IMDb > The Golem (1920)
Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam
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The Golem (1920) More at IMDbPro »Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam (original title)

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Release Date:
19 June 1921 (USA) See more »
The 1920 Horror Masterpiece.
In 16th-century Prague, a rabbi creates the Golem - a giant creature made of clay. Using sorcery, he brings the creature to life in order to protect the Jews of Prague from persecution. | Add synopsis »
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User Reviews:
Influential Silent Classic See more (44 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Paul Wegener ... Der Golem / The Golem
Albert Steinrück ... Der Rabbi Löw / Rabbi Loew
Lyda Salmonova ... Miriam, des Rabbi Tochter

Ernst Deutsch ... Der Rabbi Famulus
Hans Stürm ... Der Rabbi Jehuda, der Älteste der Gemeinde (as Hanns Sturm)
Max Kronert ... Der Tempeldiener / Temple Servant

Otto Gebühr ... Der Kaiser / Emperor Luhois
Dore Paetzold ... Des Kaisers Kebse
Lothar Müthel ... Der Junker Florian / Knight Florian

Greta Schröder ... Ein Mägdelein mit der Rose / Little Girl with Rose
Loni Nest ... Ein kleines Mädchen / Little Girl
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Carl Ebert ... Temple Servant (uncredited)

Fritz Feld ... Jester (uncredited)
Ursula Nest ... Little Girl (uncredited)

Directed by
Carl Boese 
Paul Wegener 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Henrik Galeen 
Paul Wegener 

Produced by
Paul Davidson .... producer
Original Music by
Hans Landsberger 
Karl-Ernst Sasse (1977)
Aljoscha Zimmermann (2000)
Cinematography by
Karl Freund 
Guido Seeber 
Art Direction by
Hans Poelzig 
Kurt Richter 
Costume Design by
Rochus Gliese 
Art Department
Edgar G. Ulmer .... set designer (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Robert Baberske .... assistant camera
Music Department
Douglas M. Protsik .... musician: piano (Hypercube restored version)

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam" - Germany (original title)
"The Golem: How He Came Into the World" - USA
See more »
Germany:85 min (20 fps) | USA:91 min | USA:101 min (2002 Alpha Video DVD)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Lonis sister Ursula was supposed to play the child that destroyed the Golem, but she was too afraid of Paul Wegener in the Golem costume so she was replaced by her older sister Loni for that part. In the final print Ursula was left playing only one of the children.See more »
Continuity: The golem's position relative to the beam when pulling the chain to stoke the fire.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Starcrash (1978)See more »


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40 out of 43 people found the following review useful.
Influential Silent Classic, 22 March 2005
Author: gftbiloxi ( from Biloxi, Mississippi

Although this 1920 German silent does not really rank alongside the truly great silent films, it remains a fascinating oddity. Based on European Jewish folklore, it tells the story a Jewish community in Prague which is threatened with expulsion from the city. In an effort to protect his people, Rabbi Loew creates a man-like creature made of clay and uses it to impress the Emperor. Unfortunately, the magic backfires, and when the Golem falls into the hands of the Rabbi's perfidious assistant disaster results.

Much of the film's charm is in its visual style. The sets by Hans Poelzig are a strange but cohesive mixture of medieval, nouveau, and surrealism, and the cinematography by legendary photography Karl Freund uses high contrast black and white to truly remarkable effect. The Poelzig-Freund combination would cast an extremely long shadow, and THE GOLEM would influence not only such German films as Fitz Lang's METROPOLIS but the entire cycle of 1930s American horror films that began with the 1931 Bela Lugosi Dracula.

Several plot devices and the look of the Golem, as played by Paul Wegener, would also prove particularly influential for director James Whale's famous 1932 FRANKENSTEIN. Whether or not Boris Karloff or make-up artist Jack Pierce knew the film is uncertain--but Whale, who was fond of German cinema, certainly did, and traces of THE GOLEM can be seen throughout his most famous works.

Over the past several decades a number of film historians have attempted to reinterpret THE GOLEM in light of the Holocaust. There may actually be a certain validity to this, for although the Jews are portrayed sympathetically they are very clearly outsiders, and their religion seems less like religion than witchcraft--and indeed Rabbi Loew might be said to practice black magic in bringing the Golem to life. This sense of social estrangement and religious stigmatism does seem indicative of the anti-Semitism that will ultimately explode into furnaces of Nazi Germany. All the same, it is worth noting that THE GOLEM is a fundamentally Jewish story to begin with, and it is perhaps best to think of it in those terms instead of using hindsight to impose modern meanings upon the film.

There are several home market releases of the film. While I have not seen it, I am told the Timeless Studios VHS release is weak; I have, however, seen the Gotham DVD release, and although there are some quality issues this inexpensive DVD is not at all bad. Still, my preference and recommendation is the Kino DVD. Unlike many Kino editions, it does not have anything significant in the way of bonuses, but the overall presentation is very fine and likely represents a best-possible presentation short of full digital restoration.

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