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->'''Alan''': How long shall I live?\\
'''Cesare''': Your time is short. You die at dawn.

Silent [[GermanExpressionism German expressionist]] {{horror}} film made in 1920, starring Creator/WernerKrauss as the titular mad doctor and Creator/ConradVeidt (the bad guy from ''Film/{{Casablanca}}...'' Oh, and [[Literature/TheManWhoLaughs the original]] [[SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker Joker]]) as the fortune-telling sleepwalker Cesare [[ItIsPronouncedTroPay (pronounced "CHEH-zah-ray")]], who lives inside the cabinet.

The film was intended to be an anti-authoritarian story, inspired by the military hospitals in UsefulNotes/WorldWarI when [[ShellShockedVeteran "malingering"]] soldiers were confined under manipulative doctors, but ExecutiveMeddling ''strongly'' diluted this message. See the trivia section for details.

This film is best-known for its extremely messed-up set design: All the angles are crooked, the shadows are ''painted onto the sets'', and it's all made out of paper. More notably, some sets are twisted versions of World War I battlefields.

This movie is frequently homaged by music videos (see Music/RobZombie's "Living Dead Girl", Music/{{Rainbow}}'s "Can't Let You Go" and "Otherside" by the Music/RedHotChiliPeppers). In 2005, it received an indie remake starring Creator/DougJones, of ''Film/PansLabyrinth'' fame, which digitally imposed the new actors onto the original set. (Perhaps not coincidentally, Creator/DougJones also had a small role in Creator/TimBurton's ''Film/BatmanReturns'', a movie that owes a ''lot'' to the German Expressionist style.)

In addition to being the first {{psychological thriller}}, this movie also received one of the first-ever ViralMarketing campaigns for a movie: Before its premiere, German streets were plastered with posters that read "Du mußt Caligari werden!" ("You must become Caligari!") without telling you anything about the fact that they tied in to a movie.

''The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari'' was tremendously influential in cinematic history, as all the {{Trope Maker|s}} examples below attest. It is in the public domain and may be viewed in its entirety at [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrg73BUxJLI YouTube]]. A re-scored version with ProgressiveRock music by Creator/IsaacBaranoff and Music/FunnyAminals can be viewed online.

An InNameOnly remake, ''The Cabinet of Caligari'', was released in 1962.

'''Note: Unmarked spoilers below!'''

!!This movie provides examples of various tropes:

