1928 Movies

If you're into classic movies, check out our dedicated Plex database for movies released in 1928. It's perfect for cinephiles, with links to each movie and straightforward organization. Start your journey into the world of classic movies today.
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Browse 401 titles in our 1928 Movies Database

The Best Movies in 1928

The Circus

Directed by Charles Chaplin, "The Circus" stands out for its unique blend of humor and heart. The film introduces viewers to The Tramp, an iconic character who stumbles upon a circus and, subsequently, the girl of his dreams. Beyond its comedic elements, the film touches on themes of love and perseverance, making it a standout project in Chaplin's illustrious career. Its balance of comedy, family-oriented themes, and romance ensures that it appeals to a broad audience, showcasing Chaplin's versatility as both a director and performer.

Sadie Thompson

Raoul Walsh's "Sadie Thompson" presents a gripping narrative centered around the character Sadie Thompson, portrayed by Gloria Swanson. Adapted from W. Somerset Maugham's short story "Rain," the movie delves into the complexities of redemption, confrontation, and self-realization. Swanson's character, confronted by a missionary determined to reform her, offers viewers a compelling look at the battle between past indiscretions and the pursuit of personal redemption. The film's strong performances and its dramatic interrogation of morality and transformation further solidify its position in the annals of cinema history.

Steamboat Bill, Jr

Buster Keaton shines in "Steamboat Bill, Jr.," a film renowned for its breathtaking stunts and physical comedy. Playing the son of a steamboat captain on the Mississippi River, Keaton imbues the role with his characteristic deadpan humor and impeccable comedic timing. The movie's most memorable moments come through its innovative use of physical humor and daring stunts, which remain impressive even by today's standards. Its influence on the genre can't be overstated, affirming Keaton's legacy as a pioneering figure in cinematic comedy.

The Passion of Joan of Arc

Carl Theodor Dreyer's "The Passion of Joan of Arc" stands as a seminal work in the genre of historical drama. Centering on the trial of Joan of Arc, the film is celebrated for its stirring emotional depth and the extraordinary performance by Renée Jeanne Falconetti. Often cited as one of the greatest performances in film history, Falconetti's portrayal of the titular character conveys a palpable intensity that resonates deeply with audiences. The film captures the historical drama with a haunting beauty, driven by Dreyer's visionary direction and the film's stark visual style.

The Cameraman

"The Cameraman," featuring Buster Keaton, navigates the intersections of profession, passion, and romance with a delightful lightness. The story follows a man's attempt to win the heart of a woman by becoming a newsreel cameraman, a path that leads to a series of humorous and heartwarming misadventures. Celebrated for its clever visual comedy and Keaton's signature stoic humor, the film not only entertains but also explores themes of aspiration, love, and the lengths one will go to for both. Its enduring appeal can be attributed to its inventive gags and the universal relevance of its narrative.

Film & Industry Highlights of 1928

The Transition to Sound in Films

In the late 1920s, the film industry witnessed a transition with the introduction of sound in films, moving away from the silent cinema era. This period marked the beginning of "talkies," which seamlessly incorporated sound effects, music, and dialogue into movies. This shift wasn't due to any decline in the popularity of silent cinema. Rather, it was a strategic move by the industry to explore new avenues for profitability. Despite the excitement around talkies, the initial offerings were met with skepticism. The sound technology of the time had its limitations, which often resulted in movies that couldn't match the quality of silent films.

The Rise of Newsreels

Another notable development during this era was the emergence of newsreels. Movietone News, which began its run in the United States, played a vital role in bringing newsreels to the forefront of the film industry. These short films, typically shown before the main feature, offered audiences visual updates on current events. This was a step in blending news with entertainment, providing viewers with an innovative way to stay informed about global happenings.

Trade Journals: The Pulse of the Industry

Trade journals such as Motion Picture News emerged as indispensable resources during this transformative period. They offered a wealth of information ranging from objective film reviews and program summaries to comprehensive coverage of the industry's evolution, particularly the adoption of sound. These publications were instrumental in keeping industry professionals and audiences alike informed about the latest developments, ensuring a well-connected and informed film community.

Warner Bros. and the First All-Talking Feature Film

Warner Bros. played a pivotal role in cementing the status of talkies with the release of the first all-talking feature film. This marked a milestone in the film industry, showcasing the potential and viability of sound films. Warner Bros.'s innovation not only contributed to the evolution of cinematic techniques but also demonstrated the industry's capacity for technological advancements and creativity.

Canada's Film Industry and Hollywood's Influence

During the same period, Canada's film industry was experiencing its own transformation, becoming almost an extension of Hollywood. The major Hollywood studios, including Paramount, RKO, 20th Century Fox, MGM, and Warner Bros., implemented a vertically integrated model of ownership. This approach combined both production and distribution, allowing these studios to align themselves with large national theatre chains. Such alliances ensured a steady outlet for their films, reinforcing Hollywood's influence on the global film market.

Vertical Integration in Hollywood

The concept of vertical integration became a defining strategy for Hollywood studios. By controlling both the production and distribution of films, these companies were able to dominate the industry, ensuring widespread access to their productions. This model of operation not only streamlined the process but also enhanced the studios' ability to influence cinematic tastes and trends across the United States and beyond.