Watch Silent Movies Online

The silent era of movies lasted from the inception of motion pictures in the late 19th century till  the late 1920s when films such as The Jazz Singer were able to match motion and sound. Movies grew from a novelty  to a multi-million dollars business and America's fifth largest industry by the late 1920s. American movies came to be dominated by the studio system which  evolved during the WWI.  An important moment came in 1924 when Marcus Lowes Metro Picture Corp, Golwyn and Mayer Pictures merged to form MGM. After WWI, postwar angst fueled a golden age of expressionist film with stylized sets and lighting.Many German stars and directors were lured to America such as Emil Jannings, Pola Negri, Ernst Lubitsch and F.W. Murnau, who directed Sunrise for Fox. Because silent films had no synchronized sound for dialogue, onscreen intertitles were used to narrate story points, present key dialogue and sometimes even comment on the action for the cinema audience. In Japan, films had not only live music but also the benshi, a live narrator who provided commentary and character voices. Silent film actors emphasized body language and facial expression so that the audience could better understand what an actor was feeling and portraying on screen. With the lack of natural color processing available, films of the silent era were frequently dipped in dye and dyed various shades and hues in order to signal a mood or represent a specific time of day. Blue represented night scenes, yellow or amber meant day. Red represented fire and green represented a mysterious mood.

Metropolis  1927

  Science fiction film directed by Fritz Lang that takes set in 2026. An epic projection of a futuristic city divided into a working and an elite class. the poor are encouraged by  encouraged by Maria. Upon discovering her influence upon the workers, a mad scientist kidnaps Maria and creates a robot in her image that will incite the workers to revolt.


Robin Hood  1922

Robin Hood", starring Douglas Fairbanks and Wallace Beery, is the first movie ever to have a Hollywood premiere, held at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre on October 18, 1922. The movie's full title, under which it was copyrighted, is "Douglas Fairbanks in Robin Hood". It was one of the most expensive films of the 1920s, with a budget estimated at approximately one million dollars and generally received favorable reviews.


Warring Shadows  1923


During a dinner given by a wealthy baron and his wife, four of her suitors attend the 19th century German manor. A shadow-player rescues the marriage by giving all the guests a vision of what might happen if the baron stays jealous and the suitors do not reduce their advances towards his beautiful wife. Or was it a vision?


Pandora's Box  1929

Director G.W. Pabst brings the controversial play Lulu to the screen.

Lulu (Louise Brooks, then 22 ) is a sensual chorus girl whose sexual power destroys every man with whom she has an affair, until she encounters one of history's most notorious killers - Jack the Ripper.Considered particularly shocking at the time of its release because of the suggestion of a lesbian attraction between Lulu and a Countess.


Aelita: Queen of Mars  1924

Silent Soviet film

A young man,travels to Mars in a rocket ship, where he leads a

popular uprising against the ruling group of Elders, with the support of

Queen Aelita who has fallen in love with him after watching him through

a telescope.


The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog  1927


 The film is about the hunt for a "Jack the Ripper"

like serial killer in London.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock


Wings 1927


WWI epic and winner of the first Academy Award. Paramount took a $2 million chance on young director and WWI ace William ( Wild Bill) Wellman, which became a box office hit. Clara Bow was top billed, even though she appears for a limited time. Gary Coopers one scene cameo led to greater things.


The Kid 1921


The Kid was Charlie Chaplins directorial debut and the results were wildly successful. An abandoned baby is picked up by a tramp (Chaplin), who rears the infant on the streets. Grown into a young boy (Jackie Coogan), Chaplin learns to scheme with him in some hilarious comedic scenes .


Nosteratu 1922

F.W. Murnau's German silent classic is the original--and some say most frightening- Dracula adaptation, taking Bram Stoker's novel and turning it into a haunting, shadowy dream full of dread. Names had to be changed from the novel when Stoker's wife charged his novel was being filmed without proper permission. Running times vary depending upon versions of the film. Count Orlok, the rodent like vampire frighteningly portrayed by Max Schreck, is perhaps the most animalistic screen portrayal of a vampire ever filmed.


The Thief of Bagdad  1924

  Douglas Fairbanks is  a mischievous thief who, with the help of a genie's magic, tries to outwit the evil ruler of Bagdad. With the help of a magic rope and a magic carpet, the hero woos a beautiful princess and faces many mortal dangers, including fierce dragons, blazing fires, and swelling waters, in his quest to prove himself worthy of her love. The film also made a star of Anna May Wong, who portrayed a Mongol slave.


The Haunted Castle 1921

An aristocratic party is crashed by the Count who was accused of murdering The Baroness' first husband. Everyone believes he is the killer, except one who vows to find the real killer.


Sunrise 1927

Subtitled " A Song of two Humans" , this film won three Academy Awards.A young farmer falls in love with a sophisticated woman from the city, who persuades him to try and kill his wife, so they can be together. Starring George O'Brien, who gives one of the most sensitive performances of his career. Janet Gaynor's performance helped her win an Academy Award. Director F.W. Murnau artistic sets won an Award for Artistic Quality.


Tumbleweeds 1925

The swan song of narrowed-eyed western hero William S. Hart.Hart insisted on absolute naturalism in setting,acting and wardrobe.. Tumbleweeds is set at the end of the era of cowboys in 1889 and the land rush for Oklahoma.

True Heart Susie  1919

Susie, a plain young country girl, secretly loves a neighbor boy, William. She believes in him and sacrifices much of her own happiness to promote his own ambitions, all without his knowledge. Eventually he rises to a position of success and sophistication, and Susie realizes that she has through her own efforts raised him to a level where he is inaccessible to her.


The Phantom Carriage 1920


Swedish movie based on a novel of Körkarlen  (1912), by Nobel-prize winning Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf.  The film is notable for its special effects, its advanced (for the time) narrative structure with flashbacks within flashbacks, and for having been a major influence on Ingmar Bergman.


Orphans of the Storm 1921

Takes place in  late 18th century France, before and during the French Revolution and borrows a good bit from A Tale of Two Cities.. This was the last Griffith film to feature Lillian and Dorothy Gish.

Starring Lillian and Dorothy Gish.Dorothy plays Louise an illegitimate child of a rich family, who abandons her.


Dante's Inferno 1911


Directed by Francesco Bertolini, Giuseppe De Liguoro and Adolfo Padovan. Soundtrack is by Ivan Dolgunov:http://www.jamendo.com/it/artist/3578...L'Inferno is a 1911 Italian silent film by Giuseppe de Liguoro, loosely adapted from Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy. L'Inferno took over three years to make and was the first full-length Italian feature film ever made. The film was first screened in Naples in the Teatro Mercadante on March 10, 1911. The film's depictions of hell closely followed those in the engravings of Gustave Doré for an edition of The Divine Comedy, which were familiar to an international audience, and employed several special effects .


Intolerance  1916

Directed by D. W. Griffith and is is considered one of the great masterpieces of the Silent Era. Intolerance was a colossal undertaking filled with monumental sets, lavish period costumes, and more than 3,000 extras. The film consisted of four distinct but parallel stories that demonstrated mankind's intolerance during four different ages in world history in fall of Babylon, crucifixion of Jesus, the French Renaissance and America of 1914.Actual costs to produce Intolerance are unknown, but best estimates are close to $2 million (approximately $41 million in 2008 dollars) .


Diary of a Lost Girl  1929

The second and last collaboration between Louise Brooks and G.W.Pabst.In the film, Brooks plays an innocent daughter who is raped and forced to go to a repressive reform school.She escapes the reform school and enters a brothel.


The Sheik 1921

A charming Arabian sheik

( Rudolph Valentino ) becomes infatuated with an adventurous, modern-thinking Englishwoman

( Agnes Ayres ) and abducts her to his home in the Saharan desert. See for yourself what all the fuss was about.

Die Nibelungen  1924

In Fritz Lang's spectacular version of the Teutonic saga, the Nibelungenlied, the same myth that Richard Wagner used for his masterpiece, DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN, is given monumental treatment. Young and brave Siegfried leaves his forest dwelling to seek the kingdom of King Gunther. En Route he encounters a fire breathing giant dragon and successfully conquers it. A bird informs Siegfried that bathing in the dragon's blood will make him invincible, however, while gleefully obliging, a small leaf lands on Sigfried's shoulder and creates a vulnerable spot where the blood did not touch him. After battling the Dwarf king of the Nibelungen, Siegfried reaches Gunther's court and falls in love with the King's sister Kriemhild. Gunther will only allow the two to marry if Siegfried helps him win the hand of Brunhilde, the warrior queen of Iceland. Using his magic powers and a cloak of invisibility won in the battle with the dwarf king, Siegfried tricks Brunhilde into yielding to Gunther. When Brunhilde learns of the subterfuge she angrily puts the wheels in motion to further a plot to kill Siegfried, who she secretly loves. Filled with monumental smokey forest vistas, stunning images, and magical creatures, Lang's mystical depiction of ancient Norse lands crafts a compelling tale of desire, destruction and revenge.

Kriemhild's Revenge  1924

The sequel to Fritz Lang's SiegfriedKriemhild tries to win over the people of Burgundy to help her exact revenge against Hagen for the murder of Siegfried . The second series of Die Nibelungen.



The Lost World  1925

Based on a Sir Arthur Doyle novel (the author of Sherlock Holmes), The Lost World was the first big special effects film in cinematic history. Utilizing stop-motion capture to animate clay model dinosaurs, the monstrous prehistoric creatures come to life as had never been previously accomplished. Though silent, The Lost World is also a rich dramatic narrative: Professor Challenger (Wallace Beery) theorizes that dinosaurs are still alive in a remote region of South America. Joined by friends, including the stunning Bessie Love who plays Paula White, Challenger sets off on an expedition to prove his theories correct. Once the lost location is found, the transcendent creature effects take center stage and the explorers watch the beasts hunt, gather, and fight. They decide to bring back a brontosaurus to make them all rich. This would work marvelously, if the monster didnt escape into London! Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as himself appears in a introduction to the film .


Ben Hur  1925

This renowned silent epic was one of the most expensive features of its day, and easily stands up to the later, technically superior version. Juda Ben-Hur, a Judean Prince forced to become a galley slave, saves the life of a Roman nobleman. He is adopted by the Roman and becomes a respected citizen and a famed chariot racer. Upon his return to Judea, Ben-Hur witnesses the crucifixion of Jesus.


Broken Blossoms  1919


"The Yellow Man holds a dream to take the glorious message of peace to the barbarious Anglo-Saxons, sons of turmoil and strife."

Based on "The Chink and the Child", a story by Thomas Burke, Broken Blossoms is one of David Wark Griffith's most poetic films.   Richard Barthelmess plays a young Chinese aristocrat who hopes to spread the gospel of his Eastern religion to the grimy corners of London's Limehouse district. Rapidly disillusioned, Barthelmess opens a curio shop and takes to smoking opium. One evening, Lillian Gish, the waif-like daughter of drunken prizefighter Donald Crisp, collapses on Barthelmess' doorstep after enduring one more of her father's brutal beatings. Barthelmess shelters the girl, providing her with the love and kindness that she has never known. Crisp, offended that his daughter is living with a "heathen," forces the girl to return home with him. In a terrible drunken rage, Crisp beats Lillian to death. Barthelmess arrives on the scene, kills Crisp, then kneels beside Lillian's body and takes his own life.  


Cabiria  1914

An early Italian silent film, based on Gustave Flaubert's novel Salammbo by direcror Giovanni Pastrone. Set in ancient Carthage during the period of the Second Punic War. During the war between Carthage and Rome, a girl is separated from her parents. In her odyssey through the world of ancient Rome, she encounters an erupting volcano, the barbaric splendor of Carthage, human sacrifice and Hannibal crossing the Alps. The hero who played Cabira (means 'born of fire.')  was recruited from the Genoa docks.


The Ten Commandments 1923

 DeMille's original version of the story which would cement his place in celluloid history as a director of magnificent spectacle. This silent version is a true testament to his talents and shows the considerable power of early cinema.


Lilac Time   1928

 Gary Cooper and Colleen Moore a WWI love story .


The Eagle 1925

Vladimir Dubrouvsky,(Rudolph Valentino) a lieutenant in the Russian army, catches theeye of Czarina Catherine II.(Louise Dresser) He spurns her advances and flees, and she puts out a warrant for his arrest, dead or alive. Vladimir learns that his father's lands have been taken by the evil Kyrilla Troekouroff, and his father dies. He dons a black mask, and becomes the outlaw The Black Eagle. He enters the Troekouroff household disguised as a French instructor for Kyrilla's daughter Mascha(Vilma Bánky). He is after vengeance, but instead falls in love with Mascha.


A Fool There Was  1915

Based on Rudyard Kipling's "The Vampire," the film details the story of a just and moral man who falls from grace at the insidious hands of the unrepentant vamp ( Theda Bara). Notorious subtitling marks this as a genre-defining piece of cinema, especially "Kiss me, my fool!"


Easy Virtue 1928

 A 1928 British silent romance film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Isabel Jeans, Franklin Dyall and Ian Hunter. A divorcee scandalizes reputable society and then finds a new suitor. Of course, she doesn't tell him about the shocking divorce


Way down East   1920


Innocent Anna (Lillian Gish,) is sent by her poverty-stricken mother to visit rich relations in Boston, where she is seduced into a sham marriage by a smooth-talking scoundrel (Lowell Sherman). When she becomes pregnant, he abandons her; later, the baby dies. Now a social outcast, she changes her name and eventually finds shelter at the estate of the sternly religious Squire Bartlett (Burr McIntosh). She falls in love with his handsome son (Richard Barthelmess), but cannot divulge to him her terrible secret for fear of his father's righteous fury. D.W. Griffith (BIRTH OF A NATION) directed this film with his usual blend of powerfully cinematic storytelling and scathing social commentary. Rustic New England and New York locations provide a gorgeous backdrop to the proceedings, and the climax, where poor Anna becomes lost in a winter storm, and is swept down the river on ice floes, is one of silent cinema's peak moments.


Birth of a Nation 1915

This landmark film from silent director D.W. Griffith was the first movie blockbuster.The first part of the film chronicles the Civil War as experienced through the eyes of two families; the Stonemans from the North, and the Camerons of the South. Lifelong friends, they become divided by the Mason-Dixon line, with tragic results. Large-scale battle sequences and meticulous historical details culminate with a staged re-creation of Lincoln's assassination. The second half of the film chronicles the Reconstruction, as Congressman Austin Stoneman (Ralph Lewis) puts evil Silas Lynch (George Siegmann) in charge of the liberated slaves at the Cameron hometown of Piedmont.


Last of the Mohicans  1920

The Last of the Mohicans is a 1920 American film adapted from James Fenimore Cooper's novel of the same name. Clarence Brown and Maurice Tourneur directed an adaption by Robert Dillon — a story of two English sisters meeting danger on the frontier of the American colonies, in and around the fort commanded by their father .

Alice in Wonderland  1915

Alice in Wonderland is a 1915  silent film adaptation of Lewis Carroll's classic novel, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, directed and written by W.W. Young and starring Viola Savoy as Alice .


Woman in the Moon  1929

When scientist Manfeldt finally gets the chance to go to the moon and prove his theory of the existence of lunar gold deposits, he is disappointed to discover that he must travel with various strangers. Woman in the Moon (German Frau im Mond) is a science fiction silent film that premiered 15 October 1929. It is often considered to be one of the first "serious" science fiction films. It was written and directed by Fritz Lang, based on the novel Die Frau im Mond (1928, translated as The Woman to the Moon in 1930) by his collaborator Thea von Harbou, his wife at the time. It was released in the USA as By Rocket to the Moon and in the UK as Woman in the Moon

Les Vampires 1915

Vampish villainess Irma Vep, along with her jewel-filching gang, terrorizes Paris in this complete collection of the intrigue-laden French silent serials


Docks of New York  1928

directed by Josef von Sternberg and starring George Bancroft, Betty Compson, and Olga Baclanova. The movie was adapted by Jules Furthman from the John Monk Saunders story The Dock Walloper.An incredibly strong ship stoker named Bill (George Bancroft) saves a beautiful prostitute named Mae (Betty Compson) from drowning during his one night of shore leave. She was attempting suicide as she had no money, almost no clothes and felt remorse about her life up to then. He steals some clothes for her and invites her out for a "good night".


Fatty's Pants 1915


'Fatty' is looking forward to attending a formal occasion. But in order to go, he has to be properly dressed, and he encounters unexpected difficulties in getting himself ready.


The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari  1919

Francis and his friend Alan visit a fair in the small German town of Holstenwall where a sideshow is run by the mysterious Dr Caligari. Caligari is exhibiting a Somnambulist, Cesare; who has slept for 23 years and knows the secrets of the past and the future.  When Cesare predicts Alan that will die at daybreak and the prediction comes true, suspicion falls on the doctor and Cesare. When a local man is caught in the act of killing an old woman it seems like the case is solved. However, the crimes continue.  Claimed to be the first great horror film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari set in motion the wheels of the German cinema.



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