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The Crowd (1928)


The crowd laughs with you always, but it cries with you for only a day.

Such is the sentiment of this masterwork of the silent era — perhaps the best silent film ever made and undoubtedly the most existential. Heart-wrenching, The Crowd is the story of life in the big city of New York during the 1920s. Vehemently realistic, the film portrays life as hard and with few rewards. James Murray makes the perfect Everyman, who sees the ups and, well, mostly the downs with his wife Mary, played by Eleanor Boardman. (Ironically, Murray became an alcoholic after this film, and died in a fall nine years later, destitute.)

If you don’t like the silent era, think again — and take a peek at The Crowd. Even the special effects are to be admired.