Quite simply, The General is HILARIOUS! Although I am generally not a huge fan of silent movies (I prefer the classic sound films), The General is an exception. Way ahead of its time, this film was not initially well recieved and was a big flop, but it is now considered by many to be Buster Keaton's finest film. Overall, the General is truly a showcase of Keaton's brilliance as a comedian and stuntman.
The General is set in the Civil War. Basically, it is the story of an engineer named Johnny Gray who, after being rejected from serving in the Southern army and consequently not being able to marry his sweetheart (she will only have him if he is in the army), finds himself engaged in a huge chase to get his train back after it is stolen from him by a small group of Northerers. The chase is hilarious - it has often been imitated, but nothing can compare to the original - and Keaton's expressions, especially his famous deadpan expression, are hysterical.
Anyhow, this classic comedy is a must-see. Keaton's antics are great, and it is amazing to think that he did all his daredevil stunts in an era where special effects were nonexistent (if you wanted to crash a train off a bridge, you actually had to do it)! The General is perfect for the whole family (this is my 11 year old brother's favorite movie, he has seen it at least 100 times) and is a real treat to watch. I don't know how else to recommend this - get it and enjoy!