24 films about cancer, carcinomas, tumours and similar diseases

Film Cancer Tumor Carcinoma
Julia Roberts and Ed Harris in: "Side by Side" | © Columbia Pictures

Cancer changes everything. But what a tumor still can not change: Love. Hope. And faith, friendship, courage and especially memories. In this article you will find a selection of movies, feature films and documentaries about serious diseases related to carcinomas.

Cancer is a journey no one wants to take. A journey you’ll have to make alone for long stretches. Still, there are plenty of places to stop and fortify yourself along the way. Many films tell us about this and this is the essence of many feature films and documentaries about tumours, cancer and carcinomas. And it is not uncommon for authors and directors to share their own experiences in the process.

Please note that you cannot draw any conclusions about medical diagnoses and treatments from a feature film or documentary.

This article was automatically translated into English using AI. If you would like to help us improve the quality, we would be happy to hear from you.

1
50/50 -  Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick

50/50

Films about cancer, carcinomas, tumors and similar diseases

50/50 (2011)
Regie
Jonathan Levine
Actors
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick
Bewertung
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Reference to cancer / tumor
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This comedy-drama, also known as “50/50 – Friends for (Over)Life” was written by Will Reiser about his own experiences after the author survived spinal cancer at the age of 25.

 

Adam is a methodical twenty-seven-year-old radio show writer who lives with his girlfriend, Rachael, a painter. His best friend is Kyle, who can’t stand Rachael, and Adam is estranged from his overly caring mother Diane, who is caring for her husband Richard, who has Alzheimer’s. When Adam feels a pain in his back, he goes to the doctor and is diagnosed with spinal cancer. He researches the internet and sees that his chances of a cure for his type of tumor are 50%. He goes to chemotherapy and is cared for by twenty-four-year-old therapist Katherine. During treatment, Adam learns more about Rachael, Katherine, and Kyle’s feelings, and he realizes how much his mother loves him.

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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing


2
Beim Leben meiner Schwester -  Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Alec Baldwin

Beim Leben meiner Schwester

Regie
Nick Cassavetes
Actors
Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Alec Baldwin
Bewertung
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Reference to cancer / tumor
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This film, based on the novel of the same name by Jodi Picoult, is about a young girl named Kate who has acute promyelocytic leukemia.

 

Kate’s younger sister, Anna, was conceived through in vitro fertilization to serve as a rescue sibling who can provide organs or cells. Kate’s sister, 11-year-old Anna, has spent her entire life having blood, stem cells and tissue taken from her to keep her sister alive, and now she may have to give up a kidney. This film is about cancer, but also about delicate family dynamics and medical ethics.

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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing


3
Das Beste kommt zum Schluss -  Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Sean Hayes

Das Beste kommt zum Schluss

Regie
Rob Reiner
Actors
Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Sean Hayes
Bewertung
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Reference to cancer / tumor
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Billionaire Edward Cole and working-class mechanic Carter Chambers have nothing in common except their terminal illness. While sharing a hospital room together, they decide to leave it and do all the things they always wanted to do before they died. In the process, they both heal each other, become unlikely friends, and eventually find joy in life.

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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing


4
Nur mit Dir -  Mandy Moore, Shane West, Peter Coyote

Nur mit Dir

Films about malignant diseases such as cancer and tumors

Regie
Adam Shankman
Actors
Mandy Moore, Shane West, Peter Coyote
Bewertung
⭐⭐⭐
Reference to cancer / tumor
⭐⭐⭐⭐

Nicholas Sparks’ books and the films that have come out of them can be a bit formulaic. “Only With You – A Walk to Remember” has all the key components of a Sparks adaptation.

 

A terrible secret? Exactly! A young person dying before their time? Right. Someone who is changed forever by a brief love affair? Check. But Mandy Moore’s naturalistic performance in one of her earliest roles gives the film a sweetness and groundedness that makes it stand the test of time.

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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing


5
Wie das Leben so spielt -Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann

Wie das Leben so spielt

Regie
Judd Apatow
Actors
Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann
Bewertung
⭐⭐⭐
Reference to cancer / tumor
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

In “How Life Goes” (original title; “Funny People”), George, played by Adam Sandler, is a successful comedian and movie star who has just been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. Ira, portrayed by Seth Rogen, is an aspiring stand-up artist who meets George at a club and becomes his assistant and friend.

