Metropolis is a 1927 silent German science fiction movie by Fritz Lang. The movie is legendary for its quality and striking special effects for its day. Many people consider it to be one of the greatest films ever made. The original Berlin premiere was approximately 153 minutes long. It is now lost.
After its Berlin premiere, the film was chopped down from its original 2 and a half hour running time to as short as an hour and half to appeal to an international audience. Many plot relevant scenes were cut, including several important characters. The plot for decades made little sense and film historians pushed hard to try to figure out the film's many mysteries.
Then, in 2008, a miracle happened. A highly damaged copy was uncovered in Argentina from a film collector that somehow got a hold of a copy of the original 153-minute version. A few film historians from the area found it odd that the few times Metropolis was loaned to theaters by the collector, theater employees remember having to wait 2 and a half hours. Now it is known why, Argentenian filmgoers for years got the opportunity to see the film in its entirety and didn't even know they were the few people for decades to have seen it. The film was badly damaged and transferred onto safety film since Nitrate film stock burns easily. The film quality had been reduced from 35mm to 16mm. One of the largest film restoration efforts in history took place to put the scenes back in their original place.
In 2010, Kino Films in cooperation with the F.W. Murnau Foundation showed the now-99-percent-complete version of the film to audiences around the world and put it on dvd. The film is now 148 minutes long. There are still 2 missing scenes of the film that were too heavily damaged for the restoration. These scenes are a monk preaching in a chapel and a fight between Rotwang and Fredersen. This is probably the most complete the film will ever be. There is also a highly rumored 3 and a half hour long "Director's Cut" of the film which reportedly existed before the Berlin premiere, but these claims have yet to be verified and are more than likely false. Another thing is that there are still scenes and shots of the film that are yet incomplete. Even the original title cards are missing. Hopefully we will eventually see a complete cut of the films premire in the future.