I feel that Fritz Lang’s Metropolis is one of the first milestones in cinematic science fiction. The first, for me, being George Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon. Now, Lang’s epic film is officially in the Public Domain. While I this isn’t a film that I’ve watched multiple times, there are moments that I can point to as iconic and influential to later films that I adore.
From the Smithsonian: Helmed by German director Fritz Lang, Metropolis is a silent film examining the tensions between a city’s workers and its wealthy upper class. It is perhaps most famous for its innovative production design and special effects: Since its debut, a number of science fiction films that followed—including Blade Runner (1982)—were heavily inspired by the unique mise-en-scène of Lang’s dystopian drama. Several scenes were cut after the 1927 debut, and film historians believed they were lost to history—until they were rediscovered in 2008. Since the film’s 1927 premiere, “its deepest concerns have hardly faded, and indeed seem freshly urgent,” wrote critic A.O. Scott in the New York Times in 2010. “The problem at the core of Metropolis is not the ravenous machinery of the industrial system, but the brutal inequality that makes the machine run.”