Das alte Gesetz is one of the classic films of Weimar Cinema. Set in the mid-19th century, Baruch, the son of a rabbi, wants to become an actor. Against the will of his father, he leaves the Eastern European shtetl where he grew up and joins a traveling theater.
The young man finds a benefactress in Austrian Archduchess Elisabeth Theresia, who is secretly smitten with him. She provides Baruch with an engagement at the Burgtheater in Vienna, where his fame soars, and he becomes a celebrated stage star. One day his father attends one of his performances. The rabbi is moved by Baruch’s acting talent, leading to a reconciliation between them. Baruch stays in Vienna, where he settles down and assimilates, together with Esther, his childhood sweetheart.