Lang's vision of a future city has an impressive legacy that continues to this day.
The original three-hour version of Metropolis is cinema's first science-fiction epic. It's certainly the silent era's best example of the genre, despite sharing many traits with the gothic tradition. The film centres on a city divided in two: the rich and privileged, who live a shiny, science-fiction life in the clouds; and the poor and dispossessed, who exist in the gloom of the underworld.
The plot involves a man who falls in love with the almost saintly Maria. His industrialist father employs what may well be one of the cinema's first mad scientists to create a robot - made in Maria's image - which proceeds to incite the workers to revolt, resulting in the flooding of the city. The moment when 'Maria' is revealed to be an android remains an iconic celluloid image.
Subsequent releases of the film have shortened its running time, while contemporary composers have added their own soundtrack, including a celebrated - and to some, notorious - Giorgio Moroder version in 1984.