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

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Das Cabinet des 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.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Das Cabinet des 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.

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

All Critics (50) | Top Critics (5)

Caligari, the most complete essay in the décor of delirium, is one of the most famous films of all time, and it was considered a radical advance in film technique, yet it is rarely imitated -- and you'll know why.

January 2, 2018 | Full Review…

A case can be made that Caligari was the first true horror film.

October 7, 2011 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

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.

August 13, 2007 | Full Review…

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.

October 25, 2006 | Full Review…

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

February 9, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is one of cinema's most enduring masterpieces.

January 16, 2017 | Rating: 5/5

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

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.

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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