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Metropolis (1927)

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In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.

Director:

Fritz Lang

Writers:

Thea von Harbou (screenplay), Thea von Harbou (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Alfred Abel ... Joh Fredersen
Gustav Fröhlich ... Freder - Joh Fredersen's Son
Rudolf Klein-Rogge ... C.A. Rotwang - the Inventor
Fritz Rasp ... The Thin Man
Theodor Loos ... Josaphat
Erwin Biswanger Erwin Biswanger ... 11811 - Georgy
Heinrich George ... Grot - the Guardian of the Heart Machine
Brigitte Helm ... The Machine Man / Maria
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Storyline

Sometime in the future, the city of Metropolis is home to a Utopian society where its wealthy residents live a carefree life. One of those is Freder Fredersen. One day, he spots a beautiful woman with a group of children, she and the children quickly disappear. Trying to follow her, he is horrified to find an underground world of workers who apparently run the machinery that keeps the Utopian world above ground functioning. One of the few people above ground who knows about the world below is Freder's father, John Fredersen, who is the founder and master of Metropolis. Freder learns that the woman is called Maria, who espouses the need to join the "hands" - the workers - to the "head" - those in power above - by a mediator who will act as the "heart". Freder wants to help the plight of the workers in their struggle for a better life. But when John learns of what Maria is advocating and that Freder has joined their cause, with the assistance of an old colleague. an inventor called ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Fritz Lang's 1927 Masterpiece Now With 25 Minutes of Lost Footage (2010 re-release) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

AL | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

5 March 1927 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Metrópolis See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

DEM 6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,386, 14 July 2002

Gross USA:

$1,236,166
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universum Film (UFA) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-release) | (1927 cut) | (2002 Murnau Foundation 75th aniversary restored) | (Giorgio Moroder)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (1995 restored version)| Silent (original release)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film took almost a year and a half to shoot. See more »

Goofs

When Freder and Maria reach the top of the stairs, when they are saving the children, their clothes suddenly dry up quite a lot. In the shot before they are still soaked. See more »

Quotes

Joh Frederson: What were you doing in the machine halls, Freder?
Freder: I wanted to look into the faces of the people whose little children are my brothers, my sisters...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Restoration based on the version in the Filmmuseum Munich and material preserved in the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv See more »

Alternate Versions

The version released on Crown Movie Classics is the same cut as the Madacy version but features very inappropriate 'Hal Roach'-style music for its score. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Transformers: Megatron's Master Plan: Part 2 (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Cage of Freedom
Music by Giorgio Moroder
Lyrics by Pete Bellotte
Performed by Jon Anderson
Courtesy of Columbia Records
(from the 1984 re-release)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Early science fiction story that presents a pessimistic prediction of a future society.
16 February 2001 | by Anonymous_MaxineSee all my reviews

Who ever heard of an epic science fiction film? Especially in the 1920s? Sure, some science fiction movies are huge today, such as George Lucas' latest goofy Star Wars movie, but in 1926, Fritz Lang came out with a brilliant film about what the future would be like if people went on living the way they were living back then. And sure enough, we went right ahead living the way we were living, the population got bigger and more crowded, and now modern society is not a whole lot different from what was presented in Metropolis.

The story is about a young rich kid without a care in the world who becomes concerned about the way that society (Metropolis) was run by his father, John Frederson, the master of Metropolis. He lives in a ‘Pleasure Garden' high above the level of the workers', and he worries about what would happen if the huge number of workers were to turn against his father, given the terrible conditions under which they live and work. Some of the best scenes in the film take place in the underground mines, showing the workers portrayed as little more than components on a gigantic, sinister looking machine. The scene where the machine overheated even contained some impressive stunts, as well as interesting cinematography as the machine transforms into a giant devil-looking monster. After countless workers are consumed by it (no wonder this was Hitler's favorite film), they are immediately replaced by other workers, who go right to the same spots that the previous men left and resume their robotic movements. If some of these scenes, men can be seen being carried away on stretchers after having been injured, and the rest of the workers keep right on working, hardly even noticing.

The way that the workers are portrayed as lifeless machines is one of the more potent elements of this film, as well as the most revealing about the directors intentions. When his son complains about the tragic things that go on in the mines, Frederson replies that such accidents are unavoidable, but his son still insists that they deserve credit for building the city. This is the kind of content that foreshadows some serious mutiny, and at the same time it shows what may very well happen when large groups of people feel mistreated. `Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups' is a saying that doesn't necessarily only apply to stupid people, as Metropolis suggests. Fritz Lang brilliantly portrays this very complex story with extremely limited dialogue, and the result is still compelling today. The special effects in this film are decades ahead of its time – it even resembles The Fifth Element in many ways (except that the two films can hardly be compared) – and the acting and especially the elaborately created sets are stunning to say the least. An excellent film, Metropolis is one of the few that should never be forgotten.


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