The Golem (Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam) (1920)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Actor-director Paul Wegener made three films built around the mythical creature of Jewish legend: Golem was released in 1914, and a sequel of sorts, Der Golem und die Tänzerin, came out in 1917. This is the one film which has survived and is regarded among the landmarks of early German expressionism. In medieval Prague, Rabbi Loew (Albert Steinruck) observes the stars and concludes that trouble is brewing for his people. When the emperor issues a decree threatening the expulsion of Jews from the city, the rabbi, a master of magic, activates the Golem, a monstrous clay figure, to help save his congregation. The rabbi's daughter, Miriam (Lyda Salmonova, who also played this role in the 1914 film) is courted by two men, Famulus (Ernst Deutsch), the rabbi's assistant, and Knight Florian (Lathar Menthel), a messenger for the emperor. Famulus re-activates the Golem to vanquish his rival, and the monster goes berserk. Stylized sets and moody cinematography elevated Der Golem above the standard features of its time, its central figure has been the focus of a number of films produced in various countries, and the name has become a generic descriptor for any lumbering creature which can't be easily controlled. ~ Tom Wiener, Rovi
Art House & International , Classics , Horror , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:

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Ernst Deutsch
as Famulus
Fritz Feld
as Jester
Lathar Menthel
as Knight Florian
Lyda Salmonova
as Rabbi's Daughter
Hanns Sturm
as Emperor Rudolph II
Albert Steinrück
as Rabbi Loew
Paul Wegener
as The Golem
Duane Jarvis
as Lead Guitar
Jason Carter
as Drums/Percussion
Eric Drew Feldman
as Keyboards/Synthetics
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Critic Reviews for The Golem (Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam)

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (1)

Of the four extant versions of this perennial horror classic, Paul Wegener's 1920 version remains the best.

Full Review… | October 8, 2002
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The Golem, carefully crafted and visually impressive work, has lost little of its power over the decades.

Full Review… | September 19, 2007
TV Guide

This classic in horror is mainly enjoyed for its powerful visuals.

Full Review… | December 15, 2003
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Paul Wegener directs and stars in an enduring example of German Expressionist horror, based on an ancient Jewish myth.

Full Review… | October 28, 2003

Wes Craven could take some clues from Paul Wegener's concepts.

Full Review… | October 8, 2002

Quote not available.

June 14, 2005

Audience Reviews for The Golem (Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam)

a strange and wonderful jewish folktale is brought to life in one of the most beautiful and influential german expressionist films. it's impossible not to think of james whale's 'frankenstein' while watching this

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

This movie is pretty magical for it's time, and the plot seems interesting at first, but I didn't understand how and if the Golem saved the jews in the end. It's not very clear.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer


More a tale than a horror movie, to be honest, but a good story very well done, with a strong message (not very safe to play by the God). Really beautiful sets and costumes... just like in a tale! Jewish issues are an interesting choice, especially in light of the end. I understand that one of them still has that star and the story can restart anytime. It's just my imagination or is read so that they are an extremely powerful and dangerous people, because I have never heard that Jews had used witchcraft?

Alice Smith
Alice Smith

Super Reviewer

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