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Faust
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Faust

1926
Fantasy
Horror
1h 47m
God and Satan war over earth; to settle things, they wager on the soul of Faust, a learned and prayerful alchemist... (imdb)
Your probable score
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Faust

1926
Fantasy
Horror
1h 47m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 73.79% from 895 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(894)
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Rated 22 Oct 2020
91
98th
This is astonishing to look at. Each frame is packed with detail, character, and masterful composition, and some of the imagery is incredible. It does all feel quite nightmarish. I'll echo comments from others that the middle part, and the romantic passages, do drag a bit, and the tonal shifts are a bit odd, but it makes sense from the perspective of the impactful ending. A very fine achievement, all things considered.
Rated 12 Dec 2008
86
73rd
Spirit crushing and heart-pounding, Faust is a amazing nearly-century old German-foreign horror film that completely dominates with stunning visuals and sensational photography, boosting the score up higher and also raising the bar for most movies. However, this doesn't make up for the mediocrity of the performances, and the plotline is uninspired and completely dull.
Rated 20 Dec 2006
82
73rd
Emil Jannings hams it up to the extreme, severely overdoing the gestures and expressions (sometimes for ineffective comedic purposes). He plays Mephisto more like an annoying troublemaker than a figure of evil. This is supposed to be the lord of the underworld, not Drop Dead Fred. Besides his performance, however, a top-notch film with astonishing sets, photography and special effects.
Rated 04 Oct 2008
10
98th
Amazing ingenuity, aesthetic on another level entirely. The superimpositions alone - fx Riders of the Apocalypse riding in on a hurricane-like wind - are worth it. Tableau after tableau. Often tableau on top of tableau! Art. Pure art.
Rated 22 May 2008
73
36th
The striking images don't make up for dullness of the story. The conflict between Faust and Mephisto doesn't make much sense and neither part is effective. I fact, parts of it are almost comedic, with Mephisto being so neutered that he seems to be more comic relief than menace. The rest of the cast is ok but not especially sympathetic, which makes the driving force of the film falter tremendously.
Rated 13 Jun 2009
78
66th
A strong beginning and a fantastic ending, but the middle is fairly unimpressive. This movie would have been better off making Faust a minor character since Satan was so damn entertaining, it also could have used some serious trimming and a revamping of the dialog which is opaque and overbearing.
Rated 21 Mar 2015
85
91st
Truly magical visuals. The dark presence of Satan infecting the body and soul of a city, the sudden mist-conjured apparitions and the dizzying flying scenes with otherworldly scope & velocity among other things will be impossible to forget. Some issues with pacing and general plot coherence but it's one of those films you remember for its dreamlike imagery rather than any logical story elements. Highly transporting and hauntingly imaginative fantasy that pretty much defines the genre for me.
Rated 28 Oct 2013
28
17th
Despite loving certain parts of this, I can never identify with this kind of premise, and I definitely didn't enjoy the bulk of the movie playing out like a silly rom-com with Mephisto as the bumbling comic relief.
Rated 26 Sep 2015
53
33rd
I understand why FW Murnau is lauded for visual style, but the story is full of problems. The moral framework of this story is terribly confused - medieval blame-the-victim Calvinism mixed freely with Hollywood-esque love-conquers-all. The plot drags, making a movie that's less than two hours feel more like three. And the whole "corruption" aspect is basically forgotten about half an hour in.
Rated 14 Mar 2011
85
92nd
Despite losing momentum somewhere around the middle, Faust is an engaging film with impressive effects. In fact, the image of Mephisto towering over the city is one of the coolest I've seen in silent films so far. Jannigs is totally hamming it up in that role, but it's impossible not to smile at his expressions. I was thoroughly mesmerised during the climax, and the film more than makes up for some of the filler halfway through.
