Action on the Railroad Express


Hollywood has been playing with the idea of murder on a train even before Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express in 1934. However, the idea became popular after Alfred Hitchcock delivered the biggest hit featuring train as an important character.

On the release of Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express, Very Filmi lists down some of the finest films featuring trains as an important character. Read on:

Strangers on the Train (1951)

This film is the first one to feature murder swapping, an idea that has been reworked on countless occasions since. The complex plot is handled brilliantly by Alfred Hitchcock who based the film on two characters – a psychopath and a tennis star.

One kills for the other, hoping to have the favor returned and when that doesn’t happen, all hell breaks loose.

Von Ryan Express (1965)

In what turned out, to be Frank Sinatra’s final film as a leading man, he plays Colonel Joseph Ryan who leads a daring escape during the Second World War.

The film deals with how he manages to become the leader of the Allied Prisoners and how he makes his captors pay, eventually planning an escape that seemed impossible at first.

The Train (1971)

Rajesh Khanna was on top of his game during 1969 and 1971 – this film was released during that time and became a box office hit. Khanna’s character is tasked to solve a few murders that have taken place on a train, hence the name of the film.

People remember this movie for its hit song Gulaabi Aankhen by Mohammad Rafi.

Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

The Murder on the Orient Express in cinemas is not the first adaptation of the novel neither it will be the last. The one released 43 years back featured a stellar cast where everyone was a suspect, more like the book and the recent version.

Albert Finney played the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot who solves the cast in his own way while the ensemble cast supported him in making the case seem difficult.

Breakheart Pass (1975)

Alistair MacLean’s Breakheart Pass is a whodunit where nobody is to be trusted; Charles Bronson stars as the man who takes matters in his own hand and tries to solve a murder despite being one of the suspects.

The film has an ensemble cast and is full of twists and turns, something that was Alistair MacLean’s specialty.

The First Great Train Robbery (1978)

Michael Crichton wrote and directed this Sean Connery classic that featured Donald Sutherland as his sidekick and a train as the main character that was to be deprived of its belongings.

The film is set in 1855 when robbing a moving train was considered madness; the way this film moves from one thing to another makes it an interesting watch, especially when the dynamic duo is asked to collect 4 keys from different locations.

The Burning Train (1980)

India ventured into the disaster genre with Ravi Chopra’s The Burning Train that had the dream cast of Hema Malini, Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna, Praveen Babi, Neetu Singh, Vinod Mehra and Jeetendra to name a few.

The film revolved around a high-speed ‘Super train’ that catches fire during its inaugural journey. The film flopped at the box office but set the bar high for multi-starrers and directed the filmmakers to dream big!

Back to the Future III (1990)

The grand finale of Back To The Future took place in 1885 when trains were the most efficient form of travel; when Doc Brown and Marty McFly fail to make their car reach the 88 km/h, they decide to hijack a train and make it do what it does the best – go fast. Add a romantic interest, a hoverboard, and an unfinished track and you are in for a joyride in time!

Under Siege 2 (1995)

Terrorist take over a moving train and make it their headquarters in Under Siege 2 without realizing that the only thing that stands between them and destruction of the world is called Casey Ryback (Steven Seagal).

Steven Seagal single-handedly saved the world using his SEAL training as well as his privileged position as the train’s cook; his niece’s presence on the train makes the mission personal!

Broken Arrow (1996)

Nuclear missiles go missing when the plane carrying them crashes own; one of the pilots flying the plane is the good guy while the other is the mastermind behind the theft.

The villains decide to escape by train with the nuclear missile on board while the protagonist has other ideas. This John Woo film is considered one of the best action flicks of all time where good finally defeats the evil, snatching victory from the jaws of certain destruction.