1927 Movies

Plex's digital archive ushers you into the vibrant world of 1927 cinema, presenting an exhaustive collection of that year's silver screen productions. With each film meticulously cataloged, enthusiasts can journey through time, navigating through an era of groundbreaking storytelling.
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The Best Movies in 1927


Directed by F.W. Murnau, "Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans" stands out as a pivotal piece of cinema from 1927, blending drama and romance in a narrative that explores complex human emotions and moral dilemmas. Murnau's storytelling prowess shines through in the tale of a farmer, enticed by a city woman into contemplating the murder of his wife. What unfolds is a deeply moving exploration of guilt, redemption, and the capacity for love to reconcile and transform. Accompanied by groundbreaking visual techniques that enhance its emotional depth, "Sunrise" utilizes expressive cinematography and innovative use of light and shadow, which help to convey the inner turmoil of its characters. This film not only garnered critical acclaim for its artistry but also received an Academy Award at the first Oscars ceremony, recognizing it as a unique and artistic production, setting a high bar for cinematic achievements.


Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" presents a striking visualization of a dystopian future, where societal divisions and technological advancements create a backdrop for a story of conflict, love, and hope. This science fiction drama paints a vivid picture of a futuristic city starkly divided between workers and elites. The narrative centers on the son of the city's mastermind falling in love with a working-class prophet who dreams of a savior to bridge the deepening divide. "Metropolis" is celebrated for its elaborate set designs, pioneering special effects, and ambitious scope—elements that contribute to its labeling as one of the most expensive silent films ever made. Its portrayal of class struggle, combined with the universal theme of love uniting disparate groups, makes it a timeless piece that resonates with audiences even today. The film's influence extends beyond cinema, impacting literature, music, and art, making it a foundational work in the science fiction genre.


Abel Gance's "Napoléon" offers an epic historical narrative, dramatizing the early years and rise of Napoleon Bonaparte. This silent film is known for its innovative techniques, including rapid editing, hand-held camera shots, and the use of triptych sequences in its climax, providing a dynamic viewing experience that was revolutionary at the time. Gance's ambition was to create an immersive biography of Napoleon, and the scope of his vision is evident in the film's grandeur and complexity. Through its portrayal of Napoleon's youthful ambitions, military genius, and personal tribulations, "Napoléon" provides a multifaceted look at a figure who shaped history. The film's influence on cinematic techniques and its contribution to the biographical genre underscore its lasting legacy in film.


"Wings," directed by William A. Wellman, is a war film that provides a gripping portrayal of World War I through the eyes of two American pilots. This film distinguishes itself not only as a narrative about love and rivalry but also as a remarkable technical achievement for its realistic aerial combat scenes, which convey the thrill and danger of air warfare. The central story — of two men from different social backgrounds united and tested by the war — serves as a powerful exploration of friendship, love, and the personal costs of conflict. "Wings" was awarded the first-ever Academy Award for Best Picture, recognizing its technical excellence and the emotional impact of its story. Its groundbreaking aerial sequences and innovative cinematography remain influential, underscoring its status as a seminal war movie.

The Unknown

"The Unknown," directed by Tod Browning and starring Lon Chaney and Joan Crawford, blends horror and romance into a narrative filled with suspense, emotion, and dark fascination. The film tells the story of Alonzo the Armless, a circus performer with a hidden past, who harbors a deep affection for Nanon, the carnival owner's daughter. With its eerie atmosphere, compelling performances, and a plot that delves into themes of identity, obsession, and the lengths to which one will go for love, "The Unknown" stands as a masterful example of silent horror cinema. Chaney's portrayal of Alonzo showcases his talent for physically demanding roles and his ability to convey complex emotions without dialogue, cementing his status as a legendary figure in the horror genre. "The Unknown" continues to captivate audiences with its suspenseful narrative and its exploration of the darker aspects of human nature.

Film & Industry Highlights of 1927

The Jazz Singer: Groundbreaking Transition to Sound

1927 marked a noteworthy year in film history with the release of "The Jazz Singer" on October 6. This film is often highlighted for its role in transitioning the film industry from silent pictures to "talkies," movies with synchronized sound. Warner Brothers implemented "Vitaphone" technology to sync music and dialogue with the movie's images. While "The Jazz Singer" included only two minutes of actual dialogue, it featured Al Jolson performing songs like "Toot, Toot, Tootsie" and "My Mammy," which were pivotal in showcasing the potential of sound in cinema.

Movietone Newsreel and Its Significance

Another noteworthy innovation in 1927 was Fox's introduction of the Movietone newsreel. This was the first sound news film that documented Charles Lindbergh's historic flight across the Atlantic, starting from New York. The ability to record and synchronize sound with film footage was a technological leap forward, offering audiences a new way to experience news events. This innovation paved the way for Movietone News, which would become a powerful source of news and information for the public.

The Formation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences

On January 11, 1927, MGM's Louis B. Mayer established the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Despite its later role in celebrating cinematic achievements, its original purpose was to mediate labor disputes within Hollywood. The first Academy Awards, which recognized the finest films of 1927 and 1928, occurred on May 16, 1929. This marked the beginning of what would become one of the most prestigious accolades in the industry.

Notable Films and Industry Support

1927 was a year that saw the release of several films leaving a lasting impression on cinema. Among these, F.W. Murnau's "Sunrise" took advantage of the Fox Movietone system, showcasing the evolving technologies of film. Fritz Lang's "Metropolis," despite not performing well at the box office initially, is remembered for its extraordinary set design and special effects, setting high standards for future films. Publications like The Motion Picture News played a critical role in covering these developments. They offered objective film reviews, detailed theater programs, and reported on the activities of the film industry, including regional exchanges. Furthermore, despite the start of synchronized sound films, music for silent films continued to be a vital component of the cinematic experience, supported by dedicated publications.

Technological Innovations and Their Impact

The advancements in technology, particularly the Vitaphone and Movietone systems, drastically changed how audiences engaged with films. These innovations paved the way for a more immersive viewing experience, allowing viewers to hear the sounds and dialogue associated with the visuals on screen. This transition towards sound films signified the beginning of a new era in cinema, expanding the possibilities of storytelling and emotional expression.

The Broader Impact on the Film Industry

The events and achievements of 1927 had far-reaching effects on the film industry. The successful implementation of sound in movies with "The Jazz Singer" and the Movietone newsreels demonstrated the potential for sound to enhance the cinematic experience, encouraging other studios to explore sound films. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, with its focus on recognizing cinematic excellence, played a critical role in promoting high-quality filmmaking practices. Meanwhile, films like "Sunrise" and "Metropolis" continued to push boundaries in terms of narrative and visual storytelling.

Supporting Industry Through Publications

Publications like The Motion Picture News served as an essential support system for the industry by informing and connecting industry professionals. These resources offered insights into the latest technological advancements, marketing strategies, and industry trends, facilitating a better understanding of the evolving cinema terrain. Furthermore, the continued emphasis on music for silent films highlighted the industry's respect for cinema's silent era, acknowledging its ongoing relevance even amidst technological advancements.