Photo of Fritz Lang Fritz Lang

Born Dec. 5, 1890, in Vienna, Austria, Fritz Lang served in World War I before finding his way into film. He began as a screenwriter and then turned to directing, cementing his reputation with 1922's Dr. Mabuse the Gambler, which he co-wrote with his wife, Thea von Harbou.

Harbou collaborated with Lang on several more movies -- including his two masterpieces, the silent sci-fi classic Metropolis and 1931's M, the story of an unhinged killer victimizing the children of Berlin -- before the pair parted ways.

After landing in Hollywood, Lang promptly earned plaudits for Fury (1936), an indictment of mob justice starring Spencer Tracy. Although Lang worked in diverse genres, he would remain best known for his gritty thrillers of the 1940s and '50s, including Scarlet Street and The Big Heat, which helped shape the look and feel of film noir. Lang passed away in Los Angeles Aug. 2, 1976.

Fritz Lang in The Big Heat

The Big Heat

1953 NR

German auteur Fritz Lang directs this gritty, violent drama that follows Dave Bannion (Glenn Ford), a detective who investigates a police sergeant's suicide and winds up on a personal quest for vengeance. When Bannion suspects foul play and is promptly taken off the case he defies his superiors and continues to pursue it on his own, leading to his wife's murder and setting Bannion off on a mission to nab the guys responsible.

  • Fritz Lang in Metropolis Metropolis
  • Fritz Lang in Cloak and Dagger Cloak and Dagger
  • Fritz Lang in Contempt Contempt
  • Fritz Lang in Metropolis Restored Metropolis Restored
  • Fritz Lang in M M
  • Fritz Lang in Ministry of Fear Ministry of Fear
  • Fritz Lang in Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler
  • Fritz Lang in Fury Fury
  • Fritz Lang in The Testament of Dr. Mabuse The Testament of Dr. Mabuse
  • Fritz Lang in The Return of Frank James The Return of Frank James
  • Fritz Lang in Hangmen Also Die Hangmen Also Die
  • Fritz Lang in The Blue Gardenia The Blue Gardenia
  • Fritz Lang in Man Hunt Man Hunt
  • Fritz Lang in Two in the Wave Two in the Wave
  • Fritz Lang in Spies Spies
  • Fritz Lang in Woman in the Moon Woman in the Moon
  • Fritz Lang in House by the River House by the River
  • Fritz Lang in Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese
  • Fritz Lang in Shadows in Paradise: Hitler's Exiles Shadows in Paradise: Hitler's Exiles