Among the early pioneers of film were a few great comedians. Using silent films in stride they made great advances in the visual art form. Early movies used actors from plays and vaudeville theater, who brought their brand of comedy to films. With a great influence over the film industry, we can see traces of Buster Keaton in Jackie Chan, Bill Murray, the works of Wes Anderson and so many more. Resonating greats like Orson Welles are the words of the great film critic Roger Ebert, “The greatest of the silent clowns is Buster Keaton, not only because of what he did, but because of how he did it. Harold Lloyd made us laugh as much, Charlie Chaplin moved us more deeply, but no one had more courage than Buster.” Here is the list of top Buster Keaton movies that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these best Buster Keaton movies on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
10. Cops (1922)
Like most of his other works, ‘Cops’ is also a short film. It shows Buster playing himself as a man whose love tells him to become successful before he asks for her hand in marriage. He steals some money in a slapstick moment to try to make it big. But he ends up disturbing a police parade in a crazy chain of events and hence gets persuaded by hundreds of cops. It makes for a brilliant ride in the regular Buster Keaton fashion. An example of his influence in modern comedy can be seen in how he uses a boxing glove at the end of a tie rack to build an extending arm that has been reused in Tom & Jerry and other comedies.
9. Convict 13 (1920)
Like a lot of Keaton’s films, it starts with a bumbling Buster Keaton trying to woo a girl, this time during a game of golf. He ends up being dressed as an escaped prisoner and the rest of the film explores him trying to escape again through innovative schemes. It uses many different devices that have been reused in so many movies and TV shows. When in prison he meets another inmate played by Keaton’s close friend and regular collaborator, Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle. Arbuckle tries his own escape rendering all the guards unconscious in his attempt. This is another staple of Keaton’s movies in which he and Arbuckle play opposing characters with a similar goal. It is a classic silent comedy piece.
8. The Play House (1921)