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Silence Is Golden

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Art Spiegelman: Samuel Beckett once said: "Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness".
Pavel: Yes.
[beat panel]
Art Spiegelman: On the other hand, he SAID it.

Though some people have difficulty imagining movies without spoken dialogue, the first few decades of film did extremely well without it, to the point that many filmmakers dismissed talkies as a gimmicky passing fad or a perversion of real cinema. To be honest, they initially had a point considering that film sound recording techniques were very crude in the beginning, making for some really stiffly staged and dull films until the combined talents of artists and technicians solved the problems. Regardless, perhaps it isn't such a shock to learn that, long after the end of the silent film era, many filmmakers and writers still think that silence is, well, golden.

Although, it should be noted that silent films were never actually silent; they were always accompanied with live music in theatres and this music scored every scene and emotional point of the film, often against the director's intentions for a patch of sound-free action (no dialogue or no music and effects). Josef von Sternberg, director of silent classics and a great deal of important sound films, noted that it was only with sound that he was able to put long stretches into his films without dialogue and music. The real reason directors and other technicians were hesitant to try sound, aside from an instinctive refusal to change their routine, is the fact that the arrival of sound led to film craftsmanship taking a step back. By the end of the silent era, films like Sunrise and The Crowd as well as comedies by Buster Keaton showed amazing technical facility in cutting, editing, and camera techniques, benefiting greatly from the lightweight cameras that prevailed at the end of the '20s. The arrival of sound and theater talent as well as the primitive recording equipment led many early films to be what Alfred Hitchcock once dismissed as "pictures of people talking" or filmed theatre with little in way of inventive camera techniques or creative lighting used to tell a story cinematically. Sound equipment also led to heavier cameras which made it harder, for some time, to achieve the Tracking Shot and other impressive technical feats. Though, many film-makers adapted quickly and worked hard to achieve solutions.

Moreover, if the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words is to be believed, shouldn't a whole series of pictures be able to speak for themselves?

Nowadays, however, in the presence of so many audible (or legible) artworks, silence has become an innovation itself, often used to stimulate the viewer's imagination or add a vaguely brooding "cinematic" tone to the work. In television and films, running something "silent" usually means removing most or all of the dialogue, leaving just the music and/or sound effects; a few pieces remove even these. Some comics are likewise run completely silent with no dialogue, captions, or sound effects; in extreme cases, they may not even include any written words (e.g., if someone hands a character a note to read, we're not shown what it says). Others selectively cut the dialogue and/or captions while leaving sound effects present in order to have them tell the story.

Sister Trope of Deliberately Monochrome. Frequently used in surrealist films, and is sometimes combined with filmmaking techniques from the silent era for Retraux effect. No-Dialogue Episode is a popular form of Formula-Breaking Episode. Sometimes leads to Filling the Silence in adaptations. When used for horror, it overlaps with Nothing Is Scarier. When used temporarily to add poignancy to a dramatic scene, it's a Moment of Silence. When the Background Music goes quiet to add emphasis or weight, see Sudden Soundtrack Stop. See also Mime and Music-Only Cartoon for animated works that feature little or no spoken dialogue.

Contrast Dead Air, for situations where silence is absolutely not to be desired, and Speech-Centric Work.


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  • When television advertisements are usually painfully loud, silence can be used very effectively. For an extremely obscure example, a local advertisement for a used car lot is completely silent for the whole thirty seconds it's on.
  • One ad for Kotex was completely silent to show how quiet their new maxi pads are. It even lampshades it at the end with "Now back to your noisy commercial."
  • In The Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, the only spoken words in the entire film are when Hades lays out his conditions; all the rest is in silence to let the music and visuals tell the story.
  • An ad for Trojan condoms showed, in slow motion and complete silence, a crossbow bolt crossing the screen in front of a black background, then hitting a shield emblazoned with the Trojan logo. The bolt falls to the ground. A line of text appears. No music, no sound, nothing.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The "Rainy Day" episode of The Adventures of Mini-Goddess. Not one word spoken, but with that score, it doesn't need any.
  • In AKIRA, the gigantic explosion at the end makes no noise, only having organ music playing over it (soft vocals in the American dub).
  • Mamoru Oshii's Angel's Egg has less than a page of spoken dialogue, most of which is in one scene.
  • The surreal short film Cat Soup has no dialogue whatsoever.
  • Cowboy Bebop has a lot of long stretches with little to no dialogue, preferring to let the visuals and soundtrack do the talking. A memorable sequence depicts a villain's origin using nothing but sparse electronic music, cold and sterile colors, and shots without much movement, making a remarkable (and terrifying) contrast to the rest of the show's colorful and jazzy style.
  • This happens with The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. with Chapter 226 which is another New year's day themed chapter along with its adaptation from the final short of Season 2 Episode 20 until the end.
  • The Fairy Tail manga has two chapters, "Lone Journey" and its sequel "Lone Journey II", which are both vignettes that 1.) focus on Gildarts during his journey across Earth-land, and 2.) are completely devoid of dialogue bubbles. The Movie also has a long stretch of silence where Natsu and his friends take a leisurely tour through a new city, and two others in the anime where the team travels to Warrod's house before and after completing a mission, focusing mostly on wide landscape shots.
  • The two Ghost in the Shell (1995) movies, also by Oshii, have very little dialog as well. Most fight scenes don't have any spoken lines at all and instead show in great detail what the characters are doing and seeing, leaving it to the audience to assume what they might be thinking.
  • Gon, fitting of a series staring a not-very-anthropomorphic dinosaur, has no dialogue.
  • Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem, set to the songs of the Daft Punk album Discovery, has no need for dialogue either (other than the song lyrics and a brief introduction by Leiji Matsumoto). Even the sound effects are minimal.
  • Joshi Kausei or Jyoshikausei is your typical moe schoolgirl manga series. But with no dialogue!
  • The 2009 stop-motion series Komaneko The Curious Cat has no dialogue at all besides a few grunts and a few characters calling their names. But is mostly silent.
  • In Naruto, the chapter that revealed that Tobi is Obito was almost entirely silent, with the only dialogue being a single line on the last page consisting of three words: "You are... Obito?".
  • Impressively featured in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Of particular note is the infamous scene in episode 24 that is nothing but one frame held for a minute and a half with Beethoven playing over it.
  • Used to utterly hilarious effect in Nichijou, such as the scene where Yuko is trying to build a tower of cards without people knocking it over.
  • Koichi Mashimo and Bee Train are fond of long pauses without any dialogue but with lots of facial close-ups and Background Music by Yuki Kajiura. This is particularly prominent in the older series, e.g. Noir, .hack//SIGN, and Madlax.
  • The manga version of One Piece emphasized Fisher Tiger returning Koala to her home in a flashback by having no dialogue with it; the characters' expressions do the talking for them.
  • Petit Eva has no dialogue whatsoever.
  • Princess Mononoke has a lot of scenes where either the music is the only sound, or there's no speech or score at all. And they work so well that even Disney, which usually fills the silence in its dubs, kept the scenes intact.
  • Only two segments in Robot Carnival featured any dialogue. And it even had a Shonen and Shoujo segment that managed to be completely coherent despite this.
  • Serial Experiments Lain is another series that makes pretty good use of this trope. While no episode uses it quite to the same extent as the first episode of Texhnolyze, which was also made by Yoshitoshi ABe, throughout its 13-episode run, there are at least several points where they go up to several minutes with little to no dialogue. This includes montages of Lain simply walking to school or around her house, and to increase the effect, the former are only accompanied by the sound of humming power lines.
  • The first episode of Texhnolyze has approximately ten lines of dialogue, all in a couple of scenes coming near the end of the episode after 11 minutes of near silence. While the rest of the series is more talkative, it's not uncommon to have several minutes without spoken dialogue in many episodes. The main protagonist Ichise is an extremely quiet man who often lets others (including Ran, a girl only slightly less silent than him) talk in his stead.
  • Outside of the reading of the original poem in-between segments, Winter Days is completely devoid of dialogue.
  • Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou actually needs a very high silence-to-dialog ratio to achieve its mellow, contemplative tone.

