The 1927 German science fiction film Metropolis is set in a futuristic city with a dystopian society. But do we know where this city is? Is it meant to be an actual real-world city at some stage in the future? Is it set in Germany, or somewhere else?

In the absence of any in-universe confirmation, out-of-universe evidence - such as where the city scenes were filmed or where the film-makers found their inspiration - will be acceptable.

  • 12
    Next to Gotham.
    – Valorum
    Jun 4, 2016 at 13:06
  • 3
    There's a detailed review of the novel and how it compares to the film here, one part suggests that the location is never really specified: "there’s something of the New World about Metropolis, something recalling Lang’s vision of New York, even if it’s implied that it’s actually physically located somewhere in Europe, with an ancient cathedral at its core."
    – Hypnosifl
    Jun 4, 2016 at 13:10
  • Nice redirect. I like these questions... Most people are going how the heck wasn't this asked or known yet! Then, bazinga it is not what you thought!
    – Skooba
    Jun 4, 2016 at 13:13
  • Next to Hastings. (Warning: obscure math joke.) Jun 4, 2016 at 17:44
  • This is a deceptive question to appear in the "Host network" section :/ Jun 4, 2016 at 18:16

1 Answer 1


There is no mention of a specific real world location. However, the inspiration seems to be New York.

Fritz Lang has been quoted in various interviews:

"the film was born from my first sight of the skyscrapers in New York in October 1924".

"I looked into the streets – the glaring lights and the tall buildings – and there I conceived Metropolis."

"the buildings seemed to be a vertical sail, scintillating and very light, a luxurious backdrop, suspended in the dark sky to dazzle, distract and hypnotize".

"The sight of Neuyork [sic] alone should be enough to turn this beacon of beauty into the center of a film...

I believe the filming took place in Berlin, but all external shots were on sets rather than in real locations. My belief that it was filmed in Berlin is based on him using 500 children from the poorest districts in Berlin in the flooding scene. It would seem quite odd (and difficult) to transport 500 children any great distance.

Source : Metropolis_(1927_film)

  • 6
    While the visual inspiration may be New York, the review of the novel I linked to (a novel that was based on an early script draft) indicates that Metropolis was supposed to have been built around the house of an old Medieval occultist, reflecting Lang's intention that one of the themes should be "a battle between modern science and occultism", so it couldn't really be in America in an in-universe sense.
    – Hypnosifl
    Jun 4, 2016 at 13:21
  • I do agree with this. Even without that, I would consider the homeland of an author to be a default setting if there isn't any other things to set it elsewhere. Jun 5, 2016 at 1:25

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