The Great Buster: A Celebration (2018) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Great Buster: A Celebration (2018)



Critic Consensus: The Great Buster: A Celebration isn't as breathlessly entertaining as the filmography that inspired it, but as a long-overdue primer, it's close to essential.

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Movie Info

THE GREAT BUSTER celebrates the life and career of one of America's most influential and celebrated filmmakers and comedians, Buster Keaton, whose singular style and fertile output during the silent era created his legacy as a true cinematic visionary. Filled with stunningly restored archival Keaton films from the Cohen Film Classics library, THE GREAT BUSTER is directed by Peter Bogdanovich, a filmmaker and cinema historian whose landmark writings and films on such renowned directors as John Ford and Orson Welles have become the standard by which all other studies are measured. Keaton's beginnings on the vaudeville circuit are chronicled in THE GREAT BUSTER, as is the development of his trademark physical comedy and deadpan expression that earned him the lifelong moniker of "The Great Stone Face", all of which led to his career-high years as the director, writer, producer and star of his own short films and features. Interspersed throughout are interviews with nearly two-dozen collaborators, filmmakers, performers and friends, including Mel Brooks, Quentin Tarantino, Werner Herzog, Dick van Dyke and Johnny Knoxville, who discuss Keaton's influence on modern comedy and, indeed, cinema itself. The loss of artistic independence and career decline that marked his later years are also covered by Bogdanovich, before he casts a close eye on Keaton's extraordinary output from 1923 to 1929, which yielded 10 remarkable feature films (including 1926's The General and 1928's Steamboat Bill, Jr.) that immortalized him as one of the greatest actor-filmmakers in the history of cinema.

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Critic Reviews for The Great Buster: A Celebration

All Critics (47) | Top Critics (15)

This movie lives in its black-and-white clips, which provide both a fine introduction to those new to Keaton's work, and plenty to dig into for hard-core fans.

November 29, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Any doubters are advised to see this movie, then treat themselves to a viewing of "The General." Case closed.

November 5, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

When it comes to pure visual comedy, there is no greater director than Buster Keaton.

November 2, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Even with endless biographical facts, he remains an enigma. Maybe that's why that third act is the most successful: Bogdanovich highlights the work, rather than the man, and that alone is a master class worth taking.

November 1, 2018 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

"The Great Buster" is a solid primer on what made Keaton not just one of the most important - and funniest - comedians in the history of the movies but also one of its most visionary directors.

November 1, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Top Critic

An amusing and authoritative documentary directed by Peter Bogdanovich that both satisfies the true believer and offers the agnostic a place to begin.

October 18, 2018 | Full Review…

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