Rated 29 Aug 2020
98
95th
Gripping and mesmerising silent, highlighted by Murnau's legendary staging and set designs and an extraordinary evocation of "Mephisto" by Jannings, whose sinister presence (and makeup job) still have the power to chill and unnerve. If Fuetterer and Ekman are perhaps a little insipid by comparison (and too much time is spent on change-of-tone seductions in the mid-section), all is forgiven for the masterful opening and closing passages, leaving the film resonating as haunting and brilliant.
Rated 17 Jan 2011
8
94th
Like Nosferatu, Faust is a simple story told amazingly well. It's not quite as economical, but here the visuals and story are even stronger. The bookends are particularly brilliant. Faust takes a slight detour in the middle, where it seems to become more of a silly romantic comedy than an unnerving tale of good versus evil, but the bleakness of its ending reveals Murnau's true intentions, and then it hits you. Hard.
Rated 28 Sep 2013
60
54th
Honestly, I was expecting more of this. The music is great and they use some fun visual tricks but the story's lacking depth. There is also a painfully boring scene where the main character is playfully chasing his crush around a yard. That goes on for about good five minutes...
Rated 30 Jan 2016
78
73rd
Visually this film cant be criticized. Murnau had such an eye for striking images for representing darkness and evil. The opening scenes with the devil were wonderfully ominous. He performs many tricks that have aged extremely well. Its a visual masterpiece. For the rest, i feel when the story became about the romance it brought too much humor..which is jarringly introduced at the halfway point. The devil goes from dark to hammy. However it balances out again before ending.
Rated 17 Jul 2011
90
92nd
This has some impressively complex shots and special effects. Similarly to Sunrise (though not nearly to that level of technical prowess), Murnau's camera is free to move fluidly in all directions. Brilliant use of miniatures and double exposures helps create a dark, mystical world. I enjoyed Murnau's telling of the mythical story despite some goofy parts near the middle. The character of Mephisto was quite entertaining, and the finale, though a bit cheesy, was well executed.
Rated 09 Jun 2013
60
29th
Another Expressionist film that I really wanted to love because well... I'm a sucker for dark biblical imagery. But it gets hijacked by a dull-as-dirt romance, and unlike say, Metropolis, it has nothing else really going for it in the middle part. And the whole magical place switcharoo was done somewhat more entertainingly in "De Müde Tod". Overall this is probably for completists only.
Rated 19 Sep 2014
0
1st
I wish Criticker would stop generating PSIs in the 90s for silent films. I find them unwatchable. WTF is wrong with their algorithm...
Rated 21 Jul 2009
4
74th
A visual marvel, presented in starkly contrasting light and shadow with sharp angles and a bevy of special effects. The expressionist photography goes in-hand with the Gothic art design to make the film appear otherworldly, and yet in Faust's spiritual struggle there is a quality entirely humane. Even for someone with as little religious inclination as myself, it resonates deeply.
Rated 13 Jul 2015
9
93rd
Choke full of undelible epic-biblical-evil images. Production effort is insane. Tricks, camera, makeup, use of light, fog; top of its time, and still entrance. Story lags a little, but visuals pull through.
Rated 24 Feb 2013
85
80th
The middle of the film lags a bit admittedly (Mephisto's interactions with Gretchen's mother add little to the film), but overall I was very impressed with the film's stunning images, beautiful harp score and the closing fifteen minutes which were really rather moving.
Rated 05 Oct 2015
85
97th
Murnau's visionary take on Goethe set a whole new standard for film special effects that, while primitive by today's standards, have a boundless sense of imagination and otherness. The hyper stylized sets are meticulously composed, and the dark imagery, drawing on Rembrandt and Caspar David Friedrich, evokes a stunning, hypnotic occultist atmosphere. The film slows down somewhat in the middle, but it sets the stage for a tragic and unforgettable conclusion.
Rated 26 Sep 2013
60
69th
It's wonderfully shot but the story is pretty lacklustre, and becomes forced about half way in. The women are treated just as props that exist only to lust after the main characters, which is interesting given the ultimate message of the film. The score by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra (the Netflix version) was great.
