The General
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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… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The result is a flop."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"This is by no means so good as Mr. Keaton's previous efforts."
‑ Mordaunt Hall, New York Times
"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."
‑ Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph
"A jaw-plunging blend of physical dexterity and bravura moviemaking."
‑ James Mottram, Total Film
"Silent masterpiece is enter-train-ment for all ages."
‑ Charles Cassady, Common Sense Media
"An almost perfect entertainment."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"[Keaton's films] have such a graceful perfection, such a meshing of story, character and episode, that they unfold like music."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"A hilarious comedy and a thrilling action film. The General has it all."
‑ Philip Concannon, Little White Lies
"[VIDEO ESSAY] There was only one Buster Keaton. "The General" is his swansong."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"he General is the highlight of his career's tragicomic performances, featuring not just the awe-inspiring stunts that were his bread and butter, but also a level of fluidity only he and Chaplin attained at the top of their games."
‑ Sean Gandert, Paste Magazine
"Only superlatives will do to describe Keaton's hilarious Civil War dramatic comedy."
‑ , Time Out
"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."
‑ Kate Muir, Times [UK]
"This is a silent film worth making a noise about."
‑ Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
"One of Buster Keaton's most hilarious and most popular comedies"
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Keaton proves as endlessly clever and athletic as his screen surrogates...chock-full of hilarious sight gags, including bits of business that incorporate moving trains, cow-catchers, a bear (and bear trap), and a misbehaving cannon. [Blu-ray]"
‑ Peter Canavese, Groucho Reviews
More reviews for The General on Rotten Tomatoes