The Three Ages - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Three Ages Reviews

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Super Reviewer
December 24, 2016
This Keaton early comedy is fairly amusing but there is not much else into it, with an hour seeming almost like an eternity, but still it is nice to see it remastered after rediscovered in very bad condition, even if some damage in the image quality is still quite visible.
February 22, 2015
A parody of D.W. Griffith's Intolerance that laid the comedic architecture for Keaton's stronger films.
January 18, 2014
I love Buster Keaton - but this wasn't his strongest film. Each one of the short films that make up the three tied together as a feature might work - but the three interspersed together is a bit of overkill.
December 10, 2013
My Favorite Comedy Film Is 1933's Duck Soup.
November 12, 2013
Nobody does it like Buster. This is as basic as stories come: two guys fighting over the same girl. It's told three times, with one story taking place in the Stone Age, one in Roman times and one in the present (circa 1920, of course). I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I can watch this man perform his comedy routines all day long. This works as well as it does because the stories are interwoven; you get the same 4 to 6 minutes three times over with the same beats, but every time, the gags are different. If this was just three 20-minute shorts featured separately, this would be less worthwhile, so it was a smart decision to structure it like they did. The thing about Buster Keaton is that he is smart with his comedy, and he has clever ideas that he inserts into his films. He knows how to take you by surprise, and he is well aware that 80% of what makes silent comedy work is in the eye contact. The only real negative thing I have to say is that the print that I watched was a damaged in small parts, maybe for one to two minutes total; the streaming quality on Netflix was great otherwise, so I imagine this is solely because this is ninety years old, and a perfect print probably doesn't exist.
September 9, 2013
Although not one of Buster Keaton's best, his first foray into feature-length film is a generally enjoyable venture. Parodying D.W. Griffith's epic 'Intolerance' (1916), Keaton peaks in prehistoric times as a caveman determined to nab the woman of his dreams.
July 29, 2013
dude gives a lion a pedicure, shows up at a chariot race on a dog sled, and plays prehistoric golf. whats not to like?
Super Reviewer
½ April 15, 2013
Easily my least favorite of all the Buster Keaton films I've seen, still a lot of fun but the film doesn't flow very well. Of course that's because the films aren't three individual and separate segments from each other, they intercut. If a particular segment is about jealousy, they start at the prehistoric age, then to Roman times and then "modern" times. That's how the movie plays out and I don't know but this particular manner of telling the story didn't work, for me. As mentioned, it just doesn't flow very well, but that's perfectly understandable when the movie is structured the way it is. This film doesn't feature some of Buster's funniest scenes or wildest stunts, though his jump between the two buildings, and the unintended fall, was pretty fucking crazy, but, again, this is still a very entertaining movie. The story is simple, not unlike a lot of Buster's films, it explores how love hasn't changed throughout the times, which is where the three ages come in. It's a fairly effective story, but, again, not one of Buster's best stories. The ending is definitely the best part, as I thought it was sweet. So all in all, this isn't a particularly good review, but this isn't one of Buster's most memorable features but it is entertaining and has plenty of laughs. Certainly recommend this if you must watch everything Buster Keaton ever did. If you only want to watch his best movies, then this isn't something that's required viewing.
December 6, 2012
Buster Keaton's first full length feature (lampooning Intolerance's cross-cutting triptych of different eras) is a hit-or-miss affair. A string of gags in the Stone Age, Roman Age, and Modern Age that focus on Buster attempting to win approval to marry his girl in the face of a more powerful suitor (played by Wallace Beery). As is typical of Keaton, the gags are well planned out, involve some physical skill or acrobatics, and, of course, he never changes his stone face facial expression; he's the scrappy underdog, sometimes incompetent but we are in his corner. Keaton would really hit his stride with a string of great features (The General and Sherlock Jr. are the highlights) but some of his shorts that preceded Three Ages (One Week and The High Sign come to mind) are awesome too.
½ September 29, 2012
Essentially a romantic comedy version of D.W. Griffith's "Intolerance", but with the comedic charm of Keaton driving the three storylines . . .
September 3, 2012
A few funny moments interspersed with long sections of oddly paced narrative. The car gag is great, the restaurant scene is alright, and the final chases are pretty solid. However, the film mostly feels repetitive rather than clever. And the craps joke? Ouch.
September 3, 2012
A trilogy of sorts, Keaton's "Three Ages" are 3 stories from different time periods intercut together, one from the stone ages, one from Roman times, and one in modern settings. Very well crafted and edited, yet it was one of Keaton's ways of playing it safe. If the movie failed, he could still release the 3 stories as 3 separate short films. Ah, smart, but the movie was successful on its own that Keaton didn't do short films for quite a while afterwards!
June 11, 2012
I've just decided if it's Keaton, I going to give 5 stars. The chariot race is hilarious. A couple of his stunts are amazing. Recommended.
½ March 10, 2012

The Three Ages gets it's title from the format of the film. The film is basically split into three different short films set in three different times or "ages" (The Stone Age, The Ancient Roman Age, and The Modern Age) but all essentially telling the same story: the story of love.

Buster's first feature that he directed, wrote, produced and starred in, is quite an interesting film. The concept and story is very clever and well-written, even for it's age. I could certainly imagine a similar film being produced nowadays. There are a couple or so really funny moments but all in all, the film isn't that funny. It's a tad disappointing, but this film is still certainly enjoyable.

As long as you don't come in expecting Buster to split your sides, you'll have a good time. It may not be up to par in the comedy department but it is in the story and concept department. It's a very different film for Buster that any fan or wannabe-fan will enjoy.
½ February 24, 2012
Funny film displaying love in the time of the stone age, roman age and modern age.
Super Reviewer
½ February 18, 2012
Essentially three shorts interlaced into a brief feature, "The Three Ages" parallels three similar love stories set in the Stone Age, ancient Rome and the present. The players (mainly our hero Buster Keaton, sweetheart Margaret Leahy and bullying rival Wallace Beery) are carried across all three tales and even act under their own names. Unfortunately, we're watching the film to laugh rather than to swoon, and the action is a bit light on memorable gags. It does have a unique chariot race, a funny scene between Keaton and a "lion," a wonderful way to protest a date applying makeup at the table and a brilliant sight gag with a ramshackle car that falls apart on the road. Perhaps best of all is a climactic, dangerous stunt where Keaton tries to leap between two buildings -- apparently, the jump did not go as planned but was used anyway.
½ December 8, 2011
A fantastic, comedic representation of the similarities in love throughout the course of history. The film highlights three ages, the Stone Age, the "Roman" Age, and the Modern Age. As with all Buster Keaton films, I marvel at how no words could enhance the already clear portrait he attempts to paint. Even though it was released almost ninety years ago, it is still very much relevant to today's audience.
½ October 22, 2011
I liked the way the three stories were intercut in this film. Keaton in 3 roles. One shot I loved is Keaton blowing a kiss while falling in the water. The "chariot race" was quite an adventure! Keaton's first feature length direction is not disappointing!
Super Reviewer
½ September 11, 2011
Even though this was Buster Keaton's first feature film, it was later revealed to be three two-reel shorts put together in order to create a feature length film. While the pieces all work separately, seeing them together and intertwined within the confines of The Three Ages makes the experience and film richer as a whole. Not quite up there with some of Keaton's masterpieces, The Three Ages is still a fantastic comedy that is just as timeless and relevant in film history as any of his other films. Any Keaton film shows his prowess as an actor and director and showcases his amazing talent and passion in film! Highly Recommended and another great from the silent-film era!
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