Known for movies

Short Info

DiedAugust 2, 1976, Beverly Hills, California, United States
SpouseLily Latte, Thea von Harbou, Lisa Rosenthal
MarkAll his films feature a shot of his hand
FactPrior to World War I he had a keen interest in art. He often visited the Academy of Graphic Arts in Vienna and spent 1913 and 1914 as an artist in Paris, France.

Fritz Lang (December 5, 1890 – August 2, 1976) was an Austrian-American filmmaker, screenwriter, and producer. He is best known for directing such films as Metropolis (1927), M (1931), and The Big Heat (1953).

Lang was born in Vienna, Austria, to Anton Lang, a construction company owner, and his wife Pauline Schlesinger. He had two younger sisters, Lili and Berta. His father died when Fritz was only nine years old, and his mother remarried soon after.

Lang began his career as a painter and architect, but he soon turned to film. He started out working as an assistant director on various German films. In 1920, he made his directorial debut with the film Der müde Tod (The Weary Death).

Lang quickly gained a reputation as a talented and innovative director. In 1923, he directed the film Die Nibelungen, a two-part epic based on the Germanic saga of the same name. The film was a critical and commercial success, and it cemented Lang’s reputation as a master filmmaker.

In 1927, Lang directed Metropolis, a science fiction film set in a future city where the rich and powerful live in luxury while the poor toil in the depths of the earth. The film was a massive success, and it is now considered a classic of the genre.

In 1931, Lang directed M, a crime thriller about a child murderer who is hunted by the police. The film was a critical and commercial success, and it cemented Lang’s reputation as a master of suspense.

In 1933, Lang emigrated to the United States due to the rise of the Nazi party in Germany. He continued to make films in Hollywood, including such classics as The Woman in the Window (1944) and The Big Heat (1953).

Lang retired from filmmaking in 1966. He died in 1976 at the age of 85.

Lang was one of the most influential filmmakers of his era. His films are noted for their innovative visuals and their themes of social injustice and human frailty.

General Info

Full NameFritz Lang
DiedAugust 2, 1976, Beverly Hills, California, United States
Height1.83 m
ProfessionActor, Film director, Film producer, Screenwriter, Film Editor, Cabaret Artist
EducationTU Wien


SpouseLily Latte, Thea von Harbou, Lisa Rosenthal
ParentsAnton Lang, Pauline Lang
SiblingsAdolf Lang


AwardsGerman Film Award - Honorary Award, International Critics Award for Feature Films – Special Mention
MoviesMetropolis, M, Scarlet Street, Destiny, The Big Heat, Fury, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, Woman in the Moon, Dr. Mabuse the Gambler, You Only Live Once, The Woman in the Window, Hangmen Also Die!, Spione, The Indian Tomb, Die Nibelungen: Siegfried, Man Hunt, The Tiger of Eschnapur, Beyond a Reasonabl...

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#Marks / Signs
1His films are dark (both visually and in tone)
2His protagonists are frequently hateful, violent but ultimately sympathetic figures
3Usually wore a monocle, and probably only for dramatic effect
4All his films feature a shot of his hand


1To begin with I should say that I am a visual person. I experience with my eyes and never, or only rarely, with my ear--to my constant regret.
2[asked in a 1975 interview if he ever met Raoul Walsh] I never traveled around meeting other directors. I wasn't haughty in this respect. It is just that all my life I have been so involved in my work that I guess one could say in general that, whenever I had to balance my private life and my profession, my profession always won out.
3In America sex is preached, in France it is done.
4[on Edward G. Robinson] Each part he plays, he enriches with deep and warm understanding of human frailties and compels us to pity rather than condemnation, always adding vivid color to the intricate mosaic of motion picture reality.
5[on Erich von Stroheim] In my opinion, there were only two directors in Hollywood who made films without regard to box-office success: Von Stroheim and myself.
6I do not like producers.
7There was a time when all I looked for was a good story, but nowadays everything has to look like the size of Mount Rushmore, and the actors in close- up look as though they belong there.
8Each picture has some sort of rhythm which only the director can give it. He has to be like the captain of a ship.
9[about CinemaScope] It's only good for funerals and snakes.


