title: “Der Knochenmann”) is a 2009 Austrian crime comedy film directed by Wolfgang Murnberger. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Wolf Haas and stars Josef Hader, Simon Schwarz, and Birgit Minichmayr.

The film follows the story of Brenner (Josef Hader), a former detective who is now working as a chauffeur. Brenner gets caught up in a series of murders and becomes determined to solve the case. He enlists the help of his old friend Berti (Simon Schwarz) to assist him in his investigation, leading them to uncover a complex web of deceit and corruption in their small town.

The film is known for its dark humor and its unique blend of crime and comedy genres. It was a critical and commercial success in Austria, winning several awards at the Austrian Film Awards, including Best Director for Murnberger and Best Actor for Hader. “The Bone Man” has since become a cult classic in Austrian cinema and has spawned two sequels, “Silentium” (2014) and “Das ewige Leben” (2015), also based on novels by Wolf Haas.

The Bone Man ( 2009 ) ( Der Knochenmann ) [ Blu-Ray, Reg.A/B/C Import - Germany ]
  • English, German (Subtitles)
  • German (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

6. The City Without Jews (1924)

“The City Without Jews” is a silent Austrian film released in 1924, directed by Hans Karl Breslauer and based on the novel of the same name by Hugo Bettauer. The film is a satirical work that depicts the rise of anti-Semitism in Austria and the consequences that follow, including the expulsion of all Jews from the country. The film was thought to have been lost until a copy was found in a Parisian flea market in 2015. It was then restored and premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2018. The film has gained renewed attention due to its relevance to contemporary discussions about rising anti-Semitism in Europe.

The City Without Jews (Flicker Alley) [Blu-ray + DVD]
  • Eugen Neufeld, Hans Moser, Anny Milety (Actors)
  • H.K. Breslauer (Director)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

7. The Piano Teacher (2001)

“The Piano Teacher” is an Austrian psychological drama film released in 2001. Directed by Michael Haneke, the movie follows the story of Erika Kohut, a piano teacher at a conservatory in Vienna. Erika is a highly skilled musician but also deeply troubled, repressed, and emotionally stunted. She lives with her controlling and overbearing mother, and as the movie progresses, we see Erika’s repressed sexuality and obsession with her young male student, Walter. The film is known for its intense and graphic portrayal of Erika’s sexual repression, her unhealthy relationship with her mother, and her obsession with Walter. It also deals with themes of power, control, and sadomasochism. The movie was highly acclaimed for its performances, direction, and its unflinching portrayal of taboo subject matter.

The Piano Teacher (The Criterion Collection) [DVD]
  • Isabelle Huppert, Benoit Magimel (Actors)
  • Michael Haneke (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

8. Hinterholz 8 (1998)

Hinterholz 8 is a 1998 Austrian comedy film directed by Harald Sicheritz. The movie tells the story of a family living in a remote Austrian village, who win the lottery and decide to move to the city to pursue their dreams of a better life.

The film explores the culture clash and challenges that the family faces as they try to adapt to urban life. They struggle to fit in with their new neighbors and are faced with a series of comical and often absurd situations as they navigate their new environment.

Hinterholz 8 is known for its biting social commentary on Austrian society, particularly the country’s rural-urban divide. The film satirizes the stereotypes and prejudices that exist between the two worlds, and the characters provide a humorous yet poignant reflection on the challenges of modernization and social change.

The film was critically acclaimed and won several awards, including the Best Film Award at the Max Ophüls Prize Festival. Hinterholz 8 is a unique and thought-provoking comedy that offers a fresh perspective on the complex issues of identity, culture, and social change.

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9. Radetzkymarsch (1965 TV Movie)

“Radetzky March” is a 1965 television movie adaptation of the novel of the same name by Joseph Roth. The film is directed by Michael Kehlmann and stars Bernhard Minetti, Gert Westphal, and Harald Leipnitz.

The story of “Radetzky March” is set in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and follows the life and career of the Trotta family. The patriarch, Franz Joseph Trotta, is a veteran of the Battle of Solferino and is granted a noble title by Emperor Franz Joseph I. The novel explores the decline of the empire and the loss of its identity and traditions.

