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06 July 2011

Top 10 Silent Films (as of 06/07/11)

Now that my silent film marathon has come to an end, I think it is only fair that I now make a top 10 list of them. With so many great films, and not one bad one and there barely are any 'bad' silent films. From the silent films I have learnt the birth of cinema in a way. How some directors started, how the characters behaved and how the early concepts would be used repeatedly in films of the future. They are truly glorious no doubt. Not only are they fascinating to watch, but they are ultimately entertaining. Not as many people watch silent films today, among my age group or even any age group, but I say firmly that several of the silent films are in my top 20 films of all time list. So much has come from silent films, and from the ones I have watched it shows that cinema goes further than I thought. I have watched several international silent films from Germany and  France and all over the place, and now I think I will check out more modern international films. silent films are what made cinema today and they won't be forgotten. Enjoy my countdown of my top 10 favourite silent films. Just click the title to read my review of the film.

10. The Last Laugh (1924)

My Rating: 8.5/10
The Last Laugh tells a story of an old doorman, who is proud as can be, and even prouder of his uniform with it’s wide shoulders, military lapels and comic opera cuffs. With artistic resonance, director F.W Murnau brings another classic to the screen in this finely crafted piece of entertainment. Using no title cards, except for one that guides us as a narrative, the film’s surprising imagery, smooth camera tracking and movement and a story that comes to terms as simple, it is another classic silent film of the era. Once more an international silent film has come to my eyes, and is making me realise that there is more cinema out there than I know.

9. Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (1922)

My Rating: 9/10 
From one of my favourite directors because of his great silent films, Nosferatu is one of the earliest horror films and is full of suspense and horror. F.W Murnau proves himself as a brilliant director and is clearly very influential. So overall, whether you’re a film enthusiast, huge film fan or the casual movie watcher, you’re likely to enjoy this film because of it’s expressive content, wonderful performances and just plain creepy atmosphere. It's simply one of the finest silent films there is.

8. The Gold Rush (1925)
My Rating: 9/10
Many people will not consider this one of Chaplin's best films, but I absolutely love it. It is clever, funny and has that hint of simplistic romance like several of Chaplin's films have. The story is full of pathos, emotion and slapstick comedy satisfying enough for the modern day film viewer and is highly enjoyable. Overall The Gold Rush stands as one of Chaplin’s finest films and is humorous as it is heart-felt.

7. City Lights (1931)
My Rating: 9/10
Many call this Chaplin's best work and being one of his final silent films, it holds out as one of my favourites. We see Chaplin's iconic character The Tramp in a romance kind of story and it truly is a beautiful film. No favourite silent film list (or even film list in general) would be complete without a Chaplin film in there. The Tramp gets up to so much mischief in this film and alongside he finds love, which makes City Lights a fine drama as well as a comedy. Overall City Lights is funny, charming and heart-warming.

6. Metropolis (1927)
My Rating: 9.5/10
Many probably expect this film to be higher in the list, but while it is still an amazing film, I don't love it as much as the others in the list. Fritz Lang’s long Sci-Fi masterpiece stands as an amazing film even today with it’s surprising visual effects and futuristic set designs and is another silent film not to be forgotten. The film is important in cinema history because of it’s overall message an overall the film is wonderfully entertaining, suspenseful and very thrilling. When watching Metropolis it’s a very different film experience and anyone that watches the film will agree.


5. The Kid (1921)
My Rating: 9.5/10 
This is the first feature film Chaplin made and despite it's short runtime, it is one of my favourite Chaplin films. It so beautifully made and every minute is golden. The wonderful thing is how Chaplin has created such a simple plot it creates the depth for itself.  For a 68 minute silent film, this one has sincere emotion, brilliant comedy and delightful characters. With it’s simplistic nature, all the slapstick is clever, inventive and very funny.

4. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
My Rating: 9.5/10 
Truly it is a tie between the top 3. Modern Times is heart-warming while it is funny also, Sunrise is dramatic and touching and Caligari is suspenseful and mysterious. Overall though I have to put Caligari in number one because of the impact it had on me. With all the pointed architecture, wacky set designs and all the cinematographic jazz, Caligari is one of the best films around. The film was made so early in the silent film era, and was around the time it started becoming a real industry. The film is both fascinating and entertaining because of it's wonderful atmosphere and outstanding story.

3. Greed (1923)

My Rating: 10/10
For a four hour silent film, it is worth it. Greed has such a huge, but easy to understand, story that is full of so much characters and happenings, making it one of the finest silent films there is. The film is historically significant, aesthetically brilliant and most of all, it is entertaining. Many people will not be able to sit through a 4 hour picture, but Greed has to be an ultimate exception. It’s full of drama and story enough to keep you satisfied for it’s length and is definitely worth it all. It is undeniably a dramatic story, filled with the spirit of its film title, without a hero or a heroine.

2. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
My Rating: 10/10
This film just blew me away.  I had no true expectations for the film and it just shocked me how brilliant it was. Sunrise was one of the last films F.W Murnau ever made, and died only four years after this film at the age of 42. It is a pity he died so young for his career could have ventured on into the world of sound. Sunrise was made in Hollywood and Murnau brought his German Expressionism with him in this gorgeously filmed production. It is by far one of the greatest films of the silent era and even holds out as one of the best of all time. Film fans new or old are going to love this film and are in for an experience to remember. The film is a cinematographic masterpiece no doubt and is a film that will definitely leave you with a smile.

1. Modern Times (1936)
My Rating: 10/10
This film will not be forgotten the history of cinema because of the crafted beauty. The film leaves our tramp character very well with him and the gamin walking down the street together, ready to face anything that comes up to make ends meet. Modern times is my favourite Chaplin film and there are so many reasons why. It makes you laugh, it makes you give a warm smile and even bring a tear to your eye. It is comically genius, masterfully written and is full of wonderful characters. Overall this is one of the highlights of his career and is a film that should not be forgotten…ever!


Well there you have it. The list of my top 10 favourite silent films, and might I add from the marathon those are only silent films I have seen beside some Laurel & Hardy sketches I've seen. In the future I'll be sure to get to more silent films because some can be better than the modern pictures you see today (undeniably). Thanks for taking a look at my top 10 silent films list.


  1. Great list. I still need to see The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. One of these days I'll track it down.

  2. A wonderful list, and one we will keep for reference. Although we've seen many of these silents, "Sunrise" is one we have not seen. We'll look for a chance to see it soon.

  3. @Las Mayanas
    Thanks for your comment and it truly is worth checking out.

  4. I liked the one with no arms... 'The Unknown' was it?

  5. You're the man! I love the boxing scene in City Lights. I think The Kid is my favorite.

  6. My apologies if this was one of your reviews, but if you haven't seen The Passion of Joan of Arc then I highly recommend it. It's probably the best silent film I have seen, and I've seen all the films in your Top 10 except for Greed. If you haven't seen the films of Harold Lloyd then start with Safety Last! He was as talented as Chaplin and Keaton.

  7. thanks dearly for the comment, I have to remake this list,it has changed since. I will check Joan o fArc soon, heard it was good. Thanks a lot!



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