The Best Movies From 1900-1919

by Akira_Chimera | created - 11 Mar 2011 | updated - 5 days ago | Public

Here they are. The movies I consider to be the absolute best motion pictures from 1900-1919.

One little thing on a personal note: I do not think that most of the movies I put on this list are, what you would generally call, "enjoyable". Those are silent films we are talking about here, after all, and sadly, as I have found out for myself, it takes some considerable amount of patience to truly watch them. If you however take the time to "sit through" them, you might be in for some surprises. Not only did the film makers create images which stood the test of time surprisingly well - especially considering how much time has passed since their creation; but which also make you wonder how they were created in the first place, taking into account the limited techniques film crews had to utilize at the beginning of cinematography.

So in a way this is my most frustrating list of films, since there are definately rewards to be gained by watching these entries - but, nevertheless, it can be tedious at times as well.

Feel free to comment on my choice of movies.

PS: The movies are sorted by year and not necessarily by my preference. This list is by no means complete as I will add new worthwhile films as I stumble across them.

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1. A Trip to the Moon (1902)

TV-G | 13 min | Short, Action, Adventure

A group of astronomers go on an expedition to the Moon.

Director: Georges Méliès | Stars: Georges Méliès, Victor André, Bleuette Bernon, Brunnet

Votes: 39,555

2. Gulliver's Travels (1902)

Not Rated | 4 min | Short, Fantasy

Gulliver washes ashore on Lilliput, the inhabitants of which are no more than six inches tall. He later travels to Brobdingnag, a country populated by giants.

Director: Georges Méliès | Star: Georges Méliès

Votes: 676

3. The Great Train Robbery (I) (1903)

TV-G | 11 min | Short, Action, Crime

A group of bandits stage a brazen train hold-up, only to find a determined posse hot on their heels.

Director: Edwin S. Porter | Stars: Gilbert M. 'Broncho Billy' Anderson, A.C. Abadie, George Barnes, Justus D. Barnes

Votes: 15,459

4. Robinson Crusoe (1903)

1 min | Drama, Short

Robinson Crusoe and Friday fight with hostile natives, and eventually retire to their jungle cottage to relax.

Director: Georges Méliès | Stars: André Deed, Georges Méliès

Votes: 203

Rating and inclusion on this list is based on the nearly complete 12 and half minutes hand-tinted Version which was only discovered in 2012.

5. Fairyland; or, the Kingdom of the Fairies (1903)

Not Rated | 16 min | Short, Adventure, Fantasy

In this spectacular free adaptation of the popular theatre play "La Biche au Bois", the valiant Prince Bel-Azor pursues a baleful old witch to her impregnable castle, to save the beautiful young Princess Azurine.

Director: Georges Méliès | Stars: Georges Méliès, Marguerite Thévenard, Bleuette Bernon, André Deed

Votes: 996

6. The Voyage Across the Impossible (1904)

Not Rated | 24 min | Short, Action, Adventure

Using every known means of transportation, several savants from the Geographic Society undertake a journey through the Alps to the Sun which finishes under the sea.

Director: Georges Méliès | Stars: Georges Méliès, Fernande Albany, Jehanne d'Alcy, May de Lavergne

Votes: 2,853

7. The Palace of Arabian Knights (1905)

14 min | Short, Adventure, Fantasy

A poor but honest young man wins the hand of a beautiful Princess after facing a series of exciting adventures involving apparitions, cartwheeling skeletons, a dragon, and plump dancing girls from the Folies Bergere.

Director: Georges Méliès | Star: Georges Méliès

Votes: 318

8. The Legend of Rip Van Winkle (1905)

Not Rated | 10 min | Short, Drama, Fantasy

Pioneer filmmaker Georges Melies tells his version of the famous Washington Irving story of a man who takes a nap and wakes up 20 years later.

Director: Georges Méliès | Stars: André Méliès, Georges Méliès

Votes: 164

9. The 400 Tricks of the Devil (1906)

Not Rated | 17 min | Short, Fantasy, Horror

Two travelers are tormented by Satan from inn to inn and eventually experience a buggy ride through the heavens courtesy of the Devil.

