Public Domain Theater: 3 Bad Men (& “The Great Train Robbery”)

Welcome to Public Domain Theater, your home for the wonderful world of films that have (in the United States, at least) fallen into the public domain, and are free for everyone to see!

We’re going way back with this one folks, back to Silent Era of cinema, with films that look back even further, to the days when the West was wild.

Yep, we’re doing Westerns this month, and what better choice than a film from the maestro themself, John Ford? Famous for such classics as Stagecoach, The Searchers, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, Ford is rivaled only by Sergio Leone as the most acclaimed director of the Western genre. And we highlight here one of their earliest forays into the West: 3 Bad Men, a tale of outlaws who find themselves growing a conscience and becoming a young woman’s protectors during a savage rush for gold.

A mixture of quiet drama and suspenseful action (plus, surprising in a silent flick, a singing cowboy, too) it’s a gripping yarn from folks who, even in 1926, were already masters of their craft.

And to complete our look back at the Old West, we have a short film so old, it was made back when the Old West was still just the Regular West. It’s the 1903 film “The Great Train Robbery”, one of the earliest action movies ever made, centered on – you guessed it – a great train robbery, and featuring one of the most famous fourth wall breaks in film history.

So, boy howdy! C’mon, ya doggies, saddle your britches and lasso your spurs and other frontier gibberish, and come gander at these here films from the Public Domain.


Opening Short:

Feature Presentation: