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Faust was the mammoth German production which won F. W. Murnau his contract with Hollywood's Fox Studios. Emil Jannings glowers his way through the role of Mephistopholes, who offers the aging Faust (Gosta Eckman) an opportunity to relive his youth, the price being Faust's soul. Though highly stylized, the film is unsettlingly realistic at times, especially during the execution of the unfortunate Gretchen. Even in old age, actress Camilla Horn could recall how close she came to genuine immolation when Murnau burned her at the stake. An American version of Faust had been planned earlier… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"This extraordinary piece of artistry and craftsmanship integrates its dazzling special effects so seamlessly that they're indistinguishable from the film's narrative, poetry, and, above all, metaphysics."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"Murnau's version of the story of the man who sold his soul to the Devil (Jannings) in return for youth is visually extraordinary but dismally uneven in terms of its dramatic effect."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"Faust is a tragedy drawn in magnificent images like paintings in light and shadow and is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful of Murnau's German films."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Turner Classic Movies Online
"Visually striking early telling of the German folktale."
‑ Alan Morrison, Empire Magazine
"The overall film is truly masterful."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"As atmospheric and menacing a work as the expressionist movement ever produced."
‑ Don Druker, Chicago Reader
"I sometimes feel, in this age of expert CGI, that I am being shown too much -- that technique is pushing aside artistry and imagination. The world of Faust is never intended to define a physical universe, but is a landscape of nightmares."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"A great work by a great director, and one of the most instantly accessible silent films ever made."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"Faust an extremely stylish horror fantasy in the best tradition of German silent cinema, featuring brilliant photography, magnificent art direction, and magical special effects which still have the power to amaze."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"A masterpiece of expressionistic filmmaking, a silent classic that is unfortunately deeply flawed by a maudlin second act."
‑ Michael W. Phillips, Jr., Goatdog's Movies
"Here is a picture which is as far removed from the ordinary movie as a Tintoretto painting."
‑ , New York Times
"Still a classic example of eye-popping excess at a time when German filmmakers were among the most innovative in the world."
‑ John Monaghan, Detroit Free Press
"Revisits the German legend of Dr. Faustus with an amazing use of expressionistic visuals."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Films from the German Expressionism era are famous for their fiercely stylized mise-en-scene, and to Murnau the medium's very artificiality provided the keys to locating its truths."
‑ Fernando F. Croce, Slant Magazine
"Brilliant Murnau fantasy"
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
More reviews for Faust on Rotten Tomatoes