The Great Train Robbery (1979)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Not a remake of the landmark 1903 Edwin S. Porter film, The Great Train Robbery is a dramatization of the famous first hold-up of a moving train in 1855 England. The conspirators in this undertaking are Edward Pierce (Sean Connery), Agar (Donald Sutherland) and Clean Willy (Wayne Sleep). Pierce is the brains, Clean Willy the brawn, and safecracker Agar provides the finesse. The scheme involves stealing a shipment of gold bars intended to be used in the payroll for the Army in the Crimean War. Lesley Anne Down co-stars as Miriam, the woman on the outside who arranges Connery's getaway. When released in England, this film was titled The First Great Train Robbery, so as not to be confused with Britain's embarrassing 1963 railroad heist. Director Michael Crichton adapted the story from his own, more-clinical novel on the same subject. Filmed in Ireland, The Great Train Robbery was dedicated to the memory of its director of photography, Geoffrey Unsworth, who died shortly after the production wrapped. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Action & Adventure , Comedy , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
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Sean Connery
as Edward Pierce
Wayne Sleep
as Clean Willy
Malcolm Terris
as Henry Fowler
Robert Lang
as Inspector Sharp
Alan Webb
as Edgar Trent
Pamela Salem
as Emily Trent
Gabrielle Lloyd
as Elizabeth Trent
James Cossins
as Inspector Harranby
Peter Benson
as Station Dispatcher
Clive Swift
as Mr. Chubb
John Bett
as McPherson
Donald Churchill
as Prosecutor
Brian Glover
as Captain Jimmy
Noel Johnson
as Connaught
Hubert Rees
as Lewis
Agnes Bernelle
as Woman on Platform
Joe Cahill
as Rail Guard
Oliver Smith
as Ratting Assistant
Paul Kernber
as Second Pickpocket
Jenny Till
as Woman on Stand
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Critic Reviews for The Great Train Robbery

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (4)

Crichton's films drag in dialog bouts, but triumph when action takes over.

Full Review… | July 29, 2008
Top Critic

The characters stay largely undeveloped, while -- despite superficially peculiar features -- the robbery is stripped of the ingenious exposition of the novel.

Full Review… | January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

he climactic heist of the gold, with Mr. Connery climbing atop the moving railroad cars, ducking under bridges just before a possible decapitation, is marvelous action footage that manages to be very funny as it takes your breath away.

Full Review… | May 8, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Connery is one of the best light comedians in the movies, and has been ever since those long-ago days when he was James Bond.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Crichton is after a giggly quality as if it's being told as a pub yarn, soaked in exaggeration and acute trickery to defeat impossible hurdles, while never far from redoubtable moral lesson.

Full Review… | November 5, 2008
Empire Magazine

An entertaining thriller that stumbles occasionally on overlong dialogue sequences.

Full Review… | November 5, 2008
TV Guide

Audience Reviews for The Great Train Robbery

Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland star in this adventure/heist bit, spiced with witty dialogue and lively action scenes. Michael Crichton, of Jurassic Park fame, helms this, one of his earlier forays, and does quite well. Worthy of your time.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Oh, so boring... Sure there's a good cast, but they're not even doing anything exciting anyway.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

Not the most intriguiging of robbery/hiest movies, but clever all the same. It plodded along slowly but at an entertaining pace, interesting to see a robbery/hiest for it's the period it covered and with a little humour injected in to it and a likeable performance by Sean Connery, it all turned into a watchable kind of film.

Lady D'arbanville
Lady D'arbanville

Super Reviewer

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