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critics consensus

Powerful even in its incomplete form, Erich von Stroheim's Greed is a spoil of cinematic riches and a harrowing treatise on the corrupting allure of money. Read critic reviews

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Greed Photos

Movie Info

When housewife Trina McTeague (ZaSu Pitts) wins the lottery, her comfortable life with her dentist husband, John (Gibson Gowland), is slowly destroyed, in part by her own increasing paranoia and in part by the machinations of a villainous friend, Marcus (Jean Hersholt). Director Erich von Stroheim shot the film, based on the Frank Norris novel "McTeague", on location in and around San Francisco, an extravagance unheard of in the 1920s. His original version, since lost, ran for nearly 10 hours.

Cast & Crew

Gibson Gowland
John McTeague
Jean Hersholt
Marcus Schuller
Chester Conklin
"Popper" Sieppe
Sylvia Ashton
Mommer' Sieppe
Tempe Pigott
Mother McTeague
Dale Fuller
Maria Miranda Maccapa
Oscar Gottell
A Sieppe twin (uncredited)
Otto Gottell
A Sieppe twin (uncredited)
Frank Hayes
Charles W. Grannis (proprietor, The Modern Dog Hospital) (uncredited)
Jack Curtis
McTeague Sr. (shift boss at the Big Dipper Mine) (uncredited)
James F. Fulton
Cribbens (a prospector) (uncredited)
Jack McDonald
Placer County Sheriff (uncredited)
Austen Jewell
August Sieppe (uncredited)
Cesare Gravina
Zwerkow (a junkman) (uncredited)
Louis B. Mayer
Executive Producer
Carl Davis
Original Music
Robert Israel
Original Music
William H. Daniels
Cinematographer
Ben F. Reynolds
Cinematographer
Frank E. Hull
Film Editor
Rex Ingram
Film Editor
June Mathis
Film Editor
Grant Whytock
Film Editor
Erich von Stroheim
Production Design
Richard Day
Art Direction
Cedric Gibbons
Art Direction
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Critic Reviews for Greed

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (25) | Rotten (1)

  • The picture brings to light three great character performances by Gibson Gowland as McTeague, Jean Hersholt as the chum, and ZaSu Pitts as the wife.

    February 23, 2012 | Full Review…
  • Von Stroheim's rep, after a long dormancy, has been on the rise, and this is the best evidence of his work you'll get until someone finds those lost five hours in some Ukrainian subcellar.

    June 17, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Mr. von Stroheim has not missed a vulgar point, but on the other hand his direction of the effort is cunningly dramatic.

    March 25, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Even now its relentlessly cynical portrait of physical and moral squalor retains the ability to shock, while the Von's obsessive attention to realist detail is never prosaic.

    February 9, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Erich von Stroheim's Greed (1925), like the Venus de Milo, is acclaimed as a classic despite missing several parts deemed essential by its creator.

    January 6, 2002 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • Von Stroheim's rep, after a long dormancy, has been on the rise, and this is the best evidence of his work you'll get until someone finds those lost five hours in some Ukrainian subcellar.

    January 1, 2000

Audience Reviews for Greed

  • Jan 30, 2017
    One of the most memorable silent films in the 20s, Greed is an adaptation from the novel McTeague about how greed ruined people's live. Because the original is lost, we only have the restored version with some still images to bridge the gap of missing fragments. It was very shocking for its day I believe, it is still entertaining to watch nonetheless.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Jul 10, 2011
    Keep in mind that Greed's recent reconstruction was an attempt to revive as much of the story as possible, given the initial ambitions by Stroheim to ask from the audience to sit for 10 hours to witness his masterpiece. Although the intentions are honorable and the result definitely offers a deeper insight for hardcore fans, it should not be a first-timer experience. You should see what nowadays remains filmed instead of constant interruptions that make you walk through the alleyways of a visual museum. How ironic is the fact that Stroheim's main idea does not only still applies to nowadays life circumstances, but applies even more accurately than before. Material richness and greed will always be there unless a general consensus is established and accepted regarding the respect of the goods and properties of others, and of sharing. Unfortunately, such possible utopia never reached an agreement. The result is that neoliberal economy has taken the throne of the world and now this movie feels alien to us. However, that's exactly the incorrect approach to Greed. 99/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • May 04, 2009
    An impressive achievement leaves one wondering what was lost from Von Stroheim's original nine hour epic original. What's left is compelling with great work from ZaSu Pitts as the rapacious Trina.
    jay n Super Reviewer

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