 

When George gets on the mend and falls back into his old jerk behavior, Ira quits as his assistant. He’s disappointed that George didn’t learn anything from his near-death experience. This film posits that in real life, very few people can make a complete personality change and stick it out, even if they survive cancer.

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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing


6
Freunde bis in den Tod - James Caan, Billy Dee Williams, Jack Warden

Freunde bis in den Tod

Regie
Buzz Kulik
Actors
James Caan, Billy Dee Williams, Jack Warden
Bewertung
⭐⭐⭐
Reference to cancer / tumor
⭐⭐⭐⭐

This TV movie has become a cultural touchstone. In Brian’s Song, James Caan portrayed Chicago Bears football player Brian Piccolo, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 1965.

 

The film is told from the perspective of Gale Sayers, Piccolo’s teammate and close friend, who wrote a memoir about their friendship. This feature film stands as one of the few pieces of pop culture that shows a genuine friendship between two men as they help each other through difficult times.

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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing


7
Familiensache - Meryl Streep, Renée Zellweger, William Hurt

Familiensache

Films about malignant diseases such as cancer and tumors

Regie
Carl Franklin
Actors
Meryl Streep, Renée Zellweger, William Hurt
Bewertung
⭐⭐
Reference to cancer / tumor

In “Family Matters,” Ellen (Renée Zellweger) is a successful writer who is persuaded by her father, George (William Hurt), to care for her cancer-stricken mother, Kate (Meryl Streep). Ellen despises her mother, who seems too busy with domestic tasks instead of intellectual pursuits.

 

But when Ellen realizes that George is saddling her with all the caretaker duties and continuing his own successful life as an Ivy League professor, she sees how much her mother’s behind-the-scenes work has contributed to her own and George’s success.

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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing


8
Wit - Emma Thompson, Christopher Lloyd, Eileen Atkins

Wit

Wit (2001)
Regie
Mike Nichols
Actors
Emma Thompson, Christopher Lloyd, Eileen Atkins
Bewertung
⭐⭐⭐
Reference to cancer / tumor
⭐⭐⭐

In Wit, Emma Thompson plays Vivian, a sophisticated and intense English literature professor who prides herself on her wit. Vivian is diagnosed with stage IV metastatic ovarian cancer. Her oncologist begins a rigorous experimental treatment, and though she tries to remain stoic, she is affected physically and emotionally in unexpected ways.

 

As her life draws to a close and she has only one visitor left to care for her, she wishes she had chosen human compassion over wit and learned to be kinder. It is a powerful meditation on repentance.

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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing


9
Ein gewöhnlicher Patient - William Hurt, Christine Lahti, Elizabeth Perkins

Ein gewöhnlicher Patient

Regie
Randa Haines
Actors
William Hurt, Christine Lahti, Elizabeth Perkins
Bewertung
⭐⭐
Reference to cancer / tumor
⭐⭐⭐

In ” The Doctor – An Ordinary Patient” William Hurt plays Jack McKee, a successful but career-obsessed surgeon with a cool bedside manner and a cavalier attitude towards his patients’ feelings.

 

Then he is diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly he finds himself subjected to impersonal examinations by aloof doctors, but finds grace and compassion from his fellow patients. He is eventually treated and cured of his tumor, but he learns a valuable lesson.

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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing


10
Miss You Already - Drew Barrymore, Toni Collette, Dominic Cooper

Miss You Already

Regie
Catherine Hardwicke
Actors
Drew Barrymore, Toni Collette, Dominic Cooper
Bewertung
⭐⭐⭐
Reference to cancer / tumor
⭐⭐⭐⭐

Milly and Jess have always been best friends. They’ve shared everything since they were kids – secrets, clothes, laughter, substances, friends…. now they’re trying to grow up.

