Silence is Golden

by agonism | created - 24 Nov 2016 | updated - 23 Aug 2017 | Public

A list of viewed silent films- in no particular order. They provide relief and enjoyment in a wholly peculiar way, different from 'talkies', and were an acquired taste, for me. I'd started with German expressionist horror, most importantly, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, then discovered Buster Keaton with whom I fell in love, and since then, I'm always happy to see a silent movie that I haven't seen before. If a movie is in mint condition, that makes a viewing all the more spellbinding: and it has precious little to do with being used to HD.

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1. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

Not Rated | 67 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses a somnambulist, Cesare, to commit murders.

Director: Robert Wiene | Stars: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover

Votes: 53,395

2. People on Sunday (1930)

Not Rated | 73 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Two men and two women enjoy a pleasant Sunday at the beach amid the unending toil of the working week.

Directors: Robert Siodmak, Edgar G. Ulmer, Rochus Gliese, Curt Siodmak, Fred Zinnemann | Stars: Erwin Splettstößer, Brigitte Borchert, Wolfgang von Waltershausen, Christl Ehlers

Votes: 2,557

3. The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933)

Not Rated | 122 min | Crime, Horror, Mystery

French version of the German movie The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933). Both movies were directed simultaneously by Fritz Lang in Germany.

Directors: Fritz Lang, René Sti | Stars: Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Otto Wernicke, Thomy Bourdelle, Gustav Diessl

Votes: 10,884

4. Nosferatu (1922)

Not Rated | 94 min | Fantasy, Horror

Vampire Count Orlok expresses interest in a new residence and real estate agent Hutter's wife.

Director: F.W. Murnau | Stars: Max Schreck, Alexander Granach, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schröder

Votes: 84,454

5. Secrets of a Soul (1926)

Not Rated | 97 min | Drama

A scientist is tormented by an irrational fear of knives and the irresistible compulsion to murder his wife.

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst | Stars: Werner Krauss, Ruth Weyher, Ilka Grüning, Jack Trevor

Votes: 609

6. Metropolis (1927)

Not Rated | 153 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

98 Metascore

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.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Gustav Fröhlich, Rudolf Klein-Rogge

Votes: 151,568 | Gross: $1.24M

7. The Hands of Orlac (1924)

Not Rated | 92 min | Crime, Horror, Mystery

A world-famous pianist loses both hands in an accident. When new hands are grafted on, he doesn't know they once belonged to a murderer.

Director: Robert Wiene | Stars: Conrad Veidt, Alexandra Sorina, Fritz Strassny, Paul Askonas

Votes: 2,077

8. The Golem (1920)

Unrated | 91 min | Fantasy, Horror

In 16th-century Prague, a rabbi creates the Golem - a giant creature made of clay. Using sorcery, he brings the creature to life in order to protect the Jews of Prague from persecution.

Directors: Carl Boese, Paul Wegener | Stars: Paul Wegener, Albert Steinrück, Ernst Deutsch, Lyda Salmonova

Votes: 6,217

9. The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927)

Not Rated | 68 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A landlady suspects her new lodger is the madman killing women in London.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: June Tripp, Ivor Novello, Marie Ault, Arthur Chesney

Votes: 9,581

10. The Jazz Singer (1927)

Unrated | 88 min | Drama, Music, Musical

66 Metascore

The son of a Jewish Cantor must defy the traditions of his religious father in order to pursue his dream of becoming a jazz singer.

Director: Alan Crosland | Stars: Al Jolson, May McAvoy, Warner Oland, Eugenie Besserer

Votes: 8,511 | Gross: $7.63M

11. The 'High Sign' (1921)

Not Rated | 20 min | Short, Comedy

A drifter at an amusement park finds himself both the bodyguard and hit man of a man targeted by a criminal gang.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton | Stars: Buster Keaton, Bartine Burkett, Charles Dorety, Ingram B. Pickett

Votes: 2,445

12. Seven Chances (1925)

Passed | 56 min | Comedy, Romance

A man learns he will inherit a fortune if he marries by 7 p.m. that same day.

Director: Buster Keaton | Stars: Buster Keaton, Ruth Dwyer, T. Roy Barnes, Snitz Edwards

Votes: 8,621 | Gross: $0.21M

13. Sherlock Jr. (1924)

Not Rated | 45 min | Action, Comedy, Romance

A film projectionist longs to be a detective, and puts his meagre skills to work when he is framed by a rival for stealing his girlfriend's father's pocketwatch.

