For many years, trains have been an enigmatic and enchanting setting of films, giving birth to some of the greatest thriller, crime, action, and caper flick that grazed the silver screen. From the steam engine’s sound, bustling tracks, enclosed space, and diverse characters, there is always something remarkable about locomotive-themed movies that keeps the audiences hooked. So, grab your favorite movie snacks and beverages. Here are the best track-bound films of all time that will bring you on a memorable journey.
Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
Adapted from Agatha Cristie’s 1934 novel of the same name, “Murder on the Orient Express” features detective Hercule Poirot (Albert Finney), who boards the train for a delightful trip home. What was supposed to be a pleasant cruise turns wild after a billionaire ends up dead, leaving everyone in the train as a suspect. Also starring top-notch actors Sean Connery, Vanessa Redgrave, Ingrid Bergan, and under Sidney Lumet’s brilliant direction, the movie showcases a solid, riveting mystery that will surely keep you glued and guessing from start to finish.
Runaway Train (1985)
One of the most action-filled railway blockbusters you’ll witness, “Runaway Train,” revolves around the adventures of two escaped convicts, Manny (Jon Voight) and Buck (Eric Roberts), stowing away on a train bound to Alaska. As a heart attack leaves the train’s conductor dead, the locomotive goes full throttle but out of control, requiring Manny and Buck to find ways to halt it while trying to get away from their brutal warden.
Strangers on a Train (1951)
A masterpiece from Alfred Hitchcock, one of cinema’s most influential suspense-genre directors, “Strangers on a Train” takes the story of a psychopath and tennis player who’ve found a stirring interest in wanting someone dead. The two plan a double murder, that which escalates to the dramatic sequence of events. A classic thriller!
The General (1926)
Starring Buster Keaton, “The General” is a marvel from the silent era, featuring the story of Johnny Gray, a railroad engineer whose locomotive, “The General,” and love of his life were stolen while he was combating the Union Soldiers during the civil revolution. Join Gray as he does everything to win them back. Almost a hundred years since its filming, the flick is still revered as one of the greatest comedy American films ever made on the rail.
The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three (1974)
Based on the novel penned by Morton Freedgood in 1973, “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three” is a classic crime caper where four men hijack a New York City subway car and demand ransom for the passengers’ lives. Time is critical as the criminals intend to kill an innocent hostage as hours pass by, forcing the police to do whatever it takes to deliver the ransom before all the passengers meet their death at the hands of hijackers.
The Great Train Robbery (1903)
“The Great Train Robbery” only runs for 12 minutes, but its significance will undoubtedly last forever. It was the first narrative movie in history or the first flick to feature a story. As its name suggests, it centers on a train robbery executed by a gang of outlaws, now being stopped by a posse of locals. Banking on dynamic action and violence, the train-themed film proved to be a massive commercial success. One of the earliest films on the railroad you should never dare to miss!
Shanghai Express (1932)
Starring Clive Brook, Marlene Dietrich, Warner Oland, and Anna May Wong, the pre-code film Shanghai Express tackles the story of a British captain Donald Harvey who happens to come across his former partner, now working as a high-class prostitute dubbed as “Shanghai Lily.” As they unravel their past and reacquaint with each other on their way to Shanghai, rebel army leader and spy Henry, who also boards the train, soon terrorizes and attacks the train, capturing Capt. Harvey as a hostage.
Co-produced by different countries, such as Germany, Spain, Lithuania, and the United Kingdom, “Transsiberian” is a psychological thriller flick from 2008. It features the journey of an American couple’s trip from China to Russia. Witness how everything soon took a dynamic change and turned into a nightmare, simply just after befriending a pair of fellow passengers.
Source Code (2011)
“Source Code” is about Helicopter pilot Colter Stevens (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), who seems to be stuck on a déjà vu, reliving in the same commuter-train explosion. His goal is to find the bomb on the train and prevent the catastrophe. Or else, start the scene again if he fails.
Train to Busan (2016)
You most likely have heard about “Train to Busan.” A worldwide hit, the flick gave the zombie genre a new feel by taking it into the railways. It revolves around the chaos of a businessman and his daughter and their fight for survival after being trapped in a speeding train and filled with the undead.