The General - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The General Reviews

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October 5, 2016
Not the same type as Sherlock Jr., but the movement of camera and pictures of the film are tremendous; maybe one of the greatest comedy of all time.
September 17, 2016
I couldn't get into it. Even for its time I don't think it was a very good film. It's certainly not a good comedy. Very dull and unwatchable. (First and only viewing - 8/22/2012)
April 18, 2016
My first Buster Keaton movie! A classic I've been hearing about for most of my film-loving life! And a huge, mediocre let-down.
March 26, 2016
Very impressive classic movie. Full of laughs and adventure, definitely worth checking out for classic movie buffs.
February 26, 2016
Just amazing.

Really, really impressive scenes with the railway engines and a physically incredible Keaton.
½ December 21, 2015
Greatest piece of silent film acrobatics.
½ November 18, 2015
I've never watched a silent film before (other than shorts) and I didn't know what to expect out of an hour of silence (the DVD had a musical track added but it didn't match the movie all that well, and often became a distraction so I stopped listening.) It amazed me how great the plot was spelled out in The General. As someone who has grown up with TV shows and movies always talking to me, it's easy to forget how effectively story can be presented through facial expressions and body language. Buster Keaton is particularly gifted at moving his body and face in order to convey emotion, and his struggles feel so real. Perhaps the hardest thing to do, which he pulls off extremely well, is adding comedic moments without becoming a clown. There are a few scenes where the action becomes overly slapstick and artificial, but in general his struggles are things I laugh at because I could see myself making the same mistakes. The truly amazing thing about The General was the superb shot selection. In an era when this whole moving picture thing was still new, they did a brilliant job knowing where to set the camera for best impact on each shot, and when to transition to a different angle. The only problem I had with The General is that it would have been more effective if the movie stuck with just the single train-stealing situation that got Johnnie into the ordeal in the first place, instead of basically taking on an entire battle in the Civil War. Once Johnnie returns to the South I think the movie could have wound down, but it continues and I was much less invested emotionally at this point. Still, it's nice to know that a film that is nearly 90 years old can be so enjoyable to me today. If you think it's something you could appreciate, then I'd recommend giving The General a try.
October 6, 2015
keaton at his funniest
October 5, 2015
It's not everyday that you see a film that makes a comedy out of the Civil War. Even more rare is the film that makes protagonists out of the Confederacy and antagonizes the Union. But that's exactly what Buster Keaton's The General does, and with fantastic results. Sure the whole Confederacy thing is jarring, but it really doesn't effect the film as a standalone piece of work. The General is the Mad Max of the Silent Era. Like a steam-engine itself, once it gets going it refuses to slow down, barreling through its comparatively short run time with action and truly impressive practical effects, while also delivering laughs the whole time. Where Keaton truly excels is in his physical humor - particularly when he plays opposite Marion Mack as Annabelle Lee. It may have been a box office bomb back in the day, but The General is a timeless classic.
September 30, 2015
Brilliant comedy. I love how it showcases Keaton's insecurities. The outwitting of the enemy is pure gold. I also love how Keaton's bumblings & stumblings somehow always manage to unwittingly cause havoc for the antagonists.
Perhaps the most exciting silent film I'd seen up to this point. Masterful direction. It rarely drags on or wanes. This is the unfortunate curse of most silents -- excessive & boring melodrama. Not here. Keaton was amazing.
One of the greatest of all silent films.
½ September 27, 2015
A truly fantastic film - not just a great silent film, but a genuinely funny & well-executed comedy.Set during the American Civil War, it's a simple story of a man, Johnnie (Keaton), out to prove his love for Marion (Lee) by enlisting with the Confederates - but his job as train engineer is too important. Luckily, his well-meaning but bumbling ways mean he's the only one able to save her and foil the Yankee plan to destroy the rail line. Some truly great slapstick and physical comedy - almost entirely set on moving trains - makes this a joy to watch and it's so faced-paced, thanks to the score and moving scenery, the 75min goes by in a flash! So many laughs - a true masterpiece.
September 13, 2015
When you explore the world of silent movies you not only expect only music playing but also a world where physicality makes up for dialogue. The General of 1926 is one of those where its lead actor Buster Keaton seems to communicate with us the viewer via stunts, by also using his stone wall facial expressions but also utilises his surroundings to bring us laughs, but also just a sense of awe in how he does these things. In a day when doing production on a big scale was difficult, The General succeeds in bringing us massive crashes, great little things here and there for Keaton to use to get us to smile and of course a fantastic use of slow moving trains(who knew trains going 10mph could be so fun).

