M (1931)

117m, 3208 metres
35mm film, black and white
mono, German

A German horror film directed by Fritz Lang.

Plot Summary

Based on the true-life manhunt for Dusseldorf serial killer of children Peter Kürten.


A film by: Fritz Lang
Nero-Film presents
Producer: Seymour Nebenzahl
Unit Production Manager: Gustav Rathje
Screenplay: Thea von Harbou, Fritz Lang
Supervising Photographer: Fritz Arno Wagner
Camera: Fritz Arno Wagner, Karl Vaß
Stills Photography: Horst von Harbou
Editor: Paul Falkenberg
Theme from ‘Peer Gynt': Edvard Grieg
Theme from ‘Peer Gynt' Whistled by: Fritz Lang
Sound: Adolf Jansen
Art Director: Emil Hasler
Set Decorators: Emil Hasler, Karl Vollbrecht

Peter Lorre (Hans Beckert)
Ellen Widmann (Frau Beckmann, the mother)
Inge Landgut (Elsie Beckmann, the child)
Gustaf Gründgens (Schränker)
Friedrich Gnaß (burglar)
Fritz Odemar (cardsharp)
Paul Kemp (pickpocket)
Theo Lingen (confidence man)
Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur (chief of police)
Franz Stein (minister)
Otto Wernicke (Police Inspector Karl Lohmann)
Theodor Loos (Police Inspector Groeber)
Georg John (blind streethawker)
Rudolf Blümner (defence counsel)
Karl Platen (nightwatchman)
Gerhard Bienert (police inspector's secretary)
Rosa Valetti (barmaid of the Crocodile Club)
Hertha von Walther (prostitute)

Alternative Titles

Bir Sehir Katilini Ariyor – Turkey
O Drakos tou Dusseldorf – Greece
M – Dein Mörder sieht dich an – Austria
M – Egy város keresi a gyilkost – Hungary
M – Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder – Germany (alternative)
M – Il mostro di Düsseldorf – Italy
M – Kaupunki etsii murhaajaa – Finland
M – mesto isce morilca – Slovenia
M – morderca – Poland
M le maudit – France
M, een stad zoekt zijn moordenaar – Netherlands
M, el vampiro de Düsseldorf – Spain
M, o dolofonos – Greece (re-release)
M, O Vampiro de Dusseldorf – Brazil
M, un assassí entre nosaltres – Spain (Catalan)
Matou – Portugal
Murderers Among Us – USA (pre-release)
El vampiro negro – Argentina

M (1951)
M – Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder (2018)
M. le maudit (1982)
El vampiro negro (1953)

Extracts included in
1,001 Movies You Must See (Before You Die) (2014)
Begegnung mit Fritz Lang (1964)
Cinema's Exiles: From Hitler to Hollywood (2009)
Der Ewige Jude (1940)
Fritz Lang (2016)
Fritz Lang, le cercle du destin – Les films allemands (2004)
From Caligari to Libeskind (2009)
German Grusel – Die Edgar Wallace-Serie (2011)
Hanging Perverts (2010)
Juden ohne Maske (1937)
Murder by Numbers (2004)
Die Nacht der Regisseure (1995)
Die UFA (1992)
Von Caligari zu Hitler: Das deutsche Kino im Zeitalter der Massen (2014)



  • Castle of Frankenstein no.17 p.28
  • Cineforum no.461 (January/February 2007) pp.46-59 (Italy) – illustrated article (M: Il “mostro” è tra di noi by Cesare Secchi)
  • Empire no.233 (November 2008) pp.88-172 – illustrated article (The 500 greatest movies of all time)
  • Empire no.249 (March 2010) p.155 – illustrated DVD review (Re.View: M by Ian Nathan)
  • Sight & Sound vol.20 no.4 (April 2010) pp.40-44 – illustrated article (M: murder in the city by Iain Sinclair)


  • The 100 Best Movies You've Never Seen by Richard Crouse pp.142-143
  • 500 Essential Cult Movies: The Ultimate Guide by Jennifer Eiss with J.P. Rutter and Steve White p.72 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby p.20
  • Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.42-43, 44, 65
  • Golden Horrors: An Illustrated Critical Filmography, 1931-1939 by Bryan Senn p.453
  • Horror! 333 Films to Scare You to Death by James Marriott & Kim Newman p.37
  • Horror Films by Subgenre: A Viewer's Guide by Chris Vander Kaay and Kathleen Fernandez-Vander Kaay p.51
  • Horrorshows: The A-Z of Horror in Film, TV, Radio and Theatre by Gene Wright p.19-20 – illustrated credits, review
  • by Walt Lee p.272 – credits
  • Serial Killer Cinema: An Analytical Filmography by Robert Cetti pp.265-268