Fritz Lang’s iconic 1927 masterpiece takes us into the urban empire of Metropolis ruled by an industrialist from his Tower of Babel headquarters. The futuristic city is split in half by a definitive class system, pitting capitalists and underground-dwelling slaves against each other. Big Daddy Warbucks tries to use one woman — who preaches about a better life to the proletariat — for selfish purposes, but he doesn’t realize that the crazed inventor he’s scheming with wants to knock him from his throne and take over the city (with the help of a wicked robot). A fascinating hybrid of futurism and mysticism demonstrates a struggle between modernity and ideologies past. Timeless themes of desire, loyalty, technology, and faith also abound. The film introduces what would become one of the earliest and most influential genre staples — the mad scientist/artificial intelligence run amok. Top all that off with some knockout effects, and it’s clear why Metropolis is heralded not only as a classic, but a film well ahead of its time.