Best films by year. First listed for a year, is the best film of that year, last listed for a year: the least acclaimed best film of that year

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1.
The Life and Death of King Richard III (1912)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
Richard of Gloucester uses manipulation and murder to gain the English throne. (55 mins.)
 
2.
The Birth of a Nation (1915)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
The American Civil War divides friends and destroys families, but that's nothing compared to the anarchy in the black-ruled South after the war. (165 mins.)
Director: D.W. Griffith
 
3.
Les vampires (1915)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
An intrepid reporter and his loyal friend battle a bizarre secret society of criminals known as The Vampires. (399 mins.)
Director: Louis Feuillade
 
4.
The Cheat (1915)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A venal, spoiled stockbroker's wife impulsively embezzles $10,000 from the charity she chairs and desperately turns to a Burmese ivory trader to replace the stolen money. (59 mins.)
 
5.
Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The story of a poor young woman, separated by prejudice from her husband and baby, is interwoven with tales of intolerance from throughout history. (163 mins.)
Director: D.W. Griffith
 
6.
The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Gwen's family is rich, but her parents ignore her and most of the servants push her around, so she is lonely and unhappy... (65 mins.)
 
7.
Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl (1919)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
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. (90 mins.)
Director: D.W. Griffith
 
8.
Male and Female (1919)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Lady Mary Lasenby is a spoiled maiden who always gets her way until shipwrecked with her butler, then learns which qualities are really admirable in a person. (116 mins.)
 
9.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Dr. Caligari's somnambulist, Cesare, and his deadly predictions. (78 mins.)
Director: Robert Wiene
 
10.
Way Down East (1920)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A naive country girl is tricked into a sham marriage by a wealthy womanizer, then must rebuild her life despite the taint of having borne a child out of wedlock. (145 mins.)
Director: D.W. Griffith
 
11.
Within Our Gates (1920)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Abandoned by her fiancé, an educated black woman with a shocking past dedicates herself to helping a near bankrupt school for impoverished black youths. (79 mins.)
Director: Oscar Micheaux
 
12.
The Kid (1921)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
The Tramp cares for an abandoned child, but events put that relationship in jeopardy. (68 mins.)
Director: Charlie Chaplin
 
13.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
An extended family split up in France and Germany find themselves on opposing sides of the battlefield during World War I. (150 mins.)
Director: Rex Ingram
 
14.
The Sheik (1921)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A charming Arabian sheik becomes infatuated with an adventurous, modern-thinking Englishwoman and abducts her to his home in the Saharan desert. (86 mins.)
Director: George Melford
 
15.
Nosferatu (1922)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Vampire Count Orlok expresses interest in a new residence and real estate agent Hutter's wife. (94 mins.)
Director: F.W. Murnau
 
16.
Nanook of the North (1922 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
In this silent predecessor to the modern documentary, film-maker Robert J. Flaherty spends one year following the lives of Nanook and his family, Inuits living in the Arctic Circle. (78 mins.)
 
17.
Orphans of the Storm (1921)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Two orphaned sisters are caught up in the turmoil of the French Revolution, encountering misery and love along the way. (150 mins.)
Director: D.W. Griffith
 
18.
Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1922)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Arch-criminal Dr. Mabuse sets out to make a fortune and run Berlin. Detective Wenk sets out to stop him. (242 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
 
19.
Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Fictionalized documentary showing the evolution of witchcraft, from its pagan roots to its confusion with hysteria in modern Europe. (91 mins.)
 
20.
Our Hospitality (1923)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A man returns to his Appalachian homestead. On the trip, he falls for a young woman. The only problem is her family has vowed to kill every member of his family. (65 mins.)
 
21.
Safety Last! (1923)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
When a store clerk organizes a publicity stunt, in which a friend climbs the outside of a tall building, circumstances force him to make the perilous climb himself. (70 mins.)
 
22.
The Covered Wagon (1923)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Two wagon caravans converge at what is now Kansas City, and combine for the westward push to Oregon... (98 mins.)
Director: James Cruze
 
23.
Greed (1924)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The sudden fortune won from a lottery fans such destructive greed that it ruins the lives of the three people involved. (140 mins.)
 
24.
Sherlock Jr. (1924)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A film projectionist longs to be a detective, and puts his meagre skills to work when he is framed by a rival for stealing his girlfriend's father's pocketwatch. (45 mins.)
Director: Buster Keaton
 
25.
The Thief of Bagdad (1924)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A recalcitrant thief vies with a duplicitous Mongol ruler for the hand of a beautiful princess. (155 mins.)
Director: Raoul Walsh
 
26.
The Iron Horse (1924)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
After witnessing the murder of his father by a renegade as a boy, the grown-up Brandon helps to realize his father's dream of a transcontinental railway. (150 mins.)
 
27.
The Navigator (1924)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Two spoiled rich people find themselves trapped on an empty passenger ship. (59 mins.)
 