Rated 18 Jun 2017
80
94th
Aesthetically, Murnau never fails to impress. In Faust he gives us a study in chiaroscuro and harsh contrasts, with searing lights framed in brooding shadows. I'm not really sure if this rendition of the story lives up to the power of its imagery, and it suffers from a slightly silly Mephisto and an extremely bland Faust. Still, the ending makes up for these shortcomings by bringing in some of the film's most striking images and focusing firmly on Horn's Gretchen (a much stronger performance).
Rated 21 Apr 2009
88
96th
Among the most beautiful films I have ever seen, Murnau who has never been a slacker when it comes to visuals really goes all the way here. Somewhat loose retelling of Faust legend gives an excuse of flooding the viewer with state-of-the-art special effects.
Rated 22 Jul 2009
4
70th
The effects here are fantastic, for starters; among the best you'll find in any silent film. The story is a compelling good-vs.-evil tale (though I much prefer Marlowe's version), with a very touching romantic angle. The beginning and end are riveting and wholly engaging. The middle of the film, however, isn't quite to the standards of the rest - it's a bit plodding, and Jannings, who is fairly hammy overall, is at his worst in these sections. Still, its strengths far outweigh its flaws.
Rated 08 Oct 2012
85
60th
The pacing gets really off about two-thirds into the movie and comes to a bit of a halt, but what it gets right it knocks out of the park. Visionary effects and camerawork, this film laid the groundwork for film in ways that are often overlooked.
Rated 23 Jun 2012
70
67th
F.W. Murnau was one of the best silent film directors, for sure. I've been very impressed by Nosferatu (1922), Sunrise (1927) and now this. From the first few shots, I was amazed. The visual effects and camera tricks were brilliant and clever, especially for the time. However, as the story went on, I became less and less interested. The film was too long and felt a little meandering. I didn't love it, but I respect it.
Rated 04 Nov 2018
72
59th
Still don't feel like Murnau's horror stuff is as scary as his regular flicks but damn this has some epic set pieces and beautiful expressionistic camera work. Obviously very influential just as Nosferatu also was for him. There's a couple of weird choices on a story level (too much unfunny humour) but from a pure cinematic level he's kind of hard to touch especially in that era. Maximalist cinema. The last act is some of the best imagery out there
Rated 20 Aug 2008
87
89th
The film's sense of morality is somewhat simplistic by today's standards--it doesn't spend much time on Faust's struggle. And it doesn't spend much time showing you all the great stuff he got from Satan either, dedicating a lot of time to a romance subplot instead. Other than that, it's an astounding film, with special effects and lively characterizations that I didn't expect at all. Murnau clearly had a very strong sense of how much can be conveyed with visuals alone.
Rated 14 Oct 2019
100
92nd
Visually, Faust is a work of art and is still engaging, moving, and influential. Story-wise, it's good with old-Faust getting seduced by the devil. However, the movie slows to a crawl once Faust regains his youth. There are large sections away from the main characters and focuses on the downfall of Gretchen. It feels like the story loses its focus. All in all, it's a brilliant film and something everyone should see.
Rated 06 Apr 2021
66
72nd
The first half-hour is incredible - no doubt the best special effects of the silent era (better than even Metropolis) - but Faust devolves into a silly caper plot burdened by Emil Janning's ridiculous overacting. It's a shame because if the beginning could be ranked as it's own thing the score would be up in the 90's.
Rated 26 Apr 2020
3
36th
"this is supposed to be the lord of the underworld, not drop dead fred" holy shit
Rated 12 Jun 2018
79
91st
Great visuals and atmosphere! Iconic imagery, Fritz Lang and F.W. Murnau's films had some of the most imitated imagery ever and this is the most imitated of any movie I can think of. A beautiful movie that gets bogged down in the middle and never reaches the epicness of the first 20-30 minutes great film.
