List of lost films
For this list of lost films, a lost film is defined as one of which no part of a print is known to have survived. For films in which any portion of the footage remains (including trailers), see List of incomplete or partially lost films.
Films may go missing for a number of reasons. One major contributing factor is the common use of nitrate film until the early 1950s. This type of film is highly flammable, and there have been several devastating fires, such as the 1937 Fox vault fire, the 1967 MGM Vault fire, and the Universal Pictures fire in 1924. Black-and-white film prints judged to be otherwise worthless were sometimes incinerated to salvage the meager scrap value of the silver image particles in their emulsions. Films have disappeared when production companies went bankrupt. Occasionally, a studio would remake a film and destroy the earlier version. Silent films in particular were once seen as having no further commercial value and were simply junked to clear out expensive storage space.
This is necessarily an incomplete list. Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation claims that "half of all American films made before 1950 and over 90% of films made before 1929 are lost forever." Deutsche Kinemathek estimates that 80-90% of silent films are gone; the film archive's own list contains over 3500 lost films. A study by the Library of Congress states that 75% of all silent films are now lost. While others dispute whether the percentage is quite that high, it is impractical to enumerate any but the more notable and those that can be sourced.
|1896||Arrivée d'un train gare de Vincennes||Georges Méliès||A French short documentary.|||
|L'Arroseur (aka Watering the Flowers)||Georges Méliès||A short comedy.|||
|Barque sortant du port de Trouville||Georges Méliès|||
|Bateau-mouche sur la Seine||Georges Méliès|||
|Bébé et fillettes||Georges Méliès||A short documentary.|||
|Les Blanchisseuses||Georges Méliès||A short documentary.|||
|Bois de Boulogne (Porte de Madrid)||Georges Méliès||A short documentary.|||
|Bois de Boulogne (Touring Club)||Georges Méliès||A short documentary.|||
|Boulevard des Italiens||Georges Méliès||A short documentary.|||
|Campement de bohémiens (The Bohemian Encampment)||Georges Méliès||A short documentary.|||
|Les chevaux de bois||Georges Méliès|||
|Le chiffonnier||Georges Méliès|
|Couronnement de la rosière||Georges Méliès|||
|Déchargement de bateaux||Georges Méliès|||
|Jardinier brûlant des herbes||Georges Méliès|||
|Jetée et Plage de Trouville, 1st and 2nd parts||Georges Méliès|||
|Jour de marché à Trouville||Georges Méliès|||
|1899||The Jeffries–Sharkey Contest||William Brady, Tom O'Rourke||Jim Jeffries, Tom Sharkey||American Mutoscope and Biograph film of heavyweight championship bout,
135 minutes in length, first film shot in artificial light.
|1903||Hiawatha, the Messiah of the Ojibway||Joe Rosenthal||Believed to be the first Canadian fiction film.|||
|The first Finnish fiction film. Some sources also consider it to be the first Russian fiction film, as Finland was a part of the Russian Empire until 1917.|||
|1908||Bobby's Kodak||Wallace McCutcheon, Sr.||Robert Harron, Edward Dillon||First starring role for then-child actor Robert "Bobby" Harron.|||
|The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays||Francis Boggs, Otis Turner||L. Frank Baum||First adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and several of its sequels. Shown only in roadshow engagements as part of a live theater presentation, the print decomposed and was discarded.|
|The Music Master||Wallace McCutcheon, Jr.||D. W. Griffith||Most of D.W. Griffith's early appearances as an actor in Biograph films have been preserved, minus this title.|||
- From 1929 on, films are "all talking" unless otherwise specified.
