Berlin, Symphony of a Great City

5.2K ratings
Price: $19
List Price: $19.95
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Format:  DVD-R
item number:  6EC64
Also released as:

DVD-R Details

  • Video: Black & White
  • Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
  • Released: March 14, 2017
  • Originally Released: 1927
  • Label: Flicker Alley

Performers, Cast and Crew:

Directed by
Story by
Produced by

Entertainment Reviews:


Total Count: 7


User Ratings: 1,100
A textbook classic to which the years have not been kind. Full Review
Time Out
Oct 24, 2007
Rating: 3.5/4 -- This is pure cinema, a work of visual rapture that often feels like stepping into a time machine, inviting us into a world long since past. Full Review
From the Front Row
Jun 3, 2019
It remains a unique and sometimes inspired exercise in style for its own sake. Full Review
Chicago Reader
Jan 1, 2000
More of a montage of images than an actual movie, this is a deeply fascinating documentary. Full Review
May 24, 2003
Rating: B -- Outdated but still fine as an historical curio. Full Review
Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Aug 1, 2009

Description by

At once an invaluable photographic record of life in Weimer Berlin and a timeless demonstration of the cinemas ability to enthrall on a purely visceral level, Berlin, Symphony of a Great City offers a kaleidoscopic view of a single day in the life of a bustling metropolis. Carl Mayer, influenced by the naturalistic Kammerspiel movement, envisioned a melody of pictures sprung from daily reality instead of the stylized artificiality of the studio-bound expressionist film. Following Mayer's rough outline, photographer Karl Freund deployed a team of cameramen to explore the avenues, alleyways and factories of Berlin and secure hidden-camera glimpses of the people and machinery that provide the city with its constant motion. The many hours of footage were then edited into a series of five acts, like movements of a symphony, by Walther Ruttmann as a continuation of his experiments with abstract motion. Berlin defined the formula of the city symphony film and according to John Grierson - the filmmaker/critic who coined the term documentary - no film has been more influential, more imitated.

Also included is Opus I. A rare example of the German avant-garde cinema known as Absoluter Film, Walther Ruttmann's hand-colored Opus I is an exploration of the geometry of movement within the frame and the sensory effect these abstract shapes evoke as they swell, streak and swim across the screen.


This product is made-on-demand by the manufacturer using DVD-R recordable media. Almost all DVD players can play DVD-Rs (except for some older models made before 2000) - please consult your owner's manual for formats compatible with your player. These DVD-Rs may not play on all computers or DVD player/recorders. To address this, the manufacturer recommends viewing this product on a DVD player that does not have recording capability.
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Product Info

  • Sales Rank: 10,842
  • UPC: 889290092014
  • Shipping Weight: 0.25/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 1 item

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