Rated 01 May 2008
88
96th
Murnau's Faust is most indebted to Goethe's version, but more a keeping of the legend alive rather than a loyal or modernized adaptation of Goethe per se. It's quaint and truthfully in touch with the antiquated world-view of the folk tale, but does include romanticism. Visually, it's stunningly picturesque. The visual effects are primitive but not obsolete; they are meticulous and display an artistic brilliance missing in more modern fx designs. The first act is the strongest.
Rated 09 Apr 2009
6
95th
I do not say this lightly, the bookends here are the best work of Murnau. Absolutely towering in their imagery and emotional depth to create such a wonderful fusion of two forms of thought on a mythology. It's such a testament to the director's skill in all areas that even after Jannings tries his best to sink it with his over-the-top expressionism, this still delivers an incredible experience. [gets a boost for both harp/alternative musical score featured on the MoC version]
Rated 11 Dec 2015
80
90th
seen as it was meant to be: on the "big" screen to live piano music, which was equal parts challenge and pleasure. and now: "an den pranger mit der dirne!"
Rated 29 Jul 2020
86
88th
86.1.
Rated 29 Oct 2022
67
34th
Faust is a constant barrage of inventive and stunning visuals. I could not get over how much was done with limited resources and this early on in film history.
Rated 27 Aug 2022
73
49th
Really solid but I feel a bit overrated. The first half or so is pretty great but when the second half comes along (most of the romantic plotline, etc.) it loses a LOT of stream. Lots of cool effects for the time and Jannings is a lot of fun. Well worth the watch and parts of it are brilliant and hold up very well now. I wondered how they managed a couple of the tricks, like the burning paper turning to contract.
Rated 31 May 2022
60
71st
Great imagery in the first ten minutes but wasn't to bothered by the rest of it. There are some stand out scenes - I felt Marthe's passion and Gretchen's crib scene is agonising but everything else was disappointingly panto and the story left me cold. Made in the early days of cinema's language development so I'll cut it a bit of slack!
Rated 08 May 2022
90
97th
Great movie
Rated 25 Dec 2010
91
94th
91.250
Rated 06 Nov 2020
87
71st
(Spoiler) I don't find the ending nearly as bleak as everyone says. I'd almost call it happy. Faust sold his soul and still got to go to heaven
Rated 09 Jan 2021
70
77th
Special effects extravaganza about a girl who commits the sin of falling in love, thereby enraging her brother, who calls for her to be publicly tortured and humiliated. Abandoned by all, her newborn child dies of cold, for which she is subsequently burned at the stake, where her lover joins her. Tragic tale of hubris that starts well and contains some memorable imagery, but for this viewer it doesn't rise to the heights of other so-called German expressionist cinema.
Rated 26 Sep 2011
50
38th
The romantic and apparently comedic asides are so absurdly off tone compared to the bookends that it kind of ruins the movie. I was into it, then I wasn't, then I was. Meh.
Rated 20 Feb 2019
88
58th
87.50
Rated 02 Apr 2018
6
34th
In this day and age, even a second rate lawyer with a terrible track record would win this case without breaking a sweat. "He signed the papers, bitch!" MOVIE OVER AFTER 30 MINUTES.
Rated 25 Oct 2018
100
94th
Murnau outdid himself.
Rated 08 Nov 2011
84
77th
A hell of an impressive film. The B&W look is fantastic, especially in the opening and closing scenes. It's peculiar how this film skips between sorrow-intense dramatic and romantic playfulness; just goes to show how much control this film has of its mood.
Rated 01 Mar 2008
79
66th
# 426
Rated 06 Oct 2013
19
55th
Yeah Idk if I'd call that love.
Rated 06 Nov 2010
80
59th
The amazing set pieces, creative camera use, and rich expressionism are enough to carry the film in spite of some questionable comedic scenes and uninspired acting.