|1940||Harta Berdarah||R Hu, Rd Ariffien||Zonder, Soelastri||Indonesian action film. Screened until at least July 1944.|||
|Kedok Ketawa||Jo An Djan||Fatimah, Basoeki Resobowo, Oedjang||Union Films first production. Screened until at least August 1944.|||
|1941||Asmara Moerni||Rd Ariffien||Adnan Kapau Gani, Djoewariah, S. Joesoef||Indonesian romance film. Screened until at least November 1945.|||
|Bajar dengan Djiwa||R Hu||A Bakar, Djoewariah, O Parma, Oedjang, RS Fatimah, Soelastri, Zonder||Indonesian drama film. Screened until at least October 1943.|||
|Soeara Berbisa||R Hu||Raden Soekarno, Ratna Djoewita, Oedjang, Soehaena||Screened until at least February 1949, longer than any other Union Films production, and the only Union picture known to have been shown post-World War II.|||
|This Man Is Dangerous||Lawrence Huntington||James Mason||Although it is known to have been shown on British television as recently as 1987, the film is believed lost and is included on the BFI's "75 Most Wanted" list of missing British feature films.|||
|Wanita dan Satria||Rd Ariffien||Djoewariah, Ratna Djoewita, Hidajat, Z. Algadrie, Moesa|||
|1942||Brother Martin: Servant of Jesus||Spencer Williams|
|Cóndor Capuchita||Carlos Trupp, Jorge Escudero||Chilean movie. Apparently, in 1982, after the death of Carlos Trupp in the United States, his heirs would have found and searched in 2001 to finance its restoration, but nothing is known since.|||
|Mega Mendoeng||Boen Kim Nam||Rd Soekarno, Oedjang, Boen Sofiati, Soehaena||Union Films final production before the studio closed ahead of the impending Japanese occupation.|||
|1943||Deruhi e, Deruhi e||Yasujiro Ozu||Chandra Bose||Wartime propaganda film directed by Ozu, and destroyed by him at war's end.|
|Squadron Leader X||Lance Comfort||Eric Portman, Ann Dvorak||On the BFI 75 Most Wanted list of lost films.|||
|1944||Escape Episode||Kenneth Anger||The director destroyed the film together with a few other early works he made.|
|Red Sky at Morning||Hartney Arthur||Peter Finch, John Alden|||
|1945||Flight from Folly||Herbert Mason||Patricia Kirkwood, Hugh Sinclair||Screen debut of stage star Kirkwood. It is on the BFI 75 Most Wanted list.|||
|For You Alone||Geoffrey Faithfull||Lesley Brook, Dinah Sheridan, Jimmy Hanley||Another member of the BFI 75 Most Wanted list.|||
|1946||Little Iodine||Reginald Le Borg||Hobart Cavanaugh, Irene Ryan||Release delayed by a polio outbreak; Little Iodine cartoonist Jimmy Hatlo was a writer.|
|1948||The Betrayal||Oscar Micheaux||The director's final production.|||
|1950||The Miracle of St. Anne||Orson Welles||Suzanne Cloutier, Maurice Bessy, Boris Vian||Short film made as prologue to the Paris stage production of Welles' play The Unthinking Lobster.|
|1952||Hammer the Toff||Maclean Rogers||John Bentley, Patricia Dainton, Valentine Dyall||On the BFI 75 Most Wanted list.|||
|Salute the Toff||Maclean Rogers||John Bentley, Carol Marsh, Valentine Dyall||Sequel to Hammer the Toff and also one of the BFI 75 Most Wanted.|||
|1953||Small Town Story||Montgomery Tully||Donald Houston, Susan Shaw, Alan Wheatley, Kent Walton||Another of the BFI 75 Most Wanted.|||
|1959||Stump Run||Edward Dew||Edgar Buchanan, Slim Pickens, Rand Brooks, Kaye Elhardt||A comedy about running moonshine. The film saw re-releases under the name Stump Run in Skunk Hollow starting in 1965.|||
|1960||Linda||Don Sharp||Carol White, Alan Rothwell||On the BFI 75 Most Wanted list of lost films.|||
|1961||Cranks at Work||Ken Russell||English. Russell's short 35mm film about the choreographer John Cranko.|||
|1962||Bulgasari||Kim Myeong-jae||South Korean Kaiju film. Later remade in 1985 as Pulgasari.|||
|Crosstrap||Robert Hartford-Davis||Laurence Payne
|On the BFI 75 Most Wanted list. Hartford-Davis' film debut; only reviews are known to survive.|||
|Pages of Death||Tom Harmon (narrator)||Anti-pornography short film produced by Citizens for Decent Literature, narrated by Heisman Trophy winner Tom Harmon.|||
|1963||Andy Warhol Films Jack Smith Filming Normal Love||Andy Warhol||Jack Smith||This home movie, which may have been Warhol's first film, was seized by New York City Police in March 1964, and has since disappeared.|||
|Farewell Performance||Robert Tronson||David Kernan
|On the BFI 75 Most Wanted list.|||
|1965||Gogola||Balwant Dave||Tabassum||Bollywood clone of Godzilla, unknown if any prints still survive.|||
