8.3/10
126,119
321 user 144 critic

(1931)

M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Mystery, Thriller | 31 August 1931 (Sweden)
When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt.

Director:

Fritz Lang

Writers:

Thea von Harbou (script), Fritz Lang (script)
Reviews
Popularity
3,087 ( 1,237)

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
Top Rated Movies #81 | 2 wins. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Metropolis (1927)
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Gustav Fröhlich
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A screenwriter develops a dangerous relationship with a faded film star determined to make a triumphant return.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim
Captive State (2019)
Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Set in a Chicago neighborhood nearly a decade after an occupation by an extra-terrestrial force, Captive State explores the lives on both sides of the conflict - the collaborators and dissidents.

Director: Rupert Wyatt
Stars: John Goodman, Ashton Sanders, Jonathan Majors
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

In post-war Italy, a working-class man's bicycle is stolen. He and his son set out to find it.

Director: Vittorio De Sica
Stars: Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

An insurance representative lets himself be talked into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses the suspicion of an insurance investigator.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson
Adventure | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A New York City advertising executive goes on the run after being mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason
Citizen Kane (1941)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A veteran British barrister must defend his client in a murder trial that has surprise after surprise.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton
Rashomon (1950)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

The rape of a bride and the murder of her samurai husband are recalled from the perspectives of a bandit, the bride, the samurai's ghost and a woodcutter.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Machiko Kyô, Masayuki Mori
Vertigo (1958)
Mystery | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A former police detective juggles wrestling with his personal demons and becoming obsessed with a hauntingly beautiful woman.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a War Room full of politicians and generals frantically tries to stop.

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

After refusing to attack an enemy position, a general accuses the soldiers of cowardice and their commanding officer must defend them.

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Lorre ... Hans Beckert
Ellen Widmann Ellen Widmann ... Frau Beckmann
Inge Landgut ... Elsie Beckmann
Otto Wernicke ... Inspector Karl Lohmann
Theodor Loos ... Inspector Groeber
Gustaf Gründgens ... Schränker
Friedrich Gnaß Friedrich Gnaß ... Franz
Fritz Odemar ... The Cheater
Paul Kemp ... Pickpocket with Six Watches
Theo Lingen ... Bauernfänger
Rudolf Blümner Rudolf Blümner ... Beckert's Defender
Georg John ... Blind Panhandler
Franz Stein Franz Stein ... Minister
Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur ... Police Chief
Gerhard Bienert ... Criminal Secretary
Edit

Storyline

In Germany, Hans Beckert is an unknown killer of girls. He whistles Edvard Grieg's 'In The Hall of the Mountain King', from the 'Peer Gynt' Suite I Op. 46 while attracting the little girls for death. The police force pressed by the Minister give its best effort trying unsuccessfully to arrest the serial killer. The organized crime has great losses due to the intense search and siege of the police and decides to chase the murderer, with the support of the beggars association. They catch Hans and briefly judge him. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

IT STAGGERS THE SENSES!...SHOCKS the Imagination - It will leave you Gasping - It is the Sensation of 3 Continents!


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

31 August 1931 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

M See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,123, 14 March 1931, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$35,566, 31 December 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Nero-Film AG See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2004 Criterion DVD edition) | (2000 restored) | (re-release)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The October 30, 2005 edition of the comic strip "Frank and Ernest" started with Frank saying that the printing press was down and they would have to do all the posters for the Bijoux's double bill by hand. Frank, of course, assigned himself the poster for "M", and assigned Ernest the poster for Marat/Sade (1967) with the full title written out. See more »

Goofs

[All goofs for this title are spoilers.] See more »

Quotes

Graphologist: The aforementioned diamond-shaped and swelling swoops, clearly seen in the word 'soon,' third line from the bottom... attest to the strongly pathological sexuality of the sex offender. Period.
See more »

Crazy Credits

All of the original credits appear only in the beginning with no music. See more »

Alternate Versions

The version shown at the film's premiere (on May 11th, 1931, running time 110 minutes) had an alternate ending: it shows the full trial of the murderer. This ending was later replaced by a woman sobbing "Man muß eben noch besser auf die Kinder achtgeben. IHR..." (One must look out for the children even harder. YOU...) See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Third Man (1949) See more »

Soundtracks

La Marseillaise
(uncredited)
Written by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle
Performed by Peter Lorre
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
German Expressionism at its cinematic best
2 May 2003 | by FilmOtakuSee all my reviews

Being a huge fan of German Expressionist art, I'm naturally drawn to the films of Fritz Lang. I recently was able to see the restored version of "Metropolis" on the big screen, and was delighted to see "M" on the Sundance channel - especially since it was the uncut version. M follows the trail of a child killer (Peter Lorre), sought both by the police and the members of the underworld whose businesses are being effected by the investigation.

This film is ground-breaking for many reasons: It is Fritz Lang's first talking picture, it is one of the first in the serial killer genre and it was overtly anti-Nazi. This film was banned in Germany shortly after it premiered, and Fritz Lang and Peter Lorre, both Jews, soon fled the country. It has superb acting (most notably, Peter Lorre's trial scene in the catacombs) and very stark yet at times gritty cinematography. The story is indeed suspenseful and at times, very creepy (what whistling child killer isn't?). The entire movie, however is extremely thought-provoking and challenging, much like the German Expressionist movement itself.

This is not a movie for everyone; some may find it boring, some may find it too abstract. It also has one of the most bizarre shots I've ever seen in film - essentially it's a 30 second shot of the police inspector talking on the phone, but you're under his desk and looking up his pants leg. It actually kind of baffled me and made me chuckle for a second, but it was avant garde if anything.

To those who appreciate early cinema that truly makes you think, both about the film and the subtext with which it was written and filmed, it is a must-see.

--Shelly


86 of 114 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 321 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed