13. The General
directed by Buster Keaton
There’s a pivotal moment near the end of Buster Keaton’s 1926 landmark film that is so incredibly gobsmacking, you can’t help but ask the same question you find yourself asking about five times in every one of his films: “How in the hell did he do that?” And of course, the answer is that he just went and DID it. That’s the central theme to Keaton’s genius, he does incredible thing. This is almost as much of an early action film as it is a comedy, but wouldn’t you know but Keaton’s a genius at marrying the two elements, especially during the massive climax that yes, sure involves the North and the South, but is also really just about Keaton winning back – and then being increasingly annoyed by – his former sweetheart. Just watch it, it’s great.