|1966||The Emperor's New Clothes||Bob Clark||John Carradine||Clark's film debut; never publicly released.|
|1967||Batman Fights Dracula||Leody M. Diaz||Jing Abalos, Dante Rivero||An unofficial Filipino Batman parody made without permission of DC Comics, owner of the character's copyright.|||
|Israel: A Right to Live||John Schlesinger||Director Schlesinger shot this film for producer Harry Saltzman. Alan Rosenthal claims that "hours of film had been shot and edited, but nobody liked the result. Israel was too triumphant, too out of keeping with the changed mood. It had a few showings and then passed into oblivion." On the other hand, William J. Mann claims that Schlesinger never finished the documentary, "due to 'creative differences' with the BBC." Cinematographer Anthony B. Richmond claimed in 2011 that he's never been able to find a copy of the documentary.|
|1968||Las Noches del Hombre Lobo||René Govar||Paul Naschy||The second in a series of films featuring the character Count Waldemar Daninsky. Never publicly screened.|
|The Other People||David Hart||Peter McEnery, Donald Pleasence||Never released.|
|Target Smut||A short film produced by Citizens for Decent Literature with the dual purpose of denouncing "smut", while also serving as propaganda against the nomination of Abe Fortas to the US Supreme Court. The film disappeared in 1968 after, ironically, becoming the subject of obscenity concerns in Minneapolis, Minnesota.|||
|1969||The Promise||Michael Hayes||Ian McKellen, John Castle||First known film adaptation of a work by Soviet playwright Aleksei Arbuzov, and an early film role for McKellen. Appears on the BFI 75 Most Wanted list.|||
|1970||Adam 2||Jan Lenica||Full length cut out animated feature. Photographs and tiny snippets of the film are all that exist.|
|Chalawan||Sompote Sands||Kom Akadej
|Directorial debut of Sands.|
|Dirtymouth||Herbert S. Altman||Bernie Travis
|Lenny Bruce biopic. Became the subject of a 1970 copyright infringement lawsuit by film producer Marvin Worth, who had secured the rights to Bruce's autobiography, which led to a preliminary injunction against the film.|||
|1971||Secret Places, Secret Things||Gary Kent||Erik Stern
|A X-rated comedy about the sexual encounters of four couples all staying at the same motel.|||
|You've Got to Walk It Like You Talk It or You'll Lose That Beat||Peter Locke||Zalman King
|Noted for its soundtrack, which was composed by future Steely Dan founders Donald Fagen and Walter Becker.|||
|1972||Belinda||Richard Franklin||Melinda Forrest
|Re-released as Melinda in 1973. The film became the subject of a State of New York obscenity trial later that year, along with other X-Rated sexploitation films Kitty's Pleasure Palace and Naked Hunter, though the case was eventually dismissed in 1979.|||
|Nobody Ordered Love||Robert Hartford-Davis||Ingrid Pitt, Tony Selby||All known prints believed destroyed upon the director's death, at his request. Currently listed on the BFI 75 Most Wanted list.|||
|1973||The Mermaid||Dan Martin (as Ronnie Runningboard)||Rene Bond, Peggy Church, Jacqueline Giroux (as Robyn Whiting)||American Nudie-cutie film.|||
|1974||Him||Ed D. Louie||Only adverts and reviews are known to survive.|
|Ride to Ecstasy||Rene Martinez, Jr.||Carmen Macera, Jamin Selig, Aurora Lee||A comedic sexploitation film with themes of incest, filmed in Tampa, Florida.|||
|Sammy Somebody||Joseph Adler||Zalman King, Susan Strasberg, Sarah Kennedy, Jan Sterling||A drama about a man who embezzles from the mob. Premiered in 1974, but did not find widespread distribution until 1976.|||
|Touch the Sky||Ron Shanin||Nature documentary by wildlife photographer Ron Shanin.|||
|1977||Female Fever||Alain Patrick||Luanne Roberts, Eric Stern, Damian Zisk||American erotic psychodrama. Filmed in 1971 as Fusion, but the name was changed prior to release.|||
|The Southern Double Cross||Don Edmonds||Avery Schreiber, Judy Lewis, Anne Jeffreys||Television showings occurred in the 1980s and early 1990s, but the film has since been lost.|||
|1980||Mafia on the Bounty||Joseph Van Winkle||Jackie Gayle, Jackie Vernon, Joe E. Ross, Jay Lawrence, Frank de Kova||A raucous comedy with an ensemble cast.|||
- Bezhin Meadow, an unfinished Soviet film directed by Sergei Eisenstein. The reels were destroyed during a World War II bombing raid in 1941.
