Fritz Lang was born on December 5, 1890 in Vienna, Austria. His farther was an architect and his family was catholic.
After graduating from school, Fritz studied civil engineering at the Technical University of Vienna. However, he decided to switch to studying art in 1908, which was his true passion. In 1910, he went on a long vacation to see Africa and Asia.
In 1912, he was drafted into the Austrian Army and served during World War 1. He suffered multiple injuries and shell shock, but he nothing that he couldn't recover from. After healing, he was honorably discharged with the rank of lieutenant.
After the war, Fritz began working for Ufa, a German film studio. He started to direct silent films with the company, producing classics such as 1922's "Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler", which lasted an astounding four hours.
In 1927, Fritz produced one of his most famous films "Metropolis". The film featured massive sets and amazing special effects. With a budget of $200 million, it was the most expensive silent film of all time. The film was set in 2026, where society has become divided between the rich thinkers and the poor laborers. It remains one of the best regarded films of all time and marked a turning point in movie history.
In 1931, he released another classic film called "M". The film featured Peter Lorre as a child serial killer in his first major role. In the film, a gang of common criminals are enlisted to help the police catch the killer. While disturbing, the film also comments on society and politics.
After "M", Fritz moved to the United States so he could work in Hollywood, the mecca of motion pictures. His first film in the US was "Fury", which he made at MGM Studios. In 1939 he was made a US citizen and he managed to produce twenty-one films in a twenty year period.
Fritz Lang was notoriously difficult to work with and apparently resembled tyrannical directors such as Otto Preminger. He once threw Peter Lorre down a flight of stairs to give him a battered look for a special scene in "M". He also argued frequently with the actors and demanded that they stick to his vision.
Fritz's career declined over the 1950s as he grew tired of having his artistic vision compromised by the demands of studios and financiers. He did make a few notable pictures during that period, however, including "The Indian Tomb" in 1959 and "The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse" in 1960.
During the filming of that final film, his eyesight became so poor that he decided to retire. He returned to the United States, where he continued to write screenplays and study films. He died on August 2, 1976.