    Comic Books 
  • Age of Reptiles contains not a single word. Given that it's set in the Mesozoic and the characters are all dinosaurs, the lack of speech is unsurprising, but there are no sound effects or narration, either.
  • Anything by Shaun Tan, particularly The Arrival. This is helped out by LOTS and LOTS of Scenery Porn.
  • A 2013 Batman comic book was like this to portray the grief of Bruce Wayne over his son and then Robin Damian's death.
  • Boerke (roughly translates as: little farmer) is a Belgian comic by Pieter De Poortere that almost never has the characters speak. On the rare occasions that something is said, it's in symbols/drawings never in words. For example, the 60 pages comic book 'the son of' has a fairly complicated plot and has in total two whistling bubbles, two talk bubbles and one thinking bubble. Both speech bubble have the face of one of the characters in them and nothing else. The thinking balloon has an image of an A-Bomb.
  • Jeff Smith's Bone comics will often go many pages without any spoken dialogue.
  • Catwoman: A short story focusing on Catwoman protecting her neighbourhood from the violence of a Gotham Mischief Night was largely free of dialogue, likely to express the bleakness of the situation. The last and only lines were Catwoman sombrely singing "Happy Birthday" to herself as the sun rose.
  • Comix 2000, published by L'Association in 1999. Two thousand pages, not a single word.
  • In one Silver Age Daredevil comic featuring the brilliant artwork of Gene "The Dean of Light and Darkness" Colan, Stan Lee lampshaded this trope with a brief caption at the start praising the artist and stating that sometimes (as in this case) "superfluous words" were unnecessary, and therefore he was going to let the rest of the comic speak for itself.
  • In Dollicious comics some of the best-regarded stories in the series are completely dialogue-less. They usually focus on characters who rarely use much vocal communication or don't talk at all, like Gnocchi (who is a toddler), Tagliatelle (who is very introverted), or Green Tea (who communicates in sign language). While still rich in hilarious moments, these stories tend to be more heartwarming and focus on characters bonding.
  • Frank by Jim Woodring; not a word spoken by any of the characters. His graphic novel Weathercraft has copyright information on the dust jacket. The physical book itself contains no words at all.
  • Godzilla in Hell has no human characters, and none of the Kaiju characters speak except for roars and growls.
  • Hawkeye: Most of Hawkeye Vol.1 #2 plays out not only without any dialogue but without any sound effects at all, due to the power of the assassin known as The Silencer to perfectly mute all sound.
  • Jonesy (2018): No Dialogue or sound is present in the entire comic.
  • Sergio Aragonés is a master of this trope, having drawn numerous wordless pieces for MAD. In some cases, he even draws Speech Bubbles with pictures in them.
  • Fellow MAD alum Antonio Prohías also did this just as a matter of style. While his most well-known series, Spy vs. Spy, is almost completely devoid of sound effects (save for explosions, gunshots, and the odd esoteric animal noise), looking back shows that all of his comics had a dialogue volume ranging from very little to none whatsoever.
  • Marvel Comics
    • A "'Nuff Said" promotion in which several of their trademark titles were released with stories that involved no spoken dialog, and no text boxes, whatsoever.
    • Marvel Comics has also done a number of issues this way over the years, including an earlier G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (Marvel) comic which inspired the "'Nuff Said" promotion.
  • Mister Amperduke was created deliberately as a comic with absolutely no Speech Bubbles at all, partly because the creator didn't like his artwork being broken by speech bubbles in other comics.
  • Probably Marvel's earliest exploration of the technique was a Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD story by Jim Steranko. Steranko does a complicated battle scene without any dialog or sound effects. His editor at the time threatened to dock his pay for the issue since obviously he couldn't get paid for writing a sequence without words!
  • Issue #28 of The Powerpuff Girls had a story, "Princess For A Day," which save for the narrator and a two-word balloon from Princess Morbucks, was entirely sans dialogue.
  • Spirou & Fantasio: The emotionally intense climax in La Vallée des bannis is entirely silent.
  • V for Vendetta has a four-page chapter, "Vincent." with no dialogue.
  • Watchmen has no visual sound effects and several long stretches without any dialogue either.

    Comic Strips 
  • Bound and Gagged originally started with this premise: no dialogue, just pictures. As the strip went on, however, the author apparently wasn't able to keep coming up with these silent gags as it features more of the "audible" kind now.
  • As seen above, Calvin and Hobbes is famous for this trope. In one case Bill Watterson ran several consecutive strips silent this way featuring Calvin growing bigger and bigger. In one of his anthologies, he later explained that he wanted to keep doing this for a month and "see how long readers would put up with it." He ultimately decided to stop after two weeks, ending the last strip with a little dialogue as a punchline.
  • For Better or for Worse mimes its dialogue in some of the more comedic Sunday strips. The effect is oddly like a Charlie Chaplin movie in comic-strip form.
  • Liō is one of the only (and possibly the only) newspaper comics to do this consistently. Every once in a while, writing from a notebook or letter will show up in a panel, but actual speech is mimed. Presumably, words distract from the Nightmare Fuel.
  • Peanuts has some memorable silent comics, such as Snoopy's first appearance and the fourth wall breaking piano note strips.
  • Vater und Sohn works completely without dialog, the information is instead conveyed by gesture, facial expressions, and expressive body language. Occasionally, there is some writing, like letters, or on doorplates to denote the inhabitant.

    Eastern Animation 
  • In the short His Wife Is a Hen, nothing is spoken beyond whispers and exclamations. In addition, the short as a whole is lacking in any sound beyond the noise of daily life and a record player.

    Fan Works 
  • Part of what makes the Harry Potter fanfic After the Abuse, Part One so bizarre is that there's no dialogue at all- the reader is just told everything that happens. This is not the right way to go when your story consists of an incoherent Random Events Plot.
  • Used in Garfield in: "Along Came a Splut"; despite the abundance of characters, there are exactly five lines of spoken dialogue in the story, three of those lines are spoken by Garfield, and only one of them is a full sentence and isn't a pop culture reference.
  • Guardian uses a silent page to convey the grief when Lulu, Wakka, and Yuna learn of Chappu's death.

