Sunrise Overview:

Sunrise (1927) was a Drama - Romance Film directed by F.W. Murnau and produced by William Fox.

The film was based on the novel Die Reise nach Tilsit from in Litauishce Geschichten written by Hermann Sudermann published in 1917.


Subtitled A Song of Two Humans, this is one of the most visually beautiful and emotionally touching films in movie history. If one needs convincing that the silent cinema reached a higher level of artistic achievement than the talkies that immediately followed, this is required viewing. Murnau constructs a morality tale with elements of Expressionist anxiety, joyous humor, and passionate love. Rustic farmer O'Brien meets city vamp Livingston, and her feminine wiles prod O'Brien to abandon his loving, child-like wife (Gaynor) and their newborn. But O'Brien suffers the torments of the damned, eventually resolving to murder his wife by faking a boating accident. When the time comes to shove her overboard, Gaynor's scream awakens O'Brien's conscience. He chases his frightened wife to the big city, where she softens and they play and marvel at the city's wonders. On their way home across the lake, the couple draw closer together than ever before, until a thunderous storm heaves Gaynor from the boat. Thinking she is lost, O'Brien dissolves in grief, and threatens Livingston - but Gaynor is found safe and the lovers are reunited as they beam at their child. A cinema treasure that rewards every viewing.

(Source: available at Amazon AMC Classic Movie Companion).


Sunrise was inducted into the National Film Registry in 1989.

Academy Awards 1927/28 --- Ceremony Number 1 (source: AMPAS)

Best Art DirectionRochus GlieseNominated
Best CinematographyCharles RosherWon
Best CinematographyKarl StrussWon
Best ActressJanet GaynorWon

BlogHub Articles:

“Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans” starring George O’Brien and Janet Gaynor

By Stephen Reginald on Jan 17, 2023 From Classic Movie Man

“Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans” starring George O’Brien and Janet Gaynor Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927) is an American silent romantic drama directed by F.W. Murnau and starring George O’Brien and Janet Gaynor. This was German director Murnau’s first American... Read full article


on Mar 16, 2022 From Caftan Woman

Terence Towles Canote at A Shroud of Thoughts is hosting The 8th Annual Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon. The popular blogathon is running from March 18th to 20th.THE CASE OF THE SAUSALITO SUNRISEFirst aired: Sunday, February 13, 1966Written by Ernest Frankel and Orville H. HamptonBased on Erle S... Read full article

Silents are Golden: A Closer Look at ? Sunrise (1927)

By Lea Stans on Sep 16, 2021 From Classic Movie Hub Blog

Silents are Golden: A Closer Look at ? Sunrise (1927) German director F.W. Murnau, probably best known for his horror classic Nosferatu (1922), is also renowned for his masterpiece Sunrise (1927). This beautifully stylized drama about the travails of a young rural couple has universal appeal ? it... Read full article

Sunrise: A Story of Two Humans (1927)

By Amanda Garrett on Jul 20, 2017 From Old Hollywood Films

Today, I'm writing about director F. W. Murnau's silent masterpiece Sunrise: A Story of Two Humans (1927). It stars George O'Brien and Janet Gaynor as a married couple who quarrel and then reconcile in a 24-hour period. This article is part the 'Till Death Us Do Part: To Love, Honor and. . .Murde... Read full article

Before Sunrise (1995)

By 4 Star Film Fan on Mar 23, 2015 From 4 Star Films

This is a fascinating film not just about love and romance but higher, deeper concepts altogether. Without knowing the idea already existed, this is the film I always wanted to make in my head! Two people meeting in a place under unusual circumstances (on a train in a foreign country), and then buil... Read full article

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Quotes from

The Man: [pleading to his wife] Don't be afraid of me!

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Facts about

The first silent film to be released on Blu-ray (by Eureka Entertainment on September 21st, 2009 in United Kingdom).
Fox studio's first ever feature film with a recorded score.
Was the first and only film to win the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' (AMPAS) 'Best Picture' award in the category of "Artistic Quality of Production" (or "Unique and Artistic Picture"). This was the only year that this award was ever given out.
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Best Actress Oscar 1927/28

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National Film Registry


Released 1927
Inducted 1989

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Also directed by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau

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Also produced by William Fox

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Also released in 1927

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