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(1) Sunrise (1927; directed by F. W. Murnau)

(2) Napoleon (1927; directed by Abel Gance)

(3) October (1928; directed by Sergei Eisenstein and Grigori Alexandrov)

(4) Greed (1925; directed by Erich von Stroheim)

(5) City Lights (1931; directed by Charles Chaplin)

(6) The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928; directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer)

(7) The Gold Rush (1925; directed by Charles Chaplin)

(8) Seven Chances (1925; directed by Buster Keaton)

(9) Man with a Movie Camera (1929; directed by Dziga Vertov)

(10) The General (1927; directed by Buster Keaton and Clyde Bruckman)

 

Just noticed that they're concentrated over a seven-year period. I need to see more early silents to broaden my tastes.

 

DavidE

http://www.classicfilmpreview.com

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> Where did you see Napoleon? It was revived in

> San Francisco in the 1980's with the SF Symphony

> accompanying, and I've been kicking myself ever since

> that I missed it.

 

I saw it in the 1980s at Radio City Music Hall with a full orchestra. Many of the people in the audience had never seen a great silent film. They actually cheered at the end of the snowball fight, which is just minutes into the story. It was the most incredible theatrical film experience I've ever had.

 

Now I'm making you feel even worse. Sorry about that.

 

DavidE

http://www.classicfilmpreview.com

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Ouch! This is like picking my favorites among children. Here goes (in no particular order):

City Lights

Modern Times

Safety Last

The Crowd

The Big Parade

Napoleon (Abel Gance)

It

Ben Hur

The Student Prince (in Old Heidelberg)

Daddy Long Legs

The Thief of Bagdad

 

This of course doesn't allow for some wonderful films with Lon Chaney, Dougals Fairbanks, Marion Davies, Harold Lloyd and so many others of the brightest stars in the silent cosmos.

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"I saw it in the 1980s at Radio City Music Hall with a full orchestra. Many of the people in the audience had never seen a great silent film. They actually cheered at the end of the snowball fight, which is just minutes into the story. It was the most incredible theatrical film experience I've ever had."

 

How exciting. Yes you twisted the knife; but it's a good hurt, to live vicariously through your story. Doesn't Mr. Coppola hold the rights to this movie? His office is right up the street from where I work. Perhaps I should start wearing a sandwichboard demanding a rerelese of this epic. I could pace in front of his building and plead...

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  • 1 month later...

This is tough, all right. The Top Ten silent films? Here goes:

 

1. Sunrise (1927)

2. The Gold Rush (1925 version ONLY)

3. City Lights (1931)

4. The Birth of a Nation (1915)

5. Ben-Hur (1925)

6. Girl Shy (1924)

7. The Cameraman (1928)

8. Der Letzte Mann (1924)

9. Safety Last! (1923)

10. The Kid (1921)

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I was just going to say Keaton's The General surely belongs on any top ten silent list but DavidEnglish has it on his.

I recently saw Sunrise for the first time and was knocked on my proverbial ***. Nothing in the sound era could ever duplicate it. Broken Blossoms is one of the few genuine film tragedies and deeply poetic but almost too powerful. [i edited this list to put it where it belongs but I also hated removing Orphans of the Storm, IMO one of Griffith's greatest films and incredibly entertaining.]

 

So, in no particular qualitative order--

Sunrise (1927)

The General (1927)

Napoleon (also saw this "live")

Intolerance (1916)

Broken Blossoms (1919)

The Gold Rush (1925)

City Lights (1931)

Girl Shy (1924)

Safety Last (1923)

Potemkin or October (1925;28)

 

Ask me again a month from now and my list might be different! Last month I would not have included Girl Shy but I just saw it for the first time in the Harold Lloyd DVD collection and was bowled over. What a genius. If this were a purely silent comedy list, I would have included Grandma's Boy and/or The Freshman as well.

 

As for Birth of a Nation, as a piece of pioneering filmmaking and made at a time when the Civil War and the immediate aftermath were well within living memory of much of the population, it is, of course, nonpareil. I feel guilty excluding it and I intensely like PC but...I will just take Birth as a given and then proceed. It's like discussing great mountains: let's set Everest aside and begin from there.

 

Message was edited by:

TheDuke

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> (1) Sunrise (1927; directed by F. W. Murnau)

> (2) Napoleon (1927; directed by Abel Gance)

> (3) October (1928; directed by Sergei Eisenstein and

> Grigori Alexandrov)

> (4) Greed (1925; directed by Erich von Stroheim)

> (5) City Lights (1931; directed by Charles Chaplin)

> (6) The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928; directed by

> Carl Theodor Dreyer)

> (7) The Gold Rush (1925; directed by Charles Chaplin)

>

> (8) Seven Chances (1925; directed by Buster Keaton)

> (9) Man with a Movie Camera (1929; directed by Dziga

> Vertov)

> (10) The General (1927; directed by Buster Keaton and

> Clyde Bruckman)

>

> Just noticed that they're concentrated over a

> seven-year period. I need to see more early silents

> to broaden my tastes.

>

> DavidE

> http://www.classicfilmpreview.com

 

Silent Film was at such a peak in the late 20s, wasn't it? It's really a shame sound came in when it did. I just thought of another great one that is not on my Top Ten list: The Wind (Victor Seastrom; 1928)

If this were a list of top ten talkies, I could easily make a plausible list solely from 1939/40.

