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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 Arc
The Passion of Joan of Arc
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The 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.

Metropolis
Metropolis
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Metropolis

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.

Battleship Potemkin
Battleship Potemkin
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Battleship 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.

Decasia
Decasia
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Decasia

Documentary200267 minsDirector: Bill Morrison

Decasia is an artful collage of found archival footage, shot pre-1950 on a cellulose nitrate base and most of it in advanced stages of decay.

London Symphony
London Symphony
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London Symphony

Documentary201772 minsDirector: Alex Barrett

A poetic journey through the capital, presenting an artistic snapshot of London as it stands today, and a celebration of its rich diversity of culture, architecture and religion.

Blancanieves
Blancanieves
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Blancanieves

Drama2011105 minsDirector: Pablo Berger

Pablo Berger’s imaginative black-and-white ‘silent’ movie relocates the story of Snow White to 1920s Spain – complete with bullfighting dwarfs

Un Chien Andalou
Un Chien Andalou
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Un 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.

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
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The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Period drama192591 minsSilentDirector: Rupert Julian

'Man of a thousand faces' Lon Chaney stars in the first version of Gaston Leroux's oft-filmed novel.

Nosferatu
Nosferatu
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Nosferatu

Horror192289 minsSilentDirector: F.W. Murnau

This influential Dracula adaptation contains some of the most famous images of expressionist film, with a new score by Hammer composer James Bernard.

Lodger: A Story of the London Fog
Lodger: A Story of the London Fog
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Lodger: A Story of the London Fog

Crime192691 minsSilentDirector: Alfred Hitchcock

Ivor Novello plays a strange lodger who may be behind a number of Jack the Ripper-style killings in Alfred Hitchcock’s silent thriller.

Downhill
Downhill
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Downhill

Drama1927105 minsSilentDirector: Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock’s fifth film features an early variation on his fabled ‘wrong man’plot, as Ivor Novello stands accused of getting a girl pregnant.

The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands
The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands
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The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands

War1927106 minsSilentDirector: Walter Summers

This dramatic reconstruction of two decisive naval battles from the First World War is one of the finest films of the British silent era.

The Birth of a Nation
The Birth of a Nation
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The Birth of a Nation

Historical drama1915191 minsSilentDirector: D.W. Griffith

D W Griffith's highly controversial, yet extremely significant American silent epic about the American Civil War and its aftermath.

The Master of the House
The Master of the House
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The Master of the House

Drama1925107 minsSilentDirector: Carl Th. Dreyer

Carl Theodor Dreyer’s richly detailed tragicomedy of domestic manners is by turns funny, intensely emotional and deeply affecting.

Turksib
Turksib
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Turksib

Documentary192975 minsSilentDirector: Viktor Turin

With bold and exhilarating flair, Turksib charts the monumental efforts to build a railway linking the regions of Turkestan and Siberia in 1920s USSR.

Shiraz: A Romance of India
Shiraz: A Romance of India
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Shiraz: A Romance of India

Historical drama1928106 minsSilentDirector: Franz Osten

This epic silent film, telling the ravishing, romantic story behind the Taj Mahal, has been newly restored with a sumptuous new score from Anoushka Shankar.

A Cottage on Dartmoor
A Cottage on Dartmoor
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A Cottage on Dartmoor

Drama193088 minsSilentDirector: Anthony Asquith

Anthony Asquith (Underground) directs this embroiled melodrama, a tale of love and revenge, shot on location on the bleak landscape of Dartmoor.

Underground
Underground
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Underground

Romance192893 minsSilentDirector: Anthony Asquith

The BFI National Archive restoration of one of Anthony Asquith's finest silent films set in London's Underground, with a new score.