7.3/10
17,601
103 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)
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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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)
Frederick T. Scott Frederick T. Scott ... Man (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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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

Referenced in A Dream Called Walt Disney World (1981) See more »

User Reviews

 
Formation of Cinematic Narrative
8 August 2003 | by cjosephlyonsSee all my reviews

I enjoy this film even though it is very old and compared to today's cinema, very limited in its attempt at realism. But today's cinema would not be what it is without the original innovation of cinematic devices by Edwin S. Porter, one of films first masters. His progress in narrative construction and his work in special effects techniques astonished audiences like never before. His work was limited specifically because he used the static camera affecting the impact of each of his shots. His unique and influential editing style allowed the audience to take part in the action of the film, not sitting idly watching it. The movie is 12 minutes long and is considered the first narrative film in history. The most exciting scene is when the gangsters raid the train station and rob the train. The train is a really well done mat-shot of a train pulling into the station, frightening the audience in their seats. I personally am most excited by the final closing scene of the gangster shooting his gun, aiming it directly at the audience. This audience point of view shot makes me feel like the narrative of the train robbery enticed me to cheer for the Sheriff, and the angry gangster shoots at me because I was cheering for his enemy. This film and this sequence of the gangster shooting the audience was solidified in cinematic history when Martin Scorsese pays homage in 'Goodfellas', with Joe Pesci gun barrage and sinister look.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

None | English

Release Date:

7 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)
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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
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