The Great Train Robbery


Action / Adventure / Crime / Drama / Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 78%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 70%
IMDb Rating 7 10 13002


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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Fletcher Conner 7 / 10

An Exciting Victorian Heist

The Great Train Robbery follows the standard heist movie blueprint. The team gets assembled to pull off an impossible job, they do all of the complicated prep work, then there is a last minute complication that makes it much more difficult than they expected. What stands out here is the setting, Victorian England, and the much smaller crew of thieves than usual. Most heist movies have a huge crew of 10+ characters that each need to have their characters explored. Here there is just the mastermind (Sean Connery), the pickpocket (Donald Sutherland), the girl (Lesley-Anne Downs), and the greaseman (Wayne Sleep). There are a few others, but their characters are so minor that they do not even get names. Rather than get sidetracked covering side characters, there is a strong focus on moving the plot forward that makes the entire movie more interesting.

What also stands out is the impressive stunts that were done mostly without stuntmen. Wayne Sleep really scales a wall and Sean Connery really walks across the top of a moving train. In today's CGI heavy film industry, it is refreshing to see an older movie that stays simpler with its big stunts, but they feel much realer, because they are. A lot of the movie relies on Sean Connery's natural charisma, which is the secret to a good heist movie, and Connery holds up very well compared to Clooney and Sinatra in the Ocean's movies and Newman and Redford in The Sting.

Reviewed by Stephen Bird 8 / 10

They were the first, but they wouldn't be the last

Performances extraordinary all across the board with this one; the acting was quintessentially classical, Sean Connery is a class act whatever he performs in and Donald Sutherland showed some serious weight dipping somewhat out of his comfort zone to star in a very British movie (the guys American).

Whether the film is true to life I couldn't say as I wasn't around in the Victorian era, most likely it was beefed up for the big screen, but this matters not as the film was one of the last examples of old-school British film-making.

Pierce and Agar are depicted as being cool before cool was even a thing, I couldn't see the real life duo being as cool and crowd pleasing as they are shown in the film, perfect example of how things are altered for the screen; but yes, they are villains no doubt, but not the detestable kind of villain you wish to see get their comeuppance, they're uniquely both the antagonist and the protagonist, you get behind them and root for them even though what they are doing is very illegal..., they are quite clearly anti-hero's.

The period setting was astonishing, so many integrate details and due to its era of release, not a shot of CGI in sight, truly masterful.

It achieves so much, and appeals to a wide range of genres, from drama to action, from biographical to romance, some may even consider the genre comedy to be prevalent, I certainly found some of the scenes to be rather amusing, such as the whole fiasco with the coffin being taken onto the train.

An oldie but a goody, any budding film fan should add this well put together film to their collection.

Reviewed by Leofwine_draca 6 / 10

Victorian-era heist comedy

THE FIRST GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY at first seems to be an odd choice for director Michael Crichton, who adopts his own novel of the same title. Crichton is best known for dealing with cutting edge technology in his fare, whereas this is a Victorian-era heist. I suppose the technology comes from the plotting and planning of cracking an unbreakable safe on a moving train, so the film is still grounded in realism as with the rest of the great man's work.

As for the story itself, it's surprisingly light and a bit too overloaded with comedy. The first half features very little of note apart from some silly innuendo scenes which are more blatant than the ones in the '70s-era CARRY ON films, and that's saying something! Sean Connery grounds things with his likable lead persona, while Donald Sutherland is simply bizarre as the English safebreaker.

Things do pick up later on, and the heist itself, which takes place at the climax, is thoroughly enjoyable. The film boasts from solid production values overall and a fine supporting cast studded with familiar faces including Lesley-Anne Down, Pamela Salem, Michael Elphick, Peter Butterworth, Janine Duvitski, and James Cossins.

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