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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Non-Fiction192487 minsDirector: J.B.L. Noel
Premiere. A breathtaking and poignant account of the valiant 1924 British assault on the awe-inspiring peak, beautifully restored by the BFI.
Animation & Artists Moving Image192668 minsDirector: Teinosuke Kinugasa
A haunting, silent, modernist classic, visibly influenced by The Cabinet of Dr Caligari.
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.
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.
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.
Crime193096 minsSilentDirector: Yasujirō Ozu
Will Kenji 'the Knife' Koyama, leader of a gang of hooligans, go straight to win the heart of virtuous Yasue?
Crime193064 minsSilentDirector: Yasujirō Ozu
Young father Shuji turns to crime to pay his daughter's medical bills in Ozu's masterly early drama.
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.
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.
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.
Comedy1929103 minsSilentDirector: Yasujirō Ozu
Ozu’s earliest surviving film follows students Watanabe and Yamamoto as they unknowingly compete for the same girl.
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.