Top Ten Silent Movies

The first four decades of cinema saw only silent movies and because nothing was known about the field, every technique had to be created from scratch. The following are the top 10 silent movies of all time.

1. The Phantom of the Opera

Made by Rupert Julian in 1925, this movie was an adaptation of a book by Gaston Leroux of the same name. Lon Chaney was the Phantom and is best-known for this film because he did his own make-up which involved painting the area around his eyes black, pulling the tip of his nose upwards and keeping it in place with the help of wires and more.


2. Un chien Andalou

This film was released in 1929 by Luis Buñuel and contributions were made by Salvador Dali. The film is short and is basically a series of dream-like and disturbing images. Andalou is Luis Buñuel’s most famous film and after its release, the nature of film-making changed and was seen from a different perspective.


3. Sherlock, Jr.

Sherlock, Jr. was a comedy released in 1924 by Buster Keaton. The plot revolves around a janitor who wants to become a detective. After the release of this film, Keaton gained immense respect which is clear from the fact that his unique style is imitated even today.

4. Greed

This film was released in 1924 and was originally 9 hours long. It talks about a dentist’s wife who strikes gold after winning a lottery but becomes quite obsessed with the wealth soon after. The movie is 4 hours long and the remaining 5 hours were cut out which is considered to be quite a tragedy till date.


5. The Birth of a Nation

The Birth of a Nation made by D.W. Griffith in 1915 changed the entire foundation of films forever. This Civil War epic made use of techniques like close-ups, eyeline matches and camera pans which were brand new and accepted readily by the audience. The film created controversy because it depicted the slaves in a discriminating manner.


6. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

This German film was released in 1920 by Robert Wiene. The plot of the movie was laced with asymmetrical sets which had the distinct quality of being slightly twisted. The story revolves around an eccentric doctor and his servant who has the habit of sleepwalking.


7. Nosferatu

Directed by F W Murnau in 1922, this silent film is among the few that helped build the foundation of the horror genre as we know it today. It was initially supposed to be another version of “Dracula” but the plot had to be changed drastically because of copyright problems.

8. The Gold Rush

The Gold Rush is one of the best films made by Charlie Chaplin. It is about a Tramp who travels to Alaska so that he can take part in the gold rush. The poster is famous as well and the film is both hilarious and heartwarming.


9. The General

The General talks about an engineer who wants to fight during the Civil War but is not able to. A few months later his train gets hijacked by some soldiers and he takes it upon himself to stop them. The action sequences in the movie are amazing and the climax of the film will have you at the edge of your seat.


10. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

Created by the same legendary director who made Nosferatu a reality, this film is about a broken marriage. The images are dream-like and mesmerizing and the film does its best to enthrall the audience. Needless to say, it succeeds brilliantly.

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