- "Vault and Nitrate Fires - A History". TCM.com. Retrieved 2012-07-21.
- Jo Botting. "Lost Then Found". British Film Institute (screenonline.org.uk). Retrieved February 21, 2013.
- Robert A. Harris, public hearing statement to the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., February 1993.
- "Film Preservation". The Film Foundation. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
- "Why". Deutsche Kinemathek. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
- Ohlheiser, Abby (December 4, 2013). "Most of America's Silent Films Are Lost Forever". The Wire. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
- Slide, Anthony (2000). Nitrate Won't Wait: History of Film Preservation in the United States. McFarland. p. 5. ISBN 0786408367. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
It is often claimed that 75 percent of all American silent films are gone and 50 percent of all films made prior to 1950 are lost, but such figures, as archivists admit in private, were thought up on the spur of the moment, without statistical information to back them up.
- "Arrivée d’un train (Arrival of a Train)". silentera.com. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
- "L'arroseur". silentera.com. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
- "Barque sortant du port de Trouville". silentera.com. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
- "Bateau-mouche sur la Seine". silentera.com. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
- "Bébé et fillettes". silentera.com. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
- "Les blanchisseuses". silentera.com. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
- "Bois de Boulogne". silentera.com. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
- "Bois de Boulogne". silentera.com. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
- "Boulevard des Italiens". silentera.com. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
- "Campement de bohémiens". silentera.com. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
- "Les chevaux de bois". silentera.com. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
- "Le chiffonier (sic)". silentera.com. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
- "Couronnement de la rosière". silentera.com. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
- "Déchargement de bateaux". silentera.com. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
- "Jardinier brûlant des herbes". silentera.com. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
- "Jetée et Plage de Trouville (1st part)". silentera.com. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
- "Jetée et Plage de Trouville (2nd part)". silentera.com. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
- "Jour de marché à Trouville". silentera.com. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
- "The Bioscope Festival of Lost Films". Retrieved 2009-01-07.
- "Hiawatha, The Messiah of the Ojibway". Canadian Film Encyclopedia. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
- Uusitalo, Kari (1996). Suomen kansallisfilmografia, osa 1: 1907-1935 (The Finnish National Filmography, part 1: 1907-1935). Finnish National Audiovisual Archive, Suomen kansallinen audiovisuaalinen arkisto (Kava): Edita. ISBN 9513719014.
- "Bobby's Kodak". silentera.com. Retrieved February 20, 2013.
- "The Music Master". silentera.com. Retrieved April 1, 2011.
- "Alias Jimmy Valentine". silentera.com.
- Barrios, Richard (1995). A Song in the Dark: The Birth of the Musical Film. Oxford University Press. pp. 453–454. ISBN 0195088115. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
- "The Argyle Case". silentera.com. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
- "The Aviator". silentera.com. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
- Pictorial History of the Talkies c.1958,1970 & 1980 and other years, by Daniel Blum
- Greta de Groat (Electronic Media Cataloger at Stanford University Libraries). "Evidence". stanford.edu. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
- "Frozen Justice". silentera.com. Retrieved April 3, 2013.
- The American Film Institute Catalog 1921-30, The American Film Institute, c. 1971
- "IMDb trivia section for A Most Immoral Lady". IMDb. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- Kerzoncuf, Alain (February 2009). "Alfred Hitchcock and The Fighting Generation". Senses of Cinema (49).
- "Australia's 'Lost' Films". National Film and Sound Archive. Retrieved March 27, 2013.
- "Kismet". Deutsche Kinemathek. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
- "A fragment of a colour nitrate film". nitrateville.com. Retrieved March 27, 2013.
- Priya Krishnamoorthy (June 15, 2007). "India's first talkie lost in silence". IBN Live. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
- "Deadlock / BFI Most Wanted". British Film Institute. Retrieved May 25, 2014.
- "Hobson's Choice / BFI Most Wanted". British Film Institute.
- MALATHI RANGARAJAN. "Tryst with the past". The Hindu. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- "Tamil Talkies complete 80 years!". Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- "Two Crowded Hours". British Film Institute. Retrieved May 25, 2014.