Director: Buster Keaton | Stars: Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, Joe Keaton, Erwin Connelly

Votes: 36,837 | Gross: $0.98M

14. Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)

Not Rated | 70 min | Action, Comedy, Drama

The effete son of a cantankerous riverboat captain comes to join his father's crew.

Directors: Charles Reisner, Buster Keaton | Stars: Buster Keaton, Tom McGuire, Ernest Torrence, Tom Lewis

Votes: 12,306

15. The Cameraman (1928)

Not Rated | 76 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

Hopelessly in love with a woman working at MGM Studios, a clumsy man attempts to become a motion picture cameraman to be close to the object of his desire.

Directors: Edward Sedgwick, Buster Keaton | Stars: Buster Keaton, Marceline Day, Harold Goodwin, Sidney Bracey

Votes: 9,631

16. Freaks (1932)

Not Rated | 64 min | Drama

80 Metascore

A circus' beautiful trapeze artist agrees to marry the leader of side-show performers, but his deformed friends discover she is only marrying him for his inheritance.

Director: Tod Browning | Stars: Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova, Roscoe Ates

Votes: 40,122

17. Asphalt (1929)

90 min | Drama, Romance

Joe May's sensual drama of life in the Berlin underworld is in many ways the perfect summation of German filmmaking in the silent era: a dazzling visual style, a psychological approach to ... See full summary »

Director: Joe May | Stars: Albert Steinrück, Else Heller, Gustav Fröhlich, Betty Amann

Votes: 1,306

18. One Week (1920)

TV-G | 25 min | Short, Comedy

A newly wedded couple attempts to build a house with a prefabricated kit, unaware that a rival sabotaged the kit's component numbering.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton | Stars: Buster Keaton, Sybil Seely, Joe Roberts

Votes: 6,582

19. 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.

Director: Victor Sjöström | Stars: Lillian Gish, Lars Hanson, Montagu Love, Dorothy Cumming

Votes: 5,744

20. The Haunted House (1921)

Unrated | 21 min | Short, Comedy, Horror

A bank clerk ends up in a seemingly haunted house that is actually a thieves' hideout.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton | Stars: Buster Keaton, Virginia Fox, Joe Roberts, Edward F. Cline

Votes: 2,449

21. The Scarecrow (1920)

Not Rated | 19 min | Comedy, Short, Family

Two inventive farmhands compete for the hand of the same girl.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton | Stars: Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline, Luke the Dog, Joe Keaton

Votes: 3,344

22. Convict 13 (1920)

Not Rated | 19 min | Short, Comedy, Crime

A young golfer is mugged by an escaped convict and finds himself in a prison where he foils a jailbreak.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton | Stars: Buster Keaton, Sybil Seely, Joe Roberts, Edward F. Cline

Votes: 2,590

23. Neighbors (1920)

18 min | Short, Comedy, Romance

A young couple who live next to each other in tenement apartments do everything they can to be together despite of their feuding families.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton | Stars: Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline, Jack Duffy, The Flying Escalantes

Votes: 3,527

24. Go West (1925)

Not Rated | 69 min | Comedy, Western

With little luck at keeping a job in the city a New Yorker tries work in the country and eventually finds his way leading a herd of cattle to the West Coast.

Director: Buster Keaton | Stars: Buster Keaton, Howard Truesdale, Kathleen Myers, Ray Thompson

Votes: 3,578

25. The Blue Angel (1930)

Not Rated | 104 min | Drama, Music

88 Metascore

An elderly professor's ordered life spins dangerously out of control when he falls for a nightclub singer.

Director: Josef von Sternberg | Stars: Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich, Kurt Gerron, Rosa Valetti

Votes: 12,964 | Gross: $0.08M

26. The Navigator (1924)

Unrated | 59 min | Action, Comedy, Romance

Two spoiled rich people find themselves trapped on an empty passenger ship.

Directors: Donald Crisp, Buster Keaton | Stars: Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, Frederick Vroom, Clarence Burton

Votes: 8,534 | Gross: $1.48M

27. College (1927)

Not Rated | 66 min | Comedy, Drama, Sport

To reconcile with his girlfriend, a bookish college student tries to become an athlete.

