Every Buster Keaton Movie Ranked, From Worst to Best

These 23 Buster Keaton films boast deadly stunts and classic slapstick, and while some are better than others, they remain timeless.

From Sherlock to The General, the current decade will mark the 100th anniversary of several Buster Keaton films. Unlike other stars of yesteryear, however, Keaton's filmography is somehow not dated. Instead, it has had an impact on the entire history of cinema, especially in the action and comedy genres. His collective work undoubtedly made him as important as other silent comedy stars such as Charlie Chaplin - he eventually co-starred with Charlie Chaplin in the 1952 drama "Limelight". Known for its deadpan facial expressions and exaggerated body language, Keaton and his work are worth revisiting for lovers of silent films, physical comedy, and even stunt choreography.

To see Buster Keaton's films in chronological order, fans can start with his features in the 1920s, which is considered the peak of his career. This was the era of silent film classics like Little Sherlock, The Three Ages, The University, and more. Most of the films from this time period were also co-written and co-directed by Keaton. The second phase of his feature film career was his productions for MGM in the late 20s and early 30s, a studio that limited his creative freedom. not including his Short films and cameo roles, Buster Keaton appeared in a total of 23 films.

23/23 The Invader (1936)

In Invaders, a British film acquired by MGM, Buster Keaton plays Leander Proudfoot, a millionaire trying to win the hearts of local women in southern Spain. The wholesome but simplistic rom-com was ultimately overshadowed by a better remake, a 1939 short starring Keaton called The Vermin of the West. The low production values ​​also don't let Keaton do much with the flimsy script. With both Keaton and director Adrian Brunel in creative slump, Intruder has faded into the background compared to the rest of Keaton's MGM roster.

22/23 Doughboys (1930)

Director Edward Sedgwick oversaw most of Buster Keaton's MGM films, Doughboys being one of them. True to Keaton's gimmick, he takes a shot at the idle class while playing a wealthy man who gets drafted by accident. Aside from the standard love triangle, the Doughboys are all about bringing in some laughs. Although set in the final years of World War I, the sound film's wartime satire isn't as fleshed out as Charlie Chaplin would have liked Realized ten years later with The Great Dictator. Regardless, Doughboys is worth a watch if viewers want a glimpse of Keaton in a relatively serious role.

21/23 Boom In The Moon (1946)

It is difficult to summarize the premise of Buster Keaton's only Mexican work. The lunar boom began when Keaton's World War II survivors moved to Mexico. After he's mistaken for the Killer, he's launched to the moon, where more cases of mistaken identity occur, this time involving aliens. The plot tries to mix war drama and science fiction genre tropes, and Keaton tones down his humor a bit. Sheer ambition makes this a slightly confusing watch. In the meantime, "Moonlight Boom" is worth revisiting for viewers who need a slightly darker and unconventional entry into Keaton's filmography.

20/23 The Passionate Plumber (1932)

A comedy full of mistakes with a great ensemble cast, the passionate plumber stars Buster Keaton alongside comedy icon Jimmy Durant and sideshow legend Polly Moran. Keaton plays a Parisian plumber who is seeking financial assistance for his new invention: a pistol with a range light. When he was somehow involved in an assassination attempt on a military leader, the pistol became a curse. However, for the 1930s Moviegoers, this offers one comic complication after another. The bombastic drama from the central trio doesn't disappoint, but the enthusiastic plumbing for the overall product still lags behind due to unfinished stories and unresolved plot holes.

19/23 Free And Easy (1930)

Buster Keaton's first leading role in a sound film found him in a meta-narrative, as the MGM production revolved around Anita Page playing aspiring actress Elvira, who was in the same film Studios conduct screen tests. Keaton's Elmer, posing as her manager and secretly falling in love with her, perfectly evokes the shyness his character needs. However, given that this is his non-silent debut, the actor still needs to perfect his dialogue delivery before further explosions in future sound films. Free and Easy also involved a familiar love triangle, with Robert Montgomery playing a scruffy MGM studio executive that seemed cliché at the time.

