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Cinema city: Berlin’s most unusual kinos

With its many arthouse cinemas playing subtitled gems to a growing crowd of international filmgoers, Berlin is a film mecca. Get to know the city's most iconic kinos.

Opened in 1929, Babylon Kino screens silent films accompanied by a live orchestra. Photo: Marija Baksa

Berliners are spoiled with more arthouse than anywhere else in Germany – Kiez and indie Kinos with strong local followings, and comparatively few multiplexes. All in all, the Hauptstadt is home to 68 cinemas – 99 if you count seasonal and event-based venues, a staggering 56 of which are arthouse. That’s a lot more than the national average of just 34 percent.

The smallest

Lichtblick, just 32 seats

Photo: IMAGO / Priller&Maug

Based in a former Prenzlauer Berg occupied house and run as a Verein, this pocket-size cinema screens an ambitious, expertly curated programme of arthouse old and new, retrospectives, features and special events. Lichtblick’s weekly midnight Casablanca screening is a local cult favourite!

  • Lichtblick Kino, Kastanienallee 77, Prenzlauer Berg, details.
  • Ticket prices: Normal €8.00, €8.50, children’s performances €5.00 for children and €7.00 for accompanying adults. Prices may vary for special screenings.

The biggest

Zoo Palast, 791 seats in one hall

Photo: IMAGO / Frank Sorge

This Berlinale location (and the festival’s HQ until 1999), stationed next to the zoo, reopened in 2013 after renovations. It now boasts seven screens and a total of 1616 seats – nearly 800 of which are located in Berlin’s biggest individual screening room. Okay, it’s a multiplex – but come on, the history: Germany’s standout silent classic Metropolis premiered here in 1927.

  • Zoo Palast, Hardenbergstr. 29A, Tiergarten, details.
  • Ticket prices: Prices vary between €11.00 to €14.50 (normal tickets), €10.00 to €13.50 (student tickets) and €7.00 to €9.50 (children under 14) depending on which theatre your film is screening in.

The oldest

Moviemento, since 1907

Photo: IMAGO / Sabine Gudath

The oldest not only in Berlin but in all of Germany, this legendary Kreuzberg institution is synonymous with the city’s independent cultural scene. Host to over 15 film festivals a year, its offerings include a well-stocked kid’s programme and Berlin’s legendary PornFilmFestival.

  • Moviemento, Kottbusser Damm 22, Kreuzberg, details.
  • Ticket prices: €11.00 (€10.00 reduced) and €6.00 for children under 15.

The newest

Sinema Transtopia, since January 2023

Photo: Sinema Transtopia / Marvin Girbig

This Wedding factory-turned-cinema hosts films and filmmakers from underrepresented cultural groups with the explicit aim of creating a forum for solidarity and discourse. Sounds high-minded? The chic, industrial-cool premises are anything but. Prices are low, both for tickets and drinks. This is one Berlin’s been waiting for.

  • Sinema Transtopia, Lindower Str. 20/22/Haus C, Wedding, details.
  • Ticket prices: €7.00.

The highest

Sputnik’s 5th floor vistas

Photo: Sputnik Kino

Founded by a collective in 1984 (including film producer Stefan Arndt of Lola rennt and Good Bye, Lenin) in a condemned courtyard block, this much-loved Kreuzberg venue hosts the Human Rights Film Festival. The views from its 5th floor bar might not equal those from its spaceship namesake, but Kreuzberg’s roofs are also pretty damn pretty.

  • Sputnik Kino, Hasenheide 54/5th, Kreuzberg, details.
  • Ticket prices: €9.00 for films screenings from Mondays to Thursdays, €10.00 on Fridays, Sundays and public holidays. For children’s films, children pay €5.00 and accompanying adults pay €6.00.

The most stylish

Kino International, superbly socialist

Kino Internationale

Formerly the scene of GDR film premieres on Berlin’s grandiose Karl-Marx-Allee, this protected monument is an icon of 1960s modernist glamour – complete with a first-floor Honecker-Lounge. It helped write film history by showing an official GDR Coming Out movie on the day the Wall came down; now it’s keeping those creds alive and kicking during weekly showings of queer community films on MonGay.

  • Kino International, Karl-Marx-Allee 33, Mitte, details.
  • Ticket prices: €12.00 and €8.00 on Mondays

The most original

Rollberg and Delphi LUX, OV galore

Delphi Lux. IMAGO / Jürgen Ritter

With up to a combined total of 20 original-version-with-subtitles (OmU) movies showing on any given day, variety is the name of the game for old-school Rollberg’s Neukölln location, with its five colour-themed screening rooms, and state-of-the-art Delphi LUX’s seven futuristic Tron-inspired theatres near Zoologischer Garten.

  • Rollberg Kino, Rollbergstr. 70, Neukölln, details.
  • Ticket price: €11.00 and €8.00 on Mondays
  • Delphi LUX, Yva-Bogen, Kantstr. 10, Charlottenburg, details.
  • Ticket price: €12.00 and €8.00 on Mondays

The most critical

Arsenal, cinematic flagship

Photo: IMAGO / Jürgen Ritter

Avant-garde aficionados haunt the austere halls of Germany’s post-reunification cinematheque, founded in 2000. As the stand-out location (in Berlin’s Sony Centre) for well-curated, imaginatively put-together retrospectives, Arsenal also houses a 10,000-item film archive and the Forum section of the Berlinale.

  • Kino Arsenal, Potsdamer Str. 2, Mitte, details.
  • Ticket prices: €9 (regular) and €5 (child)

The quietest

Babylon Mitte, Silent Era nights

Photo: Marija Baksa

The Babylon opened in 1929 as a silent film theatre with an orchestra pit and in-house organ. Today’s fare still includes iconic Weimar films such as Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt and plenty of Chaplin classics. Free midnight silent screening on Saturdays!

  • Babylon Mitte, Rosa-Luxemburg-Str. 30, Mitte, details
  • Ticket price: Babylon Mitte hosts a variety of themed film events (sometimes with food and drinks included in the ticket price!), so visit their website to find out. And be sure to check out their free midnight screenings every Saturday.

The best organised

Yorck Kino, arthouse united

Passage Kino on Karl-Marx-Strasse is part of the York Kino Group. Photo: IMAGO / POP-EYE

The homegrown cinema conglomerate operates 14 halls in Berlin, including four of the above, plus two summer cinema venues. Founded in the late 1970s, its programmes have grown to suit Berlin’s increasingly international audiences, with OV aplenty!

  • Different venues across the city, with ticket prices varying depending on the location, although all tickets are reduced to €8 on Mondays. Visit their website to find out more.