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Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari. (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) (1920)

TOMATOMETER

Average Rating: 9.3/10
Reviews Counted: 45
Fresh: 45
Rotten: 0

Critics Consensus: Arguably the first true horror film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari set a brilliantly high bar for the genre -- and remains terrifying nearly a century after it first stalked the screen.

No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Counted: 4
Fresh: 4
Rotten: 0

AUDIENCE SCORE

Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 25,445

Trailer


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Movie Info

A landmark of cinematic artistry, this classic silent horror film has vivid expressionistic imagery which brilliantly reflects the nightmarish emotional states of the characters. Francis' investigation of his friend's murder leads him to suspect that the killer was a zombie-like sleepwalker under the hypnotic control of the diabolical Dr. Caligari.

Rating:
Unrated
Genre:
Horror , Art House & International , Mystery & Suspense , Classics , Cult Movies
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD:
Oct 15, 1997
Runtime:
Eureka


Cast


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Critic Reviews for Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari. (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari)

All Critics (45) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (45) | Rotten (0) | DVD (7)

A case can be made that Caligari was the first true horror film.

Full Review… | October 7, 2011
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

This is more than just a textbook classic; the narrative frame creates ambiguities that hold certain elements of the story in disturbing suspension. A one-of-a-kind masterpiece.

Full Review… | August 13, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Robert Wiene has made perfect use of settings designed by Hermann Warm, Walter Reimann and Walter Roehrig, settings that squeeze and turn and adjust the eye and through the eye the mentality.

Full Review… | October 25, 2006
Variety
Top Critic

Undoubtedly one of the most exciting and inspired horror movies ever made.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Thrilling, chilling, electrifying.

Full Review… | August 31, 2014
Observer [UK]

The mother lode of the horror genre, this German Expressionist movie is directed by Robert Wiene and presents a full smorgasbord of pop-eyed terror, lunatics, murderers and possessed somnambulists in its eerie shadows.

Full Review… | August 29, 2014
Times [UK]

A twisted tale of murder, kidnap, madness and an ancient book, all told in flashback by a young man from a park bench.

Full Review… | August 29, 2014
Radio Times

Warped in all senses, fascinating and bizarre ...

Full Review… | August 28, 2014
Guardian

Just as dreams take complex personalities and boil them down to friend or foe, so too The Cabinet of Dr Caligari brims with archetypes: the demented doctor, the handsome hero, the innocent ingénue.

Full Review… | August 28, 2014
Little White Lies

This freshly 4K-ed masterpiece of German Expressionism deserves to be seen on the big screen. Track it down and be rewarded with possibly cinema's first ever twist ending.

Full Review… | August 25, 2014
Empire Magazine

Other areas of innovation and influence are often overstated, but its silent scream still registers.

Full Review… | August 25, 2014
Total Film

This film has madness running all the way through it, a madness that seeps from story into reality and back again.

Full Review… | August 1, 2014
Electric Sheep

A foundational nightmare vision

Full Review… | July 23, 2014
CinePassion

With its unusual look and neatly folding method of storytelling "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" is an artistically uninhibited silent horror film that still sends chills.

Full Review… | October 3, 2011
ColeSmithey.com

Pre-dating even early genre landmarks Nosferatu (1922) and Metropolis (1926) by some distance, Robert Wiene's silent film is both influential and one of a kind.

Full Review… | August 26, 2010

Even if taken as social or Freudian statement, Caligari's real star attraction is in the visuals.

Full Review… | February 7, 2010
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

still creepy good entertainment on a rainy day

Full Review… | August 31, 2009
Cinema Writer

A classic. Visually stunning and more experimental than anything coming out today.

January 17, 2008
KPBS.org

The influence of Robert Wiene's Caligari is so great that it threatens to obscure the work itself.

Full Review… | October 24, 2007
Projection Booth

A seminal horror movie, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari was hailed upon its initial release as the first film to elevate the cinema from the realm of popular entertainment to that of high art.

Full Review… | August 13, 2007
TV Guide's Movie Guide

One of those rare, amazing technical accomplishments that also succeeds as art.

Full Review… | March 1, 2007
Film Journal International

Audience Reviews for Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari. (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari)

½

An unforgettable masterpiece of German Expressionism.

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Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

Beyond being an iconic milestone in the evolution of cinema, Robert Wiene's masterpiece is still as entertaining as ever. The truly great films never go out of style.

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flixsterman
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Probably the best silent film I have ever seen, Caligari has a clear emphasis on German Expressionism while also being a methodically psychological horror film about the supernatural and the surreal imagination of the insane. Silent films started off as filmed plays, and in that vein this film constructed all its sets by hand, painting them in odd patterns, and showing interesting angles and vacant shots of this small village. Besides the interesting set design for the walls and floors, the stairs and windows were strange as well. The slanting light (possibly natural) barely illuminated the creeping corners and mororse faces of the townspeople. The town itself is romanticized in the loose culture of the times, being small and simple, without the benefits of electricity or modern technology. Much of this was candlelit which lent to an atmosphere where monsters and creepy crawlies could be behind the next wall just waiting to murder you. Not such a stretch since a string of murders mysteriously starts after the appearance of the gypsy centric fair and a tent advertising a coma creep controlled by a large eyebrowed crone named Dr. Caligari. The somnambulist, or coma patient, is a vampiric man who lays within a box and predicts the future based on some unnamed psychic abilities. The look of it and the intricate storyline lends to a very creepy vibe. The characters all express their emotions in a wide and overdramatic way, as this is a German Expressionist film. Everything is bigger, darker, more hurried and vague, and you never quite know who the villain is. Beside that you are always theorizing whether there is any true magic, or it's medicine, or frankly a dream of an insane person. Nothing is ever clear or true, and that leads to feeling unsettled and uneasy over what is on the screen. True, it's silent, and true the characters are at times bland, but it's the storytelling and the fact that it's a horror film that keeps the suspense and the intensity alive. It's a horror film that will have staying power through the decades to come.

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FrizzDrop
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

An interesting and strange film that captures the imagination, then leaves you feeling like you've just had a smoke of weed. For it's time it's very current and shows how far cinema has come and what different styles were popular back then and has inspired many directors, art directors and films. A must watch even if you never see it ever again.

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StarCrossedVoyager
Sophie Burgess

Super Reviewer

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari. (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) Quotes


Jane:
We who are of noble blood may not follow the wishes of our hearts.
– Submitted by Greg A (2 years ago)

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