The Train - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Train Reviews

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August 9, 2017
1 of The Most Artfully Brilliant War Movies of All Time. I adore Burt Lancaster.
August 2, 2017
I wish there was even more action, but the comprehensive look at the operation of trains, the Lancaster v. Scofield duel and the standard Frankenheimer greatness is enough for a first and second look.
February 8, 2017
The last major action film to be shot in black and white, and it's all the better for it. B&W somehow feels more real. This is on top of the real stunts, real crashes and living, breathing camera work. A gripping war movie. An instant favourite for me. 10/10
August 6, 2016
Excellent and different WWII movie. Highly recommend.
July 5, 2016
The Train 1965

Starts out in Nazi Paris August 4, 1944

We see all the paintings Gearing had collected over the years.

The Nazi's collect paintings to be collected

Burnt Lancaster does a great job in this film. The stunts and explosions look impressive for this film.

Directed by John Frankenheimer

Frenchman cancels a German train

The film is filmed in Black and white.

I like the perspective shots as the train leaves.

Vaires the air raid explosions looked Amazing.

Stop at Rive- Reine

He sabatog oil to the train by blocking the oil with a French Frank.

The black and white gives the impression of a dirty and period look like a coal mining town.

I thought the British Spitfire against the train in the tunnel looked interesting.

You talk about the war. I talk about the cost for the war.



They go around to avoid damage to train tracks

Remilly changed the sign to original sign which is Pount a Mousily

St. Avold



The French Resistance Changed town signs.

Train went off the rails by sabotaging the train tracks through explosions and unscrewing the track.

The film ends right back at the Reine River.

Big train ramming and French sabotage occurs in this film in one town.

This film has nice perspective shots.

England has said to save the train by marking it in white paint as a priority.

No one is ever hurt just dead.

"Have you ever looked at any of the paintings on board. I think that when all is over we should do that."

They put the air raid sound on so the French Resistance can paint the tops to the trains white.

These were people who were not willing to get into it but wanted to preserve the culture of Humanity. No one saw the paintings and the ones who tried to preserve the culture all got killed preserving the culture. In the end everyone on each side died but the culture remained preserved through art.

This film has an important question concerning how far do you go to preserve art and the way of life and is it worth it at the end?

This film has several slow points so I would not encourage this film for a young audience because they may find parts of this film boring when it comes to the lead up scenes to the film.
April 25, 2016
The Train (1964) ????
Masterpiece about Lancaster who desperately tries to stop German train from delivering precious artifacts. Masterful direction, powerhouse editing; simply sensational.
½ April 23, 2016
This is a great film from John Frankenheimer with Burt Lancaster leading an all-star International cast that includes Paul Scofield, Michel Simon and Jeanne Moreau. It also features a score is by Maurice Jarre. Based on real events, this is a fast paced and well-written film with fantastic practical effects and stunts, with Burt Lancaster doing all hi own stunts. The cinematography is also excellent and pulls you into the story. This is a must watch!
½ March 30, 2016
To be totally honest I was probably not in the right mindset when I started this movie. I was getting sick and very tired, and there is a lot of setup at the beginning of The Train which I struggled to get through. However, once the train (and the story) was fully loaded and got rolling it started to click with me. I loved the different schemes that the French engineers concoct in order to divert the train and save the art. The way they defy all the many obstacles and refuse to give up is inspiring, and the conclusion had me almost standing up to cheer. Paul Scofield was brilliant as the Nazi colonel who has so much passion for the art that he loses touch with all logic. I also enjoyed Burt Lancaster's performance as Labiche. It was nice to see the arc of his character, who originally struggled with sacrificing lives for art, and then his devotion just increases. I don't have an issue with characters speaking English for the audience's sake despite the fact that the actual characters would be conversing in a different language. However it was quite odd to have most of the actors speaking with the French or German accents appropriate for their characters and yet Lancaster is clearly speaking with his normal American accent. It felt so out of place I almost needed them to explain it so that it would be justified. I wasn't completely taken out of the film, but it definitely took me some time to adjust to that particular oddity. Despite that aspect and the slow start, I still found The Train to be an engaging and exciting film that handled the topic infinitely better than The Monuments Men (a disappointing 2014 movie which attempted to tell a similar story.) If the battle with the Nazis to preserve the artistic history of France intrigues you, then The Train is a movie you must see.
January 22, 2016
Directed by John Frankenheimer, and based on the non fiction book Le front de l'art by Rose Valland. This is a war film which showed a different side to World War 2. While there were battlefields across Europe and the Far East, one side of the war showed works of priceless art that could have been destroyed had it not been for the brave attempts of a few, who wanted to keep people's heritages alive. Set in France in August 1944, Nazi German Colonel Franz von Waldheim (Paul Scofield) is attempting to move thousands of works of priceless art from France to Germany, Waldheim is an art lover and has to get the art to Germany at any cost. However, French train inspector Paul Labiche (Burt Lancaster), who is also a member of the French Resistance, has an agenda all of his own. Labiche plans to stop the train and get the art back, but it's a race against time as Paris is about to be liberated by the Allied Forces. The plan involves tricking the Nazi forces driving the train by relabeling train station names, but it's only a matter of time before Waldheim finds out. It's a very good war film, and the same story inspired The Monuments Men (2014), but this one is better, as it has Lancaster a lot of his own stunts, and it's a heavy going and down and dirty story. Shot in a stark black and white, it's a brilliant depiction of the true cost of war, and also whether art is worth a human life.
January 2, 2016
As a sucker for a good war film and a fan of John Frankenheimer's work, The Train sounded like a classic war thriller.