Director: Georges Méliès | Star: Georges Méliès

Votes: 808

10. The Witch (1906)

Not Rated | 12 min | Short, Fantasy

A penniless troubadour consults the Fairy Carabosse about his future but offends her by paying with a bag of sand.

Director: Georges Méliès | Star: Georges Méliès

Votes: 282

11. Frankenstein (1910)

Unrated | 16 min | Short, Fantasy, Horror

Frankenstein, a young medical student, trying to create the perfect human being, instead creates a misshapen monster. Made ill by what he has done, Frankenstein is comforted by his fiancée ... See full summary »

Director: J. Searle Dawley | Stars: Mary Fuller, Charles Ogle, Augustus Phillips

Votes: 3,289

12. A Trip to Mars (1910)

5 min | Short, Adventure, Fantasy

A scientist discovers reverse gravity and goes to Mars in the process.

Director: Ashley Miller

Votes: 374

13. Dante's Inferno (1911)

68 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

Loosely adapted from Dante's Divine Comedy and inspired by the illustrations of Gustav Doré the original silent film has been restored and has a new score by Tangerine Dream.

Directors: Francesco Bertolini, Adolfo Padovan, Giuseppe de Liguoro | Stars: Salvatore Papa, Arturo Pirovano, Giuseppe de Liguoro, Pier Delle Vigne

Votes: 1,959

14. The Conquest of the Pole (1912)

Not Rated | 33 min | Short, Adventure, Horror

Aboard the futuristic flying machine of his own invention, Professor Mabouloff and his team of intercultural explorers set off on yet another impossible expedition to North Pole's vast landscapes. What wonders await the bold adventurers?

Director: Georges Méliès | Stars: Georges Méliès, Fernande Albany

Votes: 726

15. The Student of Prague (1913)

Approved | 85 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Balduin, a student of Prague, leaves his roystering companions in the beer garden, when he finds he has reached the end of his resources. He is scarcely seated in a quiet corner when a ... See full summary »

Directors: Paul Wegener, Stellan Rye | Stars: Paul Wegener, Grete Berger, Lyda Salmonova, John Gottowt

Votes: 1,610

16. Judith of Bethulia (1914)

Not Rated | 61 min | Drama

A religious woman seeks to save her people from destruction by seducing and murdering the enemy leader, but her plans get complicated once she falls for him.

Director: D.W. Griffith | Stars: Blanche Sweet, Henry B. Walthall, Mae Marsh, Robert Harron

Votes: 1,185

17. Cabiria (1914)

Not Rated | 148 min | Adventure, Drama, History

Three centuries before Christus. Young Cabiria is kidnapped by some pirates during one eruption of the Etna. She is sold as a slave in Carthage, and as she is just going to be sacrificed to... See full summary »

Director: Giovanni Pastrone | Stars: Italia Almirante-Manzini, Lidia Quaranta, Bartolomeo Pagano, Carolina Catena

Votes: 2,809

18. The Squaw Man (1914)

Not Rated | 74 min | Action, Drama, Romance

A chivalrous British officer takes the blame for his cousin's embezzlement and journeys to the American West to start a new life on a cattle ranch.

Directors: Oscar Apfel, Cecil B. DeMille | Stars: Dustin Farnum, Monroe Salisbury, Winifred Kingston, Mrs. A.W. Filson

Votes: 795 | Gross: $0.53M

19. The Birth of a Nation (1915)

Not Rated | 195 min | Drama, History, War

The Stoneman family finds its friendship with the Camerons affected by the Civil War, both fighting in opposite armies. The development of the war in their lives plays through to Lincoln's assassination and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan.

Director: D.W. Griffith | Stars: Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Henry B. Walthall, Miriam Cooper

Votes: 20,711 | Gross: $10.00M

20. A Night Out (I) (1915)

TV-G | 34 min | Comedy, Short

After a visit to a pub, Charlie and Ben cause a ruckus at a posh restaurant. Charlie later finds himself in a compromising position at a hotel with the head waiter's wife.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Ben Turpin, Charles Allen Dealey, Frank Dolan

Votes: 1,381

21. The Champion (1915)

31 min | Short, Comedy, Sport

Walking along with his bulldog, Charlie finds a "good luck" horseshoe just as he passes a training camp advertising for a boxing partner "who can take a beating." After watching others lose... See full summary »

