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Who was Sigmund Freud? The true story behind new Netflix drama series, Freud

More than just a Freudian slip.

Robert Finster as Freud (Netflix)
Published: Friday, 20th March 2020 at 12:50 pm

Sigmund Freud is a man that most of us have heard of, but few of us know very much about. That’s about to change though, with new eight-part German-language drama Freud, which streams on Netflix.


Austrian actor Robert Finster plays the title role in this sub-titled thriller, set in Vienna, which takes a real life character and throws him into a fictional scenario. Young and ambitious, he works on his theories of psycho-analysis, while also helping an inspector solve a string of crimes. As you do.

But who was Sigmund Freud?

Born in 1856 to a Jewish family, Freud studied medicine at the University of Vienna and worked at the city’s hospital. He eventually became a Professor, with a clinical practice in the city, but was forced to leave Austria to flee the Nazis in 1938. He died a year later while in exile in the UK.

Freud is often referred to as the Father of Psychoanalysis, and while many of his theories are still controversial he has had a huge influence on popular culture, as well as our modern beliefs about dreams, the sub-conscious and psychology.

He argued that the human mind could be split into three parts – the ID (animalistic urges), superego (intellectual thoughts) and the ego, which would hopefully provide balance between the two.

He is famous for asserting that most human behaviour can be explained by events that took place in our childhood and many of this theories revolved around sexual desire, including the well-known Oedipus complex. Words he introduced to our vocabulary through his theories include libido, denial, repression, cathartic and neurotic.

Aren’t his family quite famous too?

Yes. Sigmund had two eminent grandsons: celebrity chef, MP and broadcaster Clement Freud and artist Lucien Freud. His great-granddaughter Emma Freud is a script editor, broadcaster and the partner of Four Weddings and a Funeral writer Richard Curtis. Another of his great-granddaughters is the fashion designer Bella Freud, famous for her 1970 jumpers, as well as the novelist Esther Freud, wife of actor David Morrissey.


Freud is streaming on Netflix from Monday 23rd March – f you’re looking for something else to watch check out our TV Guide


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