Heimatfilm (German pronunciation: [ˈhaɪmatˌfɪlm], German for "homeland-film"; German plural: Heimatfilme) is the name given to a film genre that was popular in Germany, Switzerland and Austria from the late 1940s to the early 1970s. They were usually shot in the Alps, the Black Forest or the Lüneburg Heath and always involved the outdoors. Heimatfilms were noted for their rural settings, sentimental tone and simplistic morality, and centered around love, friendship, family and non-urban life. Also, the polarity between old and young, tradition and progress, rural and urban life was articulated. The typical plot structure involved both a "good" and "bad" guy wanting a girl, conflict ensuing, and the "good" guy ultimately triumphing to win the girl to the happiness of everyone and the children.
English-language features that could qualify as Heimatfilme include Lassie Come Home, Spencer's Mountain, and Where the Red Fern Grows. In a broader sense, it is possible to view the Western-genre as the American counterpart to the German Heimatfilm.
The genre originally came to life following the devastation of Germany in World War II, suggesting a whole, romantic world untouched by the hazards of real life (i.e. war damage and subsequent rebuilding); this remained popular from the mid-1940s to the 1960s. The Berlin-based studio Berolina Film was the driving force behind the cycle of Heimatfilm.
- Hake p.90
- Hake, Sabine. German National Cinema. New York: Routledge, 2002.
- Von Moltke, Johannes. No Place Like Home: Locations of Heimat in German Cinema. Berkeley: U of California Press, 2005.
Further reading 
- Höfig, Willi. Der deutsche Heimatfilm 1947–1960 (Stuttgart 1973), ISBN 3-432-01805-3
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