Directors: James W. Horne, Buster Keaton | Stars: Buster Keaton, Anne Cornwall, Flora Bramley, Harold Goodwin

Votes: 4,124

28. The Last Laugh (1924)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama

An aging doorman, after being fired from his prestigious job at a luxurious Hotel is forced to face the scorn of his friends, neighbours and society.

Director: F.W. Murnau | Stars: Emil Jannings, Maly Delschaft, Max Hiller, Emilie Kurz

Votes: 11,644 | Gross: $0.09M

29. Sunrise (1927)

Passed | 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.

Director: F.W. Murnau | Stars: George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston, Bodil Rosing

Votes: 45,064 | Gross: $0.54M

30. The General (1926)

Passed | 67 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

When Union spies steal an engineer's beloved locomotive, he pursues it single-handedly and straight through enemy lines.

Directors: Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton | Stars: Buster Keaton, Marion Mack, Glen Cavender, Jim Farley

Votes: 75,696 | Gross: $0.23M

31. The Docks of New York (1928)

Not Rated | 76 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A blue-collar worker on New York's depressed waterfront finds his life changed after he saves a woman attempting suicide.

Director: Josef von Sternberg | Stars: George Bancroft, Betty Compson, Olga Baclanova, Clyde Cook

Votes: 3,714

32. The Man Who Laughs (1928)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

When a proud noble refuses to kiss the hand of the despotic King James in 1690, he is cruelly executed and his son surgically disfigured.

Director: Paul Leni | Stars: Mary Philbin, Conrad Veidt, Julius Molnar, Olga Baclanova

Votes: 5,429

33. Safety Last! (1923)

Not Rated | 74 min | Action, Comedy, Thriller

A boy leaves his small country town and heads to the big city to get a job. As soon as he makes it big his sweetheart will join him and marry him. His enthusiasm to get ahead leads to some interesting adventures.

Directors: Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor | Stars: Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis, Bill Strother, Noah Young

Votes: 17,139 | Gross: $0.62M

34. City Lights (1931)

G | 87 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

99 Metascore

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.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee, Harry Myers

Votes: 156,636 | Gross: $0.02M

35. My Wife's Relations (1922)

25 min | Short, Comedy

By accident, Buster and an intimidating woman end up married.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton | Stars: Buster Keaton, Wallace Beery, Monte Collins, Wheezer Dell

Votes: 1,798

36. Seven Chances (1925)

Passed | 56 min | Comedy, Romance

A man learns he will inherit a fortune if he marries by 7 p.m. that same day.

Director: Buster Keaton | Stars: Buster Keaton, Ruth Dwyer, T. Roy Barnes, Snitz Edwards

Votes: 8,621 | Gross: $0.21M

37. The Bat (1926)

86 min | Mystery, Thriller

A masked criminal who dresses like a giant bat terrorizes the guests at an old house rented by a mystery writer.

Director: Roland West | Stars: George Beranger, Charles Herzinger, Emily Fitzroy, Louise Fazenda

Votes: 658

38. A Trip to the Moon (1902)

TV-G | 13 min | Short, Action, Adventure

A group of astronomers go on an expedition to the Moon.

Director: Georges Méliès | Stars: Georges Méliès, Victor André, Bleuette Bernon, Brunnet

Votes: 41,209

39. Foolish Wives (1922)

Not Rated | 117 min | Drama, Thriller

A con artist masquerades a Russian nobility and attempts to seduce the wife of an American diplomat.

Director: Erich von Stroheim | Stars: Rudolph Christians, Miss DuPont, Maude George, Mae Busch

Votes: 2,879 | Gross: $0.40M

40. Exiting the Factory (1895)

Not Rated | 1 min | Documentary, Short

Workers leaving the Lumière factory for lunch in Lyon, France in 1895; a place of great photographic innovation and one of the birth places of cinema.

Director: Louis Lumière

Votes: 5,730

41. The Arrival of a Train (1896)

Not Rated | 1 min | Documentary, Short, Action

A train arrives at La Ciotat station.

Directors: Auguste Lumière, Louis Lumière | Stars: Madeleine Koehler, Marcel Koehler, Mrs. Auguste Lumiere, Jeanne-Joséphine Lumière

Votes: 9,799



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