- "Film Threat's Top 10 Lost Films, Part 4". Film Threat. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
- Hanke, Ken (2004). Charlie Chan at the Movies: History, Filmography, and Criticism. McFarland. p. 21. ISBN 0786486619. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
- "Time and Space in the Work of László Moholy-Nagy". Hungarian Studies Review. 1988. Retrieved 2012-11-10.
- Tetsu Itoh & Yuji Kaida. 大特撮－日本特撮映画史 (Large Special: The Japanese Special Effects Movie History). Asahi Sonorama. 1979. Pg.173
- "Corto in Corto : Ivo Perilli". Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- "The Scarab Murder Case". British Film Institute. Retrieved May 24, 2014.
- Searching for John Wayne in the Alabama Hills, BBC, 9 October 2013
- "The University of Chicago Magazine: December 2002". Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- Deocampo, Nick, ed. (2006). Lost Films of Asia. Manila: Anvil. ISBN 978-971-27-1861-8.
- Hall, Phil (2007-03-01). "Top 10 Lost Films". Film Threat (Gore Group Publications). Retrieved 2008-02-17.
- "The Good Old Times / BFI Most Wanted". British Film Institute. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
- Heider 1991, p. 14.
- 75 Most Wanted - This Man Is Dangerous BFI National Archive. Retrieved 16-10-2010
- The strange sstory of "15,000 drawings," the first animated feature film Chilean Retrieved 25-11-2014
- "Squadron Leader X". British Film Institute. Retrieved May 24, 2014.
- Jo Botting. "Lost Then Found". British Film Institute Screenonline. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
- "For You Alone / BFI Most Wanted publisher=British Film Institute". Retrieved May 29, 2014.
- Moos, Dan (Autumn 2002). "Reclaiming the Frontier: Oscar Micheaux as Black Turnerian — Critical Essay". African American Review (Saint Louis University) 36 (3): 357–381. doi:10.2307/1512202. (HighBream subscription required)
- "Hammer the Toff / BFI Most Wanted". British Film Institute. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
- "Salute the Toff / BFI Most Wanted". British Film Institute. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
- "Small Town Story / BFI Most Wanted". British Film Institute. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
- "The Endangered List (Case File #134)". Temple of Schlock. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- "Linda / BFI Most Wanted". British Film Institute. Retrieved May 25, 2014.
- "Ken Russell: The Monitor Years".
- "More Than One Iron-eater | Undead Backbrain". Roberthood.net. 2008-02-29. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
- "Crosstrap / BFI Most Wanted". British Film Institute. Retrieved November 27, 2014.
- "Pages of Death Film and the Citizens for Decent Literature Vintage Sleaze". Vintage Sleaze. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
- "Andy Warhol chronology". Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- "Farewell Performance / BFI Most Wanted". British Film Institute. Retrieved May 25, 2014.
- "Fun With Filmi Ads....the Bollywood Godzilla...GOGOLA! « Pedro (The Ape Bomb) Blog". Pedrotheapebomb.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
- F.G. Hablawi. "The Quest for "Batman Fights Dracula"". NonProductive. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
- "TARGET SMUT: In Search of a Lost Anti-Porn Classic". Temple of Schlock. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
- "BFI National Archive: 75 Most Wanted List - The Promise". British Film Institute. BFI. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- "The Endangered List (Case File #143)". Temple of Schlock. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- "The Endangered List (Case File #144)". Temple of Schlock. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- "The Endangered List (Case File #147)". Temple of Schlock. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- "The Endangered List (Case File #148)". Temple of Schlock. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- "BFI 75 Most Wanted: Nobody Ordered Love". British Film Institute. BFI. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- "The Endangered List (Case File #133)". Temple of Schlock. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- "The Endangered List (Case File #142)". Temple of Schlock. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- "The Endangered List (Case File #132)". Temple of Schlock. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- "The Endangered List (Case File #142)". Temple of Schlock. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- "The Endangered List (Case File #135)". Temple of Schlock. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- "The Endangered List (Case File #138)". Temple of Schlock. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
- "The Endangered List (Case File #136)". Temple of Schlock. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- List of lost silent era films at www.silentera.com
- Lost films database of Deutsche Kinemathek
- American Silent Feature Film Database at the Library of Congress