|Updated 20 September 2015
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The beginning of this list starts with just a few of the lost films of the silent era. Many, many more films have been lost than those titles noted in this section’s lists. Educated guesses estimate that only 10 to 15 percent of the films made during the silent era survive today.
Many more films (especially titles of minor importance) will be added as this online list grows. Also, we will add information on modern preservation efforts and information on institutions that can accept charitible donations for film preservation.
Information on the status of films previously listed here as lost: Francis Ford’s The Craving (1918) has survived in a Dutch print. / An incomplete print of Pictureland (1911) with Mary Pickford has surfaced in Australia. / The Grim Game (1919) survived in the collection of Houdini collector Larry Weeks. / Sherlock Holmes (1916) has been recovered in a French language print. / King the Detective and the Smugglers (1912) survives in an 8mm print. / Harold Lloyd’s Follow the Crowd (1918) survives. / Ladies Must Live (1921) survives at the Library of Congress. / Love, Life and Laughter (1923) has been repatriated to the British Film Institute. / The Old Wallop (1927) and Fair and Muddy (1928) have survived in export versions. / The Greatest Thing in Life (1918) survives in the holdings of Cohen Media Group. / A complete print of The Half-Breed (1916) survives in the holdings of Cohen Media Group. / A print of Their First Misunderstanding (1911) was recovered in 2006. / A print of The Man Without Desire (1923) is held by the British Film Institute. / A Little Girl in a Big City (1925) is now available on home video / Marshall Neilan’s Dinty (1920) with Colleen Moore has survived in a 35mm print with Dutch intertitles. / Cecil B. DeMille’s Rose of the Rancho (1914) exists in the George Eastman House film archive. / John Ford’s Upstream (1927) and Columbia Pictures’ early production Mary of the Movies (1923) have survived in the New Zealand Film Archive. / Fiskerliv i Norden (1906) was preserved by the Danish Film Institute in 2002. / The Crimson City (1928) was recovered in Argentina in 2008. / Flugten fra Seraillet (1907) survives in the Danish Film Institute film archive. / A number of incomplete prints of Homunculus (1916) have survived in world film archives. / Dødsangstens maskespil (1912), En Stærkere magt (1912) and En Stærkere magt (1912) exist in the Danish Film Institute collection. / A print of Dreamy Dud Sees Charlie Chaplin (1915) is known to exist. / The Tommie Albert comedy Great Guns (1927) exists in a private film collection. / A nearly complete print of The Dawn of a Tomorrow (1915) has been recovered by a Swedish archive. / An incomplete print of Just Another Blonde (1926) exists in the UCLA Film and Television Archive. / A print of His Busy Hour (1926) was recovered in the late 1980s. / Rotaie (1929) has survived in both its original silent version and the 1931 sound rerelease. / A Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic (1929) has survived in a privately-held 16mm reduction print. / A Winter’s Tale (1910) survives in George Eastman House, and is now available on DVD. / The Lighthouse Keeper (1911) survives in a color-tinted print held by the Library of Congress. / Alraune, die Henkerstochter, genannt die rote Hanne (1918) survives in a 16mm reduction print held by George Eastman House. / Approximately half of John Ford’s Mother Machree (1928) survives in two American archives. / An incomplete print of The Young Rajah (1922) with Rudolph Valentino has survived. / The Sarah Bernhardt La Tosca (1909) has survived in a print held of the British Film Institute. / Der Hund von Baskerville (1914) has survived in the Gosfilmofond film archive. / The Rescue (1929) survives in an incomplete print held by George Eastman House. / The Prisoner of Zenda (1913) survives in prints held by the Library of Congress and George Eastman House. / The Herbert Brennon version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1913) survives in the UCLA Film and Television Archive. / The Breaking Point (1924) survives in the Library of Congress. / A restoration of the Kalem version of The Colleen Bawn (1911) was completed in 2001 by the National Archives of Canada. / A print of Pied Piper Malone (1924) survives in the Gosfilmofond archive in Russia. / An incomplete print of Silas Marner (1916) exists at the Library of Congress. / All but the last reel of Sorrell and Son (1927) has survived. / Under Two Flags (1912) survives in the British Film Institute film archive. / Approximately 30 minutes of Bardelys the Magnificent (1926) has survived in a private collection, and an incomplete print has surfaced in the collection of Lobster Films, Paris. / Thanhouser’s The Image Maker (1917) exists in a private film collection. / Jepthah’s Daughter: A Biblical