 

Milly has a high-powered job and lives in a beautiful townhouse with husband Kit and their two children. Jess is an urban planner living with her boyfriend Jago on a bohemian houseboat on a London canal. Their friendship is as rock solid as ever. That is, until Jess struggles to have a long-awaited baby and Milly learns she has breast cancer. How do you share something like that?

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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing


11
Heute bin ich blond - Lisa Tomaschewsky, Karoline Teska, David Rott

Heute bin ich blond

Regie
Marc Rothemund
Actors
Lisa Tomaschewsky, Karoline Teska, David Rott
Bewertung
⭐⭐⭐
Reference to cancer / tumor
⭐⭐⭐⭐

At the age of 21, fun-loving student Sophie learns she has cancer. Instead of letting the disease rule her life, she decides to enjoy it the way she would if she didn’t have a tumor – by going to parties, flirting and having sexual relations.

 

During chemotherapy, she decides to shave her hair, which is slowly falling out, and finds comfort in the use of nine wigs, each of which helps her live out nine different sides of herself. Together with her best friend Annabel, Sophie moves from club to club, falls in love with her long-time boyfriend Rob and writes daily posts on her blog. In this way, she tries to escape the dreary and boring everyday life in the hospital and to find new courage to face life.

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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing


12
Seite an Seite - Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, Ed Harris

Seite an Seite

Carcinomas, tumors, cancer: 24 films / documentaries

Regie
Chris Columbus
Actors
Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, Ed Harris
Bewertung
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Reference to cancer / tumor
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Anna and Ben, Jackie and Luke’s two children, have to come to terms with the fact that their parents divorced and their father is now dating successful photographer Isabel. She does her best to treat the children so that they still feel at home with their father, but she also loves her job and has no plans to give it up.

 

But full-time mother Jackie finds Isabel’s efforts offensively inadequate and can’t understand how work can be important to both her and the kids. The conflict between them is deepened by the sudden diagnosis of cancer, which could be fatal for Jackie. Because of the disease and to beat the tumor, everyone must learn to grow together.

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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing


13
Eierdiebe - Wotan Wilke Möhring, Julia Hummer, Antoine Monot Jr.

Eierdiebe

Regie
Robert Schwentke
Actors
Wotan Wilke Möhring, Julia Hummer, Antoine Monot Jr.
Bewertung
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Reference to cancer / tumor
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

When Martin Schwartz discovers a tumor on his testicle, he is told he must have both removed, but he opts for chemotherapy instead. The black comedy shows Martin’s journey through chemotherapy and the friendships he makes with the other cancer patients on his ward. The film is based on director Robert Schwentke’s own experiences.

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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing


14
Jeder Moment zählt - Dakota Fanning, Josef Altin, Jeremy Irvine

Jeder Moment zählt

Regie
Ol Parker
Actors
Dakota Fanning, Josef Altin, Jeremy Irvine
Bewertung
⭐⭐⭐
Reference to cancer / tumor
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Tessa is seventeen and excited about life. Diagnosed with a terminal illness, she decides to make every moment count.

 

With the help of her best friend Zoey, she compiles a catalog of all the things a normal teenager would experience, including losing her virginity and taking drugs, and sets the list in motion. And while her parents and brother each deal with their fear of losing her in their own way, Tessa explores a whole new world, determined to live each day as intensely as possible. Falling in love with her new neighbor, Adam, wasn’t on the list, but it turns out to be the most exciting experience of all.

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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing


15
Erste Lieben, zweite Chancen - Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connelly, Lily Collins

Erste Lieben, zweite Chancen

Regie
Josh Boone
Actors
Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connelly, Lily Collins
Bewertung
⭐⭐⭐
Reference to cancer / tumor
⭐⭐⭐⭐

William Borgens is an acclaimed author who hasn’t written a word since his ex-wife Erica left him for another man 3 years ago. Between spying on Erica and occasional flirtations with his married neighbor Tricia, Bill deals with the complexities of raising his teenage children, Samantha and Rusty. Samantha is publishing her first novel and is determined to avoid love at all costs – after all, she saw what it did to her parents.

