For the first time in 80 years, Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis,” one of the masterpieces of world silent film, can be seen in its entirety at the Strand Theatre, 345 Main St. The one-night-only screening will begin 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 22.

The film has been restored to its most complete version ever, with 25 minutes of lost footage not seen since the film’s debut in 1927. The Strand is proud to be present this newly-restored sci-fi masterpiece as it was meant to be seen — on the big screen and in its full original glory.

Incorporating long-lost footage recently recovered from a lone print in a South American film collection, this definitive reconstruction of the original 1927 German release tells the compelling tale of a dystopic future—- where an arrogant, educated elite savors their leisure on the backs of the oppressed working class who toil away in an underground nightmare world. Only one man, the disillusioned aristocrat Freder, dares challenge the system, conspiring with the mysterious scientist Rotwang in a plot that could save civilization or destroy it.

Seldom has the rediscovery of a cache of lost footage ignited such widespread curiosity, as did the announcement, in July 2008 that an essentially complete copy of Lang’s “Metropolis” had been found. When it was first screened in Berlin on Jan. 10, 1927, the sci-fi epic ran an estimated 153 minutes. After its premiere engagement, in an effort to maximize the film’s commercial potential, the film’s distributors drastically shortened “Metropolis,” which had been a major disappointment at the box office. By the time it debuted in the states later that year, the film ran approximately 90 minutes.

“Metropolis” went on to become one of the cornerstones of science fiction cinema, foreshadowing “Blade Runner” and “The Matrix,” to name just two recent examples. Testament to its enduring popularity, the film has undergone numerous restorations in the intervening decades, but none have been as celebrated as this new 147-minute version, which also features Gottfried Huppertz’s magnificent original score.

Filled with extraordinary images that helped define an entire generation’s vision of the future, “Metropolis” will be shown one night only at the Strand, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see cinema history come alive on the big screen. Strand house manager and film historian Liz McLeod will introduce the film.

Tickets are $8.50 for all seats, available in advance at the Strand box office window evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. or at the door the day of the screening.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.