Review of “The Great Train Robbery” (1903)

Moving picture, 11 minutes

Four savage men steal money from a mail car and rob the passengers of the same train, then make off with the loot, but are hunted down. In a tangential shot (having no place in the main narrative and appendable both to the beginning and end), a bandit in close-up aims at the camera and fires.

A forebear of modern narrative cinema, this silent short incorporates the early “chase” and “train” proto-genres, as well as the recent British crime film trend, into something reminiscent of both gangster movies and the Western, which would not be described as such for another seven years. Filmed in scenic New Jersey.

moving picture fiction