    Film — Animation 
  • Away has no dialogue throughout the entire film, in keeping with its atmospheric nature and minimalist storyline.
  • Bambi is unsurprisingly light on dialogue, with only about 950 words being spoken in the entire film; much of the movie is completely silent with only music, animal sounds, and the occasional gunshots. A fan analyzed the film and discovered that (not counting the non-diagetic songs and non-speaking voice effects), the film only has around 11 minutes of dialogue total out of its 1:10 runtime. The midquel, however, has much more dialogue.
  • The Chipmunk Adventure: Not a word was spoken during the scene of the Chipettes going scuba diving in Bermuda, with the exception of a shocked gasp from Brittney when she sees a shark.
  • Fantasia, being a collection of short animated films set to classical music, had no need for dialogue. Ditto its follow-up Fantasia 2000.
  • Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation: The scuba diving scene has only two lines total, with one coming from Stan and the other from Ericka. The scene where Drac flies after Ericka to the underwater shrine (with Mavis spying on them) is also mostly wordless.
  • Discussed in the DVD commentary of How to Train Your Dragon. Some of the people involved in the film thought that the bonding sequence between Toothless and Hiccup would never work, because it was somewhere in the range of three minutes long and right in the middle of the movie. Luckily, the filmmakers insisted and even the skeptics changed their mind when the sequence was finished. The romantic flight scene with Astrid is also an aversion of Filling the Silence. Both moments are instead held up by wonderful animation and John Powell's hypnotizing score.
  • The Illusionist (2010), made by the same people as The Triplets of Belleville has almost no dialogue as well. This stands to reason, given that the film was both a-homage-to and based-on-a-script-by Jacques Tati. (see above under "Film")
  • In Inside Out, after Sadness saves Riley from running away and she returns home, not a word or sentence is exchanged in Headquarters, with only Riley and her parents doing the talking.
  • The Lion King only features two simple lines of dialogue in its final non-musical scene — the Arc Words "It is time" from Rafiki, and "Remember" from Mufasa. Originally Zazu would've greeted Simba as "your majesty", but the filmmakers agreed the scene worked best with minimal if any dialogue, and cut the line.note . There was also no dialogue during Simba's presentation (aside from the "Circle of Life" number).
    • Done again in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride during the final scene of the Pridelander/Outsider union. The only dialogue exchanged during this scene is from Timon and Pumbaa, with Mufasa's ghost giving one final line to Simba himself. Like before, there was no dialogue during Kiara's presentation in the beginning until the end of the "He Lives on You" number.
  • The Little Mermaid (1989): The scene where Ariel and Eric tour the kingdom has only four lines total coming from Sebastian, Flounder and Scuttle. The scene where Ariel mopes on the dock thinking Eric is marrying someone else is also wordless, to compensate with her losing her voice to Ursula.
    • The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea: The scene of Melody swimming in the ocean and finding her locket only has two short instances of dialogue, the fish saying "Hi, Melody" and the nearby Sebastian's grumbling. Justified as Melody cannot talk underwater, but gains the ability to when she turns into a mermaid.
  • The Mind's Eye is full of this, with most of the sound being music, with sound effects occasionally peppered in. As the series goes on, this is slowly eroded. Exceptions to this trope are listed here.
    • The first film had no lyrics or words at all, the closest thing being the voice sample "Oh My" in "Technodance".
    • Beyond The Mind's Eye had slightly more words.
      • It had a brief Opening Narration "You are now entering a world inside the essence of your imagination. Look within your dreams, they can take you beyond the mind's eye".
      • The DVD Bonus Content has a vocal version of "Seeds of Life".
      • "Too Far" has autotuned and chorded female voice singing "Too Far, take it easy, it's alright" exactly seven times. It also features a robotic voice saying "It is too late. You have gone too far" just before the bridge.
      • "Nothing But Love" plays this straight, then near the end subverts this with a female voice say "I don't want your sculptures, I love you"
    • The Gate takes it up one more notch, where some songs have full sets of lyrics.
      • "Armageddon" had Latin lyrics plus two separate voices singing "Armgeddon".
      • "N.E.O" has guest vocalist Dr. Fiorella Terenzi's lines as Spoken Word in Music, with the only word actually sung being when she repeats "Neo". Thomas Dolby raps "look at it this way: a river of space, a ribbon of time. Like a burial, a river of space, a ribbon of time".
      • "Valley of The Mind's Eye" starts off with Spoken Word lines in French and has lyrics sung in English.
      • "Nuvogue" and "Quantum Mechanic" have fully English lyrics with not so much as one foreign word.
    • Odyssey
      • "One Dark World" and "Aspen Moon" have lyrics
  • The Red Turtle is free of dialogue, which helps in setting its contemplative tone.
  • Sleeping Beauty: The escape from Maleficent's castle and the final battle scene are mostly wordless, with the only lines coming from Maleficent and the fairies.
  • Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron: There are no talking animals in this film aside from a few narration parts from Matt Damon's character. The film had to have the animators pantomime conversations with the horses with their body language and the expression on their faces. The horses just neigh throughout the film. There also are not that many conversation scenes with the human characters.
  • Spirited Away has the famous train scene, which is three minutes of detailed animation and soft Background Music, to give the audience time to process what has happened and prepare for the ending.
  • Tangled:
    • The Kingdom Dance sequence has only two lines of dialogue (Rapunzel saying "Thank you," to the girls who braided her hair, and a girl placing flowers by a mosaic of the royal family, telling her baby sibling "It's for the lost princess.") and perfectly conveys Rapunzel's excitement and initial clumsiness, along with the growing closeness between her and Eugene without any other dialogue.
    • The reunion toward the end also shows the anticipation, fear and ultimate joy that Rapunzel's parents feel in being reunited with their daughter again.
  • Tarzan: The first eight minutes of the movie are completely free of any dialogue, and the only vocalizations we get are the ape and leopard noises from Kala and Sabor, the baby Tarzan's coos and cries, and the "Two Worlds" number in the first scene.
  • Richard Williams' workprint of The Thief and the Cobbler and the fan-edited Recobbled Version (which most people are very thankful for).
  • The Triplets of Belleville, which was heavily influenced by silent comedies and classic cartoons, makes prominent usage of music, but is dialogue-free (except for a recorded TV interview of Charles de Gaulle). The lack of need for subtitles or dubbing may have contributed to the film's international popularity.
  • In Turning Red, the scene where Mei is driven home from Tyler's party originally had dialogue written for it but it was decided it was better without it.
  • The ending of UglyDolls where Moxy is given to her new owner is completely silent, with not a word or sentence being spoken.
  • In Up, the movie tracks Carl and Ellie's marriage with a long montage that goes through their youth, her infertility, her death, and his old age.
  • WALL•E is quite sparse dialogue-wise. About half an hour of movie passes before anyone says a line of dialogue outside of a recording.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The silent films of F. W. Murnau are known for using title cards and written exposition very sparingly, letting the actions on screen tell the story visually. Nosferatu, Sunrise and The Last Laugh are notable examples.
  • Silent films hung around in China for several years after the first Chinese talking films were produced, due to the language barrier with English talking films and the language barrier between Mandarin and other Chinese languages. The Goddess, about a Shanghai prostitute, was released in 1934, four full years after the first Chinese sound film (Sing Song Girl Red Peony).
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey is 141 minutes long, but there's only forty of them where anyone says anything.
  • In Kim Ki-Duk's 3-Iron (Bin-Jip), the two protagonists have only two lines of dialogue, spoken at the very end of the film.
  • Aint Them Bodies Saints features a few sequences of silence or limited dialogue.
  • When the Alien Queen is revealed in Aliens, there is no speech or score.
  • The Artist is a 2011 silent black and white drama about a romance of two actors respectively falling and rising in Hollywood's difficult transition to sound. Subverted in that the lead character realizes that he feels trapped in silence and earns his happy ending when his love shows him that he has the talent to succeed when he accepts the reality of sound films.
  • In Ant-Man, after Scott shrinks down into the Quantum Realm, we get an extended, very trippy sequence of him floating through a kaleidoscope-like dreamscape as he gets smaller and smaller and smaller. After that ends, there is a smash cut to him floating through that space, and it is absolutely dead silent.
  • Downplayed in Avengers: Infinity War during the climax. After Thanos snaps his fingers, the following sequence takes place without any Background Music and subdued ambient sounds and dialogue, to drive home the impact.
  • The 1983 film Le Bal, which depicts 50 years of French history through a ballroom in France, includes no dialogue.
  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs: The chapters "Near Algodones," "Meal Ticket" and "All Gold Canyon" are quite limited in dialogue and have long stretches of silence.
  • E. Elias Merhige's Begotten is completely silent.
  • With the exception for the intro and the hunter scenes, there's no dialogue in Benji the Hunted.
  • The first 10 minutes of The Book of Eli are completely free of dialogue.
  • An aficionado of silent films, Guy Maddin has made several himself, including Brand Upon the Brain! and Cowards Bend the Knee.
  • The Call of Cthulhu, based on the 1926 H. P. Lovecraft classic, which was intended to look it could've been made around the time that the original story was written.
  • The opening five minutes of Circus of Fear contains no dialogues: allowing The Heist to play out with only naturalistic sounds.
  • Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away: Most of the spoken lines are in the opening sequence before the story goes Down the Rabbit Hole. After entering the Cirque world what little dialogue they have is mostly Speaking Simlish.
  • Charlie Chaplin's first two sound films, City Lights and Modern Times, were essentially silent films with recorded soundtracks. The latter only had dialogue that came from either recordings or loudspeakers (i.e., not natural speech), Chaplin's way of pointing out what he felt was the artificiality of sound film. Chaplin himself never did a "Talkie" until The Great Dictator, and even then, there are long segments of silent comedy.
  • CODA (2021): At the choir recital, there is a sequence during Ruby's solos that is played without sound, showing the perspectives of Ruby's family. The prolonged scene poignantly illustrates how Jackie, Frank, and Leo cannot hear how good Ruby is or the audience's enthusiastic reactions.
  • Conan the Barbarian (1982) has a deliberately sparse script to let the exquisite music and cinematography do the talking. A wise move, as most the principal cast were professional bodybuilders, athletes and models without much acting experience (note that James Earl Jones, Max von Sydow, and Mako are given the bulk of the expository dialogue).
  • Jan Švankmajer's 1996 Conspirators Of Pleasure features no dialogue.
  • Cries and Whispers has no dialogue or music for the first nine minutes, and the only sound heard is of Agnes writing on a piece of paper.