Just think how much harder it would be if we knew the huge percentage of silents that were lost. I suspect there are some real masterpieces missing, from John Ford's lost silents list alone.

 

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TheDuke

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If you check Silent Era. Com, some of the films on their top 10 list, wouldn't even make my top 50 Silent films! The order of the movies for me, changes all the time! Making a complete list is extremely difficult! Some of the more famous titles, are actually rather overrated! While numerous others little known, deserve considerably more notoriety, than they have received!

 

As for films I have seen recently, both Lewis Milestone's TWO ARABIAN KNIGHTS (1927), with William Boyd, Louis Wolheim, and Mary Astor, and Sydney Chaplin's THE BETTER 'OLE (1926), would probably have to make the list! I enjoyed both of these features greatly!

 

I agree with Abel Gance's NAPOLEON (1927), this is among the ultimate Masterpieces of Cinema! Although, it treats the man, almost as a Messiah, rather than a power mad tyrant!

 

While I love Frank Borzage's SEVENTH HEAVEN (1927), I might have to rate his later feature STREET ANGEL (1928), again with Janet Gaynor, and Charles Farrell, ahead of it?

 

My Favorite Silent comedy has always been Harold Lloyd's THE FRESHMAN (1925). With strong consideration given to Lloyd's GIRL SHY (1924), and GRANDMAS BOY, (1922), as well as Buster Keaton's SEVEN CHANCES (1925), and GO WEST (1925). I would be remiss in not mentioning Charles Chaplin's CITY LIGHTS (1931), and MODERN TIMES (1936), also.

 

I have seen so many other great Silent features, I would literally be here all night listing them! In-fact, I can't even arrive at a consistent top ten list!

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Number one for me has to be "Passion of Joan of Arc." Nothing else like it before or since.

 

I'm not sure I could do a top ten list of silent films. Murnau alone would take up at least three spots, and then three each for Keaton and Chaplin, two or three for Griffith -- there we are at 10 and I haven't even gotten to Eisenstein, Fritz Lang, King Vidor, Joseph Sturnberg yada yada yada.

 

But "Passion" is number one. Possibly the best move ever made.

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My favorites (although I am admittedly fairly new to silents - I've only seen about 40 or so silents so far, with an emphasis on Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Rudolph Valentino and Mary Pickford, but also a bit of Harold Llyod, Lillian Gish, and Clara Bow):

 

1. The Kid (this is actually my favorite film EVER - silent or talkie, classic or modern)

2. The Gold Rush

3. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

4. City Lights

5. The General

6. Modern Times

7. Sunrise

8. Broken Blossoms

9. Suds

10. The Sheik (admittedly a fangirl choice...but WOW!) *lol*

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  • 3 weeks later...

Urgh, I have a list of my favorite silents, but the file isn't on this computer, and I can't access Rotten Tomatoes right now to get it. So here it is, off the top of my head, but I always forget some when I do it like this....

 

Flesh and the Devil

Tess of the Storm Country

City Lights

Show People

The Big Parade

He Who Gets Slapped

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

1915. LES VAMPIRES (Feuillade)

1916. INTOLERANCE (Griffith)

1919. BROKEN BLOSSOMS (Griffith)

1920. CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (Weine)

-------THE PARSON'S WIDOW (Dreyer)

-------WAY DOWN EAST (Griffith)

1921. ORPHANS OF THE STORM (Griffith)

1922. DR. MABUSE, THE GAMBLER (Lang)

-------FOOLISH WIVES (Von Stroheim)

-------NANOOK OF THE NORTH (Flaherty)

-------NOSFERATU (Murnau)

1924. THE LAST LAUGH (Murnau)

-------NIBELUNGEN (Lang)

-------SHERLOCK JR. (Keaton)

1925. THE BIG PARADE (Vidor)

-------THE GOLD RUSH (Chaplin)

-------GREED (Von Stroheim)

-------LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN (Lubitsch)

-------POTEMKIN (Eisenstein)

1926. FAUST (Murnau)

1927. THE GENERAL (Keaton)

-------METROPOLIS (Lang)

-------SUNRISE (Murnau)

1928. THE CROWD (Vidor)

-------DOCKS OF NEW YORK (Sternberg)

-------PANDORA'S BOX (Pabst)

-------THE PASSION OF JEANNE D'ARC (Dreyer)

1929. UN CHIEN ANDALOU (Bunuel)

1930. EARTH (Dovzhenko)

1931. CITY LIGHTS (Chaplin)

1932. I WAS BORN BUT... (Ozu)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I made a top 20 (in approximate order) because I hate to not acknowledge some wonderful films:

 

Tess of the Storm Country

Street Angel

The Gold Rush

La Boheme

The Cat and The Canary

The Garden of Eden

Through the Back Door

The Phantom of the Opera

Our Dancing Daughters

Queen Kelly

The Kid

Seventh Heaven

City Lights

Broken Blossoms

Delicious Little Devil

Sparrows

The Last of the Mohicans

The Circus

Regeneration

Son of the Sheik

The Mark of Zorro

 

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paramountt

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