Choosing the best of anything and making a list is always rather subjective, and certainly this compilation is very subjective. There’s a lot of Buster Keaton, and I won’t quibble with that, although I’m not sure I would place “Sherlock, Jr.” as #1!
By the same token, if it’s really the “best” of all time, does the 2011 Oscar winner, The Artist, deserve a place on the list?
But those have nothing to do with the WWI era, and for those wondering, there are five films that are, although one is sort of borderline.
That borderline film is listed first, at #81. It’s Sergei Eisenstein’s The Battleship Potemkin (1925). OK, yes, it’s the 1905 Russian Revolution, but the film has as much if not more to do with the still young Soviet Union that came out of WWI. So we’re off and running.
#79 is 7th Heaven (1927), with Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell. As described, it sends you to the height of romance, then into the trenches of war.
#53 is The Last Command (1928) with Emil Jannings as a general from the Tsarist Russian army who has fallen hard and is now a run-of-the-mill extra in Hollywood. William Powell also appears in an early role.
#38 is Windsor McCay’s animated short, The Sinking of the Lusitania (1918). This is one I would heartily recommend, both for content and the quality of the animation.
Finally, at #25, we have The Big Parade (1925), with John Gilbert and Renee Adoree. There’s no real surprise in finding it on the list, but what isn’t on the list . . .
. . . includes “Wings” and “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” And I know there are more that some of you might feel should be on the list.
If you are interested in seeing what else made the list, regardless of a WWI connection, here’s the link: https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/06/the-100-best-silent-films-of-all-time.html
Please feel free to comment. And where’s Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie?