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Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror (Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens) (Nosferatu the Vampire)

Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror (Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens) (Nosferatu the Vampire) (1922)

tomatometer

97

Average Rating: 8.9/10
Reviews Counted: 61
Fresh: 59 | Rotten: 2

One of the silent era's most influential masterpieces, Nosferatu's eerie, gothic feel -- and a chilling performance from Max Shrek as the vampire -- set the template for the horror films that followed.

91

Average Rating: 8.3/10
Critic Reviews: 11
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 1

One of the silent era's most influential masterpieces, Nosferatu's eerie, gothic feel -- and a chilling performance from Max Shrek as the vampire -- set the template for the horror films that followed.

audience

88

liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 46,111

My Rating

Movie Info

F. W. Murnau's landmark vampire film Nosferatu isn't merely a variation on Bram Stoker's Dracula: it's a direct steal, so much so that Stoker's widow went to court, demanding in vain that the Murnau film be suppressed and destroyed. The character names have been changed to protect the guilty (in the original German prints, at least), but devotees of Stoker will have little trouble recognizing their Dracula counterparts. The film begins in the Carpathian mountains, where real estate agent Hutter

Oct 22, 1997

Film Arts Guild

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All Critics (61) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (59) | Rotten (2) | DVD (29)

It is the sort of thing one could watch at midnight without its having much effect upon one's slumbering hours.

August 21, 2013 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Never mind that much of the story of this first important screen version of the Dracula legend seems corny and dated, for what counts is its atmosphere and its images, which are timeless in their power.

August 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Less frightening than haunting, Murnau's film conjures a persistent atmosphere of dread and decay, thanks in part to Max Schreck's immortal performance as Orlok.

August 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's not just a great horror movie. It's a poem of horror, a symphony of dread, a film so rapt, mysterious and weirdly lovely it haunts the mind long after it's over.

August 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The metaphysical style is most vividly rendered by Murnau's obsessive use of point-of-view shots, which force a viewer to follow the characters into the abyss of their terrifying visions.

August 21, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Murnau proved his directorial artistry in Sunrise for Fox about three years earlier, but in this picture he's a master artisan demonstrating not only a knowledge of the subtler side of directing but in photography.

May 16, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety | Comment (1)
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Nosferatu remains the best vampire movie of all time. It possesses a strain of sheer dread not captured by any subsequent bloodsucker film.

April 18, 2014 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

Whatever your opinion regarding intellectual property, I'm sure you'll agree we're fortunate that the movie survived, even in its various contested and truncated forms.

December 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

The movie's best effect is its star...He looks every bit like an actual demonic wild-thing, retrieved from deep within the German wilderness and trotted out to perform for Murnau's camera.

November 19, 2013 Full Review Source: The Dissolve
The Dissolve

Still one of the scariest, most unnerving films ever made.

November 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

There is pure expressionist inspiration in Murnau's juxtaposition of the malign wolves and the terrified old women: a poetry of fear.

October 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

Count Orlock, played by the hideous Max Schreck, creeps through Murnau's archetypal silent imagery with a mesmerising authority that retains a surprising amount of tension.

August 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Nosferatu is an important piece of cinema history, featuring innovative direction, remarkable make-up and a genuinely chilling atmosphere.

October 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

'Nosferatu' is worthwhile on two counts: mise-en-scène and the actor who is the title (and sole) vampire.

March 10, 2010 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Most likely the first horror film to express something beyond simple chills and thrills.

July 13, 2009 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

Contains some truly iconic moments, but too much of it, i.e. any scene without Orlock, is less than stellar.

March 24, 2009 Full Review Source: Three Movie Buffs
Three Movie Buffs

His body is twisted and perverted, gnarling in on itself and constantly invading the personal space of the people around him.

February 11, 2009 Full Review Source: Film School Rejects
Film School Rejects

A landmark motion picture.

October 9, 2008 Full Review Source: DustinPutman.com
DustinPutman.com

Still quite eerie

March 2, 2008

Watching Nosferatu is like standing in the same room as death itself.

