Silent Film Online

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Silent Film Online contains more than 1,000 streaming online silent feature films, documentaries, serials, and shorts from the 1890s to the 1930s, representing the foundation of modern cinematic technique and film theory. 

Through examples such as D.W. Griffith’s  use of cross-cutting in Birth of a Nation, Robert Wiene’s experimentation with camera angles and stage settings in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and  Eisenstein’s demonstration of the power of editing in Battleship Potemkin, these films show us the origins of the narrative language of cinema that we know today.   The collection contains works from other legendary filmmakers such as Georges Méliès, Buster Keaton, Fritz Lang, Charles Chaplin, F.W. Murnau, Luis Buñuel, Ernst Lubitsch, Victor Sjostrom, Erich von Stroheim, Carl T. Dreyer, Edwin S. Porter, and many others. The perspective is global, delivering examples of silent from Germany, Britain, the Soviet Union, and France.


"Help" is available via a link on the toolbar available on every screen.

User tools and features

Alexander Street’s detailed Semantic Indexing lets you explore the content in depth, through credits and keyword access to social, cultural, or political dimensions.

Advanced features such as clip-making and playlist tools let you easily share, cite, annotate, and interact with the content. Every film, and each of your personalized clips and playlists, will reside at permanent URL—so that films and film clips can be integrated easily into syllabi, course management systems, publications, presentations, and assignments.

Dates covered

1890s to the 1930s.

Updating frequency



Moving pictures.

Type of coverage

Streaming video.

Print counterpart or
related resources

DVD copies of most of the titles may be found in QuickSearch .

Producer/content provider

Alexander Street Press

Vendor/electronic presentation provider

Alexander Street Press