Written by Hermann Sudermann (story Die Reise Nach Tilsit) and Carl Mayer, and directed by F.W. Murnau, the movie was the only film to win the Academy Award for Unique and Artistic Production (in 1927) when it was a variation of Best Picture.
Gaynor won the Academy Award for Best Actress. The film has also been deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
Sunrise is a movie about transitions and choices, both within the story and without -- a German expressionist film made by immigrants to the United States during the changeover from silent to sound film. The characters and the filmmakers alike straddle the old and new worlds, finding it difficult to choose between the familiar and loyal and the flashy and dangerous and ultimately selecting the former.