November 26, 2007 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror (Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens) (Nosferatu the Vampire)

The earliest (unauthorized) adaptation of Dracula relocates the action to Germany in the late 1800s. Mixing imagery of disease and sex, F.W. Murnau's horror classic is helped immensely by the presence of the mysterious Max Schreck, whose rat-faced Count Orlock looks totally inhuman and remains arguably the scariest vampire ever depicted onscreen.
November 25, 2013
366weirdmovies
Greg S

Super Reviewer

Ladies and gentlemen: the first vampire film. It's an unofficial adaptation of Dracula, to boot. No, it's not really scary, but it's definitely creepy and eerie. Atmosphere is key here. The film is great at creating and maintaining an unsettling mood and environment. Music is key too. However, the version I saw had a modern soundtrack, including surf music. At times this really clashed with the actions on screen, lessening the impact and making things seem a little silly. The music itself was good, just sometimes out of place. When it fits perfectly though- things were amazing. This movie may be old, but it kicked off what is basically one of the most pervasive, popular, and continually evolving subgenres of film. Hats off to German cinema and F.W. Murnau.
October 28, 2013
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu has the distinction of being one of the first horror films. Based on Dracula, Murnau's film only changes the names of the characters. The film is quite impressive considering that it was made in 1922. The film has its flaws, but you have to understand that this film was made over 90 years ago, in the early years of cinema. What stands out about this film is that it relies on atmosphere to tell its story. Even if the film is silent, you can clearly make out what's going on. This is one of the defining pictures of the horror genre, and its influence still resonates to this day. Max Schreck is a memorable creature of the night and he displays that in his performance as Count Orlok. For the time period, Nosferatu is a stunning achievement in film, and is one of the best in the vampire genre. Horror fans that haven't seen this film, ought to, it's a milestone in horror cinema, one of the first of many classics to come. Nosferatu is a standout picture that still retains its elements of scary atmosphere to capture your attention and entertain from beginning to end. This movie set the standards for many other films to follow and it's a film that is a necessity to view for genre fans. There are some effective camera tricks to really elevate the film's storyline and since this was a 1922 production, it's a well made picture. Even the most critical viewer of the movie can't deny its impact and influence on the genre. Murnau was a pioneer in horror cinema and Nosferatu is a brilliant and effective picture that has stood the test of time.
September 12, 2013
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

The truly original vampire film, "Nosferatu" is a black and white direct copied adaptation of Bram Stoker's "Dracula". At its release it had the exact same characters and plot as the original book but had changed the names of all involved. The story is the same: a clod goes off to a mountainous small town and finds the townspeople frightened out of their wits by the vampyr aloft in the castle in the hills. The real estate agent and his sickly palored wife are victims of Count Orlok, portrayed by Max Schreck. The fame that still surrounds this film has nothing to do with its stark German Expressionist surroundings and tone or the fact that Bram Stoker's widow sued over copyright infringement. Much more prevalent to its lasting iconoclastic remembrances, is that fright inducing face. Max Shreck was already quite a sight with his pointed ears and long face, and with the use of face makeup he was transformed into a hideously fanged creature, without the charm and sophistication of the many descendants of Bram Stoker's tale. Much more of a creature feature than later adaptations, Count Orlok comes off less than human. The real estate agent who comes to call on what he believes is a rich man in a small town meets a chalky white monster who preys on his wife in her dreams. The shadow of the vampire coming up the stairs, the slow way the villain is revealed, face forward, stark against a background of black, spider webs covering every square inch of the darkly lit manor, was spine chilling. Much like Bela Lugosi in the much more popular and long staying "Dracula", Max Schreck's performance transcends the film itself. It is his amazing presence in the film that makes it so creepy and yet irresistibly sadistic. Seriously one of the creepiest films of all time, and making it silent made it all the better. The music was sometimes off-putting, and the flow of events was stilted, but it was definitely one of the best vampire films of all time. It not only catches the charisma of a supernatural force but also the deep seeded terror invoked in all of their victims. A much watch for horror fans or those who want to see a good German Expressionist film.
December 28, 2012
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

Movies Like Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror (Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens) (Nosferatu the Vampire)

    1. Graf Orlok Nosferatu: Your precious blood!
    – Submitted by Alex K (17 months ago)
    1. Graf Orlok Nosferatu: Is this your wife? What a lovely throat.
    – Submitted by Alex K (17 months ago)
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Foreign Titles

  • Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (DE)
  • Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horrors (UK)
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