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1,702 Ratings


Faust: Eine deutsche Volkssage

Directed by F.W. Murnau
Germany, 1926
Fantasy, Horror, Drama


Faust, a learned and prayerful alchemist who is struggling with his faith amidst a devastating plague, is offered the power to cure and the gift of youth…in exchange for his soul. An adaptation of Goethe’s iconic eponymous novel.

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Faust Directed by F.W. Murnau
Though Murnau was hardly the first director to realize the potential of cinema, he was one of the first filmmakers to see the format completely outside its relationship to previous art forms. The director uses the same kind of Expressionist sets that defined German cinema of the 1920s, but where earlier films deliberately called attention to Expressionism’s two-dimensional artificiality as reflections of characters’ tormented psyches, Faust emphasizes three-dimensional depth.
November 16, 2015
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It’s an astonishing directorial feat: a silent version of the central work of German literature. Coming in at under two hours, it’s also a severe condensation of the plot of Goethe’s poem. It also features drastic, dramatic transformations of the material, as if using the story as a basis for a mere screenplay. Yet Murnau is after something altogether different and more daring: a demonstration of the power of cinema to deliver visual poetry on the order of Goethe’s language.
June 24, 2014
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The imagery in the first half of the film is stunning: skeleton horsemen hovering in the mist, Mephisto spreading his wings over an entire village, an acrobat dying of plague mid-act, Faust’s Moses-esque haircut and facial hair. But it is not until the second half of the film, when Faust’s insatiable thirst for pleasure leads him to try to corrupt an innocent peasant girl (a plot lifted from Goethe’s version) that the film finds its tragic focus.
August 16, 2013
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What are people saying?

  • tidal waif's rating of the film Faust

    "moment, last forever!" what's so exceptional in that sentence, since we all want an infinite sequence of time particles to be strewn upon us with limitless generosity? except that this sentence is aimed at terminating faust's eternal living, while we hope to achieve it by pronouncing it.

  • Ethan's rating of the film Faust

    This film is absolutely breathtaking. Murnau creates a perfect atmosphere with this film, featuring some astounding effects for its time that makes it look like pure magic. A true masterpiece of the cinema.

  • Richmond Hill's rating of the film Faust

    Cinema as illuminated letters. Magnificently realised allegorical tub-thumping with wonderfully ripe head-held-high dramatics and visual trickery, despite some verbosity and longeurs - notably in the wedding sequence, ravishing though it is. It’s the kind of film that calls out for the reinstating of tabs in cinemas to sweep majestically apart in heraldic announcement. You can practically smell the burnt carbon.

  • Jason's rating of the film Faust

    It stands to reason that storytelling on the grandest conceivable scale would be coupled to maximal exploitation of the expressive capabilities of the cinematic medium. I am sure that the majority of the effects here are done in camera, and the fact is that they routinely dazzle. When I was a youngster I enjoyed watching FAUST really, really high. It still strikes me as pretty goddamn psychotropic. A kind of deluge.

  • Stefan Drees's rating of the film Faust

    One of Murnau's strongest movies with excellent visual design (influenced by expressionism as well as painting from the romantic era). The compiled score of this version is a little bit boring (also regarding the performance).

  • msmichel's rating of the film Faust

    Essential cinema. Murnau's legacy as a silent filmmaker though solidified by 'Sunrise' and 'Nosferatu' is equally supported by this incredible morality tale. While not exactly faithful to the Goethe tome, Murnau puts a cinematic take on the tale that is a staggering and sober work. Emil Jannings is perfection as Mephisto but Gosta Ekman is equally impressive. Some of the effects work is still just breathtaking.

  • T. J. Harman's rating of the film Faust

    I dug the sets, camera work and Jannings' camp. The religious themes of the fable this was adapted from don't do much for me on a personal level but that never got in the way for me enjoy the film's merits.

  • Zachary George Najarian-Najafi's rating of the film Faust

    The first and third acts of Faust are thrilling, the perfect showcase for F.W. Murnau's bold visual imagination. It's like a symphony of cinematic power as heaven, hell, and earth collide with one another in the tale of the alchemist Faust's encounter with the demon Mephisto. Emil Jannings is absolutley magnetic as Mephisto as well. But the middle just drags on too long and lacks the power of the rest of the film.

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