The Greatest Silent Filmsby finger-prince | created - 12 Aug 2012 | updated - 14 Jun 2015 | Public
Despite the occasional sluggish feeling, plot holes and cliches present in silent films, they have an atmosphere that is absolutely incomparable. These directors were the true innovators of cinema.
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Not Rated | 197 min | Drama, History
The story of a poor young woman, separated by prejudice from her husband and baby, is interwoven with tales of intolerance from throughout history.
Votes: 11,829 | Gross: $2.18M
Although not as well known as Birth Of A Nation, it is superior in a number of ways. In response to accusations of being racist (although not unfounded, as Birth Of A Nation portrayed the KKK as the heros of the story), DW Griffith intricately weaves 3 stories of love and tolerance from 3 different eras and settings. Although it seems that it would fall apart, with such a layered and ambitious story being made at such an early stage in the history of film, it is actually more focused, interesting and emotionally appealing than Birth Of A Nation.
2. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
Not Rated | 67 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery
Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses a somnambulist, Cesare, to commit murders.
One of the first truly excellent German horror films. With it's unforgettable atmosphere, this movie has the potential to scare the audience more than contemporary horror films.
3. The Phantom Carriage (1921)
Not Rated | 100 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror
On New Year's Eve, the driver of a ghostly carriage forces a drunken man to reflect on his selfish, wasted life.
A swedish expressionist film telling the tale of a drunkard and what may be his last night alive.
4. Seven Years Bad Luck (1921)
TV-G | 62 min | Comedy
After breaking a mirror in his home, superstitious Max tries to avoid situations which could bring bad luck-- but in doing so, causes himself the worst luck imaginable.
Max Linder's finest full length film. He was an extremely popular and successful comedian, and although he is unjustly overlooked today, he was a direct influence on Charlie Chaplin (And it shows).
5. The Kid (1921)
Not Rated | 68 min | Comedy, Drama, Family
The Tramp cares for an abandoned child, but events put that relationship in jeopardy.
Votes: 81,544 | Gross: $5.45M
The Tramp's first absolute classic, a funny yet also timeless and heartwarming tale.
6. Nanook of the North (1922)
Not Rated | 78 min | Documentary
In this silent predecessor to the modern documentary, film-maker Robert J. Flaherty spends one year following the lives of Nanook and his family, Inuits living in the Arctic Circle.
7. Nosferatu (1922)
Not Rated | 81 min | Fantasy, Horror
Vampire Count Orlok expresses interest in a new residence and real estate agent Hutter's wife.
Obviously one of the greatest and most influential silent films of all time. The grand reveal of Nosferatu in the doorway still sends a chill down my spine every time I see it.
8. Safety Last! (1923)
Not Rated | 70 min | Comedy, Thriller
When a store clerk organizes a publicity stunt, in which a friend climbs the outside of a tall building, circumstances force him to make the perilous climb himself.
Votes: 14,687 | Gross: $0.62M
Full of hilarious gags as well as real life, death defying stunts by Harold Lloyd himself. A must watch for fans of slapstick and early film stunts.
9. Greed (1924)
Not Rated | 140 min | Drama, Thriller, Western
The sudden fortune won from a lottery fans such destructive greed that it ruins the lives of the three people involved.
Votes: 7,666 | Gross: $0.16M
Originally a 7 hour epic, a large portion of the film has since been lost. Still, due to it's length, method of storytelling and usage of partial colour, it was very groundbreaking for it's time, and it shows, even today.
10. The Thief of Bagdad (1924)
Approved | 155 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy
A recalcitrant thief vies with a duplicitous Mongol ruler for the hand of a beautiful princess.
Votes: 4,576 | Gross: $1.59M
Another classic epic, with incredible sets and acting. It has been remade several times, but this original version is unforgettable.
11. Battleship Potemkin (1925)
Not Rated | 66 min | Drama, History
In the midst of the Russian Revolution of 1905, the crew of the battleship Potemkin mutiny against the brutal, tyrannical regime of the vessel's officers. The resulting street demonstration in Odessa brings on a police massacre.
Votes: 44,544 | Gross: $0.05M
12. The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Unrated | 93 min | Horror
A mad, disfigured composer seeks love with a lovely young opera singer.
Votes: 13,722 | Gross: $0.72M
13. The General (1926)
Not Rated | 67 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
When Union spies steal an engineer's beloved locomotive, he pursues it single-handedly and straight through enemy lines.
14. Metropolis (1927)
Not Rated | 153 min | Drama, Sci-Fi
In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.
Votes: 127,184 | Gross: $0.03M
16. Sunrise (1927)
Not Rated | 94 min | Drama, Romance
An allegorical tale about a man fighting the good and evil within him. Both sides are made flesh - one a sophisticated woman he is attracted to and the other his wife.
FW Murnau moves from German expressionism to a more conventional, American love story, but this artfully shot masterpiece's messages still resonate deeply today.
18. The Wind (1928)
Not Rated | 95 min | Drama, Romance, Western
A frail young woman from the east moves in with her cousin in the west, where she causes tension within the family and is slowly driven mad.
19. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
Not Rated | 114 min | Biography, Drama, History
In 1431, Jeanne d'Arc is placed on trial on charges of heresy. The ecclesiastical jurists attempt to force Jeanne to recant her claims of holy visions.
Votes: 31,670 | Gross: $0.02M
20. Pandora's Box (1929)
Not Rated | 109 min | Crime, Drama, Romance
The rise and inevitable fall of an amoral but naive young woman whose insouciant eroticism inspires lust and violence in those around her.
Votes: 8,170 | Gross: $0.01M
22. City Lights (1931)
G | 87 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
With the aid of a wealthy erratic tippler, a dewy-eyed tramp who has fallen in love with a sightless flower girl accumulates money to be able to help her medically.
Votes: 126,870 | Gross: $0.02M