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The Best 1920s Silent Movies  

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List Rules Vote up your favorite silent films that were released in the 1920s.

Ranker Video Insane and Real Silent Film Stunts You Won't Believe Aren't CGI

If not for the greatest silent movies of the '20s, we wouldn't have the same cinematic knowledge and techniques that we do today. The 1920s saw an explosion of film making, with feature-length films taking precedence over short films, or “two-reelers.” Smaller film studios were incorporated into much larger enterprises, giving birth to the Studio System that would dominate Hollywood for the rest of the century.


What are the best ‘20s silent movies? This list includes some of the most classic, iconic films of all time. Megastars like Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin did some of their best work in this decade, starring in films such as
The General, The Gold Rush, and Sherlock Jr.

Foreign filmmakers also had a massive influence on film making in the 1920's. Many of the top ‘20s silent movies were helmed by foreign directors. German expressionist films like Nosferatu, directed by F.W. Murnau, showed American filmmakers the power of symbolism and lighting.


Also on this list, you’ll find
Un Chien Andalou, Luis Buñuel’s surrealist short film containing that infamous shot of an eyeball being sliced by a razor. Vote up the best silent films of the '20s, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section.
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Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Man with a Movie Camera is an experimental 1929 silent documentary film, with no story and no actors, by Soviet director Dziga Vertov, edited by his wife Elizaveta Svilova. Vertov's feature ...more
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Karl Dane, Renée Adorée, John Gilbert
The Big Parade is a 1925 American silent film directed by King Vidor and starring John Gilbert, Renée Adorée, Hobart Bosworth, and Claire McDowell. Adapted by Harry Behn from the ...more
28
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Georg John, Charles Puffy, Rudolf Klein-Rogge
Dr. Mabuse the Gambler is the first film in the Dr. Mabuse series, about the character Doctor Mabuse who featured in the novels of Norbert Jacques. It was directed by Fritz Lang and released in ...more
29
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Buster Keaton, Noble Johnson, Clarence Burton
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial The Navigator is a 1924 comedy directed by and starring Buster Keaton. The film was written by Clyde Bruckman and co-directed by Donald Crisp.
30
The Last Laugh is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best 1920s Silent Movies
Emil Jannings, Georg John, O. E. Hasse
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Der letzte Mann is one of the most influential films in the history of cinema. It was directed by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau in 1924 in the studio of Universum Film AG, known as Ufa and located in ...more
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ZaSu Pitts, Chester Conklin, Jack Curtis
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 ...more
32
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best 1920s Silent Movies
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Un Chien Andalou is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best 1920s Silent Movies
Un Chien Andalou
34
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Nyla, Allakariallak, Cunayou
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 ...more
35
Go West is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best 1920s Silent Movies
Go West Buster Keaton, Roscoe Arbuckle, Gus Leonard
Go West is a silent movie starring Buster Keaton. Keaton portrays Friendless, who travels west to try to make his fortune. Once there, he tries his hand at bronco-busting, cattle wrangling, and ...more
36
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John Barrymore, Edgard Varèse, Charles Lane
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 ...more
37
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William Powell, Emil Jannings, Evelyn Brent
The Last Command is a 1928 silent film directed by Josef von Sternberg, and written by John F. Goodrich and Herman J. Mankiewicz from a story by Lajos Bíró. Star Emil Jannings won ...more
38
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Rudolph Valentino, Ramon Novarro, Wallace Beery
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is a 1921 American silent epic war film produced by Metro Pictures Corporation and directed by Rex Ingram. Based on the Spanish novel The Four Horsemen of the ...more
39
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Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston
The Freshman is a 1925 comedy film that tells the story of a college freshman trying to become popular by joining the school football team. It stars Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston, Brooks Benedict ...more
40
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Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston, Leo Willis
The Kid Brother is a 1927 American classic comedy silent film starring Harold Lloyd. It was successful and popular upon release and today is considered by critics and fans to be one of Lloyd's ...more
41
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Charlie Chaplin, Marion Davies, William Haines
Show People is a 1928 American silent comedy film directed by King Vidor. The film was a starring vehicle for actress Marion Davies and actor William Haines and included notable cameo ...more
42
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Mikhail Zharov, Yuliya Solntseva, Igor Ilyinsky
Aelita, also known as Aelita: Queen of Mars, is a silent film directed by Soviet filmmaker Yakov Protazanov made at the Mezhrabpom-Rus film studio and released in 1924. It was based on Alexei ...more
43
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Joan Crawford, Lon Chaney, Norman Kerry
The Unknown is a 1927 American silent horror film directed by Tod Browning and featuring Lon Chaney as carnival knife thrower Alonzo the Armless and Joan Crawford as the scantily clad carnival ...more
44
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George Bancroft, Richard Alexander, Guy Oliver
The Docks of New York is a silent drama film directed by Josef von Sternberg and starring George Bancroft, Betty Compson, and Olga Baclanova. The movie was adapted by Jules Furthman from the ...more
45
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Myrna Loy, Al Jolson, William Demarest
The Jazz Singer is a 1927 American musical film. The first feature-length motion picture with synchronized dialogue sequences, its release heralded the commercial ascendance of the ...more
46
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Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston
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
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Eleanor Boardman, Bert Roach, Estelle Clark
The Crowd is a 1928 American silent film directed by King Vidor and starring Eleanor Boardman and James Murray. The picture is an influential and acclaimed feature and was nominated for the ...more
48
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Oliver Hardy, Larry Semon, Josef Swickard
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Wizard of Oz is a 1925 American silent film directed by Larry Semon, who also appears in a lead role—that of a farmhand disguised as a Scarecrow. The only completed 1920s adaptation of L. Frank ...more