Greed (1924)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  26 January 1925 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 6,796 users  
Reviews: 75 user | 42 critic

The sudden fortune won from a lottery fans such destructive greed that it ruins the lives of the three people involved.



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Complete credited cast:
Dale Fuller ...
Tempe Pigott ...
Mother McTeague
Sylvia Ashton ...
'Mommer' Sieppe (as Silvia Ashton)
'Popper' Sieppe
Joan Standing ...


John McTeague was a simple slow man who became a dentist after working at the Big Dipper Gold Mine. He is now being hunted in Death Valley by his ex-best friend Marcus and the law. His lot was cast the day that he meet his future wife Trina in his office. She was with Marcus and she bought a lottery ticket. Well Mac fell for her and Marcus stepped aside. When Mac and Trina married, she won the Lottery for $5000 and became obsessive about the money in gold. Marcus is steamed as he stepped aside and now she is rich so he has the law shut down Mac as he has no official schooling for his dentistry. Trina fearful that they will take her gold away sells everything and takes all Mac earns when he is working. She adds to her stash of gold as they both live as paupers. When Mac has no job and no money, he leaves and Trina moves. Driven to desperation at being poor and hungry he finds Trina and demands the gold. Written by Tony Fontana <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

26 January 1925 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ahneus  »

Box Office


$546,883 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (1999 reconstructed) | (original)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Not only did the studio order the director to cut the movie back from his intended 4.5 hours to around two hours, they also burned the unused film reels in order to extract the expensive silver nitrate from it for recycling. Although an extended version of the movie (239 minutes long) was created in 1999 by using still photographs in the place of scenes that were cut, a complete version was simply not possible because most of the original film is now considered lost. See more »


After Marcus breaks McTeague's pipe and throws a knife at him, men pull McTeague's tie off as they hold him back. The tie is back in place a moment later as McTeague rushes out of the saloon. See more »


Trina: [looking in her change purse full of coins, closes it] I got no small change, Mac.
[McTeague pays for her orchid]
See more »


Referenced in The Key to Reserva (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Masterful Cinema, At Any Length
15 March 2002 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

You don't have to watch "Greed" for very long to become impressed with the masterful technique of von Stroheim and his cast. Sometimes it relies on fancy methods such as the occasional use of gold tinting (which must have demanded some painstaking work), and at other times it relies on flawless direction, carefully chosen details, and a keen understanding of what is happening in the characters' lives. The tense finale is especially memorable, a sequence you won't forget for a while.

The only real questions about "Greed" have to do with its length. Hardly anyone disputes the folly of the studio decision to chop the original down to a couple of hours. The restored version uses stills and title cards to fill in the most important scenes that were left out in the studio release, and from this you can also piece together what was actually included in the shorter version. Several significant secondary characters were almost completely eliminated, which took away some of the relationships that were supposed to serve as important comparisons with the central relationship between McTeague and his wife. Even if they had been right to cut the film to a quarter of its length, the choices they made left much to be desired.

Would it really have been better with several more hours of material? Although there is plenty of plot, there isn't anything in the story thematically that would require anything longer then the restored version. It's a gripping study of human flaws, especially greed, but goes no farther. It is admirable to see a director try to hold so closely to a novel, but the Frank Norris novel, while detailed, convincing, and well-conceived as far as it goes, doesn't have the depth or the multi-dimensional characters of the greatest novels. There is no doubt that the lost footage would have provided many more examples of fine film-making, but most of it would not have added very much to the story itself.

What would probably have been perfect is something close to the length of the restored version, with the actual (but now lost) footage instead of the patchwork reconstruction. Since that is impossible, we are very fortunate to have the restored version that includes all of the most important parts of the story and that gives new life to one of the fine classics of silent cinema.

37 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Any means of getting a copy digitally/seeing it on tv? The_Fresh_Aphorism
Vote for the DVD release. Yarb40
Why not in Top 250? Cabeza2000
Redo Full Script as TV Mini-series georgestrum
Will air on TCM on 9/3/2012 michaelhelwick
Recently saw the longer version carl-ralston
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