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Bud Jamison, Gilbert M. 'Broncho Billy' Anderson, Billy Armstrong

Votes: 1,877

22. The Bank (1915)

TV-G | 25 min | Comedy, Short

Charlie does everything but an efficient job as janitor. Edna buys her fiance, the cashier, a birthday present. Charlie thinks "To Charles with Love" is for him. He presents her a rose ... See full summary »

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Billy Armstrong, Carl Stockdale

Votes: 1,590

23. The Tramp (1915)

TV-G | 26 min | Short, Comedy

The Little Fellow finds the girl of his dreams and work on a family farm.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Billy Armstrong, Lloyd Bacon, Bud Jamison

Votes: 2,700

24. Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916)

Passed | 197 min | Drama, History

92 Metascore

The story of a poor young woman, separated by prejudice from her husband and baby, is interwoven with tales of intolerance from throughout history.

Director: D.W. Griffith | Stars: Lillian Gish, Robert Harron, Mae Marsh, F.A. Turner

Votes: 13,012 | Gross: $2.18M

25. The End of the World (1916)

77 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

A comet, passing by Earth, causes rioting, social unrest, and major disasters that destroy the world.

Director: August Blom | Stars: Olaf Fønss, Carl Lauritzen, Ebba Thomsen, Johanne Fritz-Petersen

Votes: 266

26. The Vagabond (1916)

34 min | Short, Comedy, Romance

Charlie, the emotional violinist, flees to a gipsy camp, only to find himself playing for an abducted girl. Soon, a unique birthmark will pave the way for an unexpected rescue and a marvellous new life. But, will she forget him so easily?

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Eric Campbell, Leo White

Votes: 2,322

27. One A.M. (1916)

TV-G | 26 min | Comedy, Family, Short

A drunken homeowner has a difficult time getting about in his home after arriving home late at night.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Albert Austin

Votes: 2,641

28. Behind the Screen (1916)

TV-G | 30 min | Short, Comedy, Romance

Charlie is an overworked labourer at a film studio who helps a young woman find work even while his coworkers strike against his tyrannical boss.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Eric Campbell, Albert Austin

Votes: 2,178

29. The Rink (1916)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Short

After causing restaurant chaos at work, a bumbling waiter tears up the local roller rink with his skating.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, James T. Kelley, Eric Campbell

Votes: 2,958

30. The Count (1916)

Unrated | 24 min | Short, Comedy

Charlie burns a count's trousers while ironing them and is fired. The tailor finds an invitation to dinner at Miss Moneybags and goes in place of the count. Charlie goes to the kitchen of ... See full summary »

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Eric Campbell, Albert Austin

Votes: 1,781

31. The Floorwalker (1916)

TV-G | 29 min | Short, Comedy

The Tramp is tricked into impersonating an embezzling floorwalker in a department store.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Eric Campbell, Edna Purviance, Lloyd Bacon

Votes: 1,923

32. Easy Street (1917)

Unrated | 24 min | Short, Comedy

A reformed tramp becomes a police constable who must fight a huge thug who dominates an inner city street.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Eric Campbell, Albert Austin

Votes: 4,387

33. The Cure (1917)

Unrated | 24 min | Short, Comedy

An alcoholic checks into a health spa and his antics promptly throw the establishment into chaos.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Eric Campbell, Henry Bergman

Votes: 2,870

34. The Immigrant (1917)

Unrated | 30 min | Short, Comedy, Drama

Charlie is an immigrant who endures a challenging voyage and gets into trouble as soon as he arrives in America.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Eric Campbell, Albert Austin

Votes: 6,727

35. The Adventurer (I) (1917)

Unrated | 24 min | Comedy, Short

The Little Tramp escapes from prison; saves a girl and her mother from drowning; and creates havoc at a swank party.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Eric Campbell, Henry Bergman

Votes: 3,242

36. Hearts of the World (1918)

TV-PG | 117 min | Drama, War

Young lovers in a French village are torn apart with the coming of the Great War.

