The General

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 48
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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 switches from drama and romance to adventure mixed with Keaton's trademark deadpan humor as he uses every means possible to catch up to the General, thwart the Yankees, and rescue his darling Annabelle -- for starters. As always, Keaton performs his own stunts, combining his prodigious dexterity, impeccable comic timing, and expressive body language to convey more emotion than the stars of any of the talkies that were soon to dominate cinema. ~ Emru Townsend, Rovi

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Buster Keaton
as Johnnie Gray
Marion Mack
as Annabelle Lee
Charles Smith
as Annabelle's Father
Frank Barnes
as Annabelle's Brother
Glen Cavender
as Capt. Anderson
Jim Farley
as Gen. Thatcher
Fred Vroom
as Southern General
Joe Keaton
as Union General
Mike Donlin
as Union General
Tom Nawn
as Union General
Ray Thomas
as Raider
Edward Hearn
as Union Officer
Budd Fine
as Raider
Frank S. Hagney
as Recruiting Officer
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All Critics (48) | Top Critics (10)

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