The film adaptation is faithful to the novel and features strong performances by the cast. It also features music by Johann Strauss Sr. and Johann Strauss Jr., including the titular “Radetzky March.”

Overall, “Radetzky March” is a poignant and thoughtful examination of the decline of a great empire and the impact it has on the people who lived through it. It remains a classic of Austrian literature and has been adapted for film and television multiple times.

10. Nordrand (1999)

“Nordrand” is a 1999 Austrian drama film directed by Barbara Albert. The film follows the lives of several young people living in Vienna, each struggling to find their place in society and dealing with issues such as racism, poverty, and violence.

The film is divided into two parts, with the first part following two teenage girls, Elena and Tanja, as they navigate their way through their troubled lives. The second part of the film focuses on a young couple, Roman and Kiki, who are also trying to find their way in the world, but with different challenges.

“Nordrand” is known for its raw and realistic portrayal of life on the fringes of society, and for its sensitive treatment of complex and controversial issues. The film received critical acclaim both in Austria and internationally, winning several awards, including the FIPRESCI Prize at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival.

Barbara Albert, the director, has since become one of Austria’s most respected and influential filmmakers, known for her socially and politically engaged approach to filmmaking.

11. Revanche (2008)

Revanche is a 2008 Austrian film directed by Götz Spielmann. It tells the story of a brothel worker and ex-con named Alex who falls in love with a Ukrainian woman named Tamara. When Tamara gets caught up in a police raid, Alex decides to take revenge on the police officer responsible, leading to a chain of events with unexpected consequences. The film was critically acclaimed and received several awards, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. It is known for its gripping storyline and excellent performances by the cast.

Revanche (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
  • Hanno Pschl, Andreas Lust, Ursula Strauss (Actors)
  • Gtz Spielmann (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)


3 Characteristics of Austrian Movies

Psychological Depth: Austrian films often delve deep into the psychology of the characters and explore complex emotional states. The films often feature strong character development and nuanced portrayals of human relationships.

Dark and Satirical: Austrian movies often feature dark and satirical humor, with an emphasis on the absurdity of life. The films often confront difficult themes such as death, sex, and violence in a frank and unapologetic manner.

Artistic and Experimental: Austrian filmmakers often take an artistic and experimental approach to filmmaking. They often employ unconventional storytelling techniques and visual styles, and are known for their use of long takes and slow pacing. Many Austrian films also incorporate elements of other art forms, such as literature, theater, and music.

3 Reasons To Watch Austrian Movies

Unique Perspective: Austrian cinema offers a unique perspective on the world, with films that explore the country’s rich history, culture, and society. Austrian movies often address issues such as identity, politics, and social change, offering a thought-provoking and insightful reflection on contemporary issues.

Cinematic Artistry: Austrian filmmakers are renowned for their creative and innovative approach to filmmaking, often pushing the boundaries of traditional storytelling and film aesthetics. Austrian movies are known for their strong visual style, powerful performances, and attention to detail, creating a memorable and immersive cinematic experience for viewers.

International Recognition: Austrian cinema has gained significant international recognition, with many Austrian films receiving critical acclaim and awards at major film festivals around the world. This includes films such as “Amour,” “The White Ribbon,” and “Goodnight Mommy,” which have won awards at Cannes, Berlin, and Venice film festivals, among others. By watching Austrian movies, viewers can become part of the global conversation about film and culture, discovering new perspectives and artistic approaches to filmmaking.

Best Austrian Movies – Wrap Up

Austria has a rich cinematic history that spans several decades and genres. From classic dramas to experimental films, Austrian cinema has produced many influential works that have made an impact on international cinema.

These films showcase the talent and creativity of Austrian filmmakers, as well as their ability to tackle important social and political issues.

They also demonstrate the diversity of Austrian cinema, with works ranging from classic noir thrillers to contemporary horror films. These movies have received critical acclaim and won numerous awards at major international film festivals, cementing their status as some of the best works in Austrian cinema.