Released on: January 10, 1927
Directed by: Fritz Lang
Written by: Thea von Harbou, Fritz Lang
Starring: Alfred Abel, Gustav Fröhlich, Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Brigitte Helm
There’s a reason that this film is not just on the list of the 50 best sci-fi film on Netflix, but on the list of best films of all time. When it was released in 1927, it was a ground-breaking, frightening film, and time has done nothing to diminish the impact of this Fritz Lang masterpiece.
Though several attempts to show the film post-release were less than successful — let’s all conveniently forget the Giorgio Moroder version featuring Loverboy, shall we? — in 2008, an original cut of the film was discovered in Argentina. It was subsequently restored and shown, in full, in 2010. Whether you realize it or not, everything in modern cinema — in some way — has a tie to this film. Everything from Madonna’s “Express Yourself” video to Robotic Angel owes a debt of gratitude to Metropolis.
With tales of the Maschinenmensch (woman as machine, which is nothing if not a telling preview of how we, as a society, would go on to fetishize technology), a corrupt government, and a deus ex machina ending, Metropolis deserves to be viewed, both as a cinematic masterpiece and as a film that would go on to influence every sci-fi film in its wake.