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Nonni und Manni DVD Review for German Teachers and Students

Kathy Steinemann

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German language teachers and students are always on the lookout for interesting ways to present lessons or improve vocabulary. This DVD series may be a helpful resource. The vocabulary is simple, and the episodes are only 52 minutes long.

'Nonni und Manni’ is a *REGION 2* DVD production released in 1988. If you do not have a DVD player capable of playing Region 2 titles, go to and browse through the ‘Advice’ section, or access the information at Multi-region compatible DVD players are available at your local Wal-Mart for very reasonable prices. All it takes is a few clicks of the remote control, and your DVD unit will be able to play DVDs from anywhere in the world.

The original ‘Nonni und Manni’ TV series was produced in Icelandic - which is a North Germanic language. The German production has well-dubbed audio, spoken clearly at an easy-to-understand pace. There are no idioms and dialect accents to deal with. Intermediate to advanced students should be able to understand the speech (which, by the way, has no subtitles).

The ‘Nonni und Manni’ series is based on characters from children's books written by Jon Svensson. Adults will enjoy the storyline as well.

The Plot:

1869: Nonni and Manni live near a small village on the coast of Iceland with their mother (Sigrid) and grandmother. Their father boarded a ship headed overseas before 8-year-old Manni was born, and the family has been awaiting his return.

One day a stranger named Harald comes ashore with the sad news that Nonni and Manni's father has died. The family begins the mourning process, and Harald helps out on their farm in return for board. The boys form a bond with him, and begin to look up to him as a father figure. A local businessman, who is quite smitten with Sigrid, becomes increasingly irate about the situation.

A rich farmer in the village is murdered. Harald is blamed for the incident, and decides to flee into the mountains. Nonni and Manni are determined to help keep him safe and prove his innocence. With the help of a friend, they locate a secure hiding place.

As might be expected from any 12-year-old, Nonni devises several trips to the hideout with his little brother. They put themselves into peril by doing so, and the story progresses with several life-threatening close calls.

Miscellaneous Information:

The magnificent beauty of Iceland was the stage for this series. Production techniques in the mid 1980s did not use special effects like CGI graphics. The polar bear attack scenes are a smidgen unrealistic - but the suspense is maintained, nonetheless.

The background music is beautiful, with a distinctive melancholic edge. The theme song, ‘Ocean', is in English - which seems to be the case with many foreign series. Costumes appear to have been well-researched. The boys wear wool outfits that appear a big irregular and bumpy, as you would expect from handmade clothing. The hats and hairstyles of the women are definitely something you won't see in a North American western movie.

-Series writer: Joshua Sinclair I -Director: Ágúst Guðmundsson -Theme Song: Klaus Doldinger -Online Purchasing:, Ebay, etc.

The same extra features are included on each DVD:

  • Short biography of Jon Svensson (1857-1944)
  • Film credits for Thor Cortes (Nonni) and Örn Einarsson (Manni)
  • Trailer
  • Photo gallery

Nonni und Manni, 3-DVD Set, 2 episodes each (complete series) - UPC Code:4250124320621

Book (January, 2007) - limited information available - ISBN-10:345170773X, ISBN-13:978-3451707735

Hardcover edition (1995) - ISBN-10:3451213567, ISBN-13:978-3451213564

Pocketbook (1990) - ISBN-10:3423702060, ISBN-13:978-3423702065

More German language resources are available at A Language Guide - and you will find other articles at 1st Rate Articles - as well as 111 Travel Directory . . . Visit 111 Travel Directory before you travel abroad to study or practice your new language skills.


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