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




Critic 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.

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

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

Movie Info

In one of the most influential films of the silent era, Werner Krauss plays the title character, a sinister hypnotist who travels the carnival circuit displaying a somnambulist named Cesare (Conrad Veidt). In one tiny German town, a series of murders coincides with Caligari's visit. When the best friend of hero Francis (Friedrich Feher) is killed, the deed seems to be the outgrowth of a romantic rivalry over the hand of the lovely Jane (Lil Dagover). Francis suspects Caligari, but he is ignored by the police. Investigating on his own, Francis seemingly discovers that Caligari has been ordering the somnambulist to commit the murders, but the story eventually takes a more surprising direction. Caligari's Expressionist style ultimately led to the dark shadows and sharp angles of the film noir urban crime dramas of the 1940s, many of which were directed by such German émigrés as Billy Wilder and Robert Siodmak.
Art House & International , Classics , Cult Movies , Horror , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Rialto Pictures


Werner Krauss
as Dr. Caligari
Conrad Veidt
as Cesare
Rudolf Lettinger
as Dr. Olson
Rudolf Klein-Rogge
as A Criminal
Show More Cast

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

All Critics (48) | Top Critics (4)

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 24, 2006
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

[That Wiene], this outsider, with no knowledge of studio customs, no reverence for studio traditions, should have turned out The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari seems a thing almost too strange for belief.

Full Review… | October 30, 2015

Caligari, often called the first horror movie, finds its horror not in gigantic creatures or space aliens, but in singularly despicable human behavior.

Full Review… | November 18, 2014

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

A terrifying, highly influential milestone of German Expressionism and also a radically anti-bourgeois work of Art that at the time intended to express with its chilling stylized visuals the deepest feelings of a post-war society in crisis and in search of artistic innovation.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


An unforgettable masterpiece of German Expressionism.

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.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

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