Munich in English - selected by independent Locals for Cosmopolitans, Newcomers and Residents - since 1989

back to overview

March 2005

Video Nation

English-language Video Stores Are Thriving in Munich

A decade ago it was a luxury for expatriates in Munich to be able to rent American and British films in the original language. Today, however, VCRs are rapidly being replaced by sleek new DVD players and computers. And since most DVDs have an audio track containing the original language, as well as soundtracks in a variety of other languages and subtitles, the need for an original-language video store may be dwindling. But, before all the lively video stores are replaced by the 24-hour automated DVD versions, which are purported to stock half blockbusters and half pornography, here are a few original-language video stores in Munich offering a great deal more and promising to adapt with the changing face of technology.

Leading the way in innovative ideas for the future is the Millions of Images Film Club (, currently located in the Amerika Haus. Originally set up in 1996 on Amalienstrasse, the store boasts more than 10,000 original-language videos and DVDs, with approximately 70 percent being English-language films. In addition to the latest blockbusters, the store also offers an eclectic mix of classics and over 200 different television series from the US and the UK. But as the name suggests, it’s not only a video store but also a film club, which invites its members to participate in its many extra functions, such as screenings of films at the Amerika Haus and discussions of films and filmmakers. So it’s not only a place to rent-and-go, but also a location to experience the social side of films.

The Münchner Filmpassage across from the Isartor subway station is another Munich staple for hard-to-find films on video and DVD. Its almost legendary customer-relations employee, Herr Eckert, is a veritable encyclopedia of film history, happily offering customers his opinion on everything relating to movies. The video store was opened in 1988 and rents both videos and DVDs. There is no Website for the store because the best advertisement has always been word of mouth, which, according to Herr Eckert, has made it the best-known video store in Germany.
Stock includes original-language films in 27 languages, although most of the foreign movies also come with English subtitles. Recommended by universities around the world as a resource center for film, the Filmpassage promises to serve both film professionals and movie buffs alike.

The oldest video store specializing in original-language films in Munich is the English Video Film Club (, which was opened in 1981 and is currently owned by Derrick “Dirk” Eickhoff, who also works as a screenwriter. The club offers more than 8,000 DVDs and videos for rent, and of these, some 95 percent are English-language films. Eighty percent of the films were purchased based on recommendations or requests by customers, who on average fall into the over-30 age range.
The films are organized alphabetically by actor or director, and include hit films, classics, television series and documentaries. The Website is currently being updated and will soon feature a search engine allowing specific searches to be carried out based on the age, sex and film-content interest of a particular viewer. In addition to renting movies per night, the store also offers monthly flat-fee rates.

The latest addition to the original-language video-store scene is Missing Image (, which opened its doors six months ago and will soon welcome their 1,000th member. They currently offer more than 2,500 movies on DVD (they do not rent VHS videos) specializing in Asian, European, Hollywood and World Cinema.
The store’s Website will soon be updated to provide a full text search engine in order to enable customers to explore the movie database and remote resources. It will also allow members to reserve DVDs online and to order them for home or near-home delivery. In addition to selling Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Italian coffee, beer and refreshments, the store also plans to sell film-related magazines and books.
Speaking to some of the employees of video stores, it’s easy to see why these institutions won’t be so easily relegated to the past any time soon, for there is one thing that the Internet and 24-hour-automated rental machines can’t provide: a passion for film. And since films are made by people, for people and usually about people, the human touch of a passionate film-lover running a video store just can’t be surpassed. <<<

tell a friend