* AllJustADream: At the end of the film, the story of Francis' struggle against the murderous Caligari and Cesare turns out to be just that, a story. The real "Caligari" turns out to be the director of the asylum where Francis, Jane, and Cesare are inmates.
* AndYouWereThere: Most of the characters turn out to have real-world counterparts hanging around the asylum. The absence of an equivalent for Alan implies that although the bulk of the film wasn't completely accurate, it [[OrWasItADream wasn't a total fantasy]], either.
* ArtShift: The parts that Francis is imagining have the famously psychotic set design, some of which are twisted version of battlefields in World War I.
* BedlamHouse: The asylum in which Francis is revealed to be an inmate at the end of the film is only slightly less surreal than the sets in the story he is telling his fellow inmate. (The cell in which Caligari is thrown at the end of Francis' story notably re-appears as the cell in which Francis himself is thrown when he attacks "Caligari".)
* BigBad: Caligari is the BigBad of Francis' story, with Cesare as TheDragon, but it turns out that in reality the film has NoAntagonist.
* {{Bizarrchitecture}}: Almost every scene is distorted. There are no right angles, no straight lines, and many surfaces are covered with wild, swirling patterns. The two scenes which appear otherwise normal are the asylum courtyard, and asylum atrium.
* BrainwashedAndCrazy: Cesare. According to Francis, anyway.
* CassandraDidIt: Initially seems to be the case, with Cesare's prophecy about Alan's death. The twist ending casts some doubt on this, though.
* CircusOfFear: Probably the {{Trope Maker|s}}. That is one creepy circus.
* CuckooNest: The film represents one of the most notable uses of this trope where the character being told his account of events is just a hallucination really ''is'' insane. None of Francis' version of events really happened (or at least not as he described them); they were, instead, the literal ramblings of a madman. Unless, of course, they aren't...
* DamselInDistress: Cesare tries to kidnap Jane.
* DastardlyWhiplash: Caligari is a hook-nosed man in a top hat and black cape (an Inverness coat (called "Havelock" in German) to be precise). He doesn't have the moustache, but he almost makes up for that with his impressive sideburns.
* EeriePaleSkinnedBrunette: Cesare and Francis.
* EmpathicEnvironment: Very much so. Look at those sets. They're weird.
* ExcessiveEvilEyeshadow: Cesare wears black makeup underneath his eyes. Notably, it's absent in the final scene where he appears as a harmless mental patient.
* EvilOldFolks: Caligari -- or at least, that's how Francis sees him.
* ForScience: Caligari wants to know if he can convince a sleepwalker to do things they would find abhorrent while awake. Just because.
* FourEyesZeroSoul: Caligari's spectacles make him look much creepier.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Turns out all that {{Bizarrchitecture}} wasn't just weird for the sake of weird. The complete unreality of the sets is a hint that the story Francis is telling isn't real. Note that the common room at the insane asylum looks relatively normal.
* FramingDevice: Francis and the old man sitting in the courtyard.
* GermanExpressionism: The {{Trope Maker|s}}, or at least, TropeCodifier.
* {{Homage}}: It's received so many homages, mostly from Tim Burton, that it has become subject to the WeirdAlEffect.
* InsaneEqualsViolent: Averted in the final scene, where the majority of the inmates -- Cesare included -- are portrayed as harmless.
* IntendedAudienceReaction: The sets. If they weren't so stylized, they would look cheap and unconvincing. Instead, their obvious artificiality just adds to the SurrealHorror of the film.
* IrisOut: A common trope in the day, and used many times in this film. The one that ends the film is particularly chilling.
* JackTheRipoff: A villager takes advantage of Cesare's killing spree to try to cast off suspicion from his own attempt. The result is that it actually takes suspicion away from Cesare.
* TheKillerInMe: It's very subtly implied -- through the LoveTriangle at the beginning, the ShadowDiscretionShot of Alan's murder, Alan's absence from the final scenes at the asylum, and the revelation that Francis is insane -- that Alan's murder may have been the only true part of Francis' story, in which case, Francis himself was probably the killer.
* KubrickStare: The anonymous attempted murderer (played by an uncredited Creator/RudolfKleinRogge, of ''Film/DrMabuseTheGambler'' and ''Film/{{Metropolis}}'' fame) gives one from his cell.
* LooksLikeCesare: The TropeMaker.
* MadnessMantra: "I must know everything." And "You must become Caligari."
* MadnessMontage: Surely the Trope Maker, with the "Du musst Caligari werden" scene described below under RoomFullOfCrazy.
* MadScientist: Dr. Caligari is initially presented as one. It's hard to tell whether he's genuinely mad or not, though.
* MindControlEyes: The mind controlled Cesare reveals [[http://pipocaenanquim.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Cesare.jpg a particularly demented stare]] when Dr. Caligari first wakes him up.
* MindScrew: The ''sets'' are pure MindScrew. In fact, if you compare actual World War I photos to some scenes, you'll find that some of the movie scenes are twisted version of battlefields.
* MorallyAmbiguousDoctorate: Dr. Caligari is a subversion, since the character turns out to be a fairly harmless psychiatrist (maybe), and Francis is perceiving him as a DiabolicalMastermind.
* MurderTheHypotenuse: Alan's murder resolves the love triangle of which he is a part with Jane and Francis.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: If you meet a guy who may be named after one of the Borgias, don't mess with him.
* NiceHat: Plenty, but top notch goes to the Doctor with his stovepipe.
* NoEnding: "Now I can cure him." The End.
* NoNameGiven: Apparently Dr. Caligari renamed himself and Cesare after the legendary 17th century doctor and somnambulist he wished to emulate. We never learn what Dr. Caligari and Cesare's original names were.
* NoSneakAttacks: Averted, as Cesare's victims are killed in their sleep. His, too.
* OnlySaneMan: Francis believes he is this, both in the story he tells his fellow inmate and in the actual asylum, where he tries to warn the inmates that "Caligari" is planning their doom, and that they will all die at dawn.
* OrganGrinder: Well, not ''every'' attraction at the fair is a creepy old guy with a murderous zombie in a box.
* RavenHairIvorySkin: Jane Olsen.
* TheReveal: Possibly another {{Trope Maker|s}} for film history.
* RevengeByProxy: Caligari sets Cesare on Jane to get revenge on her father for meddling in his affairs.
* {{Roofhopping}}: Cesare, in probably the film's most famous scene, climbs across rooftops to Jane's window.
* RoomFullOfCrazy: Or Scenery Full of Crazy -- Dr. Caligari hallucinates the phrase "DU MUSST CALIGARI WERDEN" (YOU MUST BECOME CALIGARI) appearing all over the scenery once he gets the inspiration to mimic the legendary Dr. Caligari.
* SacrificialLamb: Alan, murdered by Cesare to kick the plot into gear.
* SelfFulfillingProphecy: It's easy to predict when someone will die if you go and kill them.
* ShadowDiscretionShot: The murder of Alan. Remember, we never actually ''see'' Cesare in that scene. See TheKillerInMe below.
* SleepingDummy: On the third attempt, Caligari kept a puppet in the open cabinet, to divert suspicion from the Cesare. It looked like him from the window.
* {{Sleepwalking}}: Cesare is a somnambulist.
* SurrealHorror: As has been mentioned before, this movie looks ''really'' weird.
* TalkativeLoon: Francis, although we don't realize it till the end. This trope is also the final fate of poor Jane.
* ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight: Cesare sneaks into people's windows and stabs them in the middle of the night.
* ToKnowHimIMustBecomeHim: "I must know everything. I must penetrate the heart of his secret! I must become Caligari!"
* TorchesAndPitchforks: A mob ends up chasing Cesare for so long that he dies of exhaustion.
* TouchOfTheMonster: The PietaPlagiarism on the cover is the first in film.
* TwistEnding: It's AllJustADream and [[TomatoInTheMirror Francis is crazy]]. Also, supposedly the {{Trope Maker|s}} for the film medium.
* UnreliableNarrator: Francis' story of his and Jane's romance and their struggle against Caligari and Cesare is revealed at the end of the film to be part of his delusions.
* VillainousBreakdown: When Caligari sees that Cesare has died, he goes even more crazy than he already was.
* WomanInWhite: Take a look at that poster up there.
* WouldntHitAGirl: Even while sleepwalking and hypnotised, Cesare apparently can't bring himself to stab a woman. He just kidnaps her instead.
* ZombieGait: Cesare [[TropeMaker makes yet another trope]].