This page shows you the list charts. By default, the movies are ordered by how many times they have been marked as a favorite. However, you can also sort by other information, such as the total number of times it has been marked as a dislike.
The top 300 best silent era films are based on the votes on the silentera.com website. The list is not limited to features exclusively. True silent films (like City Lights) not made in the default silent cinema timeline (1891-1929) are also accepted. Films receiving votes must still exist somewhere and in some viewable form. We limit the list to films that were produced to be silent films exclusively (synchronized music tracks are acceptible, but part-talkies and talkies that have only survived as silents are out).
All the films from the Silent Era top 100, plus the 200 films that didn't make the list.
The original list actually contains 298 movies. This iCM-list contains 304 movies because the following titles consist of multiple entries:
- Die Nibelungen (2 parts)
- Das indische Grabmal (2 parts)
- Fantômas (5 parts)
From a poll of 63 critics and film experts conducted in the 1970s by film critic and director Paul Rotha, each asked for a list of their 30 top silent films. This makes for a list of the Top 338 Silent Films. Ties are sorted by imdb original title.
Several movies are considered lost:
Die Abenteuer eines Zehnmarkscheines
The Last Moment
Composed by feature films from 1907 to 2006 and a few short films from the silent period in Portugal, this list was commissioned by Instituto Camões.
1-37 - silent period
38-156 - feature films
Instituto Camões (Camoes Institute) was created in 1992 for the promotion of the Portuguese language and culture world-wide. The list was organized by José de Matos-Cruz, a Portuguese writer, journalist, editor, high-school teacher, investigator, encyclopedist. Since 1980 he works at the Cinemateca Portuguesa (Portuguese Film Archive), in Lisbon. He is a prominent historian of the Portuguese cinema.
The Top 300 Silent Era Films list has a great selection of silents, and I hope it will help many explore deeper into this great and largely forgotten era. However, the list as it stands is highhly Americanized while several countries such as Germany, Sweden, Japan and more were going incredibly strong. So to broaden the perspective here's a selection great non-American silents I hope will leave an impression on you as well. It's ranked in reverse chronological order.
The ten most voted movies on IMDb from the 1920's. These are the movies from the 20's that have been sought out, watched and rated by the most people. It is more a popularity list than a "highest rating" list. This far back one would expect that rating and votes should follow each other closely but it is not always the case. The list contains quite a number of short movies as it was the golden age of Chaplin and Keaton.
From They Shoot Pictures Don't They, 2015 edition. Note that the years don't always correlate exactly with IMDB's years and each year has varying amounts of films listed. Titles I cannot find on IMDB:
-Bebe mange sa soupe (Lumiere, 1896) [possibly the same film as Repas de bebe & therefore a repeat on the TSPDT list?]
-Balle traversant une bulle de savon (Bull, 1904)
-Tartans of Scottish Clans (G.A. Smith, 1906)
-The Little Tramp (Chaplin, 1916) [unknown film according to TSPDT list]
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.
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.
From They Shoot Pictures Don't They, 2015 edition. Top 25 films from each year 1920-29. Note that the years don't always correlate exactly with IMDB's years. 1920 and 1921 lists only have 21 films and 1922 only has 22. #51 Kino-Pravda 1 is actually an entry to represent Kino-Pravda 1-23
All films mentioned by name in the 2006 documentary directed by David Thompson called _Silent Britain_, in the order in which they are mentioned.
Not found on iCM or imdb: Train Entering Hove Station (1897), which the documentary describes as a response to the famous 1896 Lumiere film, L'arrivée d'un train à La Ciotat. I am guessing that this movie by George Albert Smith is the film imdb calls Passenger Train (1897): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2316963/
Edit: I've now added the latter film to iCM and to this list.
Each year film scholars Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell release a list of the greatest surviving films from 90 years prior. The project started in 2007 to celebrate "the birth of classical cinema" in 1917, when Hollywood filmmakers developed the shooting and editing techniques that have been the basis of narrative film ever since.