4 great (and cheap) movie theaters in Berlin

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Babylon Cinema in Berlin

New York, Los Angeles and Paris aren’t the world’s only cinematic cities. Filmmakers love to set their films against Berlin’s exciting cityscape (which also hosts the annual Berlinale film festival).

“Inglorious Basterds,” “The Bourne Supremacy” and “A Good German” are just a few of the films that have been enhanced by the city’s historic and high-tech architecture. Berlin also boasts a cutting-edge film studio, Studio Babelsberg, which produces mega-budget action flicks. What’s up next? “Unknown White Male” with Liam Neeson, January Jones and Diane Kruger.

It only makes sense, then, that Berlin is well-stocked with a wide range of movie theaters. A host of quirky cinemas studding the city play anything but mainstream fare. In fact, you’re more likely to catch an offbeat, English-language independent film in Berlin than in many major cities in the U.S.

Ticket prices and Kinotage

Film-going in Berlin is decidedly Cheapo-friendly. Prices are relatively low—most films don’t cost more than €7. They’re even cheaper on Kinotage (“Movie Day”), when tickets are reduced by about €1.50. Kinotage varies by theater, but it’s usually on Tuesday. Be sure to avoid movies longer than two hours and ten minutes—they can cost up to €1 more.

For current movie listings, pick up an issue or visit the Web sites of Zitty or Tip, the city’s weekly entertainment and cultural listings magazines.

Here are four great cinema options for movie-goers in Berlin:

Babylon Cinema
Rosa Luxemburg Str. 30
U-Bahn: Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz
Admission: €6.50

With its old-fashioned neon marquee, Babylon Berlin is the best of the Yorck Kinogruppe’s art theaters. Its film buff-approved lineup almost always includes English-language films or foreign films with English subtitles, making it a favorite among Berlin’s expats. The theater also hosts occasional film festivals and book talks. After catching a showing, discuss the film over a beer at a nearby Hackescher Markt bar.

Hackesche Höfe Kino
Rosenthaler Str. 40/41
S-bahn: Hackescher Markt
Admission:  €8 (€6.50 on Monday and Tuesday)

Also in Mitte, the Hackesche Höfe Kino is a downsized “multiplex” in one of the neighborhood’s historic courtyards. Movies—from the U.S., Europe and beyond—tend to be critically acclaimed and independent. Documentaries are also well represented.

CineStar Berlin-Original
Potsdamer Str. 4
S-/U-bahn: Potsdamer Platz
Admission: €7; loge seats: €8

Potsdamer Platz is another major place to catch a movie. The futuristic Sony Center is home to two theaters that offer vastly different options. The subterranean CineStar Berlin-Original is an American-style multiplex that plays Hollywood blockbusters in their original versions.

Arsenal
Potsdamer Str. 2
S-/U-bahn: Potsdamer Platz
Admission:€6.50

Adjoining the Filmmuseum Berlin, the Arsenal provides an indie alternative to Cinestar. Also housed in the Sony Center, it runs film series that focus on a specific director—usually a classic like John Ford or Ingmar Bergman.

Note: No matter which theater you choose, be warned that movie theater popcorn in Berlin is sweet.

About the author

Susan Buzzelli

About the author: A Pittsburgh native, Susan Buzzelli has been a sworn Germanophile since she spent a high school summer as an exchange student in Buxtehude. After stints in Dresden, Munich, and Hamburg she settled (possibly for good) in Europe’s most dynamic city: Berlin. When she isn't exploring Berlin, she's traveling throughout Germany (with an occasional hop over the border). Her comprehensive guidebook to Germany, Zeitguide Germany, will be published soon. Look for updates on her website, www.susanbuzzelli.com.

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