Buster Keaton Movies

Annex - Keaton, Buster (Goat, The)_01Want to know the best Buster Keaton movies?  How about the worst Buster Keaton movies?  Curious about Buster Keaton box office grosses or which Buster Keaton movie picked up the most Oscar nominations? Need to know which Buster Keaton movie got the best reviews from critics and audiences and which got the worst reviews? Well you have come to the right place….because we have all of that information.

One of our goals here at Ultimate Movie Rankings is do a career movie page on every member of the American Film Institute’s Top 50 Greatest Screen Legends list.  Happy to say that this Buster Keaton page is the 49th AFI page leaving only Mary Pickford to complete.  Keaton is ranked as the 21st best actor, right behind #20 The Marx Brothers and right before #22 Sidney Poitier. Buster Keaton (1898-1966) was an American actor, director, producer, writer, and stunt performer. His IMDb page shows 149 acting credits from 1917-1966. This page will rank 28 Buster Keaton movies from Best to Worst in six different sortable columns of information.  Cameos, television appearances, shorts, bit parts and movies not released in North America were not included in the rankings.

Drivel part:  This page took a very long time to put together.  Shockingly we were able to find box office numbers for every single Keaton full length feature made between 1920-1939.  Although Keaton continued to work…most of his movies after 1939 were bad and sad.  We only included 4 movies during this time span.  The rest were either one day roles, C budget movies or cameos.  Granted his appearance in Sunset Blvd. is one of the best cameo roles ever!

Buster Keaton in one of his most famous roles....1926's The General

Buster Keaton in one of his most famous roles….1926’s The General

Buster Keaton Movies Can Be Ranked 6 Ways In This Table

The really cool thing about this table is that it is “user-sortable”. Rank the movies anyway you want.

  • Sort Buster Keaton movies by his job in the movie
  • Sort Buster Keaton movies by his co-star in the move
  • Sort Buster Keaton movies by adjusted domestic box office grosses using current movie ticket cost (in millions)
  • Sort Buster Keaton movies by yearly domestic box office rank
  • Sort Buster Keaton movies how they were received by critics and audiences.  60% rating or higher should indicate a good movie.
  • Sort by how many Oscar® nominations each Buster Keaton movie received and
  • Sort by many Oscar® wins each Buster Keaton movie won.
  • Sort Buster Keaton movies by Ultimate Movie Rankings (UMR) Score.  UMR Score puts box office, reviews and awards into a mathematical equation and gives each movie a score.
  • Use the search and sort button to make this page very interactive.

Stats and Possibly Interesting Things From The Above Buster Keaton Table

  1. Four Buster Keaton movies crossed the magical $100 million domestic gross mark.  That is a percentage of 14.28% of his movies listed. The Navigator (1924) was his biggest box office ht when looking at adjusted domestic box office gross.  *Looked at starring roles only when coming up with the best.
  2. An average Buster Keaton movie grosses $66.10 million in adjusted box office gross.
  3. Using RottenTomatoes.com’s 60% fresh meter.  17 of Buster Keaton’ movies are rated as good movies…or 60.71% of their movies. The Cameraman (1928) is his highest rated movie while The Intruder (1936) was his lowest rated movie.
  4. Three Buster Keaton movie received at least one Oscar® nomination in any category…..or 10.71% of his movies.
  5. Two Buster Keaton movie won at least one Oscar® in any category…..or 7.14% of his movies.
  6. An average Ultimate Movie Ranking  (UMR) Score is 39.86.  17 Buster Keaton movies scored higher than that average….or 60.71% of his movies. The Navigator (1924) got the the highest UMR Score while The Intruder (1936) got the lowest UMR Score. *Looked at starring roles only when coming up with the best.


Possibly Interesting Facts About Buster Keaton

1. Joseph Frank “Buster” Keaton was born in Piqua, Kansas in 1895.  Piqua was where his vaudeville family was performing.

2. Harry Houdini was one of the first people to see Buster Keaton.  Houdini worked for Buster’s father in the in the vaudeville show that was touring.  Houdini is the one that gave Keaton his nickname of Buster.  Houdini saw baby Keaton take a tumble down a long flight of stairs without injury. After the infant sat up and shook off his experience, Houdini remarked, “That was a real buster!”

3.  Buster Keaton became hearing-impaired after serving in Germany fighting World War I.

4.  Buster Keaton said he learned everything about movie making and comedy from Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle.  Keaton and Arbuckle made 14 shorts from 1917 to 1920.  Keaton’s short films made him famous around the world.

5.  Buster Keaton never received an Oscar® nomination but he did receive a Honorary Oscar® in 1960: “For his unique talents which brought immortal comedies to the screen”

6.  Buster Keaton was married three times in his life. He had 2 children.

7.  The three top comedians in silent era Hollywood were Keaton,Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd. All three comics produced, controlled and owned their own films. Keaton was convinced to sell his studio and films to MGM in the 1920s, while Chaplin and Lloyd retained ownership of their films. Chaplin and Lloyd became wealthy, while Keaton endured years of financial and personal problems.

8.  Buster Keaton not only do all his own stunts, but, when needed, he acted as a stunt double for other actors in the films.  The stunt in 1928’s Steamboat Bill, Jr. where the wall falls around Keaton was performed with an actual full-weight wall. Half the crew walked off the set rather than participate in a stunt that would have killed Keaton if he had been slightly off position. Keaton himself, told the previous day that his studio was being shut down, was so devastated that he didn’t care if the wall crushed him or not.  Many members of the film crew refused to be involved in the filming of the scene.

9.  Buster Keaton’s The General (1926) is currently the 138th highest rated movie on IMDb.com.  When The General was originally released it was a box office flop and considered a major disappointment by critics.

10.  Buster Keaton was voted the 7th Greatest Director of all time by Entertainment Weekly, making him the highest rated comedy director. Charles Chaplin didn’t make the list.

Check out Buster Keaton’s movie career compared to current and classic stars on our Most 100 Million Dollar Movies of All-Time page.

AFI’s Top 25 Screen Legend Actors….with links to my movie pages on the Screen Legend

2.   Cary Grant

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22 thoughts on “Buster Keaton Movies

  1. Hi
    About 55 years ago I was given a Liesegang silent movie projector with a quantity of silent and Sound films. At the time I lived in the Netherlands when the projector and films were given to me as the local Cinema was pulled down. I once saw the film with Buster Keaton in a world war one silent film. I have not opened the boxes in which the equipment has been stored for more than 50 years but know that the projector is missing its lamp and fitting and that the films are in a fragile state.
    My question is, what would be the title of that silent movie ?

      1. Hey Bob M. I think you are 100% correct about it being Doughboys. You have given Cornelis some great advice about his treasure. So disappointed in myself for not seeing his comment. It took your comment to finally see it. Thanks for sharing all of this information.

    1. Hey Cornelis Moonen….that sounds like a great treasure. I hope after all those years the film has held up…..but I fear it might not be in good shape. As for your question…Bob M. has provided the answer in the following comment. So how I missed this comment back in August….sorry about that….but like I said…this sounds like one wonderful movie item to have. Thanks for stopping by and letting us know.

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