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The Best Silent Movies of All Time

Updated December 21, 2020 1.2k votes 43 voters 20.3k views120 items

A list of the best silent films ever made, ranked by film fans' votes. This list is ordered by popularity, so only the greatest movies about Hercules are at the top of the list. If there are any great films you think we missed, please feel free to add them yourself. 

The films on this list are the most famous silent movies of all time, many of which are streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime, so use it to find some movies that you haven't seen already if you're a fan of the genre.


This list answers the questions, "What are the best silent films?" and contains items like A Woman of Paris and America.


Various bits of information are included with these popular silent movies, such as who directed them, when they were released and who starred in the films. So whether you're watching these movies on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, these are some good silent films to enjoy. And when you're done, check out our list of classic romance movies.

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    29
    8

    Metropolis

    Brigitte Helm, Gustav Fröhlich

    Released1927

    Directed byFritz Lang

    Metropolis is a 1927 German expressionist epic science fiction drama film directed by Fritz Lang. The film was written by Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou, and starred Brigitte Helm, Gustav...  more

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  • 2
    24
    2

    City Lights

    Charlie Chaplin, Jean Harlow

    Released1931

    Directed byCharlie Chaplin

    City Lights is a 1931 American romantic comedy film written by, directed by, and starring Charlie Chaplin. The story follows the misadventures of Chaplin's Tramp as he falls in love with a blind girl...  more

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    #210 of 925 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films#455 of 1,141 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

  • 3
    22
    5

    The Man Who Laughs

    Conrad Veidt, Stuart Holmes

    Released1928

    Directed byPaul Leni

    The Man Who Laughs is a 1928 American silent film directed by the German Expressionist filmmaker Paul Leni. The film is an adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel of the same name and stars Mary Philbin as...  more

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  • 4
    22
    5

    College

    Alona Tal, Verne Troyer

    Released2008

    Directed byDeb Hagan

    College is a 2008 comedy starring Drake Bell, Andrew Caldwell, and Kevin Covais and directed by first-time director Deb Hagan. It was released on August 29, 2008, by MGM....  more
  • 5
    21
    4

    Sparrows

    Mary Pickford, Gustav von Seyffertitz

    Released1926

    Directed byWilliam Beaudine, Tom McNamara

    Sparrows is a 1926 American silent film about a young woman who rescues a baby from kidnappers. The film, which was originally titled Scraps, starred and was produced by Mary Pickford, who was the...  more
  • 6
    22
    6

    The Lodger

    George Sanders, Merle Oberon

    Released1944

    Directed byJohn Brahm

    The Lodger is a 1944 horror film about Jack the Ripper, based on the novel of the same name by Marie Belloc Lowndes. It stars Merle Oberon, George Sanders and Laird Cregar, features Sir Cedric...  more
  • 7
    22
    7

    A Woman of Paris

    Charlie Chaplin, Adolphe Menjou

    Released1923

    Directed byCharlie Chaplin

    A Woman of Paris is a feature-length American silent film that debuted in 1923. The film, an atypical drama film for its creator, was written, directed, produced and later scored by Charlie Chaplin....  more
  • 8
    21
    5

    Nosferatu

    Max Schreck, John Gottowt

    Released1922

    Directed byF. W. Murnau

    Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens is a 1922 German Expressionist horror film, directed by F. W. Murnau, starring Max Schreck as the vampire Count Orlok. The film, shot in 1921 and released in...  more

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  • 9
    22
    8

    Blood and Sand

    Rudolph Valentino, Lila Lee

    Released1922

    Directed byFred Niblo, Dorothy Arzner

    Blood and Sand is an American silent drama film produced by Paramount Pictures, directed by Fred Niblo and starring Rudolph Valentino, Lila Lee, and Nita Naldi. The film was based on the Spanish...  more
  • 10
    20
    5

    My Best Girl

    Carole Lombard, Mary Pickford

    Released1927

    Directed bySam Taylor

    My Best Girl is a romantic comedy starring Mary Pickford and Buddy Rogers, directed by Sam Taylor, and produced by Pickford. The movie is notable for co-starring Rogers, who would be Pickford's...  more
  • 11
    19
    5

    Big Business

    Bette Midler, Lily Tomlin

    Released1988

    Directed byJim Abrahams

    Big Business is a 1988 American comedy film farce starring Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin. The movie revolves around two sets of identical female twins who were mismatched at birth, with one ending in...  more
  • 12
    15
    1

