Bach FAQ 109


Bach Movies ... Are There any Bach Movies about the Life of Johann Sebastian Bach or His Family of Musicians?


To the point: there are many Bach films, that is films about Bach.


Yes, there have been a lot of films produced about Bach or about the Bach family of musicians over the years and decades. Since there is a film, cinema, and Fernsehen. Evey production, of course, in the style of its time. The production about the life of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach was the only "waste version" – invented by a guy with the name Brachvogel: he had "braked Bach "own" and the next biographer did not care whether he was spreading real mischief about a human being, that can no defend himself. Here are all the films about Johann Sebastian Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach and the  Bach family of musicians.


The Bach Movie 1941


Exciting, exciting: the first work about a Bach was not a film about the great master, the best of all Bachs, but about his son Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. Already in 1941, in the middle of World War II, Traugott Müller directed the production, and this film is I memorized by its name. Gustaf Gründgens, Eugen Klöpfer, and Leny Marenbach were the main actors. "Friedemann Bach" was the title and you can still buy it. However not with my wife, not with me ... but here (... the rhymes). But caution, the work is biographical super trash, read Bach FAQ 116.



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The Bach Movie 1967


The second Bach film, too  so to speak and over 25 years after the film about Wilhelm Friedemann Bach again not a production about the master, but the filming of one of the best-known books about the life of Bach, namely "The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach" came into being. In 1967 and 1968 respectively this production was filmed and it was a German / Italian collaboration. Gustav Leonhardt played Johann Sebastian Bach and Christiane Lang played Anna Magdalena. The length is 94 minutes and you can buy the DVD here. But not from me or from my wife.


The Bach Movie 1972


"Bach in Arnstadt" was the next Bach film, which was created in the back then GDR (DDR) in 1972. The director was Uwe Detlev Jessen and my favorite Bach biographer Klaus Eidam wrote the book, Wolfgang Hosfeld, Blanche Kommerell, Ruth Kommerell, and as always many others were the actors. You can not buy it anymore, not as a DVD, not as a VHS, not at all.


The Bach Movie 1979


In 1979, the film biography "Johann Sebastian Bach's Futile Journey to Fame" was produced in the back then GDR (DDR). Victor Vicas was responsible for director and book, and the actors were Alexander May, Renate Richter, Peter Reusse, Henry Hübchen and Regina Beyer. The film can no longer be bought, but at least you get a film poster and only here.


The Bach Movie 1984


"The Cantor of St. Thomas's" ist ein britischer Film aus dem Jahr 1984. Brian Cox ist Johann Sebastian Bach, Simon Mulligan spielt seinen Sohn Friedemann. Diesen Film, eine Produktion fürs britische Fernsehen, gibt es nur in englisch. Kaufen kann man ihn trotzdem leider heute nicht mehr.


"The Cantor of St. Thomas" is a British film from the year 1984. Brian Cox was Johann Sebastian Bach, Simon Mulligan played his son Wilhelm Friedemann. It's a pity for all Germans, who don't speak English that this film is in English only. It was a production just for the British TV. However, it's not buyable anymore anyway.


The Bach Movie 1985


1985 was the year of Bach's 300th birthday. Just in case you wonder why this paragraph is so very long.


"Johann Sebastian Bach" is the title of the first film of 1985, an East German and Hungarian collaboration for television. It is a TV mini-series and it is no longer buyable. The work has a total length of 415 minutes and very exciting is that the script originates from Lothar Bellag and even better by Klaus Eidam, my favorite Bach biographer. Ullrich Thein plays Johann Sebastian Bach and Angelika Waller is Maria Barbara. Anna Magdalena is played by Franziska Troeger and who is in addition part of the film, you may read here, in all details. And here you can buy it, but not from me and not from the Renate Bach Publishing House.


In 1985 Meinolf Fritzen also contributed to Johann Sebastian Bach's St. John Passion. The title "Passion and Leidenschaft" (... which would be translated into "Passion und Leidenschaft" (German) and makes no sense ... ). You can buy it no more – at least not on Amazon.