1Although he was losing his eyesight by the time he directed his last film, "The Thousand Eyes Of Dr. Mabuse", he did try to initiate subsequent projects for a few years, including an original screenplay by himself designed as a vehicle for Jeanne Moreau and a version of John Le Carre's novel, "A Murder Of Quality", which he discussed with the author.
2Prior to World War I he had a keen interest in art. He often visited the Academy of Graphic Arts in Vienna and spent 1913 and 1914 as an artist in Paris, France.
3In 1918 he met producer Erich Pommer in Berlin, who hired him as an actor and scriptwriter.
4After he left Germany he made several pictures in France, then went to England and finally the US. It was there he helped found the Anti-Nazi League.
5He was quite unhappy when a scene didn't come out exactly the way he wanted it to, and would often take out his frustrations on his cast and crew.
6Unlike many silent-era directors, he welcomed the advent of sound, but didn't rush into it--while the sound era is generally agreed to have started in 1927, he didn't make a sound film until 1931, but it was one of his finest--M (1931). The film, a dark tale about a pedophile who molests and murders a little girl, was a smash international hit and made a star out of its lead, Peter Lorre. The film was especially meaningful to German audiences because of the recent cases of two serial-killing pedophiles, Peter Kurten and Fritz Haarman.
7He was known in Berlin as something of a "man of the world", and was often seen wearing a monocle, which was fashionable in those days.
8Despite his reputation as somewhat of a bully and tyrant while filming, he would often arrive on set at 7:00 am and stay until 11:00 pm or even later.
9Lang made only a few movies in the 1920s compared to other German directors, but the relative few he made are considered classics of film history.
10After a journey to America Lang returned to Germany to make what is probably his most famous work, Metropolis (1927). It was on this film that Lang acquired the reputation for being a "tyrant" on the set (even in the 1940s, long after he had settled in the US, many actors and actresses in Hollywood would refuse to work for him because of his abusive behavior on set).
11In 1933 Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels invited Lang to his office for a talk. Goebbels offered him the leadership of the German movie business. Lang told him he would need to think it over, and when he left the meeting he went directly to the train station and hopped a train to Paris, France.
12After the outbreak of World War I he volunteered for the Austro-Hungarian army and was sent to the front of Russia, Rumania and Italy, where he was wounded several times. He was awarded several medals for bravery. During his time in the military hospital he wrote his first scripts and one of them was very probably realized for the Stuart-Webbs serial of director Joe May After 1917 May adapted several of Lang's scripts for Das rollende Hotel (1918), the follow-up to the successful "Joe Deebs" serial Sein schwierigster Fall (1915).
13He claims to have invented "the countdown" for dramatic purposes in his film Woman in the Moon (1929). His use of countdown is the first ever recorded, inspiring real life rocket launch sequences.
14When he decided to leave Germany in 1933, his wife Thea von Harbou divorced him. She remained in Germany and made propaganda films for the Nazi regime.
15Lang dubbed Peter Lorre's whistling in M (1931). He felt his off-key whistling was right for the character.
16Producer Erich Pommer offered Lang The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), but the director felt the film's expressionistic style would not be understood by audiences. Instead he did Die Spinnen, 2. Teil - Das Brillantenschiff (1920), the last part of "The Spiders".
17Lang was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Imperial Army during WW I in 1915. As a lieutenant in Italy he was wounded in the shoulder, for which he was decorated.
18An extensive interview with Peter Bogdanovich resulted in a book, "Fritz Lang in America" published by Praesger in 1967.
19Learned to speak French and English as an adult in addition to his native German.
20His second wife, Thea von Harbou, divorced him after finding some evidence of his intimate relationship with Lily Latte, who was his contact in Paris during his visits and then his stay in France. Lilly was also married, and also divorced shortly after, having lived with Lang and serving as his personal assistant, from 1931-71, when they were married.
21His films, particularly his earlier work, were hugely influential and he was cited as influencing the work of directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Luis Buñuel and Orson Welles.
22Interviewed in Peter Bogdanovich's "Who the Devil Made It: Conversations With Robert Aldrich, George Cukor, Allan Dwan, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Chuck Jones, Fritz Lang, Joseph H. Lewis, Sidney Lumet, Leo McCarey, Otto Preminger, Don Siegel, Josef von Sternberg, Frank Tashlin, Edgar G. Ulmer, Raoul Walsh." NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997.
23Was nearly blind at the time of his death.
24Collected primitive art.
25Second son of Anton Lang, an architect, and Pauline Schlesinger.
26An animated version of Lang appeared in the Japanese animated movie "Full Metal Alchemist: Conquerors of Shamballa" (Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa (2005)). Originally mistaken by Edward Elric as being one of the Homonculi from his own world, this animated Lang aided Edward in his quest to return home. He was voiced by Hidekatsu Shibata.
27President of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1964.
28His first wife, Lisa Rosenthal, committed suicide by shooting herself in the chest. It was rumoured that she did this after finding her husband in a compromising situation with Thea von Harbou.
29Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume One, 1890-1945." Pages 609-624. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1987.
30Was voted the 30th Greatest Director of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
31Both in Germany and the United States, he was one of the most personally disliked directors around, a fact that hurt him at times in Hollywood because some actresses and actors would refuse to work with him.
32As a soldier in the Austro-Hungarian army during World War I--he was an Austrian, not German as is commonly believed--he fought in Russia and Rumania, where he was wounded three times. He also fought in Italy, where he was also wounded, and wound up being commissioned as a lieutenant (he enlisted as a private).
33Before his death in 1976, he planned to make a film about the hippie culture.
34Interred at Forest Lawn (Hollywood Hills), Los Angeles, California, USA, in the Enduring Faith section, just to the right of plot #3818, two in from the curb.
35According to Lang himself, on 25 March 1933, two days after Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse (1933) had been banned, he was summoned to the Nazi Ministry of Propaganda to meet with Joseph Goebbels himself. Goebbels explained the reason for the ban (the Nazi party slogans are fed into the mouth of the villain at the film's conclusion) and apologized to Lang. He then shocked Lang by offering him the position of production supervisor at the UFA studios, where his first film would be a biography of Wilhelm Tell. Lang claims he suspected a trap and attempted to throw off Goebbels by telling him, "My mother had Jewish parents," to which Goebbels responded, "We'll decide who's Jewish!" Lang then expressed interest in the position and said he needed some time to think it over. He describes how he looked at a clock and how during the entire meeting all he could think about was leaving as soon as possible so he could get to the bank and flee with all of his money. Lang says he didn't get there in time so he sold his wife's jewelry, boarded a train to Paris that same evening, leaving most of his money and personal possessions behind, along with his wife, Thea von Harbou, who divorced him later that year and went on to write and direct films for the Nazi propaganda machine. This story is possibly exaggerated by Lang for dramatic effect because there is evidence he left weeks after that.
36Dorothy Parker once remarked, in reference to Lang's wife's "campaigning" for his career, "There's a man who got where he is by the sweat of his Frau."




