8.2/10
72,198
267 user 111 critic

The General (1926)

Trailer
1:04 | Trailer

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ON DISC
When Union spies steal an engineer's beloved locomotive, he pursues it single-handedly and straight through enemy lines.
Reviews
Top Rated Movies #163 | 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Sherlock Jr. (1924)
Action | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A film projectionist longs to be a detective, and puts his meagre skills to work when he is framed by a rival for stealing his girlfriend's father's pocketwatch.

Director: Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, Joe Keaton
Sunrise (1927)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

An allegorical tale about a man fighting the good and evil within him. Both sides are made flesh - one a sophisticated woman he is attracted to and the other his wife.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston
Seven Chances (1925)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A man learns he will inherit a fortune if he marries by 7 p.m. that same day.

Director: Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Ruth Dwyer, T. Roy Barnes
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

In 1431, Jeanne d'Arc is placed on trial on charges of heresy. The ecclesiastical jurists attempt to force Jeanne to recant her claims of holy visions.

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer
Stars: Maria Falconetti, Eugene Silvain, André Berley
Safety Last! (1923)
Action | Comedy | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A store clerk organizes a publicity stunt in which a friend climbs the outside of a tall building.

Directors: Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor
Stars: Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis, Bill Strother
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A spoiled heiress running away from her family is helped by a man who is actually a reporter in need of a story.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly
Metropolis (1927)
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Gustav Fröhlich
The Navigator (1924)
Action | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Two spoiled rich people find themselves trapped on an empty passenger ship.

Directors: Donald Crisp, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, Frederick Vroom
Comedy | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A man returns to his Appalachian homestead. On the trip, he falls for a young woman. The only problem is her family has vowed to kill every member of his family.

Directors: John G. Blystone, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Natalie Talmadge, Joe Keaton
Fantasy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses a somnambulist, Cesare, to commit murders.

Director: Robert Wiene
Stars: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

In the midst of the Russian Revolution of 1905, the crew of the battleship Potemkin mutiny against the brutal, tyrannical regime of the vessel's officers. The resulting street demonstration in Odessa brings on a police massacre.

Director: Sergei M. Eisenstein
Stars: Aleksandr Antonov, Vladimir Barskiy, Grigoriy Aleksandrov
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Buster Keaton ... Johnnie Gray
Marion Mack ... Annabelle Lee
Glen Cavender ... Captain Anderson
Jim Farley ... General Thatcher
Frederick Vroom Frederick Vroom ... A Southern General
Charles Henry Smith Charles Henry Smith ... Annabelle's Father (as Charles Smith)
Frank Barnes Frank Barnes ... Annabelle's Brother
Joe Keaton ... Union General
Mike Donlin ... Union General
Tom Nawn Tom Nawn ... Union General
Edit

Storyline

Johnnie loves his train ("The General") and Annabelle Lee. When the Civil War begins he is turned down for service because he's more valuable as an engineer. Annabelle thinks it's because he's a coward. Union spies capture The General with Annabelle on board. Johnnie must rescue both his loves. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

LAUGHS to the right of you- LAUGHS to the left of you- they volley and thunder. Join the LAUGH Brigade. Enlist for Fun with the Commander-in-Chief of LAUGHTER. See him and shriek! (Print Ad- Evening News, ((Buffalo, NY)) 4 February 1927) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 February 1927 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Engine Driver See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$750,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1982) | (1962) | (2003 alternate) |

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Black and White (Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies. See more »

Goofs

Annabelle gets drenched when she and Johnnie stop for water, but as they return to the engine, her dress is dry. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Annabelle's brother: Fort Sumter has been fired upon.
Mr. Lee: Then the war is here.
Annabelle's brother: Yes, dad, and I'm going to be one of the first to enlist.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also shown in a tinted version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The General: Tour of Filming Locations (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

The General
Written by William P. Perry
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
It is more appreciated now than when it was released
27 March 2017 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

This film flopped when it was released in late 1926 for several reasons. First, its premiere was delayed because "Flesh and the Devil" was such a sensation that it was held over an extra couple of weeks. Second, people came to the movies to see Buster Keaton the comedian, not Buster the filmmaker and director, which is more of the role he played here. The film was funny, but it was not gag after gag, like so many of Keaton's other films. Keaton plays a railroad engineer living in the South. A title card declares he has two loves - his girl and his engine. when the Civil War starts he tries to enlist, but is considered too valuable to be in the Army due to his profession. His girlfriend misunderstands, thinks him a coward, and says she won't speak to him again until he is in uniform.

Meanwhile, the Union forces have developed a plan to crush the South that involves stealing Buster's train. Unknown to Buster, his girlfriend is on the train at the time of the theft. Buster starts out in hot pursuit of the thieves to retrieve his train, still without the knowledge of his girl's captivity by the Union army.

Forgotten with the arrival of sound, the film revived - often cut up from its original length - in the 1950's because Buster didn't preserve his rights to the film and it fell into the public domain. That is the reason there are so many versions of The General out there today, often with poor video and hideous musical accompaniment.

Today The General is considered one of the best silent feature length films, and one of the few silent films to not only be on DVD but to get the Blu Ray treatment too. SHERLOCK, JR. is clever. OUR HOSPITALITY is hilarious. The General is both of these things. It's story driven, races to a climax, and is fueled by cute, clever, inventive gags.Buster recycled these gags when he was a writer for MGM years later in "A Southern Yankee".


11 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 267 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed