Film, Science fiction
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Since its release in 1927, Fritz Lang’s epic modern fable has only been available in truncated form. Even with an extra 25 minutes, this restored version isn’t entirely complete, but it’s the closest we’re likely to get, and it’s a triumph. The added material doesn’t yield a fundamentally different picture, but amplifies its strengths, the narrative finally proving as compelling as the film’s  ambitious idealism, production design and special effects always were.

Set in a future city where a sliver of gilded society lives atop a mountain of subterranean labour, ‘Metropolis’ sends the city leader’s son on an odyssey to the depths in pursuit of saintly workers’ advocate Maria. Meanwhile, her evil robot doppelgänger is set loose on a mission to corrupt and destroy the city. (Brigitte Helm’s amazing, freaky double performance is a major asset.)

Building on earlier science fiction and endlessly influential on later works, Lang’s film is a mammoth marvel, fusing modernism and expressionism, art deco and Biblical spectacle, Wagnerian bombast, sentimental Marxism and religiose millenarianism. Sit close to a big screen and submit to the machine.

By: Ben Walters


Release details

Duration: 124 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Fritz Lang
Screenwriter: Thea von Harbou, Fritz Lang
Cast: Fritz Rasp
Brigitte Helm
Heinrich George
Alfred Abel
Theodor Loos
Gustav Fröhlich
Rudolf Klein-Rogge

Average User Rating

4.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Deeper Into Movies

Of all the great silent films, few approach the curiously hip appeal of director Fritz Lang’s futuristic 1927 German classic. It was the Cleopatra or Heaven’s Gate of its day, nearly bankrupting the studio—Ufa—that produced it. Yet its influence, principally in Lang’s extraordinary visual design, has been monumental. More than 80 years after its release, Metropolis remains the Citizen Kane of the science-fiction film. Despite its influence on such movies as disparate as Blade Runner, Dr. Strangelove and Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times, some present-day audiences may yet agree with famed author H.G. Wells, who called it a “most foolish film.� Its campy, ponderous absurdities are no less apparent in a historic new edition, which adds 25 minutes to the extant two-hour version first released in 2002.... (Review at


I’m pleased I saw this film. I’m not sure it was all I was expecting, but putting it in perspective, in its day I’m certain it was exceptional. That’s not to say I wasn’t seriously impressed by some of the “effects� that today are very much taken for granted. The story’s definitely secondary to the film’s set and effects, which must have cost a fortune and taken some time to build and create. And where it wasn’t possible to build towering skyscrapers, the set painting and artists’ abilities to create those impressions are excellent. I’m glad I saw it in the new full length, despite those missing minutes sometimes being very scratchy. The previous restoration of the rest of the film was so worthwhile – in places it’s pin-sharp. Don’t go expecting a riveting storyline, you’re going for what in its day must have been a visual feast and beyond imagination.