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Ludwig van Beethoven is one of the greatest composers to have ever lived, and despite being most prolific in the early 19th century, his music continues to live on. So it's no surprise to learn that there are a number of movies about Beethoven. We thought we would round up the very best movies about Beethoven that have ever been released, let's get into the list:
Gary Oldman plays Beethoven in this movie from the 90s about his life. Interestingly, this movie also covers what happened after his death, and through a series of flashbacks the film shows how his assistant Schindler managed to track down a mysterious woman that Beethoven referred to as "Immortal Beloved". It's a great movie with a fantastic central performance from Gary Oldman, plus it was directed by Bernard Rose who had directed Candyman 2 years earlier.
This movie starring Diane Kruger and Ed Harris is about a student who agrees to work as a copyist for Beethoven. As they work together Beethoven begins to develop feelings for the woman, but she is committed to her long-term partner. The film is open to interpretation and the relationship between the composer and his copyist is more of a father-daughter relationship than anything more, but also the film is mostly fictional. Currently, you can stream this movie via Prime Video.
This film is quite different from the other 2 we've included in the list so far - this movie is from the 1930s, and explores the personal struggles of Beethoven that inspired his music and shows how his hearing loss impacted his life. The film uses music in a really interesting way that was very innovative for the time.
This is a black and white movie once again exploring the life of Beethoven. It was directed by Walter Kolm-Veltée, a well-known Austrian director who had a number of popular movies. This movie entered into the 1949 Cannes Film Festival and was very well-received.
This movie was originally released in 2 parts but can be watched together. This is actually a movie by Disney about Beethoven, and although it isn't as well-known as some of the entries in the list, we actually quite enjoyed it. Particularly the performance from Karlheinz Böhm as Beethoven.
This movie tells the true story of how Ludwig van Beethoven fought his sister-in-law for custody of his nephew Karl after his father Kaspar died. Ludwig thought that Karl's mother Johanna was an unfit mother, and Kaspar had also left custody of Karl to Ludwig in his will. Beethoven was also older and becoming increasingly paranoid with age, and was worried about what would happen to Karl with his mother. This movie is an interesting insight into the later years of Beethoven and some of the struggles he faced in his life, including the complicated relationship he had with his nephew.
This is a comprehensive documentary about the life of the composer, but what we really love about the movie is that it includes lots of live performances of his music (more than 60) by a variety of excellent musicians. This film was directed by Phil Grabsky, who also directed the great movie In Search of Mozart (which we featured in our list of the best movies about Mozart). You can stream this movie with Tubi.
So that concludes all of the best movies about Ludwig van Beethoven, let us know if we missed any of your favorites! If you enjoyed this article, why not check out this article about Deepwater Horizon documentaries or this article about Lucky Luciano movies.