The Great Train Robbery Reviews

Page 2 of 13
August 11, 2015
A must see piece of classic cinema history.
July 17, 2015
Regarded as the first western, The Great Train Robbery introduced innovative film editing, camera movement, and cross cutting, becoming a great influence to not only the Western genre, but to film itself!!!
June 16, 2015
Interesting to watch one of the oldest US movies that made history! #1001MoviesToSeeBeforeYouDie
April 4, 2015
So freaking cool! It's amazing what these guys could create, basically inventing stunt cinematography and special effects shots.
Super Reviewer
May 4, 2009
Of more value as a historical document than an entertaintment but fascinating on that level.
December 8, 2014
An early behemoth of cinema.
December 26, 2014
A huge blockbuster when it came out in 1903 and one of the most influential films of the era. It helped convince audiences that films and movie theaters were there to stay. Also one of the first westerns and pioneered the use of editing techniques like the cross cut.

But how does it stand up today? The story seems somewhat simplistic today: robbers rob train, get chased, get their comeuppance. However, this is no amateur piece. The narrative construction is sharp, the editing is well done and innovative for the time, and there is a surprisingly dramatic moment when the daughter finds her bound father and attempts to revive him.
August 31, 2014
A simply told, well-made classic.
June 7, 2014
Classed by some as the first Western out there, the Great Train Robbery is fascinating seeing the use of location footage from over 100 years ago. Unlike A Trip to the Moon, I didn't find this short as easy to follow. This is always going to be the problem with silent movies as you have to rely on the actions on screen. The whole robbery segment is clear but as soon as that ends it begins to become unclear. On the plus side, the very last short (or first shot depending on version) was an interesting idea bringing you eye-to-eye with one of the robbers.
May 26, 2014
The question of when cinema began has both a simple and a complex answer. The simple answer often given is that cinema began in 1895, with the demonstration of an invention by two French brothers, the Lumières, of a machine that could both capture and project moving pictures. The complex answer to the question is a lot more interesting. David Parkinson describes cinema as the most modern, technologically dependent, and Western of all the arts. However, another way of looking at cinema is that it was the convergence of several long-term processes, such as: the appeal of visual stimulation for humans; an awareness of certain peculiarities of vision; a nineteenth-century interest in technology, machinery, and spectacle; and some financial acumen by specific individuals.
April 22, 2014
Puede que no sea el primer western, pero si supone un paso adelante sobre la mayoría de las películas mudas de la época, un guión mejor desarrollado y más pulido y unos personajes mejores trabajados, hacen de este uno de las mejores películas de de su tiempo.
March 11, 2014
A milestone in motion picture history in being among the first with a narrative structure.
February 21, 2014
The Great Train Robbery 1903 - short silent American western film - it was produced, written and directed by Edwin S. Porter. The film contains no credits at all and runs at 10-min duration minimal. Known for historically being one of the earliest filmmaking examples. Film tells the story of train-robbers who bind and gag a telegraph operator and force him to ask approaching train to stop for water-storage - as they succeed in their mission, the train is robbed at gun-points. Good short-story that reiterated the groundbreaking style of filmmaking - editing two stories taking place at different places simultaneously.
February 1, 2014
Even at the turn of the 20th century, crime doesn't pay. As straightforward as stories come, this is about a band of criminals that rob a train, and the law enforcement that pursues them. This is a short film from 1903, and something that I was able to find simply by perusing Youtube. The print that I watched had no score, which is a bit odd, given that it is (obviously) a silent film. It is a precursor to pretty much every single Western, so it is interesting to see what essentially started the genre. It is more violent than you would expect it to be, given the year it was released, and this features the classic overdramatic silent movie deaths where the person that gets shot throws their arms up over their head before falling to the ground. The thing that is most memorable is the very last scene; it features a man emptying his revolver at the camera, creating the illusion that the audience is getting shot at. It is striking, haunting, and is imagery you won't soon forget. This is pretty cool to watch, and at a ten minute runtime, you can afford to expand your film education.
January 25, 2012
Being the obviously influential and historical relic it is, The Great Train Robbery is in all it's simplicity a landmark film despite it's honky acting and long static shots.
November 28, 2013
an interesting curio from cinema's early beginnings
November 9, 2013
This being the first American film to tell a story, it certainly has a place in history - however, it's brilliance is pretty much lost to a modern audience that have a hard time imagining how people in 1903 would have had their minds blown by this short feature that allowed them to see & experience something that was earth shaking.
Super Reviewer
½ October 23, 2013
A year after George Melies made history with his cute little sci-fi picture, American film maverick Edwin S. Porter cemented his own legacy with this breezy western action film.

Based on an 1896 story by Scott Marble ,this 1903 caper follows a group of bandits as they rob a train, make their escape, then have a confrontation with a group of local townspeople bent on vengeance. That's it.

There's more to it than that though. Yeah, it's pretty simple and straightforward, but this film pioneered a lot of now commonplace techniques like cross-cut editing, location shooting, and double exposures. And, unlike A Trip to the Moon, this one is more like real life as opposed to fantasy, and feels a tad documentary like.

This is a pretty influential and important film, and basically set the standard for the western genre especially, but also the action/heist genre as a whole. Unfortunately the version I saw had no soundtrack other than the cranking of the camera, and that's my only real complaint. Yeah, the cranking kinda fits with the movements of the train, but it gets real tedious real quick, especially since it plays for just under 12 minutes straight.

Some of the acting is over the top and hammy, and it makes things feel dated and cheesy, but it also kinda adds to the charm. It's ridiculously tame by today's standards, but I also have to give this a lot of credit for being ballsy with the violence, something that was probably rather jarring for audiences 110 years ago.

All in all, this is a fun movie. Yeah, it has since been eclipsed 1,000 times over, and, while it really deserves classic status for it's historical, social, and aesthetic merits, it also still works fine on its own terms as just a simple, entertaining movie.
August 28, 2013
A huge moment in cinematic history. Just over 10 minutes of time well worth taking.
½ August 17, 2013
Before you start complaining about my low score, I'm new to silent films. I was intrigued by silent cinema after enjoying Hugo so well, and I've watched very little silent films. I've watched Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times, and it was excellent. The Great Train Robbery, on the other hand, is one of the earliest films ever released, for many at the time, it was the first film people saw. It may have been an incredible experience in its original release, but in 2013, it has dated poorly.

In The Great Train Robbery, a ten minute short film (that was the feature length of the early cinema), a group of outlaws hijack a train and go off and steal people's money. That's bascically the whole story. That's it. Simple enough, right. Even with a simple setup like thid, the film still left me extremely confused. Why did it leave me confused? Well, for one thing, the film has not aged well. The cinematography looks like it's been dunked underwater and looks very blurry. I know filmmakers didn't have too much technology in 1903, but I didn't get it.

What also didn't help was that I watched this on YouTube. YouTube features a lot of early silent films, and the quality was very poor. In its original release, there was a live music score. During film feativals, whenever someone plays an old silent film, there's a live score. On YouTube, all I got for a score was an organ making really boring sounds during an exciting train robbery. Maybe if TCM dedided to show this at a film festival, with a live film score, and I got to see it, I might enjoy it a lot more.

Despite a so-called exciting story and a very cool final shot, The Great Train Robbery was a bore. The cinematography is a confused blur, the organ score is a dud, and the film is in bad shape for a film over 100 years old. This film was made by Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb. You'd think that this film would be in better shape. But time has not been too well for The Great Train Robbery and I was not too impressed.
Page 2 of 13