Who Are the Most Beautiful Silent Film Stars?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and looks aren’t everything… but they are today! Just for fun, tell me which silent stars are just plain breathtaking.

We’re purely talking about looks here. Talent, personality and quality of films don’t come into it. (Of course, plenty of beautiful silent stars scored at the top for all three.)

I want to see swooning!

There are no wrong answers, just share your favorites!

For my picks, Sessue Hayakawa easily bests all comers in the gents division:

And Lupe Velez is my choice for the ladies (but Dorothy Mackaill very nearly pulled an upset):

I’m looking forward to your gushing choices! (Don’t feel like you have to have two or that you are limited to two. Gush away in any number or combination!)


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  1. Nathan

    Rudolph Valentino is my choice for men (the complete symmetry of his whole body is honestly wild, he looks like a painting) and for women my choice is Clara Bow! Though my choices are kinda obvious picks…

  2. maddylovesherclassicfilms

    Louise Brooks was a walking goddess. Douglas Fairbanks Sr was a right hunk.
    Your favourite chap, Ivan Mosjoukine, was also one gorgeous man. 😉

  3. Mitch

    Boy, tough question. As soon as I post this I’ll think of some others, but right now Esther Ralston and Doris Kenyon come to mind. Maybe Lars Hanson or John Gilbert.

  4. Carter Burrell

    For men, Richard Barthelmess. His face was just spectacular to look at, a kind of otherworldly handsomness. Also Gary Cooper.
    For women, Louise Brooks is my popular choice, but I also submit the lesser known Mary Duncan. I saw her in City Girl. She was gorgeous!

  5. donnahill441

    Valentino for me is number 1, duh. Gilbert Roland was also beyond gorgeous. I concur with Sessuye Hayakawa, too. Ronald Colman, too. Female beauty, Vilma Banky, Mary Pickford (just look at her wedding portrait!), Claire Windsor, Norma Talmadge

  6. Teri

    Ooooh! I like this! Okay, for the ladies it’s Florence La Badie, Mabel Normand, and Anna May Wong; for the gents it’s Buster Keaton (such a face!), Sessue Hayakawa, and Hugh Allan.

  7. James Knuttel

    For me: Billie Dove, Jobyna Ralston, Esther Ralston, Mary Pickford, Bessie Love, Lois Wilson, Mary Philbin, Thelma Todd, Paulette Goddard, Jewel Carmen, Dolores del Rio, Dolores Costello, Edna Purviance, Jane Novak, Eva Novak, Marceline Day … there are probably more I could think of but I believe I’ve got a pretty good start.

  8. Elizabeth Gatz

    Personally I think Charles “Buddy” Rogers is one of the cutest guys of the silent era. I fell for him the minute I saw him in “My Best Girl”.

    Other handsome actors are Rudolph Valentino, Ramon Novarro, Charles Farrell, Buster Keaton, Antonio Moreno and Raymond Hackett.
    And for girls… Clara Bow, Louise Brooks, Lillian Gish, Olive Thomas, Nancy Carroll… and of course there are many more but I just can’t of anyone else!

  9. Birgit

    I have to go with Dolores Costello, Louise Brooks, Viola Dana, Maude Fealy, Garbo. For the men, I so agree about Sessue Hayakawa, John Gilbert, Gilbert Rowland, Ivor Novello

  10. Gene Smiley

    Biograph era Lillian Gish is the most stunning, heartbreakingly beautiful actress I ever saw.

    1. Luke Bailey

      Absolute ditto on this. It made me happy to see someone else recognize this, and I couldn’t have said it better myself!

  11. Marie Roget

    What an interesting thread to read through! I’ve got two pairs of stars to put forward: Enid Bennett and Milton Sills (my fan worship of The Sea Hawk will forever know no bounds!), and Janet Gaynor and George O’Brien (ditto Sunrise).

  12. Keith S.

    All of the above, plus Olga Baclanova. May I introduce a “not handsome but interesting ” theme for the men and nominate Conrad Veidt?

  13. Gijs Grob

    I’d go for Helen Carruthers (a.k.a. Peggy Page), Louise Brooks, Mabel Normand, Raquel Torres and Thelma Hill

  14. M. D. Normann

    I would go for Corinne Griffith, Blanche Sweet and perhaps Dorothy Mackaill. As for men i nominate Ivor Novello.

  15. Shari Polikoff

    Greta Garbo and Corinne Griffith, definitely. I have no particular favorites among the male ‘beauties,’ maybe just say John Gilbert and Charles Farrell.

  16. Antony

    For me it’s Jobyna Ralston & Betty Compson for the ladies and Buddy Rogers and Charles Farrell for the men.

  17. Gale Manning

    This list could easily turn out to be very, very long, but we’ll see how it goes!

    For the girls, I think Olive Thomas, Dolores Del Rio, Mary Astor, May Allison, Mary Pickford, Janet Gaynor, Lillian Gish, and Esther Ralston were all so beautiful. As for the guys, I’d have to go with Rudolph Valentino, Charles Farrell, Richard Barthelmess, Ronald Colman, Gary Cooper, Buster Keaton, and Buddy Rogers.

    There’re just so many gorgeous silent movie stars, ok?

  18. Siri

    A very difficult question. Sessue Hayakawa certainly is a perfect choice. I would like to add Joseph Schildkraut. Regarding the ladies, to name the most beautiful star is even harder. My pick would be either Olive Thomas or Eve Southern.

  19. Anne Papineau

    Yes, don’t overlook Joseph Schildkraut. Once saw Valentino in Moran of the Lady Letty on a big screen. He didn’t have to do anything, just stand still for the camera. It was a transformative experience.

  20. Luke Bailey

    I’m a little late to the party, but I’ve got to wax on Mary Astor for the females– totally otherworldly and gorgeous! Honorable mentions to Marie Doro and Biograph-era Pickford and Gish. And, I’ve also got to throw in my hat for Charles Farrell for the menfolk– or, William Haines. Charles is more the rugged, “whatta man!” type, while Billy is just plain adorable and the kind you’d wanna spend time with!

    1. Luke Bailey

      Oops, I got my Gaynor costars confused — I meant George O’Brien, not Charles Farrell! Also, I’d be amiss if I didn’t include Ramon Novarro, especially in The Pagan 😉

  21. A Gardyasz

    Helene Darly in The House of Mystery is really beautiful. I don’t know if I’ve seen her in any other films, but she comes off as really charming and graceful in this serial.

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