Silent Film Online | Alexander Street
Silent Film Online

Silent Film Online

Silent Film Online contains more than 1,000 streaming online titles. Together, these films represent the foundation of modern cinematic technique and film theory. Carefully curated by Alexander Street’s editors and Video Advisory Board, the collection covers silent feature films, serials, and shorts from the 1890s to the 1930s. It includes the most complete, authoritative versions of the highest quality from leading distributors.


Whether through D.W. Griffith’s pioneering use of cross-cutting in Birth of a Nation, Robert Wiene’s experimentation with unusual camera angles and complex stage settings in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, or Eisenstein’s demonstration of the power of montage in his editing of the Odessa Steps sequence in Battleship Potemkin, these films show us the origins of the narrative language of cinema that we know today. Showcasing this legendary period in film history, Silent Film Online provides unparalleled streaming access to some of the most important examples of the medium.
The collection highlights works from 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. And the perspective is global, delivering examples of the silent film movement from Germany, Britain, the Soviet Union, and France. Alongside the feature films and shorts is a selection of related documentaries.

Key titles

  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1927, directed by Harry A. Pollard)
  • Battleship Potemkin (1925, directed by Sergei Eisenstein)
  • Intolerance (1916, directed by D.W. Griffith)
  • Nosferatu (1922, directed by F.W. Murnau)
  • Faust (1926, directed by F.W. Murnau)
  • Die Nibelungen (1924, directed by Fritz Lang)
  • The Great Train Robbery (1903, directed by Edwin S. Porter)
  • The General (1926, directed by Buster Keaton)
  • Foolish Wives (1922, directed by Erich von Stroheim)
  • Way Down East (1920, directed by D.W. Griffith)
  • L’Age D’Or (1930, directed by Luis Buñuel)
  • Metropolis (1927, directed by Fritz Lang)
  • Ann Boleyn (1920, directed by Ernst Lubitsch)
Silent Film Online is essential for all areas of cinema studies, a fundamental resource for students in theoretical, technical, editing, and production concentrations. Alexander Street’s detailed Semantic Indexing lets you explore the content in depth, searching by producer, title, director, production date, place of production, and other entry points. The indexing makes it easy to search for films with particular social, cultural, or political dimensions, so the collection is relevant for studies in sociology, linguistics, history, anthropology, literature, and other disciplines.

Functionality for scholarship and classroom use

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 for the first time, films and film clips can be integrated easily into syllabi, course management systems, publications, presentations, and assignments.

Publication details

Silent Film Online is available through annual subscription or one-time purchase of perpetual rights, with prices scaled to institutional size and budget.
*Collection available for North American customers only


[Silent Film Online] provides easy, immediate streaming access to high-quality silent era films, especially those that have been restored and distributed in recent years. These films are the sort that never pop up on Netflix or Amazon Prime. Having such a database available is part of what makes the University of Washington a preeminent research environment.

Jennifer M. Bean, Director, Cinema & Media Studies Program, University of Washington

This is a fascinating and rich archive which I could happily spend hours browsing. I was able to watch some classic films, and browse those I didn’t know so well... The database is a valuable educational tool for film studies and general humanities classes, including history and English literature, but for the film buff, it will also provide a lot of interest and enjoyment.

Sonya Lipczynska Information Specialist, King’s College Reference Reviews

Charleston Advisor 2013 Reader's Choice Award Winner for Best New Collection

Charleston Advisor