100 Greatest Silent Movies

Criteria: These Greatest Silent Movies were chosen for their direction, acting, storyline, cinematography, originality, box office success and popularity. Plus their historical importance & innovativeness in the infancy of motion pictures.
 Title - (Year, Country/Director) (Leading Actors)
1. The Birth of a Nation
(1915, D.W. Griffith) (Lillian Gish, Wallace Reid)
2. Wings
(1927, William A. Wellman) (Clara Bow, Richard Arlen) (1st Academy Award, Best Picture)
3. Modern Times
(1936, Charles Chaplin, partial talkie) (Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard)
4. Intolerance
(1916, D.W. Griffith) (Lillian Gish, Constance Talmadge)
5. Metropolis
(1927, Germany/Fritz Lang) (Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel)
6. The Battleship Potemkin
(1925, USSR/Sergei M. Eisenstein) (Aleksandr Antonov, V. Barsky)
7. City Lights
(1931, Charles Chaplin) (Charles Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill)
8. Napoleon
(1927, France/Abel Gance) (Albert Dieudonne, Edmond Van Daële)
9. The General
(1927, Clyde Bruckman) (Buster Keaton, Marion Mack)
10. The Phantom of the Opera
(1925, Rupert Julian) (Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin)
11. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
(1921, Rex Ingram) (Rudolph Valentino, Alice Terry)
12. Nosferatu, the Vampire
(1922, Germany/F.W. Murnau) (Max Schreck, Greta Schröder)
13. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
(1923, Wallace Worsley) (Lon Chaney, Patsy Ruth Miller)
14. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
(1920, Germany/Robert Wiene) (Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt)
15. Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
(1925, Fred Niblo) (Ramon Novarro, Francis X. Bushman)
16. The Passion of Joan of Arc
(1928, France/Carl Theodor Dreyer) (Maria Falconetti)
17. The Gold Rush
(1925, Charles Chaplin) (Charles Chaplin, Mack Swain)

