[[quoteright:166:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Nosferatu.jpg]]

->''"Mortal terror reigned''
->''Sickness now, then horrible death''
->''Only Lucy knew the truth''
->''And at her window -''
->''Nosferatu"''
-->-- '''Music/BlueOysterCult'''

''Nosferatu'' (rarely used full title: ''Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror'') is the first known "vampire" movie, released in 1922. Director [[GermanExpressionism Friedrich W. Murnau]] cast [[http://eric.b.olsen.tripod.com/schreck.html Max Schreck]] as Count Orlok, with the veteran German character actor [[LooksLikeOrlok wearing a costume that left him bald, with huge pointed ears and long sharp fangs]]...in short, one of the most frightening characters in film history. This movie is also notable for spawning the idea that [[WeakenedByTheLight vampires can be killed by sunlight.]]

The myth that ''Nosferatu'' was Schreck's only role is untrue; he appeared in over 20 films and a number of stage roles, all in Germany. The idea was perpetuated by the 2000 film ''ShadowOfTheVampire,'' which portrayed Schreck as an actual vampire.

''Nosferatu'' was originally intended to be a direct adaptation of Bram Stoker's ''{{Dracula}}'', but Stoker's widow, who owned the copyright, refused permission. So Murnau and his team [[CaptainErsatz changed the characters' names]],[[note]]Some later English-language prints "restore" the character names to their ''Dracula'' originals.[[/note]] simplified the plot, and tried to pass ''Nosferatu'' off as an original story.

It didn't work. The film company that produced ''Nosferatu'' was forced to declare bankruptcy to avoid paying Bram Stoker's estate for copyright infringement. All copies of this film were supposed to [[DisproportionateRetribution be destroyed]] because of the infringement, but a KeepCirculatingTheTapes mentality among fans of the film kept it from being [[MissingEpisode lost.]] ([[DigitalPiracyIsEvil Pre-digital movie piracy?]] It's OlderThanYouThink.) We, too, can see the greatness of Murnau's vision.

This movie is in the public domain and may be viewed in its entirety at [[http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5533219824209187800 Google Video]], [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcyzubFvBsA YouTube,]] [[http://www.hulu.com/watch/188230 Hulu,]] and [[http://www.archive.org/details/nosferatu the Internet Archive.]] A rescored version with ProgressiveRock music by Creator/IsaacBaranoff and Music/FunnyAminals can be viewed [[http://blip.tv/horndogtv/nosferatu-rescored-by-funny-aminals-6674955 here]].

Also notable under this title: Creator/WernerHerzog's 1979 ''Nosferatu the Vampyre'', a re-adaptation of ''Dracula'' heavily influenced by the Murnau film's iconic visuals and streamlined plot. KlausKinski played the title role (now back to the name "Dracula"), and it's generally considered to be almost as good as the original. Some would even call it better. Kinski would return for the 1988 sort-of-sequel ''Nosferatu in Venice''.
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!!This film contains the tropes:

