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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 for his life in a kangaroo court. The killer pleads for mercy, whining that he… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Few films are gripping and effective 82 years after their original release, but this one surely is."
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"An extraordinary, good, impressive and strong talker. Again fine work by Fritz Lang, and his wife and helper, Thea von Harbou."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Lang's razor-sharp dissection of crime and punishment never puts a foot wrong."
‑ Mark Kermode, Observer [UK]
"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."
‑ David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org
"...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 ..."
‑ Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"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)."
‑ Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
"A subversive film, or more simply a movie brimming over with the ferment of Lang's imagination at its height? You choose."
‑ Derek Adams, Time Out
"It is a cousin to the early Hitchcock of The Lodger, and I have always found something even something faintly Ealingesque about its cynicism and satire."
‑ Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
"Lang's film is a must-see for even a moderately ambitious film buff."
‑ Marc Mohan, Oregonian
"M is responsible for some of the most memorable images and sequences in cinema history"
‑ Christopher Long, Movie Metropolis
"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."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"[An] important film which rightly deserves its success."
‑ Mordaunt Hall, New York Times
"You'll never look at a novelty balloon in the same way again."
‑ David Jenkins, Little White Lies
"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."
‑ Chris Cabin, Slant Magazine
"Fritz Lang entered the sound era with a bold expressionist thriller that captured the ugly mood of the years before the Third Reich."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
More reviews for M on Rotten Tomatoes