Movies

Movies that Explain Life in Czech Republic

Traveling has been a little difficult in the past year but here are some movies that explain life in the Czech Republic, including its previous eras.

Also, take a look at the Czech reference in famous movies and the Famous movie locations in Czech Republic.

These Czech movies have been organized according the time period they depict and there’s a link at each movie where you can watch/buy/rent it.

Musíme si pomáhat / Divided We Fall (2000)

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The first movie I want to tell you about is set in the German-occupied Czechoslovakia in the 1940ies and tells the story of the life on people in a small village during these dark times. This Oscar-nominated movie shows perfectly that even in the worst of times the Czechs maintain their specific humor. It also explains some of the characteristics the older generation of Czechs have in common, except for the general distrust to the Germans – the always present need to look over one’s shoulder.

Watch this movie: Amazon

Anthropoid (2016)

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Anthropoid is a film based on a true story of the planned assault on the SS Obergrupenführer Reinhard Heydrich. The movie is of Czech-British production and was shot in Prague. Just like Divided We Fall it shows the horrible reality the Czechs had to endure during the German occupation.

Watch this movie: Amazon

Želary (2003)

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Želary is a movie based on the book Jozova Hanule by Květa Legátová. It tells the story of a young medical student who couldn’t finish medical school because universities were closed by the Germans during WWII. She is compromised and left by her boyfriend as their anti-Nazi activities are discovered. She flees to a small village where she adopts a different name and marries a local. The movie portrays perfectly the primitive yet beautiful ways of rural life in the 1940ies and the horrors of the occupation. The movie ends with scenes of the arrival of the Soviets who freed most of Czechoslovakia and transformed the horrors of Nazism into the horrors of the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia.

Watch this movie: Amazon

Ve stínu/In the shadow (2012)

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The story takes place during the two weeks before the monetary reform in the spring of 1953 (the people were assured until the very last hour there would be no reform and literally from one day to another lost all their saving due to the devaluation. The main story follows the investigation of a robbery of a jewelry store which gradually becomes a political thing with an honest investigator caught up in the middle of things. The film shows very truly the life during the worst years of the communist era which formed the general distrust that lingers in the Czech society even today.

Watch this movie: Amazon

Hoří, má panenko / The Fireman’s Ball (1967)

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The movie depicts the life in a small town and the interpersonal relations all concentrated into an annual Fireman’s Ball (traditional event) while showing a caricature of a typical Czech character influenced by the corrupt system of the era. One third of the author-trio of the script was the Czech-American director Miloš Forman. A fact worth mention is that a part of the actors were, in fact, not actors but local firemen.

Watch this movie: Amazon

Zítra to roztočíme, drahoušku…!/

We’ll Kick Up a Fuss Tomorrow, Darling… (1976)

movies life

Another brilliant window into the Czech character. The movie shows two neighbouring families and their mutual spiteful actions and tricks. If you ask people who remember that time-period, they will often confirm that there was a lot of the keeping up with the Joneses and a lot of spitefulness among people. Though the disputes between the two families can seem hilarious to us, it was a big deal in the 1970ies to be able to get things which we consider easily accessible.

Watch this movie: Amazon

Učitelka/The Teacher (2016)

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A Czech-Slovak production movie (with mostly Slovak actors) about the corrupt communist regime, the impotence to fight it and the bravery of those who decided to fight against all odds. The film tells the story of an elementary school teacher of a high communist profile. She harasses her pupils and their parents, taking advantages of their fear. The movie shows a very important fact about the transition from communism to democracy – that many corrupt communists were able to transit without any repercussion for their previous actions and are, in fact, doing the same in the current regime. This is a matter which is often discussed in the Czech society.

Watch this movie: Amazon

Můj strýček Archimedes/My Uncle Archimedes (2018)

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This movie directed by the Greek-Czech director George Agathonikiadis shows several aspects of the life from the late 1940ies until the times before the Warsaw Pack invasion of Czechoslovakia (1968). First of all, it explains why there is such a large Greek community in the Czech Republic. Many of the Greek communists fled to other communist countries in the years following WWII. They were welcomed in Czechoslovakia and the movie tells the story of one such Greek family. They befriend a Czech family (grandparents raising their grandson) and slowly realize that the communist regime that they’ve idealized so much is the cause of many terrors happening to their Czech friends. Another important insight of this movie is how common people who disagreed with the regime dealt with their situation. This is so brilliantly portrayed by the Czech grandfather (Miroslav Donutil). As the Greek family sobers up from their communist-utopia dream they decide to return to Greece. This has to be done in secret and things don’t go as expected and members of the two families are torn away from each other reuniting just before the Warsaw Pack invasion.