  • In The Dark Knight, when Harvey wakes up from the traumatic events of the previous day, we hear his panicked breathing for a moment, before all sound gets muted save for a soft musical tone slowly growing in intensity. He looks over to his bedside, sees the coin he previously gave to Rachel, reaches for it, and takes hold of it. The he flips it around and sees the burned other side. Rachel is dead. Harvey begins to sob, but after about half a second, he lets out a scream that the audience can't hear, and rips the protective gauze off of the burned side of his face. Two-Face has been born. Only after all of that does normal sound return as the scene changes.
  • Defenceless A Blood Symphony features no dialogue, but extensive screaming to compliment the aggressively unpleasant imagery taking place on screen.
  • Dementia (1955): The film is told without any dialogue, and also no title cards, only the "MYSTERIOUS STABBING" newspaper headline and the words "Father" and "Mother" on the gravestones. The Daughter of Horror re-release somewhat undercut this by adding narration, but the narration is wholly unnecessary.
  • Luc Besson's directorial debut Le Dernier Combat (The Last Battle in English) has no dialogue, as humanity has lost the power of speech.
  • In addition to being in black-and-white, Eraserhead has very little music and keeps the dialogue to the barest minimum, while even the tiniest background noises are unusually audible, enhancing the eerie, nightmarish quality of the movie.
  • The "sound" work of director Tod Browning is punctuated by extended scenes of silence and visual expressionism. By the time he did Freaks he figured out how to do this without resorting to the minimalistically stylized dialogue he used in Dracula (1931).
  • A Ghost Story features very limited dialogue. Other than the opening few scenes, some untranslated Spanish, and a single scene featuring a long speech, the bulk of the film is completely free of any speaking.
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a great example; the film runs ten minutes before anybody speaks. Also, in the final climactic three way duel, there is no dialogue at all for over five minutes, and the film relies entirely on the score, and closeups of the three main character's faces, each trying decide whether to move first. It is widely considered to be one of the most dramatic and tense moments in film history.
  • The heist itself in Grand Slam is conducted in almost total silence. As a Shout-Out to Rififi, Gregg and Agostino crack the safe in total silence—they cannot speak because of the sound sensitive security system—and, because of the soundproof corridor, the only incidental sound is the faint noise of their tools. Weiss panicked run through the sewers has the background noise of the Carnival, but no dialogue because he is alone. Dialogue only returns when the action switches back Mary Ann's apartment.
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix had the aftermath of Sirius' death completely silent save for the emotional music (which drowns out all other audio), which makes it all the more heartbreaking to watch as Harry lets out of cries of utter anguish while constrained by Lupin. One reason the music was included was that during this part, Daniel Radcliffe reportedly let out a scream so agonizing that the original audio wasn't included in the film.
  • The Host (2006) had two scenes that were completely void of sound entirely; the moment where the monster first captures Hyun-seo, and the moment where the monster regurgitates a load of corpses and bones into the sewer.
  • The Hungarian film Hukkle has almost no dialogue, apart from a song at the end.
  • Hush is just under 90 minutes long and contains less than 15 minutes of dialogue, which makes sense considering the protagonist is deaf. In certain scenes the ambient noise will also slowly fade out to make it more obvious how the main character is perceiving the world.
  • The Illusionist 1984 (1984) has no dialogue other than some unintelligible mumbling.
  • Into Great Silence, a documentary about life in the French monastery of Grand Chartreuse, who keep talking to a minimum.
  • The car chase scene as well as the final battle which took place in the rain contains no music in the Jack Reacher movie.
  • John Wick: The first twenty or so minutes go by with rather minimal dialogue as John Wick goes through the motions following the death of his wife. The dialogue doesn't really begin to pick up until after Iosef Tarasov and his buddies kill John's new dog and steal his car.
  • Documentary filmmaker Godfrey Reggio is possibly the contemporary king of this trope, considering that his -qatsi trilogy of films (beginning with 1983's Koyaanisqatsi) are all films with no dialogue in them and the only sound evident being the musical score. One of the -qatsi cinematographers, Ron Fricke, also made his own no-dialogue documentary in the same vein as Reggio's documentaries, 1992's Baraka.
  • While known for being one of the first truly great sound films, Fritz Lang's M actually contains very little dialogue and nearly a third of the movie is completely silent. Incidentally, this made it quieter than actual silent movies (which were almost always accompanied by music), making the moments with sound all the more striking.
  • Moon has a number of long silences, though not as many as you'd think for a film about a man, alone, on the moon.
  • The 2002 film Marathon, directed by Iranian-American filmmaker Amir Naderi, features a young woman who is trying to complete as many crossword puzzles as she can in 24 hours while riding the New York City subway system. Shot in black and white, its other distinguishing feature is that it features very little dialogue (consisting of one brief interaction between the protagonist and a young man riding the subway and a few answering machine messages left by the protagonist's mother) and the only soundtrack running throughout the film is the background noise of the subway system.
  • The Marx Brothers
    • Due to Harpo being The Speechless, some of his comedy routines involve no dialogue.
    • The famed Mirror Routine in Duck Soup is performed without dialogue or sound effects of any kind.
    • An episode of the Anthology Series General Electric Theater "The Great Jewel Robbery" starred Chico and Harpo Marx in an all-silent story, except one line at the very end delivered by Special Guest Groucho.
  • Meek's Cutoff: There is very little dialogue in the film, and there are long stretches of silence as the pioneers travel by wagon train, with only the only sound being the buzzing of insects and squeaking of wagon wheels.
  • Most of Jacques Tati's films are like this. In the classic French film Mr. Hulot's Holiday (as well as in his other films), spoken dialogue is mostly limited to the role of background sounds. When they were released in theaters internationally, Tati insisted that there be no subtitles, as they would distract from the visual gags that make up his films. Tati's films though lacking in dialogue are full of carefully detailed and thought of soundtracks of foleys, ambience sounds and other details which simply can't be achieved "silently". For his film, Playtime, he took a year working on the soundtrack alone.
  • My Life as a Dog: After Ingemar learns that his beloved dog Sickan has been euthanized, there is a flashback of Ingemar back home with his dog, running into his mother's room and driving her nuts with his shenanigans. He dives under his mother's bed with Sickan and pretends not to hear his mom. This whole scene is played in slow motion without sound, underscoring Ingemar's overwhelming feeling of loss.
  • No Country for Old Men has several long periods of silence, and no score until the credits.
  • No One Will Save You is a sci-fi horror film that — rather unusually for a feature film of The New '20s, especially for its genres — depicts its story of a home invasion by aliens with almost zero dialogue, featuring only one spoken line near the very end.
  • The opening of Once Upon a Time in the West has no dialogue as a trio of gunman wait for their target to arrive on a train. The final showdown is over nine minutes long, in which a total of 8 words are spoken.
  • The opening sequence of Please Murder Me! of Craig Carlson walking along the street, buying the gun, catching a cab, loading the gun, entering his office, and putting the file and the gun in his office desk drawer is done with dialogue. It ends with Craig picking up the microphone and starting to dictate his recording to the district attorney.
  • This is the entire point of A Quiet Place. A family struggles to survive by communicating with the sign language because the creatures are attracted by the sounds.
  • The ending of Franco Zeffirelli's version of Romeo and Juliet had very little in the way of dialogue compared to the original text's ending.
  • The French short film The Red Balloon has practically no dialogue.
  • In Riddick, good portion of the beginning is free of dialogue until the second half of the movie.
  • French caper film Rififi (1955) has a burglary scene that lasts 32 minutes without dialog or music. The Heist requires near-absolute silence in order to defeat the burglar alarm.
  • Mel Brooks' Silent Movie, of course. The only spoken word in the entire movie is said by mime Marcel Marceau.
  • As polarizing as Spider-Man 3 was, one thing that even its detractors have nothing but praise for is the quiet, somber, and emotionally charged birth of Sandman.
  • Both speech and score cease during the final battle in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, only picking up again when a ship emerges and attacks making the fight far more dramatic.
  • Star Wars:
    • Revenge of the Sith: After Anakin's fall, his more disturbing actions (leading the sack of the Jedi Temple, murdering the younglings, slaughtering the Separatist Council) are done without dialogue. Well without him saying anything anyway, several of his victims beg.
    • Return of the Jedi: The speederbike chase scene has about one line of dialogue and, unusually for the series, no music; only the sound effects.
    • The Force Awakens: Rey's Establishing Character Moment has no dialogue at all until the very end, as we watch her scavenge from a wrecked Star Destroyer, sell the parts for food, and return home to eat dinner all alone, the same as she's been doing for her entire adult life. Without a word from Daisy Ridley, we learn her loneliness, independence, desperation to be part of something greater, and feeling of insignificance against a vast and dangerous universe, shown visually when she puts on a salvaged Rebel flight helmet and watches the stars while sitting in the shadow of the destroyed AT-AT in which she makes her home.
    • The Last Jedi has both sound and score cut out completely during a moment when Vice Admiral Holdo rams her cruiser into First Order Mile-Long Ship Supremacy at lightspeed, cleaving it in two and shredding the First Order's fleet. Though intended to underscore the drama, the silence actually unnerved some moviegoers, to the point that some theaters had to post a disclaimer about the moment being intentional.
  • The black-and-white Japanese Body Horror film Tetsuo (sometimes known as Tetsuo: The Iron Man), which was influenced by Eraserhead, also uses minimal dialogue.
  • The 1973 experimental film Themroc features no intelligible dialogue, but plenty of gibberish, screaming, and grunting.
  • The Thief, a '50s Cold War Spy Drama starring Ray Milland, is dialogue-free.
  • Compared to some of his other incarnations who just won't shut up; Bumblebee in the Transformers Film Series is a mute who uses the radio of his car form to communicate (by playing songs and broadcasting messages that fit his intentions).
  • The German film Tuvalu is a throwback to the silent era that even goes so far as to have monochromatic film. There is sound and music but no actual words spoken aside from the names of people and places (even then, it isn't very often).
  • Upstream Color has a number of stretches without dialogue. Much of the plot is implied rather than outright stated.
  • Carl Dreyer's Vampyr is an almost silent early sound film.
  • Vase de Noces, a Belgian arthouse film from 1975 informally known as The Pig Fucking Movie on account of its zoophilic subject-matter, contains no dialogue.
  • Justified in War for the Planet of the Apes. Most of the time the apes speak with the sign language and most of the humans have lost the ability to speak and everything else because of the Simian Flu.
  • You Were Never Really Here: Many scenes play out with no dialogue, and there is little in the way of exposition, preferring to use visual storytelling. This has become writer/director Lynne Ramsay's Signature Style.

