The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari places itself in the shelf of best cinemas ever made, for its remarkable climax and outstanding making

Language: German (Silent Film) 
Year: 1920

Rating: 4.5/5

The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari is a film with the potential to give competition to even modern-day films. It has a phenomenal storyline, tour de force performances, and a mind-blowing climax. It also embodies a visual style inspired by German Expressionism.


The plot revolves around Dr. Caligari, who takes his somnambulist named Cesare to a German carnival, who can prognosticate the future, arranging a show there. Later his prophecies do come true, leading to some mysterious murders which bring Dr. Caligari and his somnambulist under suspicion.


The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari is a film that took a step ahead of its time when cinema was exploring the artistic capabilities and literature.  For its time, it presented a story that keeps the audience on the verge of excitement, and by the end, leaves them astonished. Though silent, each frame conveyed everything crystal clear. As said in visual communication studies, a film should be able to speak for itself visually, the dialogues are just for enhanced clarity or furtherance. The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari defines this theory with a compelling and intelligently penned script.

Another soaring part of this film is performance. Werner Krauss as Dr. Caligari was unbelievable.

The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari


Story and Script

Written by Carl Mayer and Hans Janowitz, The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari is a cleverly written film with an out of the box thought of that time. The story and screenplay are so tight and gripping, it eventually gets the audience go bewildered. The climax, which leaves its viewers awestruck, is something that was shocking and never seen before at that time. A true to its art film, it is one of the best narratives ever in the history of cinema.


Directed by Robert Wiene, who got this flick a visual style that doesn’t go with the usual style, proved himself as an outstanding visionary. He has pulled off the flick in an exceptional manner, taking a sui generis way and has a filmed it with a style that solely belongs only to itself. He has also used German Expressionism in art as his visual style to craft this masterpiece.


Werner Krauss performance as Dr.Caligari was destined to be a forever living act. The physical appeal, actions, and his mind-blowing act were like icing on the cake. His body language and sharp facial structure provide to the character so much that he brings it to life with utmost perfection.
Conrad Veidt as Cesare, Friedrich Feher as Francis and Lil Dangover as Jane beautifully portrayed their part and carried the weight of the film effectively and impeccably.
Made for the film, the cast and their performance was exquisite.


Cinematography by Willy Hameister was a perfect blend of the uncanny, peculiar visuals of the film. The German Expressionism in art and cinema has provided a different and untouched technique to its visual oratory. The sharp, pointed edges of the film are intended to add up to the dark and bizarre nature of the film. The air surrounding the premise was meant to be dark, perplexed, and haywire. The entire set was filled with objects with curves and sharp edges, reflecting the german expressionism in art and cinema. Truly wonderful, the art department deserves applauds for creating such a complex form of visual delineation so perfect.

Music/Background Score

The film belongs to the black and white and silent film era. Though many musicians later composed scores for the film in later years, the film never requires a single sound to unfold its story.


The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari is a highbrow approach to the art and science of filmmaking. It explores cinema and storytelling in a profound way and makes use of German Expressionism in its visual oratory, paving way to a classic in the history of cinema.



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