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About Silent Film Online

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ASP's Silent Film Online database brings together more than 500 films which together represent the basis of modern cinematic technique and film theory. Carefully curated with ASP's Video Advisory Board, the database covers silent features, serials, and shorts from the 1890s to the 1930s. High quality versions of films have been selected for the collection from leading distributors such as Kino Lorber, Lobster Films, Flicker Alley, and Image Entertainment.

From Griffith's crosscutting at the climax of Birth of a Nation to Robert Wiene's use of camera angles and stage settings in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari to Eisenstein's editing of the Odessa Steps sequence in Potemkin, these films together developed the narrative language of cinema that we know today. Showcasing this legendary period in film history, the Silent Film Online database provides unparalleled streaming access to some of the most important films in the history of the medium.

The collection highlights works from some of the foremost names in cinema, including legendary filmmakers 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 more. Providing researchers with a comprehensive perspective of global silent film movement, the database delivers German, British, Soviet, and French films. In addition, a selection of silent era related documentary films are included.

Key titles include:

  • Uncle Tom's Cabin
  • Battleship Potemkin
  • Intolerance
  • Nosferatu
  • Faust
  • Die Nibelungen
  • The Great Train Robbery
  • The General
  • Foolish Wives
  • Way Down East
  • L'Age D'Or
  • Metropolis
  • Silent Film Online is essential to scholars of all areas of cinema studies, serving as a fundamental resource for students in theoretical, technical, editing, and production concentrations. Detailed indexing allows students and scholars to explore the contents in depth, with the ability to search by producer, title, director, production date, place of production, and more.  Researchers will be able search for films with social, cultural, or political dimensions, as well, so making the titles relevant to a wide range of students in sociology, linguistics, history, anthropology, literature, and other disciplines.  ASP's suite of tools, including the ability to make clips and playlists gives users a highly interactive experience, essential for film studies research.

    The database comes with classroom performance rights which together with the ability to identify and annotate sections of the films make it possible for faculty to use the material in classrooms and in classroom assignments.  Once identified individual scenes can be linked to from course synopses.

    2. Notes on This Release

    All videos in the collection have been Semantically Indexed™ and are fully searchable and browsable.

    3. Acknowledgments

    At Alexander Street, the following people have been instrumental in the development of the collection:

    • Christina Chamberlain
    • Kat Cook
    • Michelle Eldridge
    • John Field
    • Stephanie Garrett
    • Ben Jones
    • Gaurav Jotwani
    • Michael Kangal
    • Kimberly Milio
    • Stephen Rhind-Tutt
    • Becka Rosenberg
    • John Sciarretto
    • Nazar Sharunenko
    • Will Whalen
    • Aaron Wood

    4. Subscription and Free Trial Information

    Silent Film Online is available for one-time purchase of perpetual access, or as an annual subscription. Please contact us at if you wish to begin a subscription or to request a free 30-day trial.

    5. Technical Support

    You can contact us by:

    When reporting a problem please include your customer name, e-mail address, phone number, domain name or IP address and that of your web proxy server if used.

    6. Errata

    Our intention is to have a database without errors. We appreciate suggestions for improvements and notice of factual errors. To report errors or to suggest improvements, please email the Editor at Please identify the video title, collection, publisher, and publication date, as well as the issue itself, whether in the video, the transcript, or other accompanying materials. Please also include your email address, so that we can let you know the status of your correction.

    7. Copyright

    All materials in the database are protected under U.S. and International Copyright Law.

    8. Cataloging Records

    MARC records will be available for this collection.