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The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
"Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari" (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Horror, Mystery  |  19 March 1921 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 35,139 users  
Reviews: 179 user | 151 critic

Dr. Caligari's somnambulist, Cesare, and his deadly predictions.



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Complete credited cast:
Friedrich Feher ...
Francis (as Friedrich Fehér)
Hans Heinrich von Twardowski ...
Alan (as Hans Heinrich v. Twardowski)
Rudolf Lettinger ...


Francis, a young man, recalls in his memory the horrible experiences he and his fiancée Jane recently went through. It is the annual fair in Holstenwall. Francis and his friend Alan visit The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, an exhibit where the mysterious doctor shows the somnambulist Cesare, and awakens him for some moments from his death-like sleep. When Alan asks Cesare about his future, Cesare answers that he will die before dawn. The next morning Alan is found dead. Francis suspects Cesare of being the murderer, and starts spying on him and Dr. Caligari. The following night Cesare is going to stab Jane in her bed, but softens when he sees the beautiful woman, and instead of committing another murder, he abducts her. Jane's father awakens because of the noise, and he and some servants follow the fleeing Cesare. When Cesare cannot outrun his pursuers anymore, he gently places Jane down on the ground, and runs away. Francis and the police investigate the caravan of Dr. Caligari, but the ... Written by Maths Jesperson {}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Dr. Caligari and his mysterious slave - the black and white phantom who lives in a cabinet and goes forth in his sleep to do his master's bidding. the weirdest characters ever seen on the screen and the most daringly different picture ever seen. See more »


Horror | Mystery


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 March 1921 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari  »

Box Office


$18,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(video) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Producer Erich Pommer wanted to have Fritz Lang as the film's director. Lang was interested, but then decided to work on another film, Die Spinnen, 1. Teil - Der Goldene See (1919). See more »


There is an inconsistent positioning during the struggle on the bed between Cesare and Jane. See more »


[first lines]
Man in garden: Spirits surround us on every side... they have driven me from hearth and home, from wife and child.
See more »


Referenced in The Devil Watch (1973) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The film that changed my life
6 December 1998 | by (Aberystwyth, Wales, UK) – See all my reviews

I saw this film on the same day that I saw Trainspotting, and those two films made me realise what cinema can really do. This is a film that tells it EXACTLY as the film makers see it. The warped visuals say more about its subjects than words ever could. The travelling fair is as twisted and ugly as all travelling fairs seem to be, and the expressionist sets and lighting sum up perfectly the sense of urban alienation in a very unnerving way. It's story is simple enough to be accessible, but don't expect a straightforward film - just let it speak to you.

55 of 79 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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