Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari. (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

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

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½ February 11, 2017
Arguably the first true horror film.
Super Reviewer
November 24, 2016
A terrifying and highly influential milestone of German Expressionism, and also a radically anti-bourgeois work of art that intended back then to express with its chilling stylized visuals the deepest feelings of a post-war society in crisis and in search of artistic innovation.
½ November 22, 2016
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari holds a special place in my heart, as it is the first silent film I ever watched, and it completely introduced me to both German expressionism and the mastery that filmmaking could accomplish all the way back in 1920! The film's plot revolves around a young man who is visiting his town's fair and stumbles upon the mysterious Dr. Caligari, a hypnotist who uses a somnambulist (or sleepwalker) to murder those who have wronged him. The young man seeks to prove Dr. Caligari's guilt while also protecting his love from becoming the next victim. This is one of the earliest examples of a horror film and it paved the way for many, many copycat films; also being one of the first films to feature a plot twist! German expressionism is an extremely unique movement that featured far more dramatic "silent film acting", odd use of shadows, and most noticeable of all: impossibly bent and non-sensical architecture, giving the entire film a surreal, dream-like quality. This is one of the most important movies in cinema history and if you want to watch at least one silent film in your life, make it this one!
½ November 10, 2016
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is classic horror at its finest, with a mesmerizing performance from pre-Casablanca Conrad Veidt.
November 1, 2016
Visually stunning, this mesmerising film was not only possibly the earliest horror film but it remains one of the genre's best.
October 31, 2016
A creepy, weird nightmare. The story itself is fairly simple: Dr. Caligari (Werner Krauss) comes to town to perform with his somnambulist Cesare (Conrad Veidt). The night they arrive, mysterious murders start to occur. Could it all be connected? The sets are large, surrealistic/impressionistic masterpieces, and it feels as if the characters are stuck in a waking nightmare. Dr. Caligari and Cesare are both incredibly creepy dudes, with Caligari himself easily stealing the show. He commands the screen whenever he is on. Krauss' performance has become iconic, the stuff of nightmares. Many call this the first true horror film, and it very well may be. It's incredibly moody, atmospheric, surreal, nightmarish and creepy. While it is a simple tale when we get right down to it, I still found it to be a haunting film that will likely stick with me for quite some time.
October 30, 2016

Original rating: 7/10, circa May 2012.
October 27, 2016
An espectacular piece of German expressionism. This is one of the 10 greatest horror movies ever made.
½ October 26, 2016
Boy if you don't get...
½ October 24, 2016
words i cant spell again more liei kys
½ October 20, 2016
Considered by many to be the first ever horror film. Whether you agree or not, it is absolutely a groundbreaking film. The expressionist art style makes it both beautiful and almost dreamlike (or perhaps nightmarish?). It's amazing how well it's been restored and the music that has been added was very good for helping to set the mood. If you want to study the history of film or consider yourself a movie connoisseur, this is mandatory viewing.
October 9, 2016
I'm glad I finally got to see this iconic film of the silent era. The best films create a world of their own that we can step into for a couple of hours, and this film definitely does this. I loved the cinematography, the use of lighting and shadows, the jaunty angled sets and use of lines and perspectives. A truly intriguing piece of film history.
October 5, 2016
Considered by many to be the first official horror movie, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is definitive proof that, even at nearly 100 years old, time has no bearing on quality. Brimming with pointed shadows, nightmarish set pieces, striking performances, and topped with a brooding atmosphere, this is a surreal and frightening experience that will surely keep you hooked from beginning to end.
August 7, 2016
To fully appreciate Caligari for what it is, is to imagine it is 1920, and it is probably one of the first times you have ever entered a theatre or seen a moving image... Caligari comes on the screen... the accomplishment in horror vs storytelling and that it is a silent film, with score/s added makes this film one of the earliest major achievements in cinema
July 15, 2016
I've always heard this is the best horror movie ever so why not give it a shot?
July 12, 2016
It's now aged to be viewed mainly by cinephiles. Influential to the horror genre, but it's rather more artistic than attempt to terrify with the German expressionist visual style from production to lighting; a balanced aesthetic to artistically consider this one of the best in the genre. (B+)

(Full review TBD)
½ July 8, 2016
With only five minutes left in the film, I was ready to pass off The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari as a necessary stepping stone in the genre of horror that, unfortunately, has not dated very well. I was, and still am, ready to praise the movie for its ghoulishly gorgeous set design, one of the definitive sets for German expressionism, and its atmosphere for the depiction of a (presumably) old fable about a doctor who controls a somnambulist (or sleepwalker) in order to commit horrific murders throughout a small village. I was, and still am, ready to raise an eyebrow at silent film acting. Imagine watching a middle school production of Beauty and the Beast, where you recognize how well directed it is, but you cannot help but wince at when the melodrama of the actors' performances takes you out of the atmosphere. Now replace the actors with (presumably) trained adults. I was almost certainly ready to deduct points for major pacing issues. With Dr. Caligari (Werner Krauss) and Cesare (Conrad Veidt) hamming up evil/creepiness, the film still thinks that it can fool you into thinking there is another explanation for such events. By the fifth act, when our hero Francis (Friedrich Feher) reads Caligari's diary with other doctors at the local mental asylum, I would argue that there were zero revelations. And blah, blah, blah, justice prevailed. Gag me.

*SPOILER* What I had dismissed as an odd opening could have actually given away the twist. This whole story is constructed as a narrative by Francis, as he is telling this to a willing listener in some garden. Francis' fiancee Jane (Lil Dagover) is wandering through the garden, disengaged from human interaction. Francis observes her wandering with ecstatic attention, while the listener seems like he is in his own world. When Francis begins to tell the story, the listener looks like he is trying not to fall asleep! Rude, right? Maybe. Once the story is over, we return to the garden. Our heroes lived to tell the tale. And then they walk to the main hall... of the asylum. Francis proposes to Jane (weren't they already engaged?), Cesare is hanging out with everybody else, and Caligari enters the hall as the director of the asylum, who, perhaps understandably, instills fear in Francis, one of his many patients. Francis seems to have been in the asylum for a while, as when he points to the director and screams, "Dr. Caligari!," the director has this A-HA moment as to what might be wrong with Francis. This eliminates most probability of this being another experiment conducted by the nefarious Caligari. Coming down from the high of a twist ending, I would say that the creepy visuals of the movie are not too diminished by the story, one way or another. The music was suitably atonal. The twist can justify some, but not all, pacing and acting issues, as if they were the poor creation of a madman. That is a stretch, if I were truthfully judging the quality of the movie. I would watch it again, to see how I absorb everything with the knowledge of what the story actually is.
½ July 4, 2016
I will admit, this is the first silent film I have ever watched, especially in its entirety. I cant help but be in awe of how difficult it was to tell a story with no dialog. I watched this movie simply because I decided to watch the entire top 100 horror movies on rotten tomatoes, and this is number one.
June 12, 2016
Definitely a creepy and twisty story, though over-stylized and acted way sub-par.
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