18/23 Sidewalks Of New York (1931)

The boxing movie genre provides ample room for exploring comedy routines, especially with an action-oriented hilarious character like Buster Keaton. But as Keaton produced one of the best boxing comedies of all time with Battling Butler in 1926, Sidewalks of New York proved to be another MGM production that lacked the vibrancy of his earlier homegrown films. Keaton plays a socialite Who changed his mind and trained street kids to be boxers instead of hooligans. A boxing school opens, followed by a hilarious duel. Keaton is as robust as ever, but his recurring screen co-star Anita Page outshines the rest of the cast as an overprotective older sister with one of her children.

17/23 What-No Beer? (1933)

Despite some MGM drops, the duo of Buster Keaton and Jimmy Durant is as dynamic as ever. What - no beer? Two comedians playing men who make money at the end of Prohibition is a good example. When Keaton and Durant implement their "million dollar idea" of selling ale to a thirsty public, What-No Beer? Not only is it a delightful entertainment watch, but it also doubles as a time capsule of the chaotic Prohibition era. Keaton's performance here may not be top-notch, but his acrobatic skills in the police chase scene are amazing.

16/23 Speak Easily (1932)

In Speak Easyly, Buster Keaton plays a timid professor who falls so deeply in love with a dancer that he decides to fund her poorly written musical and takes it along the way. to Broadway. Thelma Todd (Thelma Todd) is personable The performers and Jimmy Durant (now known for the Joker trailer song) deliver his usual wit as the dance troupe's manager. Speak Easily explores the desperate attempts at making a musical, successfully parodying the showbiz and the eccentric characters behind it. Relying on the same body gimmicks he included in The Marx Brothers' A Night at the Opera, Keaton's performance is as good as ever.

15/23 Parlor Bedroom And Bath (1931)

The third sound film of Buster Keaton's career finds him getting the best of both worlds. While he's introduced as one of his typical socially awkward characters, he becomes Casanova as he undergoes a My Fair Lady transformation. The duality of his character is hilariously captured in Keaton, who manages to put the talking parts to good use in this lesser-known but hauntingly eccentric classic despite his grim expression. Before the living room, bedroom, and bathroom, moviegoers saw Keaton as an eccentric fool. Now, he's shocking viewers as a womanizer. But just because he's charming and delivers heroic dialogue doesn't mean the movie doesn't have any silliness either.

14/23 The Saphead (1920)

Buster Keaton landed his first starring role in The Saphead feature film. While it showcases deadpan comedy masters As a freshman, his performances received particular attention from critics upon release. Keaton's calm and vacant-eyed expression make him an unconventional leading man that fits perfectly with his character, a rich kid addicted to gambling and debauchery. Saphead is credited with sparking interest in Keaton's follow-up, leading to his more iconic silent films. Interestingly, it is based on the stage play Henrietta starring silent film legend Douglas Fairbanks. When it came to the screen version, Fairbanks suggested a young Keaton instead of himself.

13/23 Le Roi Des Champs-Élysées (1934)

The French-language comedy Le Roi Des Champs-Élysées is remembered as the movie in which the stoic Buster Keaton finally smiled, but it suffered from the poor dubbing quality of some of its lines. Keaton plays the dual roles of an aspiring actor and a convicted gangster, and much of the comedy stems from expected cases of mistaken identity. The film has surprisingly few stunts, though Keaton does execute some visually arresting gags. For example, when he was roughly slapped on the back, the drink in his hand was about to spill, but he somehow poured every drop back into the glass!

12/23 Spite Marriage (1929)

To avenge her unfaithful husband, a woman marries a naive tailor's assistant. As the latter doesn't realize he's being used, hilarious jokes and Buster Keaton's usual athleticism (which inspired Chan's comedic style) ensue. Not only Keaton, but lead actress Dorothy Sebastian (Dorothy Sebastian) also encountered many situations that required her to be strict with her body. While the plot isn't too different from other films in Keaton's career, "A Marriage of Hate" has historical value given that it was his last silent film. Still, the synchronized soundtrack and background laughs make this silent 1929 production all the more immersive and make the viewing experience even more memorable.