  • The picture book Little Red and the Cat Who Loved Cake contains not a single word of dialogue all throughout the Cat's quest to, well, get some cake.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • "Hush" is without dialogue for over 27 minutes straight, nearly two thirds of the episode. It's considered one of the creepier episodes there are and the silence only ups this factor.
    • "The Body", while still having plenty of dialogue, has absolute no music used in it, giving a more somber tone to the episode.
  • The first episode of Carnivàle has a beautifully shot sequence, almost five minutes long, of Brother Justin rising from his chair, walking through town (either a single shot or a well edited sequence to give the impression of one) and having a vision in the snow. In all this time, the only dialogue is in the Background Music at the very start of the sequence. This continued in other episodes and is even used in the opening shots several times, most notably in the second episode where the only thing said in several minutes is a meaningful phrase.
  • Charmed (1998): "Long Live the Queen" ends with Piper and Paige silently comforting Phoebe as she cries over Cole's death. The scene was originally supposed to be a conversation between the sisters, but Alyssa Milano argued that Phoebe would be too devastated by what happened to speak to anyone. The writers agreed and cut the dialogue.
  • One episode of Dans Une Galaxie Près De Chez Vous has this occur for a significant portion of one scene, as the ship must pass through a neutral zone that forbids Earthlings, without being detected. When the crewmembers must communicate with each other, they use cardboard signs (which is also done when Bob farts). The whole moment stands out all the more, when Serge abruptly changes his personality mode and acts like an opera singer at the worst possible time...
  • The first act of the Frasier episode "Three Valentines" is done in almost complete silence. Niles has a few lines at the start of the scene, but the rest of the scene involves just a few barks from Eddie and a few mutterings from Niles as he prepares for a date.
  • H₂O: Just Add Water: The scene where Cleo finds out that Charlotte has become a mermaid takes place underwater, where the actresses can't talk. Cleo's horrified recoiling and Charlotte's smug smile are telling enough to show how they're feeling.
  • The final act of "Exodus, Pt. 3", the last episode of the first season of Lost, has no dialogue. Only the musical score is heard during a few flashbacks and the iconic final scene of Jack and Locke staring down the shaft after blowing the hatch open. Season 2's first episode, "Man of Science, Man of Faith", also has no dialogue in its cold open, which at first appears to be an unknown character's flashback, but is actually showing Desmond's morning routine inside the Hatch, ending with a shot looking back up the very same shaft at Jack and Locke, establishing that this is a continuation of the same scene.
  • In the Master of None episode "New York, I Love You", the segment highlighting a deaf cashier and her social life has no audio at all. The people shown instead deliver their dialogue in either American Sign Language (conveniently subtitled for viewers who don't know much about it), written word, or a combination of lip movements and descriptive body language.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus had a silent-film-style sketch with a man attempting to undress in public.
  • The original Mr. Bean series is famous for its lack of dialogue. Not so with Bean or its Animated Adaptation.
    • Mr Beans Holiday was much more in keeping with this style. Which style works best in movie form is up for debate.
    • Mr. Bean was inspired partly by acclaimed French comic Jacques Tati's Monsieur Hulot films.
  • The Red Skelton Show typically wrapped up each episode with "The Silent Spot", in which Skelton would perform a pantomime skit.
  • Sesame Street: Elmo imagines the world without sound. And Bob told Elmo that how it's like to be deaf, No sound.
  • Switched at Birth aired an episode called "Uprising" which is told entirely through American Sign Language and subtitles. (One of the main characters is deaf.)
  • The Twilight Zone (1959)
    • The classic episode "The Invaders", written by Richard Matheson, has no dialogue save for the final scene. This builds up the Twist Ending, since the final scene has the minuscule "aliens" speaking English, while we never hear the protagonist speak at all—obscuring the fact that she's actually the alien, while the supposed aliens are human astronauts.
    • The parts of "Once Upon a Time" set in 1890, as a way to differentiate them from the 1960 scenes. Particularly odd to a modern viewer seeing "Very very old film style" segueing to merely "old" to say nothing of how it painted the 4th wall.
  • Vikings: the blood eagle execution scene serves as the climax of an episode and is played with soundtrack music only.
  • The opening sequence of The Walking Dead episode "Seed" has no dialogue, just ambient noises as unspeaking characters scrounge for supplies at a walker-infested house. It's very effective at conveying just how long they've been doing this, and how badly their scavenging existence has beaten them down.
  • The episode "Justin's New Girlfriend" of Wizards of Waverly Place had a silent movie style segment.
  • The X-Files episode "Rm9sbG93ZXJz" is mostly without dialogue. The entire meal at the A.I. sushi restaurant has no talking at all.

