Greatest Films of the 1920s
Greatest Films of the 1920s

Greatest Films of the 1920s
1920 | 1921 | 1922 | 1923 | 1924 | 1925 | 1926 | 1927 | 1928 | 1929


Title Screen Film Genre(s), Title, Year, (Country), Length, Director, Description

The Great White Silence (1924, UK), 107 minutes, D: Herbert G. Ponting

Greed (1924)

Greed (1924), 109-150 minutes, D: Erich von Stroheim
Originally at 10 hours, but severely edited down, one of the masterpieces of the silent era. It is the story of a husband McTeague (Gibson Gowland) and wife Trina (Zasu Pitts) who become consumed by greed and an obsession with money. She wins $5,000 in the lottery and soon the couple are changed from devoted lovers into adversaries, especially after his San Francisco dentistry practice fails. Their avarice-based hatred consumes them, and in the classic finale filmed in Death Valley, McTeague murders his best friend Marcus (Jean Hersholt).

The Iron Horse (1924)

The Iron Horse (1924), 119 minutes, D: John Ford
One of the major western epics of the silent era, the story of the building of the transcontinental railroad, a railroad linking East and West. Memorable moment includes the driving of the final railroad spike.

The Last Laugh (1924, Germany) (aka Der Letzte Mann)

The Last Laugh (1924, Germany) (aka Der Letzte Mann), 77 minutes, D: F.W. Murnau

The Navigator (1924)

The Navigator (1924), 60 minutes, D: Donald Crisp and Buster Keaton
The story of two spoiled young people Rollo Treadway (Buster Keaton) and the Girl (Kathryn McGuire), who are left stranded on his father's drifting and deserted ocean liner. At first, they are not aware of each other's presence, and then are ignorant of taking care of themselves to avoid starvation, in a number of hilarious gags. They fall in love. Memorable moments include the routing of a climactic cannibal attack.

Sherlock Jr. (1924)

Sherlock Jr. (1924), 44 minutes, D: Buster Keaton, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle
Buster Keaton, a film projectionist, has dreams of being a detective. After he is wrongly accused of stealing the watch of his girlfriend's (Kathryn McGuire) father, he falls asleep in the theatre. He dreams that he enters the film's screen and joins the action of the characters. He becomes a master detective Sherlock Jr., and solves the crime of thievery, determining that his rival actually stole the watch.

The Thief of Bagdad (1924)

The Thief of Bagdad (1924), 155 minutes, D. Raoul Walsh

Raoul Walsh's timeless and expensive silent costume fantasy is a lavish and bold Arabian Nights adventure - and a spectacular accomplishment in production design and state-of-the-art special effects from production/art director William Cameron Menzies. It was inspired by writer/director Fritz Lang's Der Müde Tod (1921) (aka Destiny or The Tired Death) - the source for the flying horse and carpet sequences. The title character, the mischievous Ahmed, the Thief of Bagdad (Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., credited as Elton Thomas), possesses a magic rope used to scale walls and rob people, including the royal family. In the palace of the Caliph (Hurst), he disguises himself as a regal Prince to win the heart of an exotic, ravishingly-beautiful Princess (Johnston), who must choose a princely husband on her birthday. Flogged for his deceptive fraud, Ahmed repents, reforms and confesses the truth to a Holy Man (Belcher). A test or challenge is devised by the Princess (who has already been smitten by Ahmed) -- the suitor who retrieves the rarest treasures hidden in a magical chest within the mysterious Orient in seven moons will win her hand. The storybook film features amazingly difficult stunt work performed by Fairbanks, such as a ride high above the city on a magic carpet, a battle with a fire-breathing dragon in caverns of flame, and a ride on the back of a flying horse (or Pegasus). He must also battle the evil and treacherous Mongol Prince (So-Jin) upon his return to woo back the Princess and prove his love.

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