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Silent Film Series: The General (1926)

The General is a 1926 an action-adventure-comedy made toward the end of the silent era starring Buster Keaton. It was inspired by the Great Locomotive Chase, a true story of an event that occurred during the Civil War. The story was adapted from the 1889 memoir The Great Locomotive Chase by William Pittenger.

The story follows the adventures of train engineer Johnnie Gray (Keaton), who after being rejected by the Confederate military due to his crucial civilian role as an engineer, must single-handedly recapture his beloved locomotive after it is seized by Union spies and return it through enemy lines.

The General is often ranked among the greatest American films ever made. In 1989, it was selected by the Library of Congress to be included in the first class of films for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.