18. The Big Parade
(1925, King Vidor) (Gohn Gilbert, Renée Adorée)
19. The Wind
(1928, Victor Sjöström) (Lillian Gish, Lars Hanson)
20. Greed
(1924, Erich von Stroheim) (Zasu Pitts, Gibson Gowland)
21. Beau Geste
(1926, Herbert Brenon) (Ronald Colman, William Powell)
22. The Circus
(1928, Charles Chaplin) (Charlie Chaplin, Merna Kennedy)
23. Sunrise
(1927, F.W. Murnau) (Margaret Livingston, Janet Gaynor, George O'Brien)
24. Orphans of the Storm
(1921, D.W. Griffith) (Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish)
25. Show People
(1928, King Vidor) (Marion Davies, William Haines)
26. Tess of the Storm Country
(1922, John S. Robertson) (Mary Pickford, Lloyd Hughes)
27. Way Down East
(1920, D.W. Griffith) (Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess)
28. The Sheik
(1921, George Melford) (Rudolph Valentino, Agnes Ayres)
29. Safety Last!
(1923, Fred C. Newmeyer) (Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis)
30. It
(1927, Clarence G. Badger) (Clara Bow, Antonio Moreno, Gary Cooper)
31. Peter Pan
(1924, Herbert Brenon) (Betty Bronson, Mary Brian)
32. Blood and Sand
(1922, Fred Niblo) (Rudolph Valentino, Rosa Rosanova)
33. Joan The Woman
(1916, Cecil B. DeMille) (Geraldine Farrar, Wallace Reid)
34. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
(1917, Marshall Neilan) (Mary Pickford, Eugene O'Brien)
35. Earth (Zemlya)
(1930, USSR/Aleksandr Dovzhenko) (Semyon Svashenko, Stepan Shkurat)
36. The Golem: How He Came Into The World
(1920, Germany/C. Boese, P. Wegener) (Paul Wegener)
37. Nanook of the North
(1922, Robert J. Flaherty/Documentary) (Allakariallak, Nyla)
38. The Ten Commandments
(1923, Cecil B. DeMille) (Richard Dix, Theodore Roberts)
39. Seventh Heaven
(1927, Frank Borzage) (Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell)
40. Shoulder Arms
(1918, Charles Chaplin) (Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance)
41. Robin Hood
(1922, Allan Dwan) (Douglas Fairbanks, William Lowery)
42. Faust
(1926, Germany/F.W. Murnau) (Gösta Ekman, Emil Jannings)
43. The Iron Horse
(1924, John Ford) (George O'Brien, Madge Bellamy)
44. Foolish Wives
(1922, Erich von Stroheim) (Rudolph Christians, Miss DuPont)
45. The Last Command
(1928, Josef von Sternberg) (Emil Jannings, William Powell)
46. Male and Female
(1919, Cecil B. DeMille) (Gloria Swanson, Thomas Meighan)
47. The Crowd
(1928, King Vidor) (James Murray, Elanor Boardman)
48. Les Vampires
(1915, France/Louis Feuillade) (Musidora, Édouard Mathé)
49. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
(1920, John S. Robertson) (John Barrymore, Nita Naldi)
50. The King of Kings
(1927, Cecil B. DeMille) (H. B. Warner, Dorothy Cumming)
51. Flesh and the Devil
(1926, Clarence Brown) (Greta Garbo, John Gilbert)
52. The Cameraman
(1928, Edward Sedgwick) (Buster Keaton, Marceline Day)
53. The Mark of Zorro
(1920, Fred Niblo) (Douglas Fairbanks, Noah Beery)
54. The Lost World
(1925, Harry O. Hoyt) (Wallace Beery, Bessie Love)
55. The Iron Mask
(1929, Allan Dwan) (Douglas Fairbanks, William Bakewell)
56. Hands Up!
(1926, Clarence G. Badger) (Raymond Griffith, Marian Nixon)
57. Pandora's Box
(1929 Germany/Georg Wilhelm Pabst) (Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner)
58. The Black Pirate
(1926, Albert Parker) (Douglas Fairbanks, Billie Dove)
59. For Heaven's Sake
(1926, Sam Taylor) (Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston)
60. The Merry Widow
(1925, Erich von Stroheim) (John Gilbert, Mae Murray)
61. For Better, for Worse
(1919, Cecil B. DeMille) (Gloria Swanson, Elliott Dexter)
62. The Scarlet Letter
(1926,, Victor Sjöström) (Lillian Gish, Lars Hanson)
63. Tabu
(1931, F.W. Murnau) (Anna Chevalier, Matahi)
64. The Cat and the Canary
(1927, Paul Leni) (Laura La Plante, Creighton Hale)
65. The Covered Wagon
(1923, James Cruze) (J. Warren Kerrigan, Alan Hale)
66. The Mysterious Lady
(1928, Fred Niblo) (Greta Garbo, Conrad Nagel)
67. The Thief of Bagdad
(1924, Raoul Walsh) (Douglas Fairbanks, Julanne Johnston)
68. Sadie Thompson
(1928, Raoul Walsh) (Lionel Barrymore, Gloria Swanson)
69. Uncle Tom's Cabin
(1927, Harry A. Pollard) (Margarita Fisher, James Lowe)
70. What Price Glory?
(1926, Raoul Walsh) (Victor McLaglen, Dolores del Rio)
71. My Best Girl
(1927, Sam Taylor) (Mary Pickford, Charles 'Buddy' Rogers)
72. Stachka (Strike)
(1925, USSR/Sergei M. Eisenstein) (Aleksandr Antonov, Grigori Aleksandrov)
73. The Navigator
(1924, Donald Crisp, B. Keaton) (Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire)
74. The Last Laugh
(1924, Germany/F.W. Murnau) (Emil Jannings, Maly Delschaft)
75. Man with a Movie Camera
(1929, USSR/Dziga Vertov) (Documentary)
76. Sparrows
(1926, William Beaudine) (Mary Pickford, Gustav von Seyffertitz )
77. The Diary of a Lost Girl
(1929, Germany/Georg Wilhelm Pabst) (Louise Brooks)
78. Something to Think About
(1920, Cecil B. DeMille) (Gloria Swanson, Elliott Dexter)
79. The Freshman
(1925, F. C. Newmeyer, S. Taylor) (Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston)
80. The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg
(1927, Ernst Lubitsch) (Ramon Novarro, Norma Shearer)
81. Cleopatra
(1917, J. Gordon Edwards) (Theda Bara, Fritz Leiber, Thurston Hall)
82. The Man Who Laughs
(1928, Paul Leni) (Conrad Veidt, Mary Philbin)
83. Seven Chances
(1925, Buster Keaton) (Buster Keaton, Ruth Dwyer)
84. Big Business
(1929, James W. Horne) (Stan laurel, Oliver Hardy)
85. A Woman of Affairs
(1928, Clarence Brown) (Greta Garbo, John Gilbert)
86. West of Zanzibar
(1928, Tod Browning) (Lon Chaney, Lionel Barrymore)
87. Go West
(1925, Buster Keaton) (Buster Keaton, Kathleen Myers)
88. Steamboat Bill, Jr.
(1928, Charles Reisner) (Buster Keaton, Ernest Torrence)
89. Liberty
(1929, Leo McCarey) (Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Jean Harlow)
90. Don Juan
(1926, Alan Crosland) (John Barrymore, Myrna Loy)
91. The Docks of New York
(1928, Josef von Sternberg) (George Bancroft, Betty Compson)
92. College
(1927, James W. Horne) (Buster Keaton, Anne Cornwall)
93. Broken Blossoms
(1919, D.W. Griffith) (Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess)
94. Underworld
(1927, Josef von Sternberg) (George Bancroft, Evelyn Brent)
95. Beggars of Life
(1928, William A. Wellman) (Louise Brooks, Wallace Beery)
96. The Strong Man
(1926, Frank Capra) (Harry Langdon, Priscilla Bonner)
97. The Son of the Sheik
(1926, George Fitzmaurice) (Rudolph Valentino, Vilma Bánky)
98. Little Lord Fauntleroy
(1921, Alfred E. Green) (Mary Pickford, Claude Gillingwater)
99. Tumbleweeds
(1925, King Baggot) (William S. Hart, Barbara Bedford)
100. Manslaughter
(1922, Cecil B. DeMille) (Leatrice Joy, Thomas Meighan)
Honorable Mentions
  Raja Harishchandra
(1913, India/Dadasaheb Phalke) (First 'feature-length' silent film)
  The Jazz Singer
(1927, Alan Crosland) (Al Jolson, Mary Dale) (some synchronized dialogue)
  Silent Movie
(1976, Mel Brooks) (Mel Brooks, Marty Feldman, Dom DeLuise)

Last Updated: 2007-02-19
Newly added names are in Red

Background: Between 1860 and 1895 silent films were short novelty attractions at fairs, and in Kinetescope parlors. In 1895 the first public showing by the newly invented 'film projector' allowed an 'audience' to view films. The first 'feature-length' films came out in 1913, and in the new "Age of the Silver Screen" producers from the U.S.A, France, Russia, and Germany created the most successful silent movies. Recorded sound effects and music began to be added to feature films in 1926. 'The Jazz Singer' (1927) was the first mostly silent feature film to include some synchronized dialogue. 'The Lights of New York' (1928), was the first all-synchronized-sound feature length movie. Over the next few years, the number of silent movies decreased as more films used the new sound technology.