Journey to the Lost City1960
The 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse1960
The Indian Tomb1959
Der Tiger von Eschnapur1959
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt1956
While the City Sleeps1956
Human Desire1954
The Big Heat1953
The Blue Gardenia1953
Clash by Night1952
Rancho Notorious1952
American Guerrilla in the Philippines1950
House by the River1950
Secret Beyond the Door...1947
Cloak and Dagger1946
Scarlet Street1945
Ministry of Fear1944
The Woman in the Window1944
Hangmen Also Die!1943
Confirm or Deny1941uncredited
Man Hunt1941
Western Union1941
The Return of Frank James1940
You and Me1938
You Only Live Once1937
The Last Will of Dr. Mabuse1933
Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse1933
Woman in the Moon1929
Die Nibelungen: Kriemhilds Rache1924
Die Nibelungen: Siegfried1924
Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler1922
Der müde Tod1921
Vier um die Frau1921
Das wandernde Bild1920
Die Spinnen, 2. Teil - Das Brillantenschiff1920
Die Spinnen, 1. Teil - Der Goldene See1919
Der Herr der Liebe1919


Metropolis2001film: "Metropolis" - uncredited
Grande Teatro Tupi1963TV Series 1 episode
Journey to the Lost City1960
The 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse1960screenplay
The Indian Tomb1959uncredited
Der Tiger von Eschnapur1959uncredited
El vampiro negro1953film "M"
M1951original screenplay - uncredited
Hangmen Also Die!1943adaptation - original story
Fury1936screen play
The Last Will of Dr. Mabuse1933scenario
Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse1933writer
Woman in the Moon1929screenplay
Metropolis1927screenplay - uncredited
Die Nibelungen: Siegfried1924
Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler1922
Mysteries of India, Part I: Truth1921scenario
Der müde Tod1921
Vier um die Frau1921written by
Mysteries of India, Part II: Above All Law1921scenario
Das wandernde Bild1920
Die Spinnen, 2. Teil - Das Brillantenschiff1920
Die Herrin der Welt 8. Teil - Die Rache der Maud Fergusson1920
Die Frau mit den Orchideen1919writer
Die Rache ist mein1919/I
Lilith and Ly1919writer
Wolkenbau und Flimmerstern1919writer
Der Totentanz1919writer
Die Pest in Florenz1919
Die Spinnen, 1. Teil - Der Goldene See1919writer
Bettler GmbH1919writer
Die Hochzeit im Excentricclub1917
Hilde Warren und der Tod1917
Die Peitsche1917


