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 2,638 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 17 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
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Opus I (1921)
Animation | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Against a dark background, several bright, curved or rounded shapes pulse towards the center of the screen, one at a time. They are followed by many other shapes, some irregular, some ... See full summary »

Director: Walter Ruttmann
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Edwin, a taxi driver, lives with Annie, a neurasthenic model. They plan to spend Sunday at the Nikolassee beach with Wolfgang, an officer, gentleman, antiquarian, gigolo, at the moment a ... See full summary »

Directors: Curt Siodmak, Robert Siodmak, and 3 more credits »
Stars: Erwin Splettstößer, Brigitte Borchert, Wolfgang von Waltershausen
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A man travels around a city with a camera slung over his shoulder, documenting urban life with dazzling invention.

Director: Dziga Vertov
Stars: Mikhail Kaufman
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In this silent predecessor to the modern documentary, film-maker Robert J. Flaherty spends one year following the lives of Nanook and his family, Inuit living in the Arctic Circle.

Director: Robert J. Flaherty
Stars: Allakariallak, Nyla, Allee
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An aging doorman, after being fired from his prestigious job at a luxurious Hotel is forced to face the scorn of his friends, neighbours and society.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Emil Jannings, Maly Delschaft, Max Hiller
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

What starts off as a conventional travelogue turns into a satirical portrait of the town of Nice on the French Cote d'Azur, especially its wealthy inhabitants.

Director: Jean Vigo
Regen (1929)
Short | Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Rain falls on a Dutch city.

Directors: Mannus Franken, Joris Ivens
Manhatta (1921)
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Morning reveals New York harbor, the wharves, the Brooklyn Bridge. A ferry boat docks, disgorging its huddled mass. People move briskly along Wall St. or stroll more languorously through a ... See full summary »

Directors: Charles Sheeler, Paul Strand
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The life of a great city (Paris) from dawn until dusk, including the beautiful and the ragged, the rich and the poor, with little or no comment (intertitles) from the director, Cavalcanti (whose first film this was).

Director: Alberto Cavalcanti
Stars: Blanche Bernis, Nina Chousvalowa, Philippe Hériat
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Director: Thomas Schadt
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A pulsing, kaleidoscope of images set to an energetic soundtrack. A young women swings in a garden; a woman's face smiles. The rest is spinning cylinders, pistons, gears and turbines, ... See full summary »

Directors: Fernand Léger, Dudley Murphy
Stars: Fernand Léger, Dudley Murphy, Katherine Murphy
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

This short experimental film tells the story of a man who comes to Hollywood to become a star, only to fail and be dehumanized (he is identified by the number 9314 written on his forehead),... See full summary »

Directors: Robert Florey, Slavko Vorkapich
Stars: Jules Raucourt, George Voya, Robert Florey


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


Featured in Lulu in Berlin (1984) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

the idea and the visualization
15 December 2004 | by (Moscow, Russia) – See all my reviews

It's like Koyaanisqatsi of 20s! It's miraculous! Awesome! It's all about the idea of a great city moving forward up-tempo but still having quite common problems of Germany's twenties – poverty and exacerbation, nevertheless Berlin being one of the most fashionable cities of Europe of that particular time. But it's not the movie's main account. Its atmosphere was created by excellent cameraman work. The frame when a train moves right into you and then suddenly turns away is quite impressive. Never seen that advanced cameraman till Citizen Kane. I'd also definitely recommend watching Ruttmann's 'Lichtspiel Opus I ', an avant-garde animated movie created in 1921.

12 of 16 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