Rated 01 Jul 2012
82
86th
It might not be very scary for a horror movie, but it has both impressive visuals and a really good story. These are some really fantastic silent-era special effects.
Rated 29 Sep 2015
9
90th
Welp, guess I have to read Faust now.
Rated 28 Sep 2013
5
70th
murnau's best imagery (note: now second to 'the last laugh') and certainly his most ambitious, though suffers a bit from lengthiness and meandering. the bits before the main romances kick in are the best.
Rated 30 Nov 2011
78
56th
#438
Rated 19 Dec 2008
81
62nd
387
Rated 24 Sep 2007
90
72nd
Really stunning imagery, but perhaps a bit too tedious after Faust becomes young.
Rated 22 Mar 2009
80
57th
There are a lot of brilliant moments in this film but overall, Faust is too inconsistent, largely due to the (surprisingly lauded) Jannings as Mephistopheles, who wavers from genuinely frightening to comedicly hammy to downright irksome.
Rated 01 Nov 2010
40
97th
"Films from the German Expressionism era are famous for their fiercely stylized mise-en-scene, and to Murnau the medium's very artificiality provided the keys to locating its truths." - Fernando F. Croce
Rated 26 Nov 2011
90
74th
mephistonun gelisi, ucus sahnesi
Rated 11 Jun 2012
20
30th
The visuals are, of course, pretty stunning, and Emil Janning's performance as Mephisto was great and the cast was very good overall. However, I found it hard to really care about the plot or the characters. An impressive film, but one that I found easier to appreciate than like.
Rated 08 Mar 2017
73
71st
The romance drags a bit and the ending seems rather saccharine and even undeserved, but there's undoubtedly some of the best visuals in silent cinema on display here and the introductory third of the film alone provides an excellent exploration of the nature of evil.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
100
97th
A fully formed thesis on the possibilities of cinema, Faust's genuis is letting the legend breath within the terms of the medium. Even in 1926, it showed the unbridled artistic power of film.
Rated 13 Sep 2012
100
96th
watched: 2012, 2020
Rated 16 Oct 2013
87
91st
86.500
Rated 11 Jul 2008
89
95th
There is about everything in this film what you can do with silent black-and-white flick. Highly experimental. A religious undertone did not bother too much the story. Maybe it was a bit too long; you can get the message in shorter time.
Rated 28 Oct 2007
85
58th
An entertaining film. It even has nudity and a fart joke. Whoda thunk.
Rated 16 May 2012
72
42nd
Tons of cool visual ideas put on screen here, but for me the experience was let down by the awful score by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra (on the Kino restored deluxe version). Repeating, uninspired and didn't fit at all with what went on in the film.
Rated 14 Jan 2010
79
58th
413
Rated 30 Mar 2007
60
47th
The irony here is that I LOVE horror films but I generally like nonhorror Murnau films much better than this or _Nosferatu_
Rated 04 Jul 2012
100
98th
One of my top five movies.
Rated 14 Sep 2011
90
69th
Murnau harika bir yonetmen, bunu cepe attik zaten. Mefisto karakteri de sinemanin en tatli karakterlerinden olabilir (adeta Levent Kirca).
Rated 06 Jan 2015
95
99th
ok, the middle a bit drags, it is a bit extended; but as a whole it is pure, undiluted cinema --- watch with Timothy Brock's music composed for the film
Rated 02 Mar 2012
47
36th
Some really great effects for the time but the story didn't really make a huge amount of sense and some of the acting (Jannings in particular) was a little overdone.
Rated 12 Mar 2009
67
61st
Not a classic like Murnau's _The Last Laugh_ or _Sunrise_, but still a compelling, inventively directed, visually sumptuous film, highlighted by clever special effects and impressive use of light and shadow.
Rated 31 Oct 2017
85
59th
Viewed October 29, 2017. Movie 2500.

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