Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens ("A Symphony of (the) Horror" in German) is a German Expressionist film shot in 1922.
Murnau had wanted to film a version of Bram Stoker's "Dracula", but his studio was unable to obtain the rights to the story. Instead, he decided to film his own version and made only slight changes to the story.
Nosferatu has many similarities to Stoker's original tale. "Dracula" became "Nosferatu" and the names of the characters changed, with Count Dracula changed to Count Orlok. The role of the vampire was played by Max Schreck. Other major actors in the film were Gustav von Wangenheim (as Hutter/Jonathan Harker), Greta SchrÃÂ¶der (as Ellen/Mina), and Alexander Granach (as Knock/Renfield).
The film was the first (and last) production made by production company 'Prana Film GmbH'. A firm representing Bram Stoker's widow sued for plagiarism and won.
It was ordered that all existing prints of Nosferatu were destroyed, but a number of copies of the film had already been shipped around the world.
The ending of the film differs greatly from the original Dracula ending in which Dracula is destroyed physically, whereas in Nosferatu the character 'Mina' sacrifices herself to him.
Nosferatu is set in 1838 whereas Dracula is set in the 1890's.
Contrary to the sexy Dracula type vampire established by Chrisopher Lee, Nosferatu depicts a living corps who is neither charming not erotic, but totally repulsive.