In 1923 she made her film debut in Der Evangelimann. With the rise of Naziism, Bergner and her husband, Paul Skinner, both Jews, moved to London. Her Catherine the Great was banned in Germany because of her Jewishness. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for Escape Me Never in 1935.
She returned to Germany in 1954, where she acted in movies and on the stage. Seglitz, Germany named a city park after her.