RR Movies: Trains

There are a couple of Hitchcock classics featuring trains (The Lady Vanishes, Strangers On A Train), there’s a classic European film about sabotaging one the title of which nilp will remember (and the similar-ish Frank Sinatra vehicle, Von Ryan’s Express), there are Bond and Cary Grant films featuring them and there’s a Wes Anderson misfire/masterpiece set on one (The Darjeeling Limited)….. but I’ll pick Festival Express, the documentary about a bunch of artists travelling across Canada to play music, featuring the Dead, The Band, Janis Joplin, Buddy Guy et al.

What train films would you recommend?

22 thoughts on “RR Movies: Trains

  1. Strangers would have been my first thought. Also Murder on the Orient Express, which I don’t remember being all that great despite the cast. And Scorcese’s Boxcar Bertha which I didn’t see in its entirety. I have something niggling in the back of my brain tho, I’ll see if I can come up with it.

  2. Also North by Northwest, and for Bond I loved the ending of Live and Let Die with Geoffrey Holder laughing on the back of a train.

  3. I think I’d got for the Czech film “Closely Observed Trains” as it’s one of the first “arthouse” foreign language films I can remember seeing. It’s set during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia.
    As much about sex and politics as trains so a highly suitable introduction to the world of European films for a young man with a theoretical interest in all three.

      • ha ha, I haven’t seen Closely observed trains actually and the “Arthouse” film which came to mind first was Lars von Trier’s Europa, made back when he was good.

        For this topic I’d have to back Claire and Shane and go for a Buster Keaton, we watched The General recently and some of the stunts are hair raising. The Railrodder is also wonderful.

        I’m also always fond of Sean Connery and Robert Shaw wrecking an Orient Express compartment in From Russia with love.

  4. I love Mystery Train, of course, though it doesn’t actually spend too much time on a train. I also loved a film called Tickets, with 3 different directors, all set on trains. Ken Loach was one of the directors. Buster Keaton’s The General. The groundbreaking and beautiful Great Train Robbery. Some Like it Hot. So many!

  5. Probably my favourite would be the original The Lady Vanishes by Hitch which has a lot more action on a train than Strangers. The General, as already mentioned, is a classic comedy and, oddly, Minder on the Orient Express is another one that was intended as a feature film but ended as a TV film. Lawrence of Arabia has some good train scenes as the Arabs attempt to blow up Turkish trains and La Bete Humaine with the great Jean Gabin is another great train based film.

  6. The taking of Pelham 123
    Runaway Train
    The Station Agent

    and the best bit about a train is in the animated film about the cyclist – his dog Bruno jumps up and barks every time the train rattles past in: The Triplets of Belleville aka Belleville Rendezvous.

    also if you have 24 minutes to spare:

    The Railrodder

  7. My choices would have been Strangers On a Train, The Lady Vanishes, Murder On The Orient Express (the 1974 one with Albert Finney as Poirot) and Some Like It Hot, which is one of my absolute favourite films.

    Apart from those, I am struggling to think of any others.

    • The Titfield Thunderbolt is OK, but The Ladykillers is better. The train connection is the location of the house where the gang holes up and plans their robbery at King’s Cross Station, and from where they all end up getting killed off and dumped into trains passing below.

  8. I recently rewatched Dr Terror’s House of Horrors, which starts Peter Cushing, but has a host of later to be very famous actors in it. I admit that the special effects rely on one imagining the horror rather a lot, but it was very entertaining so I’m suggesting that one.

  9. Tempted to go for The Great St Trinians Train Robbery, still fun but not as good as remembered.

    Will go with Snowpiercer instead.

  10. Seconding The Taking of Pelham 123. Didn’t Tarantino nick his colour-codenamed gang member idea for Reservoir Dogs from it?

  11. probably not the best film about a train but i always liked Horror Express – with Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Telly Savalas. The Ladykillers of course, Pelham. More recently Snowpiercer was a decent enough action flick. ..or from Russia with Love.’I should have realised when you ordered red wine with the fish..” I probably got that wrong.

    Gene Wilder in Silver Streak? – not his best, but the Richard Pryor bathroom scene was great.

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