Director: D.W. Griffith | Stars: Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Robert Harron, Adolph Lestina

Votes: 865

37. Tarzan of the Apes (1918)

Not Rated | 73 min | Action, Adventure

Kohn and Alice Clayton set sail for Africa. Mutineers maroon them. After his parents die, the newborn Tarzan is taken by a great Ape, Kala. Later the boy finds his father's knife and uses ... See full summary »

Director: Scott Sidney | Stars: Elmo Lincoln, Enid Markey, True Boardman, Kathleen Kirkham

Votes: 623 | Gross: $3.27M

38. The Blue Bird (1918)

Not Rated | 75 min | Fantasy

Two peasant children, Mytyl and Tyltyl, are led by Berylune, a fairy, to search for the Blue Bird of Happiness. Berylune gives Tyltyl a cap with a diamond setting, and when Tyltyl turns the... See full summary »

Director: Maurice Tourneur | Stars: Tula Belle, Robin Macdougall, Edwin E. Reed, Emma Lowry

Votes: 734

39. Sacrifice (1918)

88 min | Horror

Insane doctor Ten Brinken, using the semen of a dead man, artificially inseminate a prostitute. The resultant child grows up to be a beautiful but evil woman who turns against the man who ... See full summary »

Directors: Eugen Illés, Joseph Klein | Stars: Szokol Aoles, Max Auzinger, Joseph Klein, Friedrich Kühne

Votes: 13

40. A Dog's Life (1918)

Not Rated | 33 min | Short, Comedy, Drama

The Little Tramp and his dog companion struggle to survive in the inner city.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Dave Anderson, Bert Appling

Votes: 6,598

41. Shoulder Arms (1918)

45 min | Comedy, War

Charlie is a boot camp private who has a dream of being a hero who goes on a daring mission behind enemy lines.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Edna Purviance, Charles Chaplin, Syd Chaplin, Loyal Underwood

Votes: 5,333

42. A Trip to Mars (1918)

97 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

A group of researchers from Earth travel in a spaceship to Mars, where, to big surprise, they find a peaceful vegetarian and pacifist civilization.

Director: Holger-Madsen | Stars: Gunnar Tolnæs, Zanny Petersen, Nicolai Neiiendam, Alf Blütecher

Votes: 543

43. Broken Blossoms (1919)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Romance

A frail waif, abused by her brutal boxer father in London's seedy Limehouse District, is befriended by a sensitive Chinese immigrant with tragic consequences.

Director: D.W. Griffith | Stars: Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Donald Crisp, Arthur Howard

Votes: 8,687

44. Sunnyside (1919)

41 min | Comedy, Short

Charlie works on a farm from 4am to late at night. He gets his food on the run (milking a cow into his coffee, holding an chicken over the frying pan to get fried eggs). He loves the ... See full summary »

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Olive Ann Alcorn, Albert Austin

Votes: 2,403

45. J'accuse! (1919)

Not Rated | 166 min | Drama, Horror, War

The story of two men, one married, the other the lover of the other's wife, who meet in the trenches of the First World War, and how their tale becomes a microcosm for the horrors of war.

Director: Abel Gance | Stars: Romuald Joubé, Maxime Desjardins, Séverin-Mars, Angèle Guys

Votes: 1,288

46. Different from the Others (1919)

Not Rated | 50 min | Crime, Drama, History

Two male musicians fall in love, but blackmail and scandal makes the affair take a tragic turn.

Director: Richard Oswald | Stars: Conrad Veidt, Leo Connard, Ilse von Tasso-Lind, Alexandra Willegh

Votes: 1,034

47. Eerie Tales (1919)

112 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

A demon, a reaper, and the ghost of a prostitute read gothic short stories and act them out.

Director: Richard Oswald | Stars: Anita Berber, Conrad Veidt, Reinhold Schünzel, Hugo Döblin

Votes: 395

48. The Haunted Bedroom (1919)

Drama, Horror

Journalist Betsy Thorne travels from New York to Virginia to cover a story about the disappearance of Daniel Arnold at a supposedly haunted estate. In order to get into the house, she ... See full summary »

Director: Fred Niblo | Stars: Enid Bennett, Dorcas Matthews, Jack Nelson, Lloyd Hughes

Votes: 15

49. Harakiri (1919)

Not Rated | 80 min | Drama

The Buddhist priest wants the Daughter of the Daimyo to become a priestess at the Forbidden Garden. The Daimyo thinks if he were in