In essence, film is a story told with images. The best films construct a narrative not with dialogue or superfluous backstory but with pictures. It’s one thing for a character to say, “I’m so sad.” It’s another thing to place a silent character in a dark bedroom, with sparse rays of sunlight forcing their way through closed blinds, with a wad of used tissues on top of an unmade bed, and a bottle of whiskey on the nightstand. A picture truly is worth a thousand words. Here are the greatest movies that tell their stories with limited dialogue.
Many renowned directors are known for making films with minimal dialogue. Auteurs like Stanley Kubrick and Terrence Malick intentionally omit the chit-chat in order to let the cameras do the talking. Of course, dialogue is important to a story, but in a film like Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, the film viewer is purposefully not told exactly what it happening on screen. Kubrick meant for the movie to be a cryptic allegory, a complicated story up for individual interpretation.
Many of the minimal dialogue movies on this list are not exactly blockbusters. For every The Revenant or Gravity, there's a Gerry or Drive. These movies are concerned with message and even style over box office returns. They cater to the cinephile, intent on creating their own film experience, without telling audiences what to think.Make your voice heard. Vote up the best movies with almost no dialogue - those that tell their stories best with the moving image.
Actors: Sigourney Weaver, Laraine Newman, Kathy Najimy, Fred Willard, Jeff Garlin, + more
Directed by: Andrew Stanton
Actors: Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Chris Noth, Frederick W. Smith, Jenifer Lewis, + more
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Actors: Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef
Directed by: Sergio Leone
Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter
Directed by: Alejandro G. Iñárritu