The promotional material for The Train suggested not only that the film would be in black and white, but that it would also be an action-heavy feature. With John Frankenheimer having a distinctive style for car chases and practical action scenes, this simply contributes such an expectation to The Train. Alas, it is unfulfilled. Perhaps I should have been more considerate of the standard for filmmaking that came from the era The Train was produced in, or perhaps I shouldn't have been misled in the first place. Either way, The Train is not the war film I was expecting but rather a thriller set within a war context. It had a story to tell, but it didn't cater to my expectations which affected my experience for the worse.
The Train's plot device consists entirely of its titular vehicle being pursued by protagonist Paul Labiche in an attempt to prevent French artwork from falling into the hands of the enemy Germans. There is a lot of potential here to explore the meanings behind a whether this is the basis of country's desire to protect its own culture or simply as a battle of territoriality with enemies of the war. Unforatunately, this material is barely even hinted at until the film draws to a close and the message that it was apparently intending to convey the entire time is bleakly stated by one of the characters.
The problem is that The Train isn't the war spectacle you might expect since its focus is very small in scope, yet it is hardly a character driven one either. There are allusions to potential for exploration within the primary protagonist and antagonist in the film as explored during the monologue delivered by Paul Scofield at the end of the film, but most of the time the characters are simply supporting figures who come and go at a fast pace. Unfortunately, the film itself does not keep up with this pace and instead drags its narrative out for beyond two hours without supplying sufficient drama in between. The conversations had by the characters are hardly insightful pieces of dialogue and the few action scenes in the film are highly sporadic, essentially just piling on words that prove to oscillate between meaningless banter and actual narrative progression.
However, John Frankenheimer's role as director is an asset which cannot be denied. Though The Train didn't end up as I expected it would with him in the director's chair, you can clearly see that he has put some tenacious effort into the maximizing the production values of The Train. With flawless scenery and set design, The Train easily captures its intended era while the black-and-white helps to add this feeling. The cinematography that captures it all does so in a very high-definition quality, ensuring that the feature is nostalgic yet not dated. The cinematography manages to capture everything from an atmospheric perspective, manipulating angles cleverly and even making occasional use of the Dutch Tilt. Everything is tied together visually, and the sound effects making a striking effect during the silent moments of the film which effectively conveys the bleak nature of violence. When this isn't happening, Maurice Jarre's musical score is adding a gentle touch of life to the film. From a technical perspective, The Train manages to find organic life in the visual and auditory fields, even if there is a feeling that it betrays its potential to rise up and become more of a spectacle.
The other key role in the production is played by Paul Scofield in his performance as antagonist Col. Franz von Waldheim. The entire film, Col. Franz von Waldheim is not characterized as being some kind of sadistic villain but rather just a petty thief who is very territorial about the artworks he possesses. But when the film finally draws to a climax, we see the true endeavour of his characterization. Despite such neglected potential, Paul Scofield remains dedicated to his role the entire time and never drops sight of his exact intentions. When the film finally draws to its final climax, Paul Scofield reveals everything audiences need to know about the character as a person. He speaks with such a tenacious grip on his words, going beyond everything else he has said so far and truly delving into the deep extents of wisdom that have been buried beneath a straightforward Nazi edge in everything leading up to it. Paul Scofield doesn't take the strongest stand until around the time The Train draws to a close, but that is the moment that he truly shines with a nature of both wisdom and charisma. At that moment, the idea that he is the film's enemy is ridiculous as he speaks with such a desirable passion that the concept of hero and villain becomes lost, and the film finally revelas its true meaning. Paul Scofield nails his role with confident sophistication and keeps himself consistent the entire time.
Burt Lancaster is also a strong presence. Though his character is a rather simplistically characterized hero, the man's natural charms make him a convincing fit for the role, as does his abilities to keep physically charged when facing off enemies with a weapon. Burt Lancaster puts his natural charm into the part and leads the film with the determination of a natural American patriot, effectively capturing the archetype that the film needs and doing it with strong interactivity with the surrounding cast. His final scene with Paul Scofield manages to bring out the best of the intensity in both the actors as they face off with each other.