* AdaptationDistillation: Despite the fact that [[SerialNumbersFiledOff all the names have been changed]] and the plot's been simplified, this is probably the best ''Literature/{{Dracula}}'' adaptation out there.
* AnimalMotifs: Orlok has a very subtle yet obvious in hindsight connection with rats and, through them, the plague. His fangs are rat-like incisors rather than the elongated canines ususally used for vampires, his pointed nose and thin face gives him a rodent quality to his facial features, even his taloned hands call to minds the grasping paws of a giant rat.
* AristocratsAreEvil: Count Orlok (Graf Orlok in the original German).
* ArtShift: A striking one. As Hutter's coach approaches Orlok's castle, one shot of the coach on the road is shown in photographic negative, likely to symbolize Hutter's entrance into another world.
* AsLongAsItSoundsForeign: The etymology of the word "nosferatu" is unclear. This movie isn't the first to use it (Stoker's novel referenced it first), but the usual origin (the Romanian word for "vampire") is false.
** The two most probable etymologies are a corruption of the Romanian "Necuratu," meaning "unclean spirit," or Greek "Nosophoros," meaning "bringer of plague."
* BaldOfEvil: Orlok
* BedsheetLadder: Used by Hutter to escape Orlok's castle.
* BreakingAndBloodsucking: Ellen's plan to destroy Orlok is to wait for him to attack her in her bed and allow him to slowly feed to distract him from the lethal sunrise.
* CaptainsLog: The people of Wisborg consult the ghost ship's log in an effort to figure out what happened.
* CreepyLongFingers: Orlok, as part of his [[LooksLikeOrlok defining appearance]].
* CueTheSun
* DownerEnding: In the Herzog remake [[spoiler:Lucy is dead, Van Helsing is arrested for killing Dracula and Harker is now a vampire who will presumably continue to spread death and disease. Lucy's sacrifice ultimately meant nothing.]]
* GermanExpressionism
* GhostShip: The one Orlok takes to Germany becomes one of these when it pulls into port. Because of Orlok.
* GhostlyGlide: How Orlok moves.
* HappilyMarried: Hutter and Ellen. Mind you, they are newlyweds.
* HeroicSacrifice: Ellen deliberately lets Orlok feed on her to distract him until [[WeakenedByTheLight sunrise]].
* KillEmAll: Orlok kills everyone on the ship.
* LeanAndMean: Orlok is skeletally thin.
* LooksLikeOrlok: TropeNamer. Quite a contrast to the suave, attractive vampires that make up so much of the rest of vampire fiction.
* LoveTranscendsSpacetime: At the very moment when Orlock is readying himself to feed, fatally, on Hutter, Ellen has a sudden panic attack -- which somehow makes the vampire back down and leave Hutter alive.
* MisplacedWildlife: The "{{werewolf}}" that we see roaming around outside the inn Hutter stops at for the night is actually a hyena.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Hutter tells his wife that he is heading to "the country of thieves and ghosts" - and he seems [[MoodDissonance awfully excited about it too]]!
* NeverWorkWithChildrenOrAnimals: One scene has Orlock loading up a horse-drawn cart with coffins and then he gets inside one at the top of the coffin stack. Watch as the lid of the coffin moves up to Orlock's coffin (via stop-motion photography) - the horses change position a couple of times. It doesn't qualify as a {{Special Effects Failure}} given the film was made in the early days of cinema.
* OnlyThePureOfHeart: Only an innocent young woman's willing sacrifice of her blood to distract the vampire from the coming dawn can destroy him.
** The animated Swiss parody "Nosferatu Tango" drives a stake into this trope: The innocent young woman took Brand ZZZZZ sleeping pills, which also lay Nosferatu to (eternal) sleep when the morning comes.
* OurVampiresAreDifferent: As noted above, this film originated the idea that vampires burn in sunlight. Also, Schreck's vampire is rather uniquely portrayed as [[LooksLikeOrlok a rat-like monster]] and the personification of pestilence, as well as having a considerable semblance to some kind of ghost -- the numerous scenes where Orlok seems to materialise or dematerialise at will (such as when carrying his coffin into his new lair), as well as the famous sequence where Orlok seems to sneak into Hutter's home as a disembodied shadow.
* PickedFlowersAreDead: Ellen, at the opening scene.
* PivotalWakeup: The TropeMaker, and one of the creepiest moments in the movie.
* ThePlague: When Orlock arrives in Wisborg, he brings disease with him. (Or he might just be busy eating people.)
* RavenHairIvorySkin: Lucy (Isabelle Adjani) in the Herzog remake.
* TheRenfield: Knock, who was already under Orlok's control before the start of the film.
* RedRightHand: See LooksLikeOrlok.
* RoyalDecree: Plague victims are decreed to be kept out of the hospital to stop the spread of the disease.
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: Count Orlok is shown loading his coffins onto a horse-drawn wagon by himself (whereas Count Dracula had hired gypsies doing this in the book and [[Film/BramStokersDracula the 1992 film]]). He's even shown carrying his coffin to his new home later on.
** Of course, the absence of any noticeable servants at his residence should be some cause for concern on Hutter's part, if the innkeeper's warnings and the [[LooksLikeOrlok Count's]] [[ObviouslyEvil appearance]] hadn't already been.
* SilentMovie: Commonly regarded as one of the greatest.
* SoundtrackDissonance: Some versions of the film feature a near-constant usage of a strange, cheerful little tune that sounds more like it would belong in an old Mickey Mouse cartoon than a classic horror movie. It becomes increasingly hard to get into the mood of the film when this song is in nearly every other scene, even in perfectly innocuous ones, such as the simple act of walking up stairs.
* StarCrossedLovers
* SwarmOfRats: Orlok brings them with him aboard his ship.
* SupportingProtagonist: Hutter. His wife Ellen's presence protects him from Orlok while he's in Transylvania, and it is only through her [[HeroicSacrifice sacrifice]] that Orlok is killed.
* TerrifyingPetStoreRat: The SwarmOfRats includes several of the hooded (dark head, white body) variety, which is a domesticated strain of rat.
* VampireBitesSuck: Orlok's needle-like incisors leave two small pinprick-holes in the victim's throat
* WeakenedByTheLight: Sunlight makes Orlok catch fire and disappear. (As noted above, this film is the TropeMaker.)
* WhoWantsToLiveForever: A major theme of the Herzog/Kinski remake. It's not so much that he's outliving his loved ones, it's that no one could ''ever'' love a monster like him. And living forever, eternally unloved, is almost unbearable. It's possibly the most tragic interpretation of the Dracula story ever.

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