Years & Movies: 1931

The best film of world cinema of 1931, according to FilmGourmand, is "M". Director - Fritz Lang.


The plot of the film is based on the materials of the criminal case of pervert maniac Peter Kurten from Dusseldorf. By his own admissions at the trial, for the period 1900 - 1930 he committed 69 brutal murders, mostly of little girls. 9 murders of them have been proven.

The film "M" became the 15th feature film and the first sound film in the work of Fritz Lang. Although it’s more correct to say that this film became the borderline between silent and sound films in the director’s work, since one third of the film is silent and two thirds are sound. The main reason for this separation is financial, because renting audio equipment was very expensive. But there is another reason - Lang believed that the absence of sound maximally contributes to the creation of a depressing impression he needs.

The film "M" was the last in the joint work of Fritz Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou, concurrently the author of the scripts of several films staged by Lang. Thea’s adultery and her fascination with Nazi ideology made further marital life and cooperation impossible.


The film premiered in Germany in 1931. Joseph Goebbels called the film "fantastic, free of phony humanitarian sentiments". But after the Nazis came to power, Lang - a Jew by nationality - was forced to leave Germany. Because of this, in July 1934, the film was banned from showing.

Criticism in all countries praised the film Fritz Lang. Suffice it to say that according to the calculations of the Rotten Tomatoes website, 100% of the reviews of film critics are positive. Roger Ebert gave the film a maximum of 4 stars and included it on his list of "Great Movies". In his 1997 review, he wrote: "When you watch "M,” you see a hatred for the Germany of the early 1930s that is visible and palpable. Apart from a few perfunctory shots of everyday bourgeoisie life ..., the entire movie consists of men seen in shadows, in smokefilled dens, in disgusting dives, in conspiratorial conferences. And the faces of these men are cruel caricatures: Fleshy, twisted, beetle-browed, dark-jowled, out of proportion."

Russian film critic Sergei Kudryavtsev, who also rated the film as highly as possible - with 10 points, continues this topic in his 2006 review: "the inhuman fury that has already burst out will remain as if spilled out in the air. From which a somewhat straightforward conclusion suggests itself, to unfortunately, confirmed by the course of the historical process: Germany itself was under the influence of an evil principle, turning into a maniac-child-killer who destroys its future."

72% of IMDB and Kinopoisk users gave this film a rating from 8 to 10.



Based on the foregoing, the rating of the film "M" according to FilmGourmand is 8.252, which makes it 445th in the Golden Thousand.

Thus, the best film of world cinema of 1931 is most closely related to the situation that existed in Germany in the early 30s.

And what other events of 1931 formed the situation in the world as a whole?

- In Spain, King Alfonso XIII was overthrown, a republican constitution was adopted. Catalonia declared itself an independent state, equal with Spain, a member of the Iberian Confederation.
- In the USSR, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, erected on public donations in memory of Russian soldiers who fell in the war with Napoleon, was destroyed, the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff was forbidden.
- Three leaders of the national liberation Movement: Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Raiguru, Sukhdev Tapar were hanged in India.
- In China, the biggest flood in the history of mankind occurred – by killing app. 4 million people.
- The invasion of Japan into Manchuria started. Chiang Kai-shek, the then leader of China, who fought against the communist forces, ordered the Chinese armed forces not to resist the Japanese army.
- President of France is elected 74-year-old Paul Doumer, father of 8 children.
- In Nevada, US, in order to overcome the catastrophic financial crisis, gambling was legalized and the procedure of divorce was simplified.
- In Austria, the bank “Credit-Anstalt” went bankrupt, from which the financial crisis began in the whole of Central Europe.
- An earthquake struck the North Island of New Zealand, killing 256 people and injuring thousands of people. Until 2012, it was the deadliest natural disaster in New Zealand.
- Ettore Scola, Monica Vitti, Ann Bancroft, were born.


Besides “M” the following films were included in the list of the best films of world cinema of 1931 according to FilmGourmand:

- Frankenstein. Director James Whale, USA
- La chienne (Isn't Life a Bitch?). Director Jean Renoir, France
- Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Director Rouben Mamoulian, USA
- Mädchen in Uniform. Directors Leontine Sagan, Carl Froelich, Germany
- The Public Enemy. Director William A. Wellman, USA
- Marius. Director Alexander Korda, France
- Dracula. Director Tod Browning, USA
- Путевка в жизнь (Road to Life). Director Nikolai Ekk, USSR
- Dishonored (X-27). Director Josef von Sternberg, USA