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M (1931)



Average Rating: 9.1/10
Reviews Counted: 45
Fresh: 45 | Rotten: 0

A landmark psychological thriller with arresting images, deep thoughts on modern society, and Peter Lorre in his finest performance.


Average Rating: 8.8/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 0

A landmark psychological thriller with arresting images, deep thoughts on modern society, and Peter Lorre in his finest performance.



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Average Rating: 4.4/5
User Ratings: 34,349

My Rating

Movie Info

Fritz Lang's classic early talkie crime melodrama is set in 1931 Berlin. The police are anxious to capture an elusive child murderer (Peter Lorre), and they begin rounding up every criminal in town. The underworld leaders decide to take the heat off their activities by catching the child killer themselves. Once the killer is fingered, he is marked with the letter "M" chalked on his back. He is tracked down and captured by the combined forces of the Berlin criminal community, who put him on trial

Oct 20, 1998



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All Critics (45) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (45) | Rotten (0) | DVD (18)

Few films are gripping and effective 82 years after their original release, but this one surely is.

April 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is a movie that dares to sympathize with a sick person, that risks making the monster real and us (in an era when Germany's cinema was still shellacked in canted angles and fanciful shadows).

March 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The moral issues are complex and deftly handled: Lorre is at once entirely innocent and absolutely evil. Lang's detached, modified expressionist style gives the action a plastic beauty.

February 9, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An extraordinary, good, impressive and strong talker. Again fine work by Fritz Lang, and his wife and helper, Thea von Harbou.

November 11, 2006 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A subversive film, or more simply a movie brimming over with the ferment of Lang's imagination at its height? You choose.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[An] important film which rightly deserves its success.

May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie looms over our cinema like a hand of consequence, haunting us with its austerity and power long after others have faded from the mind.

September 2, 2013 Full Review Source:

Lang's film is a must-see for even a moderately ambitious film buff.

March 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Oregonian

Fritz Lang's acute use of objects, symbols, letters, and codes to decrypt a relatively simple narrative remains as perfect an example of pure cinema in the sound era as one is likely to find.

March 10, 2013 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

...a touchstone, one of those classics that infects the popular imagination to the point that it's really not necessary for most people to have actually seen it to recognize its signal moments ...

May 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

M is responsible for some of the most memorable images and sequences in cinema history

May 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Fritz Lang entered the sound era with a bold expressionist thriller that captured the ugly mood of the years before the Third Reich.

March 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Put simply, without M to show the way, there might have been no subsequent films in which a hidden killer unmasks the ills of the society around him

February 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

Fascinating early talkie that made Peter Lorre a star as child murderer hunted by all.

February 24, 2008

Peter Lorre's finest performance, and a truly significant socially-themed film.

June 29, 2007

Remarkable early look at scientific and police detection - and of a city in fear

August 22, 2006 Full Review Source: Classic Film and Television
Classic Film and Television

Even after 75 years, Fritz Lang's first German talkie works beautifully as a carefully constructed thriller and police procedural.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

M is the most dynamic profile of a serial killer in film.

January 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

It's creepy and masterful with many indelible scenes and a knockout performance by Peter Lorre.

January 10, 2005

It's clear that Lang was ahead of most of his peers in grasping the promise of the motion picture form.

December 13, 2004 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

A rather cold masterpiece.

December 13, 2004 Full Review Source: Movie Poop Shoot
Movie Poop Shoot

Audience Reviews for M

A meticulously crafted German crime-drama. Peter Lorre's performance is haunting and inspired, and only complements the sharp screenplay, complex story arc and incisive social commentary.
November 6, 2012
Kristijonas Fussman

Super Reviewer

A masterful exercise in suspense from the decorated Fritz Lang, concerning a child murderer (Peter Lorre) and how his killing spree angers not only the families of those who are slain, but the underbelly society of criminals and thugs who want him off of the street as well for their own personal reasons. In terms of influence and memorability, this film fully surpasses Lang's previous effort "Metropolis", a good but not great film which had an extremely corny ending I could not for one overlook among other problems. This is a polar opposite to that movie. It focuses on a nihilistic society where nobody trusts anyone, and the motives of those involved never seem to be pure and noble. Lorre's monstrous, unforgettably arresting performance really anchors this film, which builds to a devastating conclusion in which those who are hurt the most get to utter the overall message and haunting final words of the film. A phenomenal classic that can not go unwatched.
September 12, 2012
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

Awesome???? This film is not only impressive for a 30's film but still gripping today. Loved the dark ending and Lorre's acting!
March 17, 2012
paul o.
paul oh

Super Reviewer

It's a movie you will watch mostly for it's historical importance, it's cinematic techniques, and for Lorre's performance. Too many scenes of people smoking and having reunions, not enough interesting characters.
December 2, 2011
Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder (DE)
  • M (UK)
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