[[caption-width-right:350:It's called Death Valley for a reason.]]

A 1924 silent film directed by Creator/ErichVonStroheim, based on the novel ''Literature/McTeague'' by Frank Norris. John [=McTeague=] (Gibson Gowland) is a miner in the California gold country. A visiting dentist inspires [=McTeague=] to try something new, and the dentist takes him on as an apprentice. [=McTeague=] eventually settles down as a dentist in San Francisco. [=McTeague=]'s friend Marcus (Jean Hersholt) brings his girlfriend Trina (Zasu Pitts) to [=McTeague=] as a patient. Marcus nobly steps aside when [=McTeague=] falls in love with Trina. [=McTeague=] and Trina are married.

In the meantime, Trina has bought a lottery ticket. Said ticket hits for five thousand dollars. Marcus becomes bitter at missing out on the money and has a falling out with [=McTeague=]. Trina for her part zealously guards the $5000, refusing to spend a dime. She still won't spend any of it after Marcus rats out [=McTeague=] for practicing dentistry without a license, leaving the couple destitute. The [=McTeagues=]' formerly intimate marriage dissolves in hatred. Eventually [=McTeague=] murders Trina and takes off with the $5000, fleeing to Death Valley, but Marcus is determined to track him down.

''Greed'' is remembered as much for what it isn't as for what it is. Von Stroheim's original cut was '''forty-two reels''', or nearly eight hours. Von Stroheim tried to talk the producers into showing the film in multiple parts, but eventually turned in a four-hour cut. {{MGM}} eventually took the film out of von Stroheim's hands and released it with a running time of about two and a half hours. The shortened film was a flop, panned by critics and [[CreatorBacklash disowned by its director]]. It has, however, been VindicatedByHistory, and is commonly considered one of the masterpieces of silent cinema. The four-hour DirectorsCut of ''Greed'' is sometimes called the "Holy Grail" of film archivists. No copy of [[MissingEpisode the deleted footage]] has ever been found.
!!This film provides examples of:
* DownerEnding: [=McTeague=] beats Trina to death, and the film ends with him stuck in Death Valley, chained to a corpse.
* DudeShesLikeInAComa: [=McTeague=] feels up Trina while she's out cold in his dentist's chair.
* EpicMovie: Certainly in its original form. Even the surviving cut has an epic feel, with location shooting in San Francisco and Death Valley that was very unusual for TheTwenties.
* TheFilmOfTheBook
* GoldFever: As usual, not a good thing.
* Main/{{Greed}}: In the title! It's a driving force of most of the character actions and ultimately [=McTeague=]'s FatalFlaw.
* LostForever: Large portions of this originally 8 hour film were cut and thrown away by the producers.
* LoveTriangle: Gone horribly wrong, as Marcus seeks revenge.
* MoneyFetish / PooledFunds: Trina dumps the gold coins on her bed and rolls around in them.
* ReCut: A "restored" version was released that combined the existing footage with still pictures from the production. It runs nearly four hours.
* StaggeredZoom: The chilling last shot, where the film zooms out to show [=McTeague=] handcuffed to a corpse in the middle of a desert.
* ThanatosGambit: As [=McTeague=] beats him to death in the desert, Marcus handcuffs them together.
* ThirstyDesert: It's called Death Valley for a reason.
* WantedPoster: This is pretty much all the segue there is from Trina's murder to the last sequence of [=McTeague=] fleeing into the desert. This is one of the biggest cuts in von Stroheim's film--a long section where [=McTeague=] goes back home to see his parents again was taken out of the movie.
* WorthlessYellowRocks: You got the gold. Mazel tov. Too bad you're in the middle of a ''desert'' with no ''water'' and handcuffed to a dead guy.