 

In between, she meets “nice guy” Lou, who will stop at nothing to win her over. Rusty is an aspiring fantasy writer and Stephen King lover who is looking for “life experiences.” He falls in love with the beautiful but troubled Kate and gets his first experience with love and a broken heart. A story about family, love (lost and found) and how endings can create new beginnings. In life, there are no new beginnings, only second chances.

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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing


16
Endings - Matthew Brumlow, Emma Hansen, Ellen Halper

Endings

Carcinomas, tumors, cancer: 24 films / documentaries

Endings (2010)
Regie
Christopher J. Hansen
Actors
Matthew Brumlow, Emma Hansen, Ellen Halper
Bewertung
⭐⭐
Reference to cancer / tumor
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Emmy Ferguson is a 10-year-old who learns that after a long battle with leukemia, today is likely her last day on earth. Chris Ryan is a 35-year-old drug addict who is determined to make this his last day. And Adonna Frost, who has advanced breast cancer, has made a similar end-of-life decision.

 

But when Emmy embarks on a strange journey, the lives of these three strangers are changed forever.

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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing


17
Ways to Live Forever - Robbie Kay, Alex Etel, Emilia Fox

Ways to Live Forever

Regie
Gustavo Ron
Actors
Robbie Kay, Alex Etel, Emilia Fox
Bewertung
⭐⭐
Reference to cancer / tumor
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Like most inquisitive boys, 12-year-old Sam wants to know everything about UFOs, horror movies, ghosts, and girls. Sam also has leukemia, and although the adults in his life don’t want him to deal with it, Sam wants to know all about his disease and death, a possibility he could face.

 

Together with his best friend Felix, he embarks on a “scientific investigation” with questions, observations, evidence, reflections, and lists of all the things he wants to do one day – like break a world record, fly in an airship, kiss a girl for the first time, and experience what it’s like to be a teenager. In this poignant yet ultimately uplifting story, Sam and his family face the immensity of an uncertain future with love, humor, and a touch of the unexpected.

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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing


18
Mein Leben ohne mich - Sarah Polley, Scott Speedman, Mark Ruffalo

Mein Leben ohne mich

Tumor and cancer: All feature films on cancer

Regie
Isabel Coixet
Actors
Sarah Polley, Scott Speedman, Mark Ruffalo Bewertung [arve url="https://youtu.be/ZI5-8Tjzbs8" title="Mein Leben ohne mich - Sarah Polley, Scott Speedman, Mark Ruffalo" description="Mein Leben ohne mich - Sarah Polley, Scott Speedman, Mark Ruffalo" sticky_pos="top-left" loop="no" muted="no" /]
Bewertung
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Reference to cancer / tumor
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Young Ann leads a simple but happy life with her husband Don and their two daughters Penny and Patsy. Ann works the night shift as a janitor and cleans at a university, Don builds swimming pools, and they live in a trailer in Ann’s mother’s backyard. When Ann goes to the doctor expecting to be pregnant, she learns that she actually has terminal cancer.

 

She hides the information about the tumor from her family and prepares for her death by making a list of ten prominent issues in her life, including preparing tapes for her daughters’ birthdays until they are eighteen; eating and drinking whatever she wants; telling only the truth; finding a new wife for her husband; visiting her father in prison; and sleeping with another man.

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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing


19
Other People - Jesse Plemons, Molly Shannon, Bradley Whitford

Other People

Films about malignant diseases such as cancer and tumors

Regie
Chris Kelly
Actors
Jesse Plemons, Molly Shannon, Bradley Whitford
Bewertung
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Reference to cancer / tumor
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Former “Saturday Night Live” head writer Chris Kelly penned this semi-autobiographical comedy-drama, “Other People,” about the death of his mother.

 

David moves back home to be with his mother for the year between her giving up her battle with cancer and slowly dying. David’s relationship with his family is strained at best (especially in regards to his father) because he obviously has trouble accepting his homosexuality. Although the subject matter is truly upsetting, his mother’s death ultimately helps him restore his family ties and become an integrated part of the family unit once again.

