7.3/10
15,447
91 user 41 critic

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:

Edwin S. Porter (uncredited)
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Cast

Uncredited cast:
A.C. Abadie A.C. Abadie ... Sheriff (uncredited)
Gilbert M. 'Broncho Billy' Anderson ... Bandit / Shot Passenger / Tenderfoot Dancer (uncredited)
George Barnes ... (uncredited)
Justus D. Barnes ... Bandit Who Fires at Camera (uncredited)
Walter Cameron Walter Cameron ... Sheriff (uncredited)
John Manus Dougherty Sr. John Manus Dougherty Sr. ... Fourth Bandit (uncredited)
Donald Gallaher ... Little Boy (uncredited)
Shadrack E. Graham Shadrack E. Graham ... Child (uncredited)
Frank Hanaway Frank Hanaway ... Bandit (uncredited)
Adam Charles Hayman Adam Charles Hayman ... Bandit (uncredited)
Morgan Jones Morgan Jones ... (uncredited)
Tom London ... Locomotive Engineer (uncredited)
Robert Milasch ... Trainman / Bandit (uncredited)
Marie Murray Marie Murray ... Dance-Hall Dancer (uncredited)
Mary Snow Mary Snow ... Little Girl (uncredited)
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Storyline

Among the earliest existing films in American cinema - notable as an early film to present 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 | Crime | Western

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

December 1903 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Great Train Robbery See more »

Filming Locations:

New Jersey, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$150 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Black and White (hand-colored)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The final shot of a gun being fired toward the camera had a profound effect on audiences. As cinema was in its infancy, many people who saw the film thought that they were actually about to be shot. See more »

Goofs

When the guard riding with the money in the baggage car is shot he throws his arms straight up in the air and falls to the floor with them extended. He was shot more then once, but while laying on the floor he holds his right arm up off the floor while his attackers search his body. Once they get up, he crosses his right arm across his face. See more »

Connections

Featured in Nostalgia Critic: To Boldly Flee: Part VII (2012) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Film Editing Is Born
3 January 2006 | by evanston_dadSee all my reviews

It's hard to assign "The Great Train Robbery" a rating, as it shouldn't really be watched as a film the way we watch films now. But from a historical perspective, it's fascinating, and is an excellent example of the use of film editing, an art form then in its infancy and now an award category recognized every year at the Oscars.

Before this movie, it wasn't customary to tell multiple story lines simultaneously, but here, various activities going on in different locations are intercut to create suspense. D.W. Griffith would use this technique much more ambitiously (and combine it with many other developing film techniques) in "The Birth of a Nation" over ten years later, but credit must be given to "Train Robbery" for blazing a trail.

Also, this is the movie famous for the shot of an outlaw shooting a gun directly at the camera. I can't imagine what effect this had on audiences at the time, who were probably diving behind their chairs for cover.

Grade: A


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