No question: FW Murnau's rapturous symphony is one of Hollywood's finest silent melodramas.
Sunrise's plot is straightforward, its archetypal characters - the hulking farmer (George O'Brien), his innocent wife (Janet Gaynor) and a city vamp (Margaret Livingston) - becoming embroiled in a love triangle. But the film's brilliance lies in the way Murnau conjures up the worlds of both a rural idyll and a pulsating metropolis - - and in the manner he conveys the intense emotions through music and imagery.
Incredibly, a large portion of this 1927 masterpiece traces the married couple's reconciliation, Murnau assuredly leading us out of the despairing darkness into joyous light. Cinema at its most exhilarating.