Friedrich Christian Anton Lang (Fritz) was born in 1890 in Vienna, Austria. He studied painting in Paris in 1913 through 1914 and enlisted in the army at the beginning of WWI. He was wounded in June 1916 and began writing for films while he was recovering. He acted in Austrian theaters in early 1918 and wrote for Erich Pommer's acting company in Berlin.
Lang worked as a writer, director and actor. He began a collaboration with Thea von Harbou and the two of them wrote the scripts for Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1922), Siegfried (1924), Metropolis (1927 and M (1931).
Lang was offered the job of head of the German Cinema Institute by Josef Goebbels, but refused and fled Germany to Paris. He moved to the US in 1934 where he directed numerous American films. Lang had the reputation of being difficult and abusive and he was refused work. He traveled to Germany at the end of the 1950s and made three films that were never accepted.
In 1964, Lang was chosen as the president of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival. He collected primitive art, more a monocle, and was known to be a bit of a playboy. He married Thea von Harbou in 1922, but they later divorced. He then married Lisa Rosendale but was widowed in 1921. In 1971 he married Lily Latte and remained married to her until his death on August 2, 1976.