- “When I read the script... I thought, Jesus! Incredible. This is the first time I read a script where someone brings to make people understand, what Nazi thinking is about.”
- ―Christian Berkel
Berkel was born in Berlin, Germany. His father was a military doctor and his mother came from a Jewish German family.
He has appeared in many German television productions and secured a major role in the Academy Award-nominated film Downfall as Doctor Ernst-Günther Schenck. He has followed this with significant roles in the Paul Verhoeven directed Dutch movie Black Book, in Daniel Ragussis documentary about Shimon Haber and the big budget United States movies Flightplan, Valkyrie (in which he portrayed Colonel Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim) and the Academy Award-nominated Inglourious Basterds, where he played Eric.
He lives in Berlin with the actress Andrea Sawatzki, by whom he has two sons. He is also fluent in French and English.