  • Baez's "The Swallow Song" ends with several rhetorical questions, one of which references this trope.
    And will the breezes blow the petals from your hand?
    And will some loving ease your pain?
    And will the silence strike confusion from your soul?
  • Yes, it's even been done in music: John Cage's "4'33''". Subverted, in that the idea behind the song is that the ambiance and occasional audience chatter, non-silenced cellphones going off, etc., is not only considered part of the music, it's the music itself.note  This has roots in an experience in a soundproof chamber that Cage had: He expected silence inside of it, only to hear a "high sound", his nervous system, and a "low sound", his heartbeat. Cage then came to the realization that proper silence doesn't exist.
    "Until I die there will be sounds. And they will continue following my death. One need not fear about the future of music."
  • "Silence Is Golden" by the Four Seasons (later covered by the Tremeloes), was about the singer keeping his mouth shut as his former girlfriend's new boyfriend cheats on her.
  • Lights' "Quiet" is about the narrator and her lover enjoying a peaceful silence.
    No fighting wars, no ringing chimes
    We're just feeling fine...
  • This trope is part of the appeal of Stop and Go.
  • Type O Negative's The Misinterpretation of Silence and its Disastrous Consequences and the remix The Misinterpretation of Silence and Its Disastrous Consequences (Wombs and Tombs mix)
  • The last track of Covenant's United States of Mind, "You Can Make Your Own Music", is 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence, parodying the aforementioned John Cage.


