The General (1927)

The General



Critic Consensus: Brilliantly filmed and fueled with classic physical comedy, The General captures Buster Keaton at his timeless best.

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Movie Info

Buster Keaton plays Johnny Gray, a Southern railroad engineer who loves his train engine, The General, almost as much as he loves Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack). When the opening shots of the Civil War are fired at Fort Sumter, Johnny tries to enlist -- and he is deemed too useful as an engineer to be a soldier. All Johnny knows is that he's been rejected, and Annabelle, thinking him a coward, turns her back on him. When Northern spies steal the General (and, unwittingly, Annabelle), the story … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy
Directed By: ,
Written By: Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman, Al Boasberg, Charles H. Smith
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 26, 1999
United Artists Films


as Johnnie Gray

as Annabelle Lee

as Annabelle's Father

as Annabelle's Brother

as Captain Anderson

as General Thatcher

as Southern General

as Union General

as Union General

as Union General

as Raider

as Union Officer

as Raider

as Recruiting Officer
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The General

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Critic Reviews for The General

All Critics (44) | Top Critics (5)

The result is a flop.

Full Review… | January 11, 2008
Top Critic

An almost perfect entertainment.

Full Review… | January 11, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Only superlatives will do to describe Keaton's hilarious Civil War dramatic comedy.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

This is by no means so good as Mr. Keaton's previous efforts.

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

In these times when all risk is assumed by CGI effects, Keaton's squealing funny, exquisitely timed, death-defying leaps are all the more breathtaking.

Full Review… | September 23, 2014
Times [UK]

The film boasts the most sustained passages of virtuoso slapstick genius Keaton ever shot, and an unflagging momentum that lets it get away with being a reel longer than most of his best-known pictures.

Full Review… | January 23, 2014
Daily Telegraph

Audience Reviews for The General

The only problem is that Keaton was in the wrong side of the war.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

A true classic in every sense of the word, hysterically funny like few others and featuring some of the most exciting locomotive chases ever filmed, as well as an epic-scale production, a beautiful score and a cinematography in sepia that feels like a travel in time.

Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer


A humorous, beautifully shot and constructed silent film concerning a railroad engineer (Buster Keaton) who wants badly to serve the Confederacy in the Civil War but is turned down. When his train and girl are both stolen from him by Union spies he is compelled to try to rescue both. While not as skilled in the realm of slapstick humor as the great Charlie Chaplin, Keaton proves himself to be a capable comedian. It is not as moving and memorable as "City Lights" or some of Chaplin's silent films, but this is still a really well done movie that is consistently funny and entertaining, and it shows that it has a heart as well given its clever finale.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

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