11/23 College (1927)

Despite his physical prowess, Buster Keaton had faith in the character of an academically gifted but less athletic student at the university. Part rom-com, part coming-of-age story, it's a must-see silent film that bears witness to director Keaton's ingenuity. While good grades are great, Keaton's character realizes he has to dabble in a sport or two to excel in school. In order to improve his social status and impress the girl he likes, he tries every possible sport - unintentionally - Just kidding yourself. From track stunts to rowing stunts, Keaton took his humorous style to new heights.

10/23 Battling Butler (1926)

Buster Keaton was good at making fun of the rich. He also delivers hilarious results when trying to exercise. In Battling Butler, he played a wealthy socialite posing as a famous boxer. While cases of mistaken identity may become a recurring theme in Keaton's silent-era films, "The Butler" is surprisingly more moving than humorous. In fact, Keaton fans agree that while "The Butler War" may not be the funniest of his comedies, it still boasts some well-written storylines in his pantheon. The final showdown only adds more drama depth.

9/23 Three Ages (1923)

Despite the success of The Saphead, Buster Keaton still had to prove his worth as a creative force in the feature film universe. His short films have already garnered critical acclaim, but "Three Ages" allows him to explore the anthology format, as he plays three men in three different historical eras. As each protagonist embarks on their romantic misadventures, it turns out that the three eras have taken a major step forward Still critically acclaimed, Buster Keaton wrote, directed, produced and starred in his first feature film in his biographical filmmaking career. The episodes are effective parodies of the period drama and historical epic genres.

8/23 Go West (1925)

In Wild West, Buster Keaton is an unnamed drifter who dares to go wild by taking seemingly mundane activities and turning them into daunting adventures filled with bombastic mannerisms Wild West. From raising cows to dairy farming, and even making friends with cows, Keaton has done it all. Even in the parts that don't seem plot-driven, Going West is fun enough when the hero is just trying to fit in with the wilderness. Westerns are otherwise dominated by hyper-masculine characters, but Keaton proves with "Going West" that even formulaic Westerns can be interpreted with light-hearted shots.

7/23 The Navigator (1924)

If the land didn't provide him enough room to play, Buster Keaton took his erratic behavior to sea in The Voyager. Keaton also sits in the director's chair, relying on his frequent collaborator Fred Gabriel to handle art direction. The result was that the titular ocean liner became a stand-alone character, with Keaton using every corner to craft the front mechanical comedy. And if that wasn't enough, he'll even go on to repair a boat in a full wetsuit. Since the story is basically about a wealthy protagonist trapped in an Airbus ship, the scale of the film is definitely commendable for a 1920s Hollywood film.

6/23 Our Hospitality (1923)

A stark parody of the infamous feud between rural American families, the Hatfields and McCoys, Our Hospitality blends Civil War-era drama with well-edited slapstick comedy and is rightfully a classic. At the film's release, critics and audiences alike were in awe of how serious storylines turned into gag-dependent comedy at the right time. Whereas Buster Keaton seemed comfortable with its claustrophobic urban setting, Our Hospitality is on a much larger scale, with expansive landscapes and period-accurate sets. His then-wife, Natalie Talmadge, and his father, Joe Keaton, played supporting roles, making this a family affair.

5/23 Seven Chances (1925)

In one of the most hilarious comedies of all time, a down-on-his-luck banker gets the chance to inherit a $7 million fortune. The problem is he has to get married before his 27th birthday ends, a time-bound daunting task that has led to one of his most ambitious plans conceivable ending. One shot in "Seven Chances" remains Buster Keaton's favorite stunt: when the boulder chases the hero down a hill, the movie is just as hilarious and thrilling. With more gruesome stunt shots to go without a stand-in, Keaton proved he had the mettle to be not only a comedian but an action star as well.

4/23 The Cameraman (1928)

His deal with MGM was generally disappointing, but Buster Keaton's debut feature at the studio is still regarded as his last great masterpiece and one of the best films ever made about baseball. "The Photographer" is a romantic comedy in which the main character is hopelessly chasing an MGM employee while pursuing his creative dreams of becoming a successful newsreel photographer. The twin motivations of romance and ambition fuel his actions, making his character a well-rounded protagonist. The fast-paced action is top-notch, but behind all the hilarious chases, the movie ends up being a story of a broken man looking for purpose, almost foreshadowing Keaton's own in the years to come. grim future.

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