28.
He Who Gets Slapped (1924)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A bitter clown endeavors to rescue the young woman he loves from the lecherous count who once betrayed him. (95 mins.)
Director: Victor Seastrom
 
29.
Battleship Potemkin (1925)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A dramatized account of a great Russian naval mutiny and a resulting street demonstration which brought on a police massacre. (75 mins.)
Director: S.M. Eisenstein
 
30.
The Gold Rush (1925)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A prospector goes to the Klondike in search of gold and finds it and more. (95 mins.)
Director: Charles Chaplin
 
31.
The Big Parade (1925)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A young American soldier witnesses the horrors of the Great War. (151 mins.)
Director: King Vidor
 
32.
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A Jewish prince seeks to find his family and revenge himself upon his childhood friend who had him wrongly imprisoned. (143 mins.)
Director: Fred Niblo
 
33.
The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A mad, disfigured composer seeks love with a lovely young opera singer. (93 mins.)
Director: Rupert Julian
 
34.
The Freshman (1925)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Nerdy college student will do anything to become popular on campus. (76 mins.)
 
35.
Mother (1926)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The Film Version Of Gorki's Great Story Of The 1905 Revolution (89 mins.)
 
36.
The Son of the Sheik (1926)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The son of the sheik and a dancing girl fall in love, but when he is made to believe she has betrayed him he seeks revenge. (68 mins.)
 
37.
Metropolis (1927)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences. (153 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
 
38.
The General (1926)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
When Union spies steal an engineer's beloved locomotive, he pursues it single-handedly and straight through enemy lines. (67 mins.)
 
39.
Sunrise (1927)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A married farmer falls under the spell of a slatternly woman from the city, who tries to convince him to drown his wife. (94 mins.)
Director: F.W. Murnau
 
40.
Napoleon (1927)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A film about the French Field Marshal's youth and early military career. (240 mins.)
Director: Abel Gance
 
41.
The Kid Brother (1927)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A sheriff's milquetoast son has a chance to prove himself when a medicine show run by con artists comes into town. (82 mins.)
Director: Ted Wilde, J.A. Howe
 
42.
The Jazz Singer (1927)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
The son of a Jewish Cantor must defy the traditions of his religious father in order to pursue his dream of becoming a jazz singer. (88 mins.)
Director: Alan Crosland
 
43.
Wings (1927)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Two young men, one rich, one middle class, who are in love with the same woman, become fighter pilots in World War I. (144 mins.)
 
44.
The Unknown (1927)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A criminal on the run hides in a circus and seeks to possess the daughter of the ringmaster at any cost. (63 mins.)
Director: Tod Browning
 
45.
Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness (1927 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Elephants disrupt the lives of a family deep in the jungles of Northern Siam, and an entire village. (69 mins.)
Stars: Kru, Chantui, Nah, Ladah
 
46.
7th Heaven (1927)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A street cleaner saves a young woman's life, and the pair slowly fall in love until war intervenes. (110 mins.)
Director: Frank Borzage
 
47.
Two Arabian Knights (1927)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Two American soldiers are captured by the Germans on the Western Front during World War One and escape a POW camp only to stumble into further life-threatening adventures when they come across an Arabian king's daughter while on the lam. (92 mins.)
Director: Lewis Milestone
 
48.
The Crowd (1928)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The life of a man and woman together in a large, impersonal metropolis through their hopes, struggles and downfalls. (98 mins.)
Director: King Vidor
 
49.
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A chronicle of the trial of Jeanne d'Arc on charges of heresy, and the efforts of her ecclesiastical jurists to force Jeanne to recant her claims of holy visions. (110 mins.)
Director: Carl Th. Dreyer
 
50.
The Wind (1928)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A frail young woman from the east moves in with her cousin in the west, where she causes tension within the family and is slowly driven mad. (95 mins.)
Director: Victor Seastrom
 
51.
The Last Command (1928)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A former Imperial Russian general and cousin of the Czar ends up in Hollywood as an extra in a movie directed by a former revolutionary. (88 mins.)
 
52.
Un Chien Andalou (1929 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí present seventeen minutes of bizarre, surreal imagery. (16 mins.)
Director: Louis Bunuel
 
53.
The Circus (1928)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
The Tramp finds work and the girl of his dreams at a circus. (71 mins.)
Director: Charlie Chaplin
 
54.
The Docks of New York (1928)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A blue-collar worker on New York's depressed waterfront finds his life changed after he saves a woman attempting suicide. (76 mins.)
 
55.
Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The effete son of a cantankerous riverboat captain comes to join his father's crew. (70 mins.)
 
56.
Sadie Thompson (1928)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A prostitute seeking a fresh start becomes the obsession of a religious extremist. (97 mins.)
Director: Raoul Walsh
 
57.
The Racket (1928)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
An honest police captain vows to bring down a powerful bootlegger who is protected by corrupt politicians and judges. (84 mins.)
Director: Lewis Milestone
 
58.
In Old Arizona (1928)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
A charming, happy-go-lucky bandit in old Arizona plays cat-and-mouse with the sheriff trying to catch him while he romances a local beauty. (95 mins.)
Director: Irving Cummings