I went into watching the movie with high expectations; after all it seems everybody who see's this comes off with a sense of them seeing something amazing. The film for me was maybe not perfect in fact quite a bit from it but I did find the movie to be a great one and coming to that conclusion took me quite a little while. I finished it thinking "You know it was good but nothing like what people say about it", but then it came to me the day after seeing this that this is more than good, it is very good and a movie that I really liked. The reason that came to me was Keaton who to me now is the master of doing your own stunts and succeeding, Buster Keaton gets all my praise and he actually makes this rather dull at times plot a hundred times better.

So what does that plot have to offer? ,well not an awful lot to be fair although it does give you a few thrills coupled with laughs here and there but never gut busting in my opinion. The story is set in the American civil war of the 19th century, we see Buster Keaton as a train engineer turned down by the Confederacy because he is just too important in what he is doing (but no one bothers to tell him that). Keaton's character of Johnnie Gray has trouble though, Union spies are coming and they plan to steal a train and intend to burn all the bridges back towards their lines. The story of course has much more to that but it really is the kind of movie you just have to watch yourself to see what happens because well for a film like this, a lot happens.

Buster Keaton alongside Clyde Bruckman directs this and does a great job yet again, not only is Keaton a fine actor but at directing and even partly the writing too he is just one fine silent movie creator. I think his skills come out most with Bruckman also when he is doing the of course famous stunts he did himself, it is not only the biggest I enjoyed the most though such as the him sitting on the train wheels as they move, just fantastic. When Keaton runs around the train he is fantastic but at times he runs from the end of the carriages to the front and jumps and grabs onto things and just propels himself into the right place, how he never broke his entire body I will never know but the added speed of the movies of the day makes this even more beautiful to see.

If you're coming to silent movies as a new viewer or if you consider yourself a connoisseur of the era then both can enjoy this, is it Keaton's best work? , well some will say yes and me myself actually say no for now. What really shows how good Keaton can be is the fact that this movie is considered one of the best silent movies ever and yet could maybe be outdone by some of his other work. That previous point proves to me not only is Keaton one of the finest actors and maybe even directors of the silent's, but also that he could travel forward in time and fit right in with the movies of today.
½ August 10, 2015
Divertida y llena de tomas sorprendentes incluso vistas en el siglo 21.
June 8, 2015
Buster once broke his neck making a film and continued working the rest of the day because he was unaware his neck was broken. He did many dangerous stunts himself and that perfectionism is most apparent in this masterpiece. The creativity of this film is astounding.
½ March 22, 2015
This is a masterpiece.
February 18, 2015
Excellent. 9.6/10. A+.

The General is perfectly paced, and with direction that captures incredible train sequences and a brilliant performance by Keaton, and a perfectly constructed script and a score that goes right along with it, the film exceeds the standard for movies at the time with electrifying action sequences and timeless, classic comedy.
January 25, 2015
a pretty stellar comedy that must have been incredibly challenging to make
January 25, 2015
One of the all-time greatest silent films & comedies, this masterpiece still holds-up almost 90yrs later. Keaton really was something special, he always did his own stunts and they are often spectacular. This film is a MUST for any film enthusiast, I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting it on Blu-ray.
January 9, 2015
This movie is terrible worst 1hr and 19 minutes of my life. The best part was when it ended. And it lost money
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