Tragedy (1909) and Youth (1915) survive in the British Film Institute film archive. / Beyond the Rocks (1922) featuring Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino has been recovered by the EYE Film Instituut Nederland. / Georges Méliès’ early film Defense d’afficher (1896) has been recovered. / Señorita (1927) has survived in a private collection. / The serial The Masked Rider (1919) has been recovered in an incomplete print by The Serial Squadron. / The Mary Pickford IMP films The Mirror (1911), ’Tween Two Loves (1911), Maid or Man (1911), Sweet Memories (1911), While the Cat’s Away (1911) and A Manly Man (1911) have survived. / At the Duke’s Command (1911) survives. / Most of the serials A Dangerous Adventure (1920) and The Blue Fox (1921) have survived. / The Max Linder films Max and His Taxi (1917) and Max Wants a Divorce (1917) have survived. / A print of East Lynne (1916) exists. / Approximately half of Our Gang (1922) exists in a few separate prints. / Three episodes of the Thanhouser serial Zudora (1914) exist, but still must be considered a lost serial. / Double Trouble (1915) starring Douglas Fairbanks exists in the Douris Corporation film collection. / John Ford’s Bucking Broadway (1917) has survived in a French film archive. / The Library of Congress holds a complete print of If I Were King (1920). / The Constant Nymph (1928) has survived as a 16mm reduction print. / Five reels of the serial Secret Service Saunders (1925) have survived in a private collection. / Why Be Good? (1929) has survived, with sound elements intact. / Georg al Klercker’s Mysteriet natten tell den 25:e (1916) has survived. / A fragmentary print (approximately two reels) of Inside of the White Slave Traffic (1913) is known to exist. / All episodes of Louis Feuillade’s serial Judex (1916) are known to exist. / Fourteen of 15 episodes of Beatrice Fairfax (1916) exist in the Library of Congress film archives. / Suzanna (1923) survives in an incomplete print. / D.W. Griffith’s Scarlet Days (1919) is in the MoMA film archive. / John Ford’s Hell Bent (1918) has existed for years in the Czechoslovak Film Archives. / Two reels of John Ford’s The Secret Man (1917) exist in the Library of Congress. / Approximately three reels of John Ford’s A Gun-Fightin’ Gentleman (1919) exists. / Approximately 32 minutes of John Ford’s The Scarlet Drop (1918) survives. / His Wedding Night (1917) survives. / Prints of X-Rays (1897) and Whaling Ashore and Afloat (1908) along with incomplete prints of Fanchon, the Cricket (1915) and Ultus, the Man from the Dead (1916) exist in the National Film and Television Archive of the British Film Institute. / Genuine (1920) largely exists in a fragmentary print. / The Irish film Aimsir Padraig (1920), also known as In the Days of St. Patrick, survives in the National Film Archive of the BFI. / A 35mm nitrate print of Oh, Baby! (1918) exists in a private collection in England. / A 16mm reduction print of The Ridin’ Rowdy (1927) exists in a private collection. / You Never Know Women (1926) and $20 a Week (1924) both exist in the LoC archive. / The Rough Riders (1927) exists in the Museum of Modern Art, with a fragmentary print in the Library of Congress film archive. / A print of The Boob (1926) has been shown, with German intertitles, on German television. / Max Comes Across (1917) is known to exist. / Solax’s A Fool and His Money (1912) has been found. / Approximately half of The Flaming Frontier (1926) has been discovered in France. / Purity (1916) exists in a film archive in France. / Abel Gance’s La roue (1922) exists in a nearly complete form. / The films Drag (1929) and Wonder of Women (1929) are known to exist in a major American film archive. / A print of Norma Talmadge’s Camille (1927) exists (with fragments missing) in the film collection of The Douris Corporation. / An early Mary Pickford IMP film, In the Sultan’s Garden (1911), exists in the Library of Congress film archive. / The Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton two-reelers The Rough House (1917) and Back Stage (1919) also survive. / A complete print of Josef von Sternberg’s The Exquisite Sinner (1926) and a print (missing the last reel) of Lillian Gish’s final MGM film The Enemy (1927) are known to exist in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film archive.
Whether by mistake or not, we previously listed the Wallace Beery, Raymond Hatton and Louise Brooks film Now We’re in the Air (1927) as a surviving film. Any notes to support such a claim have been misplaced or never were based in fact. In the absense of reliable information to the contrary, we have listed the film as presumed lost.
As information is provided that adds films that are presumed lost to this list, and information that happily allows us to remove films from this list, we would like to extend our thanks to those people who took time to share their information and expertise.