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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing


20
Zeit der Zärtlichkeit - Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson

Zeit der Zärtlichkeit

Carcinomas, tumors, cancer: 24 films / documentaries

Regie
James L. Brooks
Actors
Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson
Bewertung
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Reference to cancer / tumor
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

In “Terms of Endearment,” Aurora (Shirley MacLaine) and Emma (Debra Winger) play a bickering mother-daughter duo who experience ups and downs over the years. But when Emma is hospitalized with terminal cancer, Aurora stands up for her. Ultimately, Emma shows her mother the ultimate forgiveness by asking her to raise Emma’s three children.

Streamen
Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing


21
Alternate Endings - Barbara Jean, Emily Mathias, Ryan Mathias

Alternate Endings

Regie
Matthew O'Neill, Perri Peltz
Actors
Barbara Jean, Emily Mathias, Ryan Mathias
Bewertung
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Reference to cancer / tumor
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Alternate Endings: Six New Ways to Die in America” is a documentary from HBO that explores the new ways Americans are making end-of-life decisions. Dick Shannon, a cancer patient, is shown preparing to end his own life under California’s “death with dignity” law.

 

Elsewhere, Emilie and Ryan Matthias forgo traditional funeral customs for their son Garrett, who died of cancer. His “celebration of life” includes superheroes, snow cones and bouncy castles. This moving documentary looks at all kinds of new memorial services, funerals and more.

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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing


22
Das Schicksal ist ein Verräter - Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff

Das Schicksal ist ein Verräter

Regie
Josh Boone
Actors
Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff
Bewertung
⭐⭐⭐⭐
Reference to cancer / tumor
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

In “Fate is a Bitch Traitor” Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort play photogenic teenagers in love who meet in a support group for young people with cancer – at least you know right away that it’s going to be a real tearjerker, and emotions get just as much space as the subject matter of tumors and serious diseases.

 

While Gus’s (Elgort) symptoms of the disease slowly subside, Hazel’s (Woodley) is terminal. In a subplot, the young couple visit Hazel’s favorite writer in Amsterdam and deal with reality.

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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing


23
Ich und Earl und das Mädchen - Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke

Ich und Earl und das Mädchen

Regie
Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Actors
Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke [arve url="https://youtu.be/YiWa3UDfPVc" title="Ich und Earl und das Mädchen - Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke " description="Ich und Earl und das Mädchen - Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke " sticky_pos="top-left" loop="no" muted="no" /]
Bewertung
⭐⭐⭐⭐
Reference to cancer / tumor
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

In ” Me and Earl and the Girl,” high school senior Greg enjoys making silly movies with his friend Earl. When Greg’s parents make him spend time with his childhood friend Rachel, who is dying of leukemia, Greg grows both as an artist and as a person.

 

A beautiful film about what a huge impact one person can have on another, even if they are only on earth for a short time. The film also has humorous moments, such as when it pokes fun at the tragic romance of other films.

Streamen
Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing


24
Tig - Stephanie Allynne, Zach Galifianakis, Sarah Silverman

Tig

Carcinomas, tumors, cancer: 24 films / documentaries

Tig (2015)
Regie
Kristina Goolsby, Ashley York
Actors
Stephanie Allynne, Zach Galifianakis, Sarah Silverman
Bewertung
⭐⭐⭐⭐
Reference to cancer / tumor
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Comedian Tig Notaro had a bad year in 2015. Her mother died, she was hospitalized with a life-threatening C. difficile infection, her relationship ended, and then she was diagnosed with breast cancer. During a stage performance, Tig spontaneously explained without preparation what breast cancer meant to her. An audio recording of it went viral.

 

This documentary picks up where the stage show left off. It gives viewers a glimpse into Notaro’s battle with breast cancer as well as her quest to get pregnant despite cancer.

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Evaluation: ★★★★★ = highly recommended | ★ = not worth seeing



Filmpuls bekommt keine Provision für deinen Klick auf ein Link der Streaming-Anbieter. Hinweise zu fehlenden Filmen in dieser Liste nimmt die Redaktion jederzeit gerne über das Kontaktformular entgegen. © Videos: YouTube / bei den jeweiligen Rechteinhabern.

About Editorial Staff Filmpulse 211 Articles
Under the designation Editorial Staff Filmpulse, articles appear that are created or edited jointly by several members of the editorial staff.

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