DEFA Essential Collection

on Kanopy

In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the DEFA Studios, Kanopy is launching the DEFA Essential Collection, featuring 25 newly-restored classics.


Selected feature films, documentaries and animation films give us a glimpse into the complexities of artistic production and present wide-ranging voices and styles from nearly five decades of filmmaking (1946-92). This collection helps establish the place of east German cinema in international film history.


The Essential Collection is the core of Kanopy's DEFA Catalog. As of August 30, 2021, institutions can get 30% off the price of the DEFA Essential Collection if they purchase the DEFA Catalog, which includes 180+ films and playlists. We hope you will make use of this special offer and include our films in your media collection.


Viewer Responses

  • "DEFA's output includes some of the most important films for an understanding of post-war German cinema in its national and transnational contexts." — Seán Allan, Univ. of St Andrews
  • "If you've never seen an East German movie, you're in for a treat. These films are well-made, with clever cinematography and superb acting." — Jim Morton,
  • "Crafted by inventive filmmakers who dared to test the limits of censorship." — Jytte Jensen, The Museum of Modern Art
  • "The DEFA Film Studio may be a closed chapter in German film production, but the legacy of its output continues to invite new viewings." — Elizabeth Ward, East German Cinema and the Holocaust
  • "Essential for teaching and researching the Cold War in Europe." — Evan Torner, Univ. of Cincinnati
  • "The DEFA Essential Collection constitutes a true cornucopia of extraordinary films, to be (re)discovered and enjoyed by anyone interested in furthering their understanding of this important part of film history and the remarkable filmmakers who shaped it." — Juliane Camfield, Director of NYU's Deutsches Haus


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