    Cops

    Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline

    Released1922

    Directed byBuster Keaton, Edward F. Cline

    Cops is a 1922 comedy short silent film about a young man who accidentally gets on the bad side of the entire Los Angeles Police Department during a parade, and is chased all over town. It was...  more
  • 13
    Die Nibelungen is a series of two silent fantasy films created by Austrian director Fritz Lang in 1924: Die Nibelungen: Siegfried and Die Nibelungen: Kriemhild's Revenge. The screenplays for both...  more

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  • 14
    14
    0

    Intolerance

    Lillian Gish, Douglas Fairbanks

    Released1916

    Directed byD. W. Griffith

    Intolerance is a 1916 epic silent film directed by D. W. Griffith and considered one of the great masterpieces of the Silent Era. The three-and-a-half hour epic intercuts four parallel storylines,...  more

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    8

    A Trip to the Moon

    Georges Méliès, Jehanne d'Alcy

    Released1902

    Directed byGeorges Méliès

    A Trip to the Moon is a 1902 French silent film directed by Georges Méliès. Inspired by a wide variety of sources, including Jules Verne's novels From the Earth to the Moon and Around the Moon, the...  more
  • 16
    19
    8

    Brutna Blommor

    Lillian Gish, Kid McCoy

    Released1919

    Directed byD. W. Griffith

    Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl is a 1919 American silent drama film directed by D.W. Griffith. It was distributed by United Artists and premiered on May 13, 1919. It stars Lillian...  more
  • 17
    19
    8

    Cabiria

    Lidia Quaranta, Bartolomeo Pagano

    Released1914

    Directed byGiovanni Pastrone

    Cabiria is a 1914 Italian epic silent film, directed by Giovanni Pastrone and shot in Turin. The film is set in ancient Sicily, Carthage, and Cirta during the period of the Second Punic War. It...  more
  • 18
    17
    5

    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

    John Barrymore, Edgard Varèse

    Released1920

    Directed byJohn S. Robertson

    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a 1920 horror silent film, produced by Famous Players-Lasky and released through Paramount/Artcraft. The film is based upon Robert Louis Stevenson's novella The Strange...  more
  • 19
    14
    2

    Flesh and the Devil

    Greta Garbo, John Gilbert

    Released1926

    Directed byClarence Brown

    Flesh and the Devil is an MGM romantic drama silent film. It stars Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Lars Hanson, and Barbara Kent, directed by Clarence Brown, and based on the play The Undying Past by...  more
  • 20
    11
    0

    He Who Gets Slapped

    Bela Lugosi, Norma Shearer

    Released1924

    Directed byVictor Sjöström

    He Who Gets Slapped is a 1924 American silent drama film starring Lon Chaney, Norma Shearer, and John Gilbert, and directed by Victor Sjöström. The film is based on the Russian play Тот, кто получает...  more
  • 21
    14
    4

    Faust

    William Dieterle, Emil Jannings

    Released1926

    Directed byF. W. Murnau

    Faust is a 1926 silent film produced by UFA, directed by F. W. Murnau, starring Gösta Ekman as Faust, Emil Jannings as Mephisto, Camilla Horn as Gretchen/Marguerite, Frida Richard as her mother,...  more
  • 22
    12
    2

    Girl Shy

    Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston

    Released1924

    Directed byFred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor

    Girl Shy is a 1924 romantic comedy silent film starring Harold Lloyd and Jobyna Ralston. The movie was written by Sam Taylor, Tim Whelan and Ted Wilde and was directed by Fred C. Newmeyer and Taylor....  more
  • 23
    12
    2

    Greed

    ZaSu Pitts, Chester Conklin

    Released1924

    Directed byErich von Stroheim

    Greed is a 1924 American silent film, written and directed by Erich von Stroheim and based on the 1899 Frank Norris novel McTeague. It stars Gibson Gowland as Dr. John McTeague, ZaSu Pitts as his...  more
  • 24
    17
    8

    Nanook of the North

    Nyla, Allakariallak

    Released1922

    Directed byRobert J. Flaherty

    Nanook of the North is a 1922 American silent documentary film by Robert J. Flaherty, with elements of docudrama, at a time when separating films into documentary and drama did not yet exist. In the...  more
  • 25
    11
    1

    Civilization

    Alice Terry, Herschel Mayall

    Released1916

    Directed byReginald Barker, Thomas H. Ince, Raymond B. West

    Civilization is a 1916 American pacifist allegorical drama film produced by Thomas H. Ince, written by C. Gardner Sullivan, and directed by Ince, Reginald Barker and Raymond B. West. The story...  more