''Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans'' is a 1927 silent drama film directed by [[Creator/FriedrichWilhelmMurnau F. W. Murnau]]. It was his first American film and won two Oscars at the first UsefulNotes/AcademyAward ceremony: Best Cinematography and Best Artistic Quality of Production (an alternate Best Picture award that existed only that year). It is perhaps best known for its massive critical acclaim (even over 80 years later) and for either inventing or perfecting many of the camera, special effects and storytelling techniques we take for granted now.

The story follows a rural man (George O'Brien) who, under the influence of an urban temptress (Margaret Livingston), plans to kill his wife (Janet Gaynor) by pushing her out of a boat. He can't go through with it, though: the couple continue their boat ride to TheCity, where they reconcile and have a day's worth of innocent adventures. But AStormIsComing...

''Sunrise'' is considered a stylistic masterpiece and is the UrExample, TropeMaker or TropeCodifier of many now-common camera and special effects techniques like EpicTrackingShot and ForcedPerspective. Its lyrical camera movement and minimal use of intertitles are typical of Murnau, and {{German Expressionis|m}}t influence shows in the oversized sets of the amusement park where much of the film takes place and in the juxtaposition of outdoorsy tactile details with soundstage artificiality in the village scenes. But the setting is not disturbing in itself, as it is in many German Expressionist films (the fractured brainscapes of ''Film/TheCabinetOfDrCaligari'', the cold machine-world of ''Film/{{Metropolis}}'', the corrupt antiquation of Murnau's own ''Film/{{Nosferatu}}''). Instead, it functions as an unobtrusive, archetypal backdrop for what is in essence a modern fable.

Janet Gaynor won the first ever UsefulNotes/AcademyAward for Best Actress for this film, as well as ''[[Film/SeventhHeaven 7th Heaven]]'' and ''Street Angel'' (at that first ceremony, the acting awards were given for one's body of work during the year).

The film was selected for preservation in the inaugural year of the Library of Congress's UsefulNotes/NationalFilmRegistry (1989).
!!This film provides examples of:
* AmusementPark: The man and wife go to one after reconciling.
* BettyAndVeronica: The scheming, evil Woman from the City and the sweet, nurturing Wife.
* ChekhovsBoomerang: The bulrushes, gathered up to be the Man's life preserver, first save his life, then the Wife's.
* ChromaKey: What looks at first like an egregiously bad green-screen effect of the Man and Wife walking across a city street, is revealed to be deliberate when the effect changes to the Man and Wife walking through a beautiful field of flowers, suggesting how they're tuning out the world as they renew their love for each other.
* TheCity: The Woman is from there, and the Man and Wife renew their love there.
* CityMouse: The Woman, with her tight dresses and heels, obviously doesn't fit in the rural village. And she knows it, which is why she wants the Man to come to the city with her.
* ComfortingComforter: The Wife does this for her husband. Later he does it for her on the boat trip back.
* DownOnTheFarm: Setting for the first part, contrasting with the latter portion when the couple goes to the City.
* DramaticSlip: The wife, when running from her husband into the woods.
* EasilyForgiven: Your husband said he was sorry. Check. He said he was really, really sorry. Check. But you know, he did almost murder you, and that was after he cheated on you and sold off much of your farm.
* EpicTrackingShot: Not by modern standards, maybe, but the way the camera follows the Man as he walks through the swamp to meet the Woman was very innovative for 1928 Hollywood.
* EvilDetectingDog: When the Man takes the Wife out on the lake, their dog knows something is up. He slips his leash and tries to come along to protect her, but the Man takes him back before returning to the boat.
* FascinatingEyebrow: The photographer raises his eyebrow fashionably when the couple leaves his studio.
* TheFlapper: The Woman from the City is a combination of this and TheVamp.
* ForcedPerspective: Used for much of the movie to make the sets both in the village and in the city look bigger than they really were.
* ForDoomTheBellTolls: Played with. The church bells ring in a doom-y way as the man takes the wife out on what's supposed to be a fatal boat ride. But when they ring again, making higher notes, they help snap him out of it.
* [[FunWithSubtitles Fun with Intertitles]]: When the Woman asks the Man "Couldn't she be drowned?", the titles melt and fall to the bottom of the screen.
* GoodSmokingEvilSmoking: If we hadn't already figured out that the Woman From The City was bad after finding out she's breaking up the Man's marriage, or after seeing her plot the murder of the Wife, that cigarette she keeps puffing on would do it.
* HairOfGoldHeartOfGold: The angelic, loving Wife has blonde hair--this is definitely an artistic choice, as Gaynor was a natural brunette.
* HeavySleeper: The Wife falls asleep on the way back and doesn't wake up when the wind picks up and a storm rolls over the boat. It takes a clap of thunder to bring her around. In fairness, the film does show that she's a little bit drunk after their night out in the City.
* HostileWeather: Which nearly kills The Man and The Wife. Ironically, the bulrushes the Man planned to use to aid in his murder end up saving them both.
* ImportantHaircut: The Man gets a shave, getting rid of his scruffy beard, symbolic of being renewed and cleansing himself.
* KubrickStare: The husband puts this face on right before he gets up to drown his wife.
* LettingHerHairDown: The Wife in the last scene.
* LightFeminineAndDarkFeminine: The Woman from The City is the Dark Feminine (hedonist, cheater, brunette), while The Wife is the Light Feminine (good all the way through, blonde).
* MakeItLookLikeAnAccident: The plan is to make the wife's drowning look like an accident. The husband is supposed to save himself by using some bulrushes as a life raft, then scatter them on his way to shore to hide the evidence.
* MessyPig: One gets loose from a carnival game and runs into a restaurant. The Man uses his farming skills to wrangle it when none of the city boys can manage it.
* TheMistress: The Woman from the City has already seduced the Man when the story begins. The Wife obviously knows something is up, but is unwilling to confront him.
* MoodWhiplash: ''Everywhere.'' The scene where the Man nearly tries to murder his Wife is pretty scary. After that the narrative is tragic for a while, then it morphs into something like a country-bumpkin-in-the-city comedy, then it's quite romantic and sweet as the Man and the Wife sail home under the moon, and then the storm happens...
* MurderTheHypotenuse: Averted at the last moment.
* NamelessNarrative: The {{archetypal character}}s are known only as The Man, The Wife, and The Woman from the City.
* OneHeadTaller: Gaynor didn't even get to O'Brien's collarbone level. This makes the scene where he looms over her in the boat particularly effective.
* ShortTitleLongElaborateSubtitle: ''Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans''
* SilenceIsGolden: While, yes, its a "silent" film, the movie actually has very little dialogue and very few intertitles. Most character interactions are through facial expressions and body motions.
** "Silent film" is in quotes here because the only thing that makes it a silent film is its lack of spoken dialogue: ''Sunrise'' was the first film to use the experimental [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Movietone_sound_system Fox Movietone]] system, making it the first motion picture have its sound track printed on film. Aside from the score being present, there's even some early use of sound effects during a scene where the Man and Wife are standing in the middle of an intersection (that scene also features some wordless grumbles, making ''Sunrise'' one of the earliest films with some form of recorded human noise).
* ThunderEqualsDownpour: One lightning bolt, cue torrential thunderstorm.
* UnstoppableRage: When it seems that the Wife has drowned in the storm, the Man is stricken with grief, while the Woman from the City thinks everything has gone according to plan. She tries to get the Man to run away with her, pissing him off so badly he almost kills ''her'' before the Wife is found alive.
* TheVamp: The Woman from the City, who likes adultery and wants to graduate to murder.
* WeddingDay: The Man and Wife stumble upon a wedding in the City, leading to their reconciliation. The Man only seems to realize just how far he's fallen when he hears the groom vowing to love and protect the bride until death do them part.
* WhenItRainsItPours: On the way back home.