Film Review: Metropolis (1927)

Fig 1. Metropolis Movie Poster

Fritz Lang's Futuristic city Metropolis (1927) is considered to be one of the first great science fiction films, with its iconic look and inspired many since its release, this film can not be forgotten.
Lang's Metropolis shows a range of special effects such as cross dissolves, montages, and how the city is created by miniature set designs throughout the film. Which actually makes the film seem contemporary and modern. As the film another silent movie, they of course included music. Right from the start the music is grand and expressed the emotion of the city and the scenes of emotion.

"Lang’s film defies rational dissection at every turn, drunk on the possibilities of exploring a new world defined by its creator’s loftiest aspirations, petty jealousies, and domineering hubris" (Abrams, 2010).

One of the major events that could of influenced the film was the German revolution which happened after the first world war. In particular the Spartacist uprising which happened in 1919.
The revolutionaries were German communists, and they believed that Germany should be run by the working classes. They also wanted the power and wealth to be shared equally among the people and not just particular classes. So far the Spartacist uprising and Metropolis  have a connection.
The leaders of this uprising was Karl  Lienknect and Rosa Luxemburg. So can we relate this to Rotwang  and Maria's  robot double, as they were the ones that caused the riots in Metropolis. 

Fig 2. Rotwang
Throughout the film there were of course elements that still show up in today's films, where directors and writers have been inspired that it has been shown in films since. One of these elements is Lang's mad scientist Rotwang. "Rotwang, created the visual look of mad scientists for decades to come" (Ebert,1998). As Ebert explains Rotwang's visual look is what has been continued in films. When the audience thinks of a mad scientist they think of the laboratory coat, the mad hair and of course him being committed to his work. Lang has created this stereo type for a mad scientist.

"The DNA of huge swathes of sci-fi cinema is traceable in Lang’s production"(BFI,s.d). Lang has managed to create such a film that has gone and inspired people to go on and make their own metropolis in there work. We can see that Rotwang's robot Maria  has been adapted for such films as Frankenstein (1931, first released) with the mad scientist and his creation. But we can also see resemblance in other films such as the city in Blade Runner (1982) has been inspired by the futuristic city itself.

Fig 3. Blade Runner Poster (1982)

Illistration List

Fig 1. - Schulz-Neudamm, Heinz (1927) [poster] At: (Accessed on: 29.09.15)

Fig 2. - Rotwang (1927) [film still] At: (Accessed on 30.09.15)

Fig 3. - Blade Runner (1982) [poster] At: (Accessed on 04.10.15)


Abrams, S (2010) Metropolis At: (Accessed on 04.10.15)

BBC (s.d) Weimar Germany At: (Accessed on 04.10.15)

BFI (s.d) Metropolis (1927) At: (Accessed on 04.10.15)

Ebert, R (1998) Metropolis At: (Accessed on 30.09.15)

Metropolis. (1927) Directed by Fritz Lang [Film] Germany: UFA & Paramount Pictures


  1. A nicely contextualised and concise review Hannah :)

    There is one quote that is missing its reference - '"The DNA of huge swathes of sci-fi cinema is traceable in Lang’s production".

    Looking forward to what you make of 'King Kong' !


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