Down 2,214 this week

Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927)
"Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Grosstadt" (original title)

 -  Documentary  -  13 May 1928 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 2,228 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 15 critic

This movie shows us one day in Berlin, the rhythm of that time, starting at the earliest morning and ends in the deepest night.


(as Walther Ruttmann)


(screenplay), (idea), 1 more credit »
0Check in

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 48 titles
created 20 Aug 2011
a list of 30 titles
created 13 Nov 2011
a list of 49 titles
created 10 Mar 2012
a list of 38 titles
created 31 Mar 2012
a list of 45 titles
created 3 months ago

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927)

Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927) on IMDb 7.8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Berlin: Symphony of a Great City.


Uncredited cast:
Paul von Hindenburg ...
Himself (uncredited)


A train speeds through the country on its way to Berlin, then gradually slows down as it pulls into the station. It is very early in the morning, about 5:00 AM, and the great city is mostly quiet. But before long there are some signs of activity, and a few early risers are to be seen on the streets. Soon the new day is well underway - it's just a typical day in Berlin, but a day full of life and energy. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






Release Date:

13 May 1928 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Berlin: Symphony of a Great City  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (restored)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


After the movie, Arte TV showed 3 short trick films previously made by Ruttmann, whose motives had been used as transitions in the movie (air date: 1 Dec 2007). See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Beautiful and haunting film
25 February 2002 | by (Chicago, Illinois, USA) – See all my reviews

`Berlin, Symphony of a Great City' is a film I've watched over and over with fascination. I think it's true that it is not so much about the people of Berlin, although we see many of them, but the city itself as a huge living, breathing organism. Back in the 1930s filmmaker John Grierson apparently wrote that this film `created nothing,' and that it violated the first principles of documentary by showing us nothing of importance but beautiful images. Looking at it more than 70 years after its creation, however, its documentary value seems evident to me, at least. I find it fascinating just to see what the people, clothing, uniforms, vehicles, streets, parks, restaurants, shops, theaters, nightclubs, and factories looked like in that distant time and place. It's amazing to contemplate how soon this complex, sophisticated society would be consumed in the most primitive debauchery. Do these people really look that much different from those we see on our streets every day? It makes me wonder what we're all potentially capable of.

Some slight differences do seem apparent, however. When a fight breaks out in a public place today, people usually try to ignore it, or even duck their heads and run for cover. But in a scene where two men argue violently in the street, the Berliners of the 1920s crowd in close around the combatants, and even try to separate them and arbitrate the dispute, before a policeman moves in. Whether this was typically European at that time, or just typical of its era, I really can't say, but it seems strange to me today.

Although I think the majority of this film was shot in a candid manner, and looks it, it's obvious that not quite all of it was un-staged, as a previous commentator has pointed out. For example, look at the argument scene just mentioned. Considering one of the camera angles (probably from a 2nd floor window), the argument must have been staged at the exact spot where this camera could catch it, and the crowd's reaction, from above. In addition, a second camera was in place at street level to move in close, which hardly suggests a serendipitous event.

A good musical score is vitally important to bring this film to life. It's too bad the original score has been lost. It would be fascinating to know what it was like. But I think the one written by Timothy Brock for the Kino edition is superb in that it captures its changing moods and rhythms. If, as one internet reviewer commented, it seems a bit melancholy, that may be apropos considering that this beautiful city, and a great many of its inhabitants, would be consumed in fire less than 20 years later.

26 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Bad translation of the title jg1972
Download this movie for free! Musikdrama
Vertov vs. Rutmann xenakis-1
Articles/Books dreamydiva-1
Discuss Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page