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

 |  Documentary  |  13 May 1928 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 2,642 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 »
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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:

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Technical Specs


| (restored)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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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 »


Features The Gold Rush (1925) See more »

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User Reviews

One of the best 'slice of life' documentaries that doesn't age but keeps getting better and better.
18 September 2009 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

An amazing work of the 'slice of life' films of the 20s, really the main and most admirable example along with Dziga vertov's Man With the Movie Camera, to this day, the film remains an effective portrayal of the great city that Berlin was even back when the film was made. In fact, as time goes by, it picks up even greater importance because of the historical value that it holds.

What is truly admirable is the editing and the cinematography. Perhaps even more than the things that are contained in the framework, is the framework itself which has the first impact on the viewer. The wonderful photography, and the skilled editing that is able to go from man to machine, from trains to horses, from workmen to roller-coaster rids, are always elegant and original, even in regards to Vertov's later work mentioned above. It is, in fact, stylistically a Ruttmann work. Although the work of Vertov and Ruttmann are similar, there is a difference in the sense that while The man With the Movie Camera is aware of being a film, and plays with the process of film-making, Berlin actually lets the contents of the framework play out, and never quite interferes with it.

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