Winnetou Films Make a Comeback After 50 Years, Croatia First to Broadcast

Daniela Rogulj

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Winnetou films, the classics of German film history, are coming back to television screens after over 50 years. Croatian commercial broadcaster RTL will be the first to air the new Winnetou films on Christmas Day, and you might even recognize some of the filming locations…

While the films that will air are not remakes of the old Winnetou classics, they are completely new and based on the books of Karl May. Compared to the original Winnetou Wild West and Old Shatterhand films, the new films are said to be much gloomier and far more realistic. The three new films that will air are titled: Winnetou – A New World, Winnetou – The Secret of the Silbersee, and Winnetou – The Last Fight.


One of the most interesting things about this new project are the film locations – within our beloved Croatia. According to official statements, the filming took place at many original locations, with the addition of some new. The films for this new series have been shot in the some of the popular Croatian locations of Baska Voda, NP Krka, NP Ucka, Rijeka, Skradin, Velebit mountains and many more. You can find the original film locations here and see the map of all current Croatian filming locations below.


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A large part of the film crew and many of the actors stayed at the Hotel Bitoraj in Fužine in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County of Croatia. “Roswell City” which was filmed near Fužine on the Spicunak field, is about 6 km away and will also become a tourist attraction for Winnetou fans. The Vrelo cave is only about 3 km away and the Old Shatterhand Ranch is about 25 km away.

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While there were some discussions and speculations about the new filming locations, legal disputes between RTL and Karl May, and sharp criticisms from the existing Winnetou fan base, in spite of the negative taste, many stars such as Mario Adorf and Gojko Mitic played a part in the three-part series, and even Pierre Brice gave this project his blessing before his death. One thing is for certain – never before has a German re-filming been talked about in the headlines so much, long before it has already aired!

This particular Winnetou project swallowed a total sum of over 15 million euros (equivalent to 7 of the “Tatort” films, a successful German crime series) and will surely be one of the highlights on television this December.

Don’t miss the first broadcast on RTL on Christmas Day, this Sunday, 25 December.


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