I want to choose a convenient category name for a special kind of films. This special kind doesn't contain any single spoken word in the entire film; not even narration, singing or intertitles that present key dialogue or comment. This kind of film doesn't contain any meaningful statement not written, not spoken.

"Non-Verbal Films; Non-Speech Films; Films with no Speech; Films without Speech"

I found these names on the internet, but I'm not sure about them because these names may include:

  • Verbal speech but not written intertitles dialogues in silent movies.
  • All the sounds and noises produced by the characters not just meaningful statement.

I need a very accurate term for this category, either one of the examples I gave or a more convenient one. Thank you


5 Answers 5


Contrary to the other answers, I don't think there is a pre-existing name for this category, because it's an exceedingly rare category of film. "Films without written or spoken words" is perhaps a good descriptive phrase.


The type of movie you are describing is simply called a...silent movie or silent film.

  • 6
    Silent films almost always have written dialogue (usually via placards); the question specifies that written dialogue counts. Dec 16, 2015 at 20:32

I agree with KittyConsltant and have up-voted her answer. This is firmly rooted in the history of filmmaking. While, as you (Ali M.) point out, some silent films resorted to explanatory frames (often white-colored letters on an all-black background), not all did. I do not think you will be able to find a word in English that means what you intend without adding one or more adjectives to the well-established term "silent film."

If I understand you correctly, what you mean to describe is "a soundless movie in which there is no dialog whatsoever," unlike some historical silent films in which it is clear the actors are speaking to each other, but the audience simply isn't able to hear them due to the lack of available technology at the time. Such films were often screened with live music by a piano player in the auditorium, who basically improvised (or worked from his or her notes) to provide music appropriate to what was being seen on screen (calm, loving, dramatic, tense, hurried, etc.) Do you mean to exclude ambient sounds as well? You mention it, but it wasn't clear to me whether they were to be included or excluded.

You clearly have already reviewed this Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Films_without_speech

Is "films without speech" unacceptable because such movies could have a soundtrack containing ambient sounds, a musical score and so forth? If so, I'm stuck with "a soundless film without dialog."

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    "Films without speech" is presumably unacceptable because it doesn't exclude written words. Dec 16, 2015 at 20:34

A good description would be 'Language Free Films.' I believe this embodies your intention, as well as highlighting a unique attribute of these kind of films: they are free of languages and more specifically, language barriers. These films are appropriate for any audience, regardless of their language.


You could consider:

  • language-less films
  • films without speech or writing

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