Buster Keaton's 1926 locomotive comedy - a major classic of the Hollywood silent era and perhaps Keaton's greatest achievement. Poorly received by critics at the time (Variety in 1926 said it was "far from funny"), it is now considered one of the greatest movies ever made.
Set during the American Civil War, Keaton's deadpan hero is train engineer Johnnie. He has two loves - Annabelle (Marion Mack) and his train. When Union spies steal the latter, Johnnie pursues it single handedly straight through enemy lines.
The General was one of the most expensive films ever made at the time and is famed for its elaborate stunts (including the actual falling of a locomotive from a burning bridge) and Keaton's dangerous physical comedy. The film is copyright free, having entered the public domain in 1956.