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Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)

Not Rated  |   |  Action, Comedy, Drama  |  20 May 1928 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 8,733 users  
Reviews: 61 user | 52 critic

The effete son of a cantankerous riverboat captain comes to join his father's crew.


(as Chas. F. Reisner) , (uncredited)


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Complete credited cast:
Tom McGuire ...
Ernest Torrence ...
Tom Lewis ...
Marion Byron ...


Following through on a promise to his mother, William Canning Jr. goes to River Junction to meet his father who has not seen him since he was a child. The younger Canning isn't quite what the elder was expecting but the old man has bigger problems. He's being put out of business by J.J. King, who not only owns the local hotel and bank, but has recently introduced a new paddle wheel steamer that puts Cannings older boat, the Stonewall Jackson, to shame. Bill Jr. and Kitty King take a liking to each other much to the dismay of both of their fathers. When a fierce storm hits River Junction, Bill Jr. is forced to save Kitty, her father and his father. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

river | storm | captain | rescue | steamer | See All (62) »


The Laugh Special of the Age. See It.


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

20 May 1928 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El héroe del río  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Buster Keaton's technical director was Fred Gabourie, who was responsible for the sets and in particular for rigging gags--and re-rigging them when changes in plot dictated substituting a cyclone for a flood in the film's climax. Multiple buildings were required to either splinter into a million pieces, collapse inward a section at a time or--in one particularly notable instance--lose its facades and plop to the ground with pinpoint accuracy. See more »


During the final cyclone sequence, a cable pulling down the entire front of a building is clearly visible. See more »


William Canfield Jr.: [to his father] I know what it is, you're ashamed of my baking.
See more »


Spoofed in Twister (1996) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The whole Keaton kaboodle
3 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Buster Keaton was a lunatic. He had to have been. The stunts he was able to pull off in this movie leave me questioning his sanity. This film has moments where you won't believe his stunts weren't done via some nifty camera forgery. It's just amazing that his stunts were accomplished while one camera(yes, just one) was aimed at a spot that was marked for Buster to hit. This precision had to be met or death and disaster could follow. This was most apparent in the cyclone scene with the wall of a house that fell to the ground. Any deviation by an inch from the mark and a house could fall on top of Buster's head. I had to watch that scene over and over again. This film is filled with great gymnastics from Buster, as he did hit all of his marks. Although this movie has some of Buster's best comedic gymnastics, there are a couple of memorable scenes of pantomime. There's the scene near the beginning of the film when Buster is trying on an array of hats for his father. Buster looks right into the camera as if looking into a mirror, just a great effect. And later there's another scene where Buster tries to break his father out of jail by pantomiming the instructions of escape by using only his hands and a loaf of bread. By the end of the film you'll be marveling at Buster's dexterity while he operates the steamboat by climbing up and over or jumping down and around the ship, running the ship by himself and with the help of a few helpfully placed ropes. This movie has it all for Buster fans. 10/10.

Clark Richards

32 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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