7.3/10
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The Great Train Robbery (1903)

A group of bandits stage a brazen train hold-up, only to find a determined posse hot on their heels.

Director:

(uncredited)
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Cast

Uncredited cast:
A.C. Abadie ...
Sheriff (uncredited)
...
Bandit / Shot Passenger / Tenderfoot Dancer (uncredited)
...
(uncredited)
...
Bandit Who Fires at Camera (uncredited)
Walter Cameron ...
Sheriff (uncredited)
John Manus Dougherty Sr. ...
Fourth Bandit (uncredited)
...
Little Boy (uncredited)
Shadrack E. Graham ...
Child (uncredited)
Frank Hanaway ...
Bandit (uncredited)
Adam Charles Hayman ...
Bandit (uncredited)
Morgan Jones ...
(uncredited)
...
Locomotive Engineer (uncredited)
...
Trainman / Bandit (uncredited)
Marie Murray ...
Dance-Hall Dancer (uncredited)
Mary Snow ...
Little Girl (uncredited)
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Storyline

Among the earliest existing films in American cinema - notable as the first film that presented a narrative story to tell - it depicts a group of cowboy outlaws who hold up a train and rob the passengers. They are then pursued by a Sheriff's posse. Several scenes have color included - all hand tinted. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Action | Western

Certificate:

TV-G

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 December 1903 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le vol du grand rapide  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$150 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(hand-colored)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film uses simple editing techniques (each scene is a single shot) and the story is mostly linear (with only a few "meanwhile" moments) but it represents a significant step in movie making, being one of the first "narrative" movies. See more »

Goofs

Looking closely, you can see that every time a gun is used, it is pointed away from the person/camera. This might be regarded as a revealing mistake, but this is done for 2 reasons. The first being that film was in its early stages, so they didn't think the audience could see the tilted guns. Reason 2 being that blank cartridges for pistols weren't invented/widely used at the time, so they had to use real bullets. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Buster Keaton Rides Again (1965) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

It's Easy To See How It Got Its Reputation
11 April 2002 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

It's easy to see why this was such a sensation in 1903, and why today it is still considered to be an icon in movie history. You can enjoy this either as a historical landmark for its use of such a variety of then-new skills, or you can simply watch it for the story. To be sure, the plot is of a now-familiar type, but this is what so many other movies have imitated over the years.

The story-telling is very good, and it is almost not even necessary to add 'for its time', because much of it still holds up quite well. It tells an action-packed story with plenty of detail, and it uses a good variety of effective techniques to increase the excitement, suspense, and realism. From the motion effects in the scenes inside the train, to the occasional use of color tinting, to the use of outdoor scenes, almost everything works nicely. There are only a few occasions when can you tell that it is almost a century old. There are even things like some basic cross-cutting and a pretty good panning shot. There is plenty to see, and it's worth watching more than once to see what else you can notice.


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