  • Ballet is always wordless. In place of speech, there's a language in the precise miming motions of the dancers.
  • The majority of Cirque du Soleil shows, particularly in The '80s and The '90s, have little or no dialogue. If the characters talk at all, usually they are Speaking Simlish or a non-English language (which also goes for the lyrics of the songs in each show).

    Video Games 
  • Interactive Fiction takes this to the logical extreme: no graphics, no sound. Not only is the gameplay silent, the story often is too, because it's a pain to program NPCs who can talk and most creators don't bother to include descriptions of the auditory environment (more's the pity). With a typical parser, you can "say [dialogue]" if you wish, but you'll get no response.
  • ABZÛ: The Spiritual Successor of the previously mentioned Journey (2012) — it was created by the same art director and scored by the same composer — follows the same rule. As you explore the ocean, the player is never given any written word or dialogue, the story is told through the scenery and the few images that the player finds.
  • Aether tells its entire story in music. Pleasant, soothing music.
  • Another World is another game which uses dialogue-free cutscenes to tell its story. The only speech is occasional Speaking Simlish by the aliens.
  • Happens during some of the more Dramatic (and Heartbreaking) moments of Asura's Wrath.
  • The Wii A Boy and His Blob has almost no dialogue or text at all. Aside from a few sound clips from the Boy, the story is told solely through animation, and the hint signs show pictures instead of words. The only non-system text in the game is in a small bonus unlockable storybook.
  • Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons uses Simlish and sparingly at that.
  • Both of the 'escaping prisoner' sequences in Chrono Trigger feature minimal dialogue and no Background Music, unless you get into a fight or witness something plot-relevant going on. It's more effective the first time due to Crono being by himself in a dungeon that has almost no living prisoners left in it.
  • Don't Look Back has a title screen and a few lines of instructional text, but no dialogue.
  • Castle Crashers only has dialogue for shopkeepers, tutorial NPCs, and a couple of Broken Bridges. Apart from that, the game runs entirely on visual storytelling.
  • In Cave Story, the usual victory fanfare after defeating a boss is nowhere to be heard after little Toroko is force-fed the game's Psycho Serum against her will and is turned into a mindless berserker Tragic Monster, leading to the player having to fight and kill her themselves to put her out of her misery. The silence indicates that this "victory" is not one to be celebrated.
  • Dragon's Wake: The game uses no text or dialogue to tell the story. Instead, the plot is conveyed through images shown during loading screens, paintings that the player can discover in the levels and the events of the game itself.
  • Fe, aside from the main menu and a few in-game hints, completely lacks dialogue; the titular protagonist instead communicates with fellow forest creatures by "harmonizing" with their vocal patterns, similar to the aforementioned Journey.
  • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the concluding cinematic for the Azure Moon(Blue Lions) route only features a single word of dialogue- Dimitri calling Edelgard by her Affectionate Nickname of "El".
  • Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon: To really hammer down the lonely atmosphere of the game, most of the game is spent silent, with no BGM and no one to talk to. Becuase the game is lauded for its emotional and beautiful music, the tearjerking effect when said soundtrack is actually used has much more impact.
  • Gorogoa is completely devoid of any dialogue or speech. Even the text that appears in-game is completely asemic and only used to convey a sense of written communication rather than anything coherent.
  • Journey (2012). The one means of communication and interaction available is "singing" a near-melodic tone, and the only text is in the title, the pause screen, and the credits.
  • Most of the mini-games from Landfall Archives are devoid of dialogue, instead relying on music and atmosphere to convey the game's ambience.
  • The LEGO Adaptation Game series (up to Lego Batman 2) uses no dialogue in cutscenes. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, while normally also using extensive voice acting, brings this back as a toggled feature called "Mumble Mode".
  • Everyone in Limbo are rather silent, unless they happen to be animals.
  • Lona: Realm Of Colors, is a game that focuses on "art and music narration" and features no dialogue whatsoever, using its watercolour-style visuals and music to tell the story. Basically, you're a young girl exploring an art world...
  • The Caveman arc of Live A Live. Justified in the fact that language hasn't been invented yet.
  • There are no spoken lines in the original edition of the first Metroid Prime game (besides a computer saying, "WARNING: SELF DESTRUCT ACTIVATED".) The beautiful environments of Talon IV show you the story of the fallen Chozo civilization, and there are plenty of written logs lying around in case you couldn't figure it out yourself. Samus is quiet, but you can tell she's thinking something. A narrator was added at the start of and end of the game in the European/Australian version onward, but other than that, the atmosphere remains the same.
  • The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom as a homage to silent films has absolutely no dialogue or narration.
  • Many Myst-style games are like this. You get a short speech in the prologue or opening scene, the occasional bit of dialogue when you encounter another character ... and most of the game is just exploring and playing with objects.
  • In Ori and the Blind Forest, the only dialogue is the Spirit Tree's narrations and Sein's advice, both of which are in subtitled Simlish. Downplayed in the sequel, where there are many more NPC's to converse with, though the audible speech is still Simlish.
  • The Path has no speech at all; instead the tone of conversations is conveyed through character animation, music and color. The "tutorial" instructions are two lines long, and expected to be ignored. Textual descriptions of items encountered are also quite sparse.
  • Poppy Playtime: With the exception of recordings from the tapes, almost the entirety of chapter 1 is without dialogue until the player frees Poppy from her case. There are more lines spoken in chapter 2, with talking characters like Poppy and Mommy Long Legs being involved in the plot. Though the majority of chapter 2 is still silent.
  • Snow Bros has a rare Mega Drive version that features original cutscenes similar in style to those from Zero Wing, but with neither Engrish nor Japanese text.
  • Spirit of the North is told entirely without words, as the characters are foxes, spirits or spirit foxes. Even the tutorials for the controls are done through pictograms.
  • The story of The Subspace Emissary mode of Super Smash Bros. Brawl is told entirely without dialog (disregarding Calling Your Attacks). The only time anyone speaks is when Snake breaks the fourth wall. Once.
  • They Bleed Pixels has screams and Black Speech, but the only intelligible words are occasional bits of writing.
  • Vanish: There is no dialogue at all in the game. A few frightened gasps from the protagonists, and you can read some notes, but that's it.
  • Episode I of the Xenosaga trilogy was notable for taking place largely in cavernous, abandoned (except for the occasional monster) areas and having no dungeon or town Background Music, leading to several long segments of the game where the only noises are the character's own footsteps and whatever might be happening in the background around them. The second and third games fix this by having near-constant Background Music playing away in towns and dungeons.
  • Yume Nikki is also dialogue-free. Needless to say, this is a contributing factor to the staggering amount of Wild Mass Guessing it's become infamous for.

    Web Animation 
  • Dinosaurs: The True Story: The short is done entirely without dialogue — there's sound in the form of the dinosaur characters chirruping, growling and squawking, but there's no intelligible speech and most of the noises aren't directed at other characters.
  • Fresh Guacamole has no dialogue at all, though considering the minimalist story, it's not like it's needed.
  • Musophobia: There is not a single line of dialogue in the film as it instead uses the main character's expressions to express the terror they're going through during the nightmare they're having.
  • T E T R I S ' D: There is no dialogue or even sound effects, only just a remix of the Tetris theme for Background Music.


    Web Original 
  • This amateur film, consisting of no sound other than Background Music.
  • The Gift is an excellent example. It tells the view a time, place, and plot with only one (arguably unnecessary) snippet of dialogue.
  • Priscila's application video for Futuro Ex-Porta was praised by the judges for conveying sarcasm and humor despite her not saying a single word in it.
  • The Hitler Rants video where Hitler is informed of nothing and says nothing.
  • KLOMP! Animation cartoons, such as Bad Days, often keep spoken dialogue to a minimum.
  • Little Boat. It only takes 4 minutes to tell its story.
  • The web animation series Porkchop 'n Flatscreen! Besides the title cards, and some songs, it has no spoken dialogue at all. It has pictorial speech bubbles and silent movie dialogue cards instead.
  • The creator of the series Primitive Technology disliked the explanation parts of videos and simply skipped to where the project being worked on was actually done. He's taken the same approach to his own videos, and his own voice is never heard. The only explanation of what he's doing is done through closed captions, and the only sound are those of the environment and what he's doing.
  • Simon's Cat has a cat but it doesn't talk. Popular with cat lovers and owners.

