Sir Charles Spencer “Charlie” Chaplin was born April 16, 1889, and is the most celebrated and iconic star of the early days of cinema, long before those “talkies” came around and ended the silent film era. In honor of his birth, and in fear that most of you may not have had the chance to see many of his films yet, I am dedicating this week’s Circuit 3 to that period of film.

So the field is wide open, any film with no-to-little recorded sound (especially dialogue) is eligible: from The Great Train Robbery (1903) to, yes, The Artist (2011). But let’s make two lists this week (as I have begun to do with every week’s Circuit 3). I’m asking you to not only rank the three silent films you think are the best, but also the three best performances from the silent era as well.

My Circuit 3 for silent films:falconetti

  1. City Lights (1931)
  2. Metropolis (1927)
  3. The General (1926)

My Circuit 3 for performances in silent films:

  1. Renée Falconetti – The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
  2. Charlie Chaplin – City Lights (1931)
  3. Peter Lorre – M (1931)

What are your three favorite/best films from the silent era, and what performances do you feel were best?