Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Metropolis (1927)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Metropolis (1927, Germ.)

In Fritz Lang's science-fiction classic:

  • the inspired, expressionistic scenes of a futuristic (year 2026), mechanized city with soaring skyscrapers and landscapes (using miniature models)
  • the contrast between the leisure class above ground and the underground workers, with the giant machines, and their slum dwellings
  • the early "Eternal Gardens" Sequence in which Freder (Gustav Frohlich), the aristocrat capitalist's son, frolicked with young ladies (wearing sheer and braless blouses) in a athletic arena and in a grotto - he chased one young lady with a backless tight black top around a circular fountain, and when he caught her, he bent her backwards and pressed towards her for a kiss
  • the beautiful young Maria's (Brigitte Helm) appearance with a group of waif-like, hungry worker children, who told them: ("Look! These are your brothers!...Look- - ! These are your brothers!")
  • the scene of the march of two groups or battalions of workers (in dark worksuits) in two parallel corridors, lined up in rows of six - the sullen workers who left the subterranean machine area after their shift shuffled by and were exhausted, marching in unison only half as fast as the new shift of entering employees
  • the scene of the wistful, Christ-like, angelic, light-haired young Maria standing on an altar decorated with tall crosses and lighted candles behind her, and preaching to her raptured comrades about the tower-building in Babel and the mistreatment of slaves: ("Come, let us build us a tower whose top may reach unto the stars! And on top of the tower we will write the words: Great is the world and its Creator! And great is Man! ...but the minds that had conceived the Tower of Babel could not build it. The task was too great. So they hired hands for wages. But the hands that built the Tower of Babel knew nothing of the dream of the brain that had conceived it. BABEL One man's hymns of praise became other men's curses. People spoke the same language, but could not understand each other. HEAD and HANDS need a mediator! THE MEDIATOR BETWEEN HEAD AND HANDS MUST BE THE HEART!")
  • the scene of Freder's controlling, glacial father Master Joh Fredersen (Alfred Abel) ordering mad scientist Rotwang (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) to create an evil, robotic Maria look-alike duplicate, in order to manipulate his workers and preach riot and rebellion: ("Rotwang, give the Machine-Man the likeness of that girl. I shall sow discord between them and her! I shall destroy their belief in this woman --!")
  • the robot-transformation sequence in which luminous, glowing rings surrounded and moved vertically atop the standing robot, as its circulatory system was energized with Maria's life force, and Maria's face dissolved onto the face of the android - the real Maria lost consciousness as the robot likeness became flesh and blood; the stunning feminine, look-alike robot appeared in Maria's image to incite unrest in the masses and to cause the destruction of the real Maria's work
Robot-Transformation Scene
  • the avante-garde sequence of Freder discovering his father being enticed by the robotic false Maria (also Helm) (with one eye closed), Freder's own love interest, when he saw them about to embrace; he cried out: "Maria!"; he broke down, signified by the background slowly going out of focus, and his image's replacement with spheres of white light, blurry counter-clockwise kaleidoscopic spinning of his vision (from his point of view), jagged starbursts (appearing like scratches on the film's negative), his unbalanced disorientation, a rotating superimposition of Maria's face, and a frightening sensation of falling
Maria's Enticing Nightclub Dance Before Lustful Men
  • and the depraved nightclub scene when a group of wealthy, tuxedoed men watched as the false Maria rose on a stage platform and began her sexy, tempting performance of an almost-nude (with pasties on her breasts), hip-swiveling Salome-style dance - the lecherous, staring eyeballs of the lustful men in the audience were seen in a montage
  • the sequence of the great flood

The Futuristic City

The Stadium

Eternal Gardens

Maria With Worker Children

Marching In and Out of Work

The Metropolis Machines

Maria on Altar

Look-Alike Robotic Maria

Maria Saving Children From Flood


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