Die Ratten was produced by actress and singer Grete Ly. Her company, Grete Ly-Film, made five films between 1919 and 1921. Die Ratten, which is based on the play of the same name by Gerhart Hauptmann, was the last one. Hauptmann, one of the most important promoters of literary naturalism, had received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1912. The screen adaptation of his play is beautifully photographed in a realistic style by Karl Freund, one of best German cameraman of that time who also worked with directors such as Lang, Murnau, Dreyer, Dupont and Ruttmann. Moreover, the cast of Die Ratten also acts in a very naturalistic way, far from the affected expressionistic style. Die Ratten was made on a modest budget, but the collaboration of an excellent team produced a film that was ahead of its time.