10 movies from Switzerland you have to see
Has it been a hard day at work and you just want to spend the evening cosied up at home with the world shut out? It sounds like a great time to get comfortable on your couch, grab some popcorn or your favourite Swiss chocolate and watch some movies from Switzerland that are both entertaining and enlightening!
Must-see Swiss movies
If you want to learn more about Swiss culture, its various languages or even just the country itself, Swiss movies are the perfect way to get an inside look at the country. Here are some of our favourites.
Based on the well-known children’s book by Swiss author Johanna Spyri, this must-see movie follows an orphaned Swiss girl called Heidi who is taken to the Swiss Alps to live with her recluse grandfather. With a happy-go-lucky attitude, the sweet Heidi quickly makes friends and helps others find joy in their lives. Heidi is so popular that there is even a village in Switzerland called Heididorf that recreates the mountain world in the book.
While the popular novel has been made into many different movies over the years, this 2015 adaptation directed by Alain Gsopner was well-received with its authentic yet contemporary take on the classic. This Swiss film is available in German, English, Afrikaans and Romansch, so almost everyone can enjoy watching it.
Video: YouTube / KinoCheck
The Swissmakers (Die Schweizermacher) (1978)
If you’re currently going through the arduous task of getting your Swiss citizenship, then The Swissmakers, one of the most successful Swiss films of all time, will help you make light of the situation. The Swissmakers is a comedy that pokes fun at the way authorities treated expats who were trying to naturalise in Switzerland during the 1970s - something that many could still empathise with.
The movie follows two immigration officers as they investigate the lives of foreigners who have applied for citizenship. Produced and directed by Rolf Lyssy, the satirical movie uses situational comedy with colourful native Swiss characters and gives watchers a view into the country’s hospitality.
Sister (L'Enfant d'en Haut) (2012)
Starring Léa Seydoux, Kacey Mottet Klein and Gillian Anderson, this award-winning Swiss movie is one you can’t miss. From the brilliant director Ursula Meier, Sister won the Silver Bear at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival and was the Swiss entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards.
Centred around a 12-year-old boy called Simon, and his unemployed older sister, the plot follows their lives near a ski resort in the Swiss Alps. Simon supports himself and his sister by selling ski equipment that he has stolen from tourists at the ski resort. With many twists and turns, this critically acclaimed Swiss drama will keep you hooked until the very end.
A feel-good drama that was the 2006 Swiss Film Awards’ top release, Vitus was written and directed by Fredi M. Murer, and stars real-life piano prodigy Teo Gheorghiu as the main character.
Filmed mainly in Zurich, the movie revolves around Vitus, a gifted 12-year-old boy whose parents want him to become a famous pianist. Burdened by the pressure, one day Vitus rebels and seeks refuge with his grandfather, who encourages him to choose his own path in life.
Video: YouTube / lotusbar
Fögi is a Bastard (F. est un salaud) (1998)
Set in the city of Zurich, this French / Swiss movie portrays the dark side of the rock scene in the 1970s, exploring topics such as alcohol and drug abuse, addiction and prostitution.
The story is centred around a 15-year-old boy, Beni, who becomes romantically involved with a rock musician called Fögi. As you might have guessed from the title, it isn’t a happy love story - Fögi’s rock-and-roll life and all it entails takes Beni down a life-altering path that destroys his innocence.
Video: YouTube / Sally Versace
Uli the Farmhand (Uli der Knecht) (1954)
In the mood for a rom-com? Why not brush up on your Swiss German at the same time with this black-and-white classic? After its box office success, there was even a sequel, which means you can spend the day binge-watching old movies!
Directed by Franz Schnyder, the Swiss film tells the story of Uli the farmhand, who is a drunken philanderer. After a talk with his boss, Uli sees the light and starts to improve his reputation by drinking less and working hard. This in turn gets him a job on a farm, where he meets the beautiful daughter of his new employer and a kind maid that works at the farm. Uli must then choose between these two love interests.
Video: YouTube / filmo
My Life as a Courgette (Ma Vie de Courgette) (2016)
This stop-motion animation is both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. My Life as a Courgette has won multiple awards, receiving plenty of praise for the film’s appealing aesthetic, emotional depth and endearing characters.
In a magnificent story set in Switzerland, a young boy nicknamed Courgette is brought to an orphanage after his single mother dies. Throughout the film, you see Courgette’s sad yet hopeful journey of learning how to trust and build friendships after many hardships.
Video: YouTube / Unifrance
Little Escapes (Les Petites Fugues) (1979)
A view into typical Swiss comedy, Les Petites Fugues, or Little Escapes in English, remains one of the best movies from Switzerland to this day. The endearing film takes viewers on an adventure through the eyes of an elderly farmhand, Pipe, who retires after 65 years of solitary labour.
Pipe eventually gets himself a moped and decides to tour the Swiss countryside, discovering a new type of freedom. Giving viewers a heartwarming look at Pipe’s attempt at regaining his lost youth, his journey of self-discovery leads to some comedic incidents.
Jonah who will be 25 in the year 2000 (Jonas qui aura 25 ans en l'an 2000) (1976)
Mostly filmed in the city of Geneva, Alain Tanner’s award-winning Jonah follows the lives of eight individuals as they attempt to live an idealistic life during the social and political tumult of May 1968 in neighbouring France.
The Swiss drama reminds viewers about the struggles of trying to create a better world while also bringing perfectly timed comedic relief that reflects the realities of life.
Video: YouTube / filmo
Grounding - The Last Days of Swissair (Grounding - Die letzten Tage der Swissair) (2006)
If you want to learn about a part of Switzerland’s history, this is a movie you should watch. An informative and emotional film, Grounding is set during the last days of the airline Swissair.
The demise of the Swiss airline in 2001 was a huge blow to Switzerland’s economy and the country’s morale. The film portrays the story of the airline’s CEO as well as many other individuals who lost almost everything during the fall of Swissair.
Video: YouTube / GroundingFilm
Learn about Switzerland with movies
There are many movies about Switzerland and life in the alpine nation to provide you with hours of entertainment. You’ll be surprised by just how much you can learn about the Swiss culture and language while thoroughly enjoying yourself at the same time. If you’re looking for more movies filmed in Switzerland, check out our article on blockbusters.