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Silent Classics

The first three decades of cinema gave us some of the greatest films ever made, which had to tell their stories purely visually, giving us countless unforgettable images.

Thanks to excellent preservation and restoration efforts, these films are now available to watch in pristine condition, often with new scores by world renowned musicians.

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The Passion of Joan of ArcThe Passion of Joan of Arc

Biopic192780 minsSilentDirector: Carl Th. Dreyer

An incontestable masterpiece of silent cinema, Carl Dreyer's deeply moving biopic features one of the most powerful performances ever captured on film.

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MetropolisMetropolis

Science Fiction1927150 minsSilentDirector: Fritz Lang

Fritz Lang’s expressionist, dystopian vision is one of the first science fiction feature films, and is arguably the most influential.

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The Cabinet of Dr. CaligariThe Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Horror191977 minsSilentDirector: Robert Wiene

One of the most iconic masterpieces in cinema history, Robert Wiene’s expressionist nightmare shook filmgoers worldwide and changed the direction of the art form.

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The Great White SilenceThe Great White Silence

Documentary1924107 minsSilentDirector: Herbert G. Ponting

The BFI Archive's restoration of Herbert Ponting's official film record of Captain Scott's tragic expedition to the South Pole, with a new score by Simon Fisher Turner.

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Un Chien AndalouUn Chien Andalou

Animation & Artists Moving Image192816 minsSilentDirector: Luis Buñuel

A scabrous study of desire, the subconscious and anti-clericalism - Buñuel and Dalí’s provocative first film is a classic of Surrealist cinema.

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Battleship PotemkinBattleship Potemkin

Historical drama192569 minsSilentDirector: Sergei M. Eisenstein

A fixture in the critical canon almost since its premiere, Eisenstein’s film about a 1905 naval mutiny was revolutionary in both form and content.

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The GeneralThe General

Comedy192679 minsSilentDirector: Buster Keaton

Buster Keaton's masterpiece is widely and rightly regarded as one of the greatest comedies ever made.

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Sherlock Jr.Sherlock Jr.

Comedy192445 minsDirector: Buster Keaton

Buster Keaton's superb, sophisticated silent comedy in which he dreams himself into the movie he's watching, in order to win back his girl.

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Steamboat Bill, Jr.Steamboat Bill, Jr.

Comedy192871 minsDirector: Charles F. Riesner

Waterway hi jinks abound in this Buster Keaton classic, in which he plays the reluctant heir to his father's paddle steamer business.

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Dragnet GirlDragnet Girl

Crime1933100 minsSilentDirector: Yasujirō Ozu

A seemingly ordinary typist moonlights as a fun-loving gangster's moll in one of Ozu's most enduring silent films.

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Walk CheerfullyWalk Cheerfully

Crime193096 minsSilentDirector: Yasujirō Ozu

Will Kenji 'the Knife' Koyama, leader of a gang of hooligans, go straight to win the heart of virtuous Yasue?

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That Night's WifeThat Night's Wife

Crime193064 minsSilentDirector: Yasujirō Ozu

Young father Shuji turns to crime to pay his daughter's medical bills in Ozu's masterly early drama.

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Woman of TokyoWoman of Tokyo

Melodrama193345 minsSilentDirector: Yasujirō Ozu

Chikako (Yoshiko Okada) works hard to pay her brothers Ryoichi’s (Ureo Egawa) college fees, but disaster looms when he learns the true nature of her work.

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The Lady and the BeardThe Lady and the Beard

Comedy193173 minsSilentDirector: Yasujirō Ozu

Graduate Okajima finds his old-fashioned beard makes life difficult in Ozu's comedy exploring the tension between tradition and modernity.

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A Mother Should be LovedA Mother Should be Loved

Melodrama193474 minsSilentDirector: Yasujirō Ozu

The surviving, incomplete version of Ozu's moving silent drama about a young man struggling to deal with a disturbing family secret.

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I Was Born, But...I Was Born, But...

Comedy193287 minsSilentDirector: Yasujirō Ozu

Ozu's silent masterpiece follows two brothers as they try to outwit the local bully.

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Days of YouthDays of Youth

Comedy1929103 minsSilentDirector: Yasujirō Ozu

Ozu’s earliest surviving film follows students Watanabe and Yamamoto as they unknowingly compete for the same girl.

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Where Now Are the Dreams of Youth?Where Now Are the Dreams of Youth?

Comedy193286 minsSilentDirector: Yasujirō Ozu

Ozu’s long-term collaborator Kogo Noda scripts a subtle shift from light to dark as Hirano’s carefree college life is marred by tragedy.