A simple, haunting musical phrase whistled offscreen tells us that a young girl will be killed. “Who Is the Murderer?” pleads a nearby placard as serial killer Hans Beckert (Peter Lorre) closes in on little Elsie Beckmann . . . In his harrowing masterwork M, Fritz Lang merges trenchant social commentary with chilling suspense, creating a panorama of private madness and public hysteria that to this day remains the blueprint for the psychological thriller.
Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews
- Reviews Counted: 51
- Fresh: 51
- Rotten: 0
- Average Rating: 9.2/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: [An] important film which rightly deserves its success.
Fresh: An extraordinary, good, impressive and strong talker. Again fine work by Fritz Lang, and his wife and helper, Thea von Harbou.
Fresh: Few films are gripping and effective 82 years after their original release, but this one surely is.
Fresh: Our identification with [Lorre] as a psychopath is so complete it's hard to believe that while appearing before Fritz Lang's cameras in the daytime, he was, at night, acting as a comedian in a farce.
12 out of 5 Stars
If only films continued to be this good. If only directors looked back as well as forward. Then "going forward" (to quote every corporate manager) we wouldn't have films like The Bachelorette.
Why make a film about a serial killer, of children no less, and not concentrate the story on the killer? Because Fritz Lang was shooting for a bigger concept; how a society, with laws in place, reacts when confronted with a person who commits truly evil deeds. This is why the film is still relevant.
Difficult to imagine that this German movie directed by Fritz Lang was made in 1931. Great character actors that portray the nexus between the police and the underworld, each with its own code of ethics and rules. Must see for all film noir fans.