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Throw Momma from the Train

Throw Momma from the Train (1987)



Average Rating: 5.7/10
Reviews Counted: 31
Fresh: 19 | Rotten: 12

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.


Average Rating: 5/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 3

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.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.9/5
User Ratings: 40,241

My Rating

Movie Info

The "exchange murders" plot gambit, played with utter solemnity in Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train, is used as the launching pad for raucous laughter in Throw Momma From the Train. Director/star Danny DeVito plays Owen Lift, a middle-aged bachelor, totally dominated by his gorgon mother, played with hilarious ferocity by Anne Ramsey. Billy Crystal co-stars as Larry Donner, a creative-writing professor, saddled with a vituperative, thoroughly despicable ex-wife, Margaret (Kate Mulgrew). Signing



May 8, 2001

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All Critics (31) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (12) | DVD (7)

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.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop 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.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop 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.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop 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.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Dark '80s comedy with slapstick and sexual content.

September 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

darkly hilarious

April 29, 2005
Shadows on the Wall

Funny film that sort of play-acts being a black comedy

November 18, 2004
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

This black comedy careens all over the place to squeeze laughs out of matricide, jealousy, and the ego trip of writers. Most of the time, the humor is strained

August 27, 2004 Full Review
Spirituality and Practice


September 19, 2003

A rather sweet little comedy masquerading as a black comedy.

September 11, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Danny DeVito's directing debut seems to indicate he is not yet ready to direct. The characters are neither believable nor likable and the comedy is not funny.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

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.
June 10, 2013

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.
December 16, 2011

Super Reviewer

A little comedic fun riffing off of Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train" premise.
May 23, 2011

Super Reviewer

I loved this dark comedy! The cast is brilliant, and although the story sort of borrows from Strangers on a Train, and it even admits to doing so, it's really hilarious, and I highly recommend seeing this movie, it's a lot of fun.
January 29, 2011

Super Reviewer

    1. Owen Lift: Momma, you're alive! Old have to reassure them.
    – Submitted by Jennifer R (10 months ago)
    1. Momma: You clumsy poop!
    – Submitted by J * (12 months ago)
    1. Owen Lift: This is great! It's like the Flintstones car wash!
    – Submitted by J * (15 months ago)
    1. Owen Lift: I don't want them to take you away!
    2. Momma: Yes, you do!
    3. Owen Lift: Owen loves his momma!
    4. Momma: 'Owen loves his momma!' [sing-song] Owen loves his momma! Owen loves his momma! Owen loves his...
    – Submitted by Anthony A (2 years ago)
    1. Momma: You sit there typing all day like a fat little pigeon!
    2. Owen Lift: You won't ever hear it again, Momma. I promise.
    – Submitted by Anthony A (2 years ago)
    1. Momma: Stop it, dammit! I got a waxball in my ear. Get it out.
    – Submitted by Anthony A (2 years ago)
View all quotes (25)

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