The General

Directed by Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton
Starring Buster Keaton, Marion Mack, Glen Cavender
Theatrical Release Date May 14, 2019
Run Time 79 min

Many critics consider The General to be the last great comedy of the silent era, and it consistently ranks as one of the greatest comedies of all time on international critics’ polls. Set during the Civil War and based on a true incident, the film is also an authentic looking period piece, bringing the scope and realism of Matthew Brady-like images to brilliant life. The title refers not to Keaton’s character, but to his engine, The General, which figures prominently in one of the most harrowing and hilarious chase scenes ever filmed. Keaton portrays the engineer Johnnie Gray, who is rejected by the Confederate Army and then suffers the further humiliation of his girlfriend’s (Marion Mack) thinking him a coward. When a small band of Union soldiers penetrate far beyond Confederate lines to steal his locomotive, Johnnie Gray sets off in hot pursuit; seven of the film’s eight reels (are) devoted to the chase, with its orchestration of thrills and comedy. Keaton shot the film on the narrow railways of Oregon and used less than 50 titles to explain the whole story.

Buster Keaton is one of the very greatest filmmakers ever to get behind a camera.
January 14 2014
Only superlatives will do to describe Keaton’s hilarious Civil War dramatic comedy.
January 14 2014
Buster Keaton's timeless 1926 silent The General is the perfect chase movie…See it and gasp.
January 31 2014
Spearheading the BFI's Buster Keaton season is this 4K restoration of his 1926 masterpiece, a jaw-plunging blend opt physical dexterity and bravura moviemaking.
January 31 2014
The pioneering genius of Buster Keaton's 1926 silent film The General looks even more startling than ever…more or less invented the action movie.
It's hard to imagine Keaton's 1926 masterpiece ever becoming so dated it ceases to be utterly enjoyable.
Name Role
Clyde Bruckman Director
Joseph M. Schenck Producer
Buster Keaton Cast Member
Buster Keaton Director
Al Boasberg Writer
Marion Mack Cast Member
Charles Smith Writer
Glen Cavender Cast Member
Run time 79 min
Year Completed 1926