Train engineer Johnny Gray (Buster Keaton) is turned down when he tries to enlist in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War as his occupation is deemed too important. When his train (The General) is stolen by Union soldiers so that it can be used to attack Confederate forces, only Johnny and his girl Annabelle Lee can save the train and warn the Confederates about an impending attack.
This 1926 film starts quite slowly but stick with it and you'll get to the wonderful comedy routines and astounding acrobatic stunts. It's a great film to introduce children, or anyone, to the joys of silent comedy. My kids love this movie, they are amazed by the simplicity of the special effects and the split second timing of the stunts. (They'd also recommend "Oh, Mr. Porter!" from 1937 for more fun with trains...)
The only disappointment on this DVD is the music - instead of a specially written score there is a series of piano rags. Pleasant enough, but music underlining the action would have been even better. See films like this with live accompaniment if you get the chance.