The 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse1960producer - uncredited
Secret Beyond the Door...1947producer
Scarlet Street1945producer
Hangmen Also Die!1943producer
You and Me1938producer
Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse1933producer
Woman in the Moon1929producer


Contempt1963Fritz Lang
Bande-annonce de 'Le mépris'1963Short
Screen Snapshots: Hollywood Goes a Fishin'1956ShortFritz Lang
Der Herr der Liebe1919

Assistant Director

The Mistress of the World, Part Three: The City of Gold1919assistant director
Mistress of the World, Number Two: The Race for Life1919assistant director


Der müde Tod1921


Boy 72015/IIthanks
Jönssonligan & den svarta diamanten1992dedicatee - as Lang
Alice or the Last Escapade1977in memory of


Fritz Lang Interviewed by William Friedkin1975DocumentaryHimself
Die schweren Träume des Fritz Lang1974TV Movie documentary
75 Years of Cinema Museum1972DocumentaryHimself
Zum Beispiel: Fritz Lang1968Documentary shortHimself
Um uns die Fremde - Die Vertreibung des Geistes 1933-19451967TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself
Cinéastes de notre temps1967TV Series documentaryHimself
Paparazzi1964ShortHimself (uncredited)
Reflets de Cannes1964TV Series documentaryHimself
Encounter with Fritz Lang1964ShortHimself
Das war die UFA1964TV Series documentaryHimself
Le Parti des choses: Bardot et Godard1964ShortHimself
Das Künstlerporträt1959TV Series documentaryHimself
This Is Your Life1955TV SeriesHimself
Der Film im Film1925DocumentaryHimself

Archive Footage

Die Öscars2016TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself
Von Caligari zu Hitler: Das deutsche Kino im Zeitalter der Massen2014DocumentaryHimself
Cinéphiles de notre temps2012TV Series documentaryHimself
Das Erbe der Nibelungen2011TV Movie documentaryHimself
Die Reise nach Metropolis2010TV Movie documentaryHimself
Deux de la Vague2010DocumentaryHimself
Il était une fois...2009TV Series documentaryHimself
Deutsche Lebensläufe2007TV Series documentaryHimself
Un écran nommé désir2006TV Movie documentaryHimself
Filmmakers in Action2005DocumentaryHimself (uncredited)
Mabuses Motive2004TV Movie documentaryHimself
Fritz Lang, le cercle du destin - Les films allemands2004TV Movie documentaryHimself
American Experience2004TV Series documentaryHimself
Der Fall Metropolis2003Video documentaryHimself
Das Jahrhundert des Theaters2002TV SeriesHimself
Universal Horror1998TV Movie documentaryHimself
Cinema Europe: The Other Hollywood1995TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself
A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies1995TV Movie documentaryHimself (uncredited)
Die UFA1992Documentary
The Exiles1989DocumentaryHimself
Filmemigration aus Nazideutschland1975TV Series documentaryHimself
World Cinema1973TV SeriesHimself - Subject


Won Awards

2009OFTA Film Hall of FameOnline Film & Television AssociationCreative
1976Life Career AwardAcademy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA
1963Honorary AwardGerman Film Awards

For his continued outstanding individual contributions to the german film over the years. Fritz ... More

1960Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameMotion PictureOn 8 February 1960. At 1600 Vine Street.
1946International Critics Award - Special MentionVenice Film FestivalFeature FilmsHangmen Also Die! (1943)

Nominated Awards

1961Best FilmMar del Plata Film FestivalInternational CompetitionDie 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse (1960)

2nd Place Awards

1937NYFCC AwardNew York Film Critics Circle AwardsBest DirectorFury (1936)

3rd Place Awards

1943NYFCC AwardNew York Film Critics Circle AwardsBest DirectorHangmen Also Die! (1943)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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