In a futuristic city where workers toil underground, the privileged class lives in modern splendour, enjoying its Son's Club and Eternal Gardens. But when Freder (Frohlich), son of the city's master Joh (Abel), goes underground in search of the beautiful Maria (Helm), he discovers the dark truth firsthand.
Back home, he challenges his father to create a more just system, then he teams up with a dismissed factory manager (Loos) to help launch a rebellion.
Meanwhile, Joh and his mad inventor (Klein-Rogge) have a counter-revolutionary plan of their own.
Lang's filmmaking is still impressive today, with its stunning views of the futuristic city combined with a gripping story that's grounded in emotion and a soulful yearning for justice. The film's design is simply magnificent, with dazzling sets, big effects and a cast of thousands. But the narrative and characters are just as memorable, combining political intrigue with gritty thrills as Freder is shadowed by his father's creepy, thin goon (Rasp) and as Maria is cloned as a robotic rabble-rouser.
The image most people remember is the iconic female robot, clearly a prototype for Star Wars' C-3PO half a century years later. And her connection to each man gives the film an emotionally potent kick as it drives the increasingly harrowing events that follow. Add to this the messianic overtones surrounding Freder, and the plot clamps down on us with romance, action and dark drama, never letting go for a second as it builds to an apocalyptic climax.
This reconstructed version contains 25 minutes of footage that were thought to have been lost forever. Discovered in Buenos Aires in 2008, these timeworn scenes have been lovingly re-inserted exactly as in Lang's original version of the film, adding much more resonance to the already timeless story. Classic movies don't get much more essential than this one.
Genre: Sci fi/Fantasy
Run time: 153 mins
In Theaters: Sunday 13th March 1927
Box Office USA: $0.5M
Box Office Worldwide: $650.4 thousand
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Production compaines: Universum Film
Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Fresh: 115 Rotten: 1
IMDB: 8.3 / 10
Director: Fritz Lang
Producer: Erich Pommer
Screenwriter: Thea von Harbou
Starring: Brigitte Helm as Maria, Alfred Abel as Johann 'Joh' Fredersen, Gustav Fröhlich as Freder Fredersen, Rudolf Klein-Rogge as C.A. Rotwang, the inventor, Fritz Rasp as Der Schmale, Theodor Loos as Josaphat - Joseph, Erwin Biswanger as No. 11811, Heinrich George as Grot, Olaf Storm as Jan, Hanns Leo Reich as Marinus, Helene Weigel as Arbeiterfrau, Fritz Alberti as Kreativer Mensch, Heinrich Gotho as Zeremonienmeister, Margarete Lanner as Frau im Wagen