The Film Museum was founded in 1963 as the Photography and Film Department of the Münchner Stadtmuseum. With its regular screenings, it became Germany's leading municipal cinema and – above all under the aegis of its second director, Enno Patalas, during the 1970s – garnered an international reputation as a film archive. The Film Museum's archives contain approximately 5,000 copies of films, including true cinematic classics, some of which have been reconstructed through years of painstaking work. These include classic silent films such as "Joyless Street," "Metropolis," "The Golem" and "Pharao's Wife," as well as unfinished fragments of movies from the estate of Orson Welles. The collection's major focuses also cover German and Soviet silent movies, early talkies and multilingual movies, avantgarde classics, and productions by Munich filmmakers such as Herbert Achternbusch, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wim Wenders, Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzel.
Through its "edition filmmuseum", the Film Museum has been releasing films and important archive material on DVDs since 2005.
In addition to it’s daily program which features comprehensive retrospectives, theme-related film series, selected premieres and silent movies, the Film Museum is a regular venue for festivals such as Dok.fest. the Munich Film Festival, and the International Festival of Filmschools.
Located in the former Royal Stables building of the Münchner Stadtmuseum, the Filmmuseum offers top sound and (digital) film technology, seating for 165, and a silver screen that is also suitable for 3D films.