The Great Buster: A Celebration at Real Art Ways

Skip to main content


The Great Buster: A Celebration

94% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes

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, 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.

Bogdanovich briefly covers Keaton’s loss of artistic independence and later career decline before focusing more deeply on his extraordinary output from 1923 to 1929, which yielded 10 remarkable feature films (including The General and Steamboat Bill, Jr.). These enduring films have immortalized him as one of the greatest actor-filmmakers in the history of cinema.

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

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

"A wonderful appreciation of a great American comic and filmmaker."

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter

"More than a documentary, "The Great Buster" is a tribute to an icon."

Gary Garrison, The Playlist

"The film presents a compact, tactful biography and also a valuable explication of the Keatonesque in its most sublime varieties."

A.O. Scott, New York Times