Metallic photonic band gap (MPBG) filter structures operating at far infrared wavelengths have been designed, fabricated, and characterized. The MPBGs are multilayer metallic meshes imbedded in a flexible polyimide dielectric. Depending on the periodic pattern of the metal grids, the filters have either simple high-pass or more complex transmission characteristics. The critical frequencies of the filters depend on the spatial periodicity of the metal grids and the interlayer separation. Optical transmission measurements on a high-pass structure show cutoff frequency of 3 THz and attenuation of more than 35 dB in the cutoff region, in good agreement with predicted results. Band-reject filters show similarly good attenuation and large fractional bandwidths. The filters maintain their optical characteristics after repeated bending, demonstrating mechanical robustness of the MPBG structure. © 1997 American Institute of Physics.