Throw Momma from the Train (1987)



Critic Consensus: Danny DeVito's direction is too broad to offer the kind of nastiness that would have made Throw Momma from the Train truly special, but DeVito's on-screen chemistry with co-star Billy Crystal makes this a smoothly entertaining comedy.

Throw Momma from the Train Videos & Photos

Movie Info

Inspired by Strangers on a Train, Owen, a middle-aged bachelor saddled with a monstrous mother, suggests a trade to his writing professor: he'll kill the professor's despicable ex-wife if the professor kills Owen's mother. The problem is, the mother refuses to die, sparking much dark comedy.

Rating: PG-13
Genre: Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Stu Silver
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 8, 2001


as Momma

as Beth

as Margaret

as Joel

as Detective DeBenedett...

as Sergeant

as Sergeant

as Mrs. Hazeltine

as Ms. Gladstone

as Pinsky

as Mr. Perlman

as Millington

as Mr. Lopez

as Announcer

as Old Man

as Laughing Woman

as Radio DJ

as Jazz Band Member

as Jazz Band Member

as Jazz Band Member
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Throw Momma from the Train

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (6)

Very clever and engaging from beginning to end, pic builds on the notion that nearly everyone - at least once in life - has the desire to snuff out a relative or nemesis, even if 99.9% of us let the urge pass without ever acting on it.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

If it all gets a little soft-centred towards the end, there's more than enough vitality and invention to be going on with.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Mr. Crystal and Mr. DeVito ... make one of the oddest pairs imaginable but have a rapport that's a delight.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

"Throw Momma from the Train" is a series of missed opportunities and unexploited situations, a movie that wants to have genuine nastiness at its heart but never quite works up the energy or the nerve to be truly heartless.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

You can feel how much fun it was for DeVito to direct this. But the movie's one-note broadness seems suited more to cable.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Better yet, just throw the whole thing in front of a subway and hope it gets dragged a couple of miles.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Throw Momma from the Train


Ugh! And tie the director to the tracks! This is mindless dreck with a supremely annoying and unimaginative cast.

Christian C

Super Reviewer

This isn't funny. I didn't want you to keep those hopes so high like mine were when I started watching this. Comedy films coming out around this time included Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, City Slickers, and Ghostbusters, films with dopey leads, hard hearted eccentrics, and lovelorn women. Many people like to lump this send off to Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train, with the rest of these gems. Based on reviews from this site, my love of anything Danny DeVito or Billy Crystal, and an admiration of zany hard knocks, I truly wanted to see this flick. Not only that but it seemed like a reinterpretation of Hitchcock's thriller, and to have anyone telling me to go see a re-telling and that it's hilarious to boot, I am onboard. Why does this movie not work? It's crazed. It's supposedly black comedy, but I think you have to have people laugh in order to crush yourself into that genre. The fact that they're both writers adds nothing, Danny DeVito‚(TM)s role is supposed to stupidly endearing but is just a rip-off of Lenny from Of Mice and Men, and Crystal himself doesn't exhibit his superior, odd, and loudly obnoxious persona that made him famous in When Harry Met Sally and City Slickers. No, here he is an incoherent mess with one frame of mind: to kill his ex-wife who has stolen his book and become a wild success. That would have been fine, had they not pounded it to death. I seriously don't know how this haphazard script came to be, though I know it all got made because Danny DeVito directed it. Here his direction doesn't help anything, and we're left with characters who are neither affable nor realistic, and a plot that ambles wherever it so pleases. The ending, or should I say last ten minutes, is the only section that even features the aforementioned train. The mother, Anne Ramsey who made her mark as Mrs. Fratelli in The Goonies, never speaks any audible dialogue other than a rasp here and there and always there is yelling. She's not scary or annoying here, just simply blah, neither slightly mean tempered nor spitefully evil. She is a nothing character, just like everybody else in this disjointed wretch. The villains don't get punished, no one learns any lessons, and somehow Crystal gets out of his writer's block. Is that because he let go of his hate? Because he was still pretty mean to DeVito at the end of the film. It's just so painful and dull. Watch for the actors and nostalgia and that is all.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer


A little comedic fun riffing off of Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train" premise.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Throw Momma from the Train Quotes

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