A group of people are standing in a straight line along the platform of a railway station, waiting for a train, which is seen coming at some distance. When the train stops at the platform, ... See full summary »
Porter's sequential continuity editing links several shots to form a narrative of firemen responding to a house fire. They leave the station with their horse drawn pumper, arrive on the ... See full summary »
George S. Fleming,
Edwin S. Porter
James H. White
The first scene shows the chief as he explains to his followers the plan of the great train robbery. Two masked robbers enter and compel the operator to stop the approaching train. They ... See full summary »
A man opens the big gates to the Lumière factory. Through the gateway and a smaller doorway beside it, workers are streaming out, turning either left or right. Most of them are women in ... See full summary »
A gardener is watering his flowers, when a mischievous boy sneaks up behind his back, and puts a foot on the water hose. The gardener is surprised, and looks into the nozzle to find out why... See full summary »
"In the opening of this film is seen the astronomer intently poring over his books. Suddenly, in a cloud of smoke, Satan appears and surprises the astronomer. At the command of the Fairy ... See full summary »
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
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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