The third film in this Bach Year 1985, Nicolaus Harnoncourt produced and plays the work "Secular Music by Johann Sebastian Bach". Also in this film, you can not buy anymore.


The fourth production 1985 finally is a real motion picture. The title is "Der Thomaskantor", English it's "The Thomas Cantor" (... you knew it, didn't you?!). Colin Nears was the director and Brian Cox, Polly Hemingway and Michael Gough played the leading parts. It is worth mentioning that it is a West German production at the time of the GDR (DDR). And Bach lived all his life in the now new Federal States. This film can unfortunately no longer be purchased,


How can it be different, there is a Bach film No. 5 in the Bach year 1985. "The Fifth Evangelist" is a production around the faith of Bach. Directed by Günther Specovius. The book with this title is still available second hand – the film: unfortunately ... is not.


Finally, a production about Johann Sebastian Bach for children completed the Bachjahr (Bach year) 1985. "Bach and Broccoli" is the name of the cool and likable title and is a Canadian production: directed by André Melancon and the producer is Rock Demers. It's a children's comedy. How nice.


The Bach Movie 1987


Two years later the film "J.S. Bach" appears. And that is in the USA. The first broadcast dates from 1987 and Juan Downey is the director. It was available in English language only and whether one can still buy it, is not quite clear.


The Bach Movie 1988


One year later the next Bach film, namely in 1988, a documentary with the title "Johann Sebastian Bach" appears. The director was Hans Conrad Fischer and it lasts for 120 minutes. This film, too is no longer buyable.


The Bach Movie 1990


"The Stations of Bach" Bach is an American production probably from the year 1990. The life of Bach is defined in this film about the visit of the Bach cities and Bach places. It has a length of 90 minutes and you can buy it probably no more.


Also in 1990, a film was created with the wordplay "KultUhr", it's German and a crossing of cult = culture = Kultur and Uhr = Clock" I could not find this film for you either.


The Bach Movie 1993


A film production 1993 has the cute title "The Well-tempered Bach". However, it's not even available on Amazon.


In 1993 a documentary film related to the subject of Bach was produced. The title "The Use of Bach Music in the Media". You can not buy it anymore. I would have liked to see it.


Also in 1993, the film "Play Bach" about Jacques Loussier is actually not a real Bachfilm in the sense of this page. But whoever wants to expel it? Not me. So it'll remain there. "Play Bach" is still available, but with the date of production you realize: it is all about music, not about the mentioned film above. 


The Bach Movie 1995


1995 the film "Bach's Fight for Freedom" came into being in the USA. Stuart Gillard was the director and the work has a length of 53 minutes. This film is still buyable. But like the film before, not from me and not from my wife. Here is the link to the DVD.


In 1995, they produced a portrait about Rilling actually this is no Bach film. However ... here this work is permitted. "Bach in your Baggage" is just a beautiful title. For this reason alone this film has earned its presence here.




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The Bach Movie 1996


"Famous Composers – Johann Sebastian Bach" is produced in 1996, but is not clear whether in the US or in another country. Director was Malcolm Hossick, the production in English and just 35 minutes short. You can watch it if you buy it first. But this is not from me and not from my wife.


The Bach Movie 1997


1997– the film "Great Composers" about Bach emerges. It is a British work, so there is no German version, but you can buy it, the movie. You know it, not from me, not from my wife, but on Amazon.


The Bach Movie 2000


At the time of the turn of the millennium, namely "sort of exactly" in the year 2000, the team Jens Schere and Robert Gräf produced a German film again. You can listen to it in German, in English, in Spanish, in French and even in Japanese language. A full 90 minutes of entertainment is offered and you can still buy the movie today. And indeed, ... you know it, on Amazon. Oh, the title: 


In 2000 as well the film production with the title "Because he isn't stoppable". It is a journey to Johann Sebastian Bach. The work is presented by Robert Levin, the film is directed by Kriss Russmann and it is a German / French co-production.


2000 is the Bach film year – so it seems – but one title is completely out of line. Also in terms of content, it is different, it is about Bach's handwriting. The title "From originals, lovers, and chiffonade". We owe this work to Cornelia Schönberg and Hanne Kaisik.


The fourth film project related to the topic of Bach in the year 2000 is the "Pilgrimage to Bach". Elliot Gardiner, the current CEO of the Neue Bach-Gesellschaft (New Bach Society), is on a world tour. Manfred Waffender created this well worth seeing opus.


A fifth and final Bach film in the year 2000 is the work "Johann Sebastian Bach – Genius for All Times". The producer is Heidrun Suenderhaut. This film is what you get on Amazon with a click here. The title: "Johann Sebastian Bach - Life and Work".


The Bach Movie 2001


The first film, published in the third millennium about Johann Sebastian Bach, has the title "Johann Sebastian Bach Life and Work" and was produced in the year 2001. It is a DVD video about the life stations of Bach. Published by the Publishing House Klaus-Jürgen Kamprad.


The Bach Movie 2003


"My name is Bach" is the title of a production from the year 2003. It is a French / German / Swiss co-production, in 2004 it arrived at the cinemas as a movie. As late as 2006 a DVD came into being. Vadim Glowna plays Johann Sebastian Bach, Jurgen Vogel the Prussian King and the other actors you probably don't know anyway. Dominique de Rivaz was the director and film and DVD are both differently long: the film is 97 minutes, the DVD is 94 minutes. There is Bach's music in surround and sure, such a young work is still buyable. Let me say again: not from me, not from my wife. And if you want to buy it, you can do it with one click.


"Glory to God Alone" is the title2 in the year 2003 and it's a US production. It is a very short production of only 30 minutes in length and you can still buy this film, of course. Where can you buy it? Here. However, it can also be viewed on Vimeo in its complete length of 43 minutes. To do this click here.


The Bach Movie 2004


2004 the film "JSB – the Dear Lord of Music" was created, too. It is a television production, a mixture of documentation, authentic plus a little fiction, too. Here is a little more information. You can buy it on Amazon.


So, What Now ... No New Bach Movie Within Almost 15 Years?


If I actually have forgotten one Bach film in the past 100 years and you know about it ... or there is a new one since 2004 or even in Russian, in Indian or one production that was filmed in Somali, then please send me a mail: here is the link to my contact form. I would like to add it on this page. It would be – for me – then the ultimate Bachfilm.


Bach in Brazil ... Excuse Me – what Is Bach in Brazil? 2016.


"Bach in Brazil". Is that one of the films in the sense of our question right on top of this page. At least it's the youngest of all Bach films. However, it's no film about a Bach. Plus from the very beginning: in my opinion there is no English version. Anyway: It's just more than one of the films in the sense of FAQ 108 ... that is a film with Bach music. If you check the trailer (... try it, even if it's in German), you listen to much Bach music. Plus really very specific Bach music. It's about a subject, that is related to Johann Sebastian Bach. It's likeable, this little introduction to this our outsider of films in the matter of Bach. A feel well comedy. 2016 this film premiered in the cinemas in Germany. And meanwhile you get it on DVD. For instance at Amazon. Here, by the way you get to the official website of Bach in Brazil. The content: a former music teacher inherits handwritten note sheets of Bach, but he has to pick them up in person in Brasil. Already the trailer makes you want to watch it, because well-known melodies are interpreted in a South American style. Here is a link to the content, but you will need Amazon Translate to get it ... or you speak German. Here's the address for more content. It's a trip from the Bach city of Bueckeburg to Ouro Preto in Brazil. It's a post-colonial fairy tail, writes German newspaper website "Die Welt24". Ansgar Ahlers has produced this love declaration to Bach and Edgar Selge, Aldri Anunciação und Franziska Walser play the leading parts. Here is another summary from Plus German newspaper Süddeutsche and a local paper – the HNA – report about the German production.


Conclusion: those who love Bach plus Samba and who wants to have 92 minutes of fun, here is – as a bonus – our recommendation. Start learning German, next order the DVD: Bach in Brazil.



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