Metropolis (1925) is a monumental work. When it was made it was Germany's most expensive feature film, a canvas for director Fritz Lang's increasingly extravagant ambitions (it took sixteen months to film). Lang, inspired by the skyline of New York, created a whole new vision of cities. One of the greatest works of science fiction, the film also tells human stories about love and family. In this book, Thomas Elsaesser explores the cultural phenomenon of Metropolis: its different versions (there is no definitive one), its changing meanings, its role as a storehouse or database of the 20th century.