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Comparison of “Metropolis” and “Modern Times” Movies


The films of Fritz Lang and Charlie Chaplin are of high value in the silent film environment and in general for the global film industry. They touch upon many issues and problems and give their vision of the future times. It is pretty interesting to view these films now, through the prism of modern times. This work will be devoted to comparing two masterpieces and their analysis on the example of some criteria.

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Social Messages

Each film is not initially stated as political or social, the familiar story of workers and an attempt to look into the future. Both films are characterized by plotting around the relations of workers and the state, relations between workers. These relations are not portrayed in the best light and only highlight the problems of the working class as a whole. If the film Metropolis states that in the future, everything will be replaced by robots, then the Modern Times is focused on exhausted workers.

Films treat the concept of relationships between people in different ways. If in the Metropolis we are talking about relations between people in different social positions, then this position is the same in modern times (Wolfe). It helps to assess better the complexity of one and the understanding of the other. A native of the ruling circles will never understand an ordinary worker until he has been in his place. But the relations within the working class are positive, so the characters from Charlie Chaplin’s film never lose heart, which is typical for all his movies. This fact is reminiscent of Chaplin’s attempt to make a film resembling an antidepressant directed against the Great Depression in the United States. Metropolis is a good visualization of all ideas about the future, which is interesting to look into.

Characters’ Psychology and Behavior

Both films very clearly show the psychology of people from different social classes. On the one hand, workers who are full of faith in a bright future never lose heart. They are always ready for revolutionary actions for the benefit of each other, but, of course, there is no arbitrariness. On the other hand, influential people, for whom working people are only means of realizing their own needs and revenge. It is evident that these people are unhappy, and their power is despotic, which will deprive them of it shortly. Workers are mentally more robust than those in power because they are not afraid of defeats; they are not fixated on wealth and power.

Use of Symbolism

Both paintings are filled with various symbols and references, which may not be so noticeable at the first viewing. Symbolism permeates both films; therefore, it is pointless to retell the plot or list allusions dryly. In the Metropolis, both a social dystopia and a simple love drama are closely intertwined (Wolfe). To some extent, the Middle Ages are mentioned with references to the Revelation of John the Theologian. The realistic symbolism of the Modern Times is combined with the masterful use of the military tools of satire – grotesque and hyperbole, mercilessly striking the vices of the capitalist system. With the film the Modern Times, Chaplin created a new genre in cinematography – comedy pamphlet.


Each film significantly impacted the film industry in the 20th century and the 21st. It is important to watch both masterpieces more than once to understand the whole idea of the authors and discover something new in their work. This work examined the film from only a few aspects; in reality, there are much more of them, which are essential for making a complete picture of the main ideas.

Work Cited

Wolfe, Shira. Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. How the Iconic Silent Film Took Inspiration from Art Movements. Artland, Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2023, January 8). Comparison of “Metropolis” and “Modern Times” Movies. Retrieved from


StudyCorgi. (2023, January 8). Comparison of “Metropolis” and “Modern Times” Movies.

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