Zehrfeld made his film debut in 2005 with a lead role in Dominik Graf's The Red Cockatoo. He starred in the comedic pirate movie 12 Paces Without a Head directed by Sven Taddicken where he played the role of the pirate Klaus Störtebeker.
In 2010, he played a major role as an idealistic Berlin police detective in Dominik Graf's elaborate and critically acclaimed television ten-part series Im Angesicht des Verbrechens. In 2011 he works with Graf again in the crime drama "Cassandra's Warning" (2011) from the series Polizeiruf 110, this time in an unfamiliar role as a murderous villain, and in the TV crime drama The Invisible Girl. He also takes supporting role in Matthias Glasner's TV mystery thriller The Hour of the Wolf (2011).
In 2012 he starred in Christian Petzold's Barbara, which won Silver Bear for Best Director at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival. The film was selected as the German entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards, but it did not make the final shortlist.
In 2014 Zehrfeld appeared in several movies. In Dominik Graf's historical film Beloved Sisters he played Wilhelm von Wolzogen, a college friend of the main character Friedrich Schiller, it was selected as the German entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards, but was not nominated. In the war drama Inbetween Worlds he appears as a German soldier in Afghanistan, who falls into a crisis of conscience. The children's film Rico, Oskar und die Tieferschatten shows him as a new resident of an apartment building in which there are mysterious happenings. He also starred in Christian Petzold's postwar drama Phoenix alongside Nina Hoss; the movie received universal acclaim from critics.
Awards and nominationsEdit
|2006||Undine Award||Best Debut, Male||The Red Cockatoo||Nominated|
|New Faces Award||Actor||The Red Cockatoo||Nominated|
|2011||Grimme-Preis||Fiction||Im Angesicht des Verbrechens||Won|
|2012||Deutscher Filmpreis||Best Actor||Barbara||Nominated|
|2013||Baden-Baden TV Film Festival||Best Performance||Mord in Eberswalde||Won|
|German Film Critics Association Award||Best Actor||Barbara||Nominated|
|Jupiter Award||Best German TV Actor||Das unsichtbare Mädchen||Won|
|2014||Grimme-Preis||Fiction||Mord in Eberswalde||Won|
|2016||German Film Award||Best Supporting Actor||The People vs. Fritz Bauer||Won|
- "Germany's Oscar entry is Christian Petzold's Barbara". Screendaily. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
- "OSCARS: Germany Selects Dominik Graf's 'Beloved Sisters' as Academy Award Entry". Variety. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- Kaever, Oliver (28 May 2016). "Deutscher Filmpreis 2016: Das Frühlingsmärchen" – via Spiegel Online.