Watch this movie: Česká televize website

Pelíšky / Cosy Dens (1999)

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Pelíšky tells the story of several regular families and their everyday life in the months leading up to the Warsaw Pack invasion in 1968. The movie perfectly explains the consequences the 40-year-long communist oppression had for the character of the whole nation. It shows the everyday struggles of young people as well as the suffering of people who were sent to the communist work camps and tried to find their way back into normal life after their release. This movie has become hugely popular right after its release because many people can relate to it and among the Czech movies about this time period Pelíšky is probably the most famous one. Quotes from the film have found their way into the everyday language.

Watch this movie: Amazon

Vesničko má středisková / My Sweet Little Village (1985)

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This is a sweet little peak into the everyday life in a Czech village in the later years of the communist period. This movie actually doesn’t show much of the impact of the communism (also remember that movies made during this time had to go through an evaluation process and they weren’t allowed show any criticism towards the regime), although it paints a very true picture of the village life and also the friction between people from the village and the city. And there’s an important aspect of the general Czech nature – the main character Pávek (Marián Labuda) is highly critical of his helper, the retarded Otík (János Bán) but at the same time he takes care of him and stands up for him when it’s most needed. This is something very present in the Czech society – there’s a lot of criticism, lots of jokes that other cultures would consider inappropriate but despite of how much Czech people joke about sensitive topics like disabilities, they always stand up for people who need it.

Watch this movie: Amazon

Slunce, seno, jahody / Sun, Hay and Strawberries (1984)

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The movie Sun, Hay and Strawberries and its sequels Sun, Hay and Slaps and Sun, Hay and Erotic stir a lot of emotion. Some literally hate the trilogy calling it cheesy and loud and others see the nostalgy in it. The movies mix exaggeration, humor and real description of the life in a small Bohemian village at the transition from communism and democracy when the country opened up to the world and people were new to many things that came to them from the western countries. The first and second movie depict the life in the Czechoslovak countryside in the 80ies and the third one shows the struggles of the transition and the effort of the village to enter the world that is completely new to the locals.

An interesting fact is that many of the actors in this movie aren’t actors at all but locals of the village.

Watch this movie: Amazon (Sun, Hay and Strawberries), Amazon (Sun, Hay and Slaps), Amazon (Sun, Hay and Erotic)

Dědictví aneb Kurvahošigutntág / The Inheritance or Fuckoffguysgoodday / The Inheritance (1992)

Bohuš is a simple villager who likes drinking with his buddies more than anything. What happens when he inherits a large sum of money? This brilliant Czech comedy will tell you a lot about the life in the early 90ies when there were no rules and many possibilities to grab your chance to do almost anything. Except for some excellent Czech actors and celebrities you will see a part of the center of Brno right after the Velvet revolution.

Watch this movie: Amazon (original movie) and there’s also the 2014 sequel Dědictví aneb Kurva se neříká available on Amazon

Městečko / Small Town (2003)

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Probably the least famous of the Czech movies presented here, directed by s famous Czech talk-show host Jan Kraus the movie explores the transition of provincial people into the new democratic world and their worries and struggles to find their place in this new world.

Watch this movie: YouTube

Samotáři / Loners (2000)

Interpersonal relations, Prague subcultures, partying and drugs…it is extremely hard for me to describe this movie which is all about being twenty-something and in a certain society at the end of the millenium in the Czech Republic.

Watch this movie: Amazon

Účastníci zájezdu / Holiday Makers (2006)

Imagine people from different social backgrounds and of different upbringing in one bus and going on holidays abroad together. And so you’ll see a family which – despite of going abroad – wants to have everything done the Czech way, including eating their řízek (it’s very common that Czechs who go abroad by bus or car prepare schnitzel in bread for the trip), a couple of elderly ladies, a nerd, a blonde bimbo, a music star, a pretty girl with far too low self-esteem… All of them representing not all but some sorts of people you could actually meet in the Czech Republic.

Watch this movie: Amazon

Vlastníci / Owners (2019)

I had to give it a lot of thought before including this movie because it shows only one and a very specific aspect of the life in Czech Republic…but you deserve to know:) The whole story is about a meeting of the owners of flats in the same house (a regular thing for someone who lives in a block of flats) who have to come to an agreement about what will happen to the house they share. You’ll meet several typical Czech characters like a lady who demands complete order and a man who’s bound to have anything but order. It’s hard to say if anyone who hasn’t lived it will enjoy it but you should give it a try!

Watch this movie: Amazon

 

You can watch/buy most of these Czech movies on the links above so don’t miss the opportunity to learn more about the Czech people in an entertaining way!

 

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