    Western Animation 
  • Quite a few classic cartoons (such as Tom and Jerry and The Pink Panther) features non-verbal characters, focusing on visual gags and slapstick humor. See the Mime and Music-Only Cartoon page. The original One Froggy Evening is another famous classic cartoon example. It's considered the Citizen Kane of animated shorts.
  • The original Æon Flux shorts had no dialogue, only music and sound effects (one has a single spoken "Plop").
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: The final fight between Azula and Zuko has no dialogue. When we cut from one scene to their ongoing fight in the Imperial City, all we see are huge gusts of blue and yellow/red fire being flung through a dark and deserted court. The sound of flames and the accompanying slow, sorrowful music (aptly titled "The Last Agni-Kai") make the scene all the more potent. Even the pre-fight dialogue is very concise, but really, it says everything necessary:
    Azula: I'm sorry it has to end this way, brother!
    Zuko: No. You're not.
  • One episode of Batman Beyond has a silent segment when he's fighting Shriek. Batman enters a car factory to hide. Shriek responds by tuning out all noises in the area except Batman's footsteps, which he amplifies. The show makers did this because 1) they'd always wanted to do a silent scene and 2) when the noise filter shorts out and Shriek is rendered deaf by the sudden onslaught of amplified noise it's more obvious.
  • The original DCAU Batman movie Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman had a short piece called "Chase Me" featuring Batman pursuing Catwoman through Gotham which was run silent this way except for some soft jazz as musical accompaniment.
  • Big City Greens: "Quiet Please" becomes unsurprisingly light on dialogue throughout the middle of the episode, upon the Greens getting a warning from the librarian to not make one noise, even talking and whispering, otherwise they'll be banned. It is to the point Tilly suggests the Greens communicate through the use of American Sign Language whenever they need to deliver a message, with almost all of their dialogue coming from their thoughts. The part where Cricket tries to evade the librarian after screaming from stepping on a toy block is two and a half minutes of no dialogue, and if you count the part where they go up the stairs, it would be four to five minutes of no verbal speaking, not counting their thoughts. Even the part between when Tilly teaches sign language and when Bill and Cricket talk at the water fountain is about two to two and a half minutes of no talking, save for grunts, laughs, screams, and sighing. It all goes back to verbal communication when they leave the library in the end.
  • With the exception of the beginning and the ending, the episode "Fish Out of Water" episode of BoJack Horseman is completely silent due to most of the episode taking place underwater.
  • Hanna-Barbera's "Blast-Off Buzzard" (a segment of their 1977 CB Bears show) was the studio's first, and only, television cartoon with no dialogue.
  • The Codename: Kids Next Door episode Operation: T.H.E. F.L.Y. is entirely silent, except for music.
  • Throughout the animated short, Cold and Hungry, neither the man or the tenant of the house he stays in doesn't say a single line.
  • The animated short The Dam Keeper by Tonko House has no dialogue with the characters at all besides a few gasps and laughs from the character and the only speaking character is The Narrator.
  • In The Fairly OddParents! episode "Pipe Down!", Timmy wishes for quiet, there is no in-universe sound at all, but music accompanies every single moment of the "silence". Actually extremely well done.
  • Gravity Falls: Each episode plays a short clip over the credits to wrap things up or get in another quick gag before it's over. The episode "Not What He Seems" just shows two young boys who resemble Stan and Ford Pines quietly sitting on a swing set, with but the quiet beach breeze for company. Especially effective because of what immediately preceded it.
  • The Harvey Beaks Christmas Episode "It's Christmas, You Dorks!" has no dialogue throughout the entire special, mimicking the feel of Fantasia; the only dialogue comes from Old Man Winter providing the Book Ends for the episode.
  • The Little Island is a philosophical argument between three men without any dialogue. Interpretation is left up to the viewer.
  • Disney's The Little Match Girl 2006 short.
  • In the Looney Tunes film "The Daffy Doc," the head surgeon asks for quiet in the operating theater. Among the signs Daffy holds up is "Silence Is Foo!"
  • Maggie and the Ferocious Beast: The episode "Morning in Nowhere Land" is the gang going about their morning routine with nothing but music.
  • Mickey Mouse (2013) has a few episodes where not a single word was spoken, specifically "Yodelburg", "Tokyo Go" and "Pandamonium", and not counting episodes where the dialogue is spoken entirely in a foreign language. The biggest example would be "Springtime" which features no dialogue and no sound effects either, with music as the only source of audio akin to Fantasia.
  • Most Pixar Shorts are without dialogue, with the exceptions of Boundin' and Lava (both of which are musical and feature characters speaking in song), and movie tie-ins.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): The episode "Ploys R' Us" features a whole dialogue-free montage of the girls using the Professor's sleepwalking to rob a toy store and give the toys to them overnight.
  • Utilized in the ReBoot season three episode "Game Over". When the system voice announces that the user has won and effectively killed Enzo, Andraia, and Frisket, no sound occurs for twenty seconds before Dot responds.
  • In the Season 5 finale of Rick and Morty, "Rickmurai Jack", Morty's trust in Rick shaken worse than ever before, and he demands answers repeatedly until Rick exasperatedly offers to let Morty see his memory scan that he stole back from Evil Morty earlier, which will reveal his "crybaby backstory". Morty immediately does so, and the ensuing flashback is a two-and-a-half-minute montage with no dialogue, only somber music.
  • Shaun the Sheep has no dialogue whatsoever.
  • The holiday cartoon The Snowman, based on a similarly dialogue-less picture book of the same name.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • The "Reef Blower" short was completely wordless aside from the occasional sound effects, and SpongeBob does shout "You!" at one point, but it is shown as a caption.
    • "Just One Bite" has Squidward dream where he falls in love with a giant krabby patty and has a married life with it, all without any dialogue.
    • The infamous "A Pal for Gary" gives us the overnight fight between Gary and the beast-turned Puffy Fluffy, complete with no dialogue aside from meows, roars, and the oblivious SpongeBob's sleep-talking.
  • Star Wars Rebels: The Season 2 finale, "Twilight of the Apprentice", plays an ending montage in the last minute or two, being played over the theme of Ahsoka. Effective, because it shows the crew's reaction to Kanan's loss of vision, the chronological end of Ahsoka's story, as well as Vader limping away from the events of the finale and Maul flying off to parts unknown. Also, Ezra is now worthy enough to open a Sith holocron.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: At the end of the 2nd season finale "Starcrushed", just as Marco chases Star to her room, he's just speechless once he enters the room, and at the end, there is nothing but dead silence during the credits (as opposed to the standard end credits). There really are no words to describe what had just happened without killing the moment.
  • Genndy Tartakovsky is so fond of practicing this that, if it wasn't for his theatrical work lacking it, it would unquestionably be his Signature Style. All of his television series feature several extended dialogue-less sequences driven only by music, if not just sound effects and ambient noise. Entire No Dialogue Episodes also aren't uncommon; his Primal (2019) series is the pinnacle of this, as all but one Formula-Breaking Episode lacks dialogue (barring small bits of foreign languages the audience aren't meant to understand).
  • To commemorate the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF commissioned animators from around the world to create cartoons illustrating each article of the Convention; because one of the requirements was that anyone be able to understand the cartoon regardless of what language they spoke, all have no dialogue (and if they do it's in gibberish), and instead rely on gesture and music to convey the message.


Rock Universe

Yes, really.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (18 votes)

Example of:

Main / SilenceIsGolden

Media sources: