Favorite Silent Films

I'm a big fan of silent movies. I love both silent comedy and drama. I know it isn't for everyone, but you may be surprised at how the visual language of these great movies makes words unnecessary.
  1. Metropolis
    Fritz Lang's 1927 masterpiece looks into a future where the haves live in luxury while the workers toil in misery. The special effects are amazing, and the story has remarkable relevance for us still today.
  2. Nosferatu
    F.W. Murnau's classic take on Dracula. Max Shreck is amazing as the vampire, whether rising from his coffin or oddly hauling it through town in almost comical fashion.
  3. The General
    My favorite silent film comedian is Buster Keaton. He is less sentimental and more athletic than Chaplin, and his comedy translates to a modern audience really well. I also recommend his short films, especially "Cops" and Sherlock, Jr.
  4. City Lights
    I do love Chaplin for his beautiful movements and brilliant set pieces. Mostly, he can make me cry. The end of City Lights and the scene in The Kid where they come to take away the little boy break my heart. For speaking out when so many were silent, see The Dictator. Chaplin speaks and he really has something to say.
  5. Ivan the Terrible parts one and two
    Sergei Eisenstein's films created a lot of modem film language. This is much more watchable than you might think. The story is fascinating with palace intrigue the way modern historical dramas are, but the visuals are beautiful.
  6. Napoleon
    Another example of ambitious film making with powerful camera work and use of symbolism to create themes and communicate ideas.
  7. La Voyage dans la Lune
    George Melies gives us one of cinema's first actual films that tell a complete story, and it is Science Fiction adventure. The special effects are amazing for the time. If you want to see the birth of cinema, this is the film to see.