So The Train benefits from John Frankenheimer's tenacious directorial style and Paul Scofield's intelligent performance, but it fails to live up to its promotional material by maintaining a thin story with underdeveloped themes and few action scenes yet still managing to stretch on for a long time at a slow pace.
½ August 22, 2015
Holy fuck is this underrated. We need more World War Two spy thrillers.
Super Reviewer
July 26, 2015
Where did this beautiful golden nugget come from? I'd never heard of it before. The damnable Nazis (again!!!) are stealing all the major art, the pride of France, right out of Paris, and the only thing standing in their way is the overmatched, overstressed, overwhelm French Underground. They've got more important things to get to on their plate too, but eventually are persuaded to see the art as more than simply decoration, and perhaps more important than guns, planes and even trains. What's Burt Lancaster doing in here then? Bad casting, but foiled but Lancaster's gravitas as a French railwayman fighting for the Resistance. So good, this film, so good. Jeanne Moreau is under used as only a love interest. Paul Scofield is perfect as the gentleman Kraut psychotic, one of only two people in the film who "understand" how important the art actually is, other than simply as a financial return.
½ April 1, 2015
Best train movie ever! Well, most of it takes place on a train. The parts that take place at train stations show some bombing scenes that are awesome for its time. The movie has a shift in tone about a quarter ways through, which I like. It starts in your typical light-hearted, old black and white movie fashion with the characters being somewhat lovable, but then after the first person is shot the film gets real dark and serious, and the acting becomes very intense. There's a lot of trickery in this movie, too, and I love seeing that in old movies. And I have to mention the train itself. If you've ever seen Eraserhead it reminds me of all the oily industrial images in that film. People who like steampunk and post-apocalyptic art should like the aesthetic. Speaking of art, that's what the train is carrying. As an art lover I can appreciate their determination to preserve it. And because the art is worth a fortune.
½ February 3, 2015
The film has a noble purpose, but is sorely lacking in drama. Even scenes that are naturally compelling struggle to connect.
½ July 31, 2014
Great story and great performance.
½ July 21, 2014
"Unrelenting" comes to mind when thinking about the movie. The action and suspense are very well done. Lancaster gives a good performance.
½ July 9, 2014
Frankenheimer and Lancaster give us the original and gritty "Monument Men".
July 6, 2014
The greatest action film ever! Period.
July 1, 2014
I never thought that watching Burt Lancaster doing train conducting shit for 2 hours would be SO FREAKIN INTENSE. The final showdown between Lancaster and Scofield in the end was verrrrry powerful. It wasn't really a showdown.... but a psychological realization and epiphany about the war, and it's true motivations behind such bizarre actions, such as saving a train filled with rare and influential paintings.
June 30, 2014
The Train is a top rate WWII thriller complete with zany antics and plenty of action.
Before we had the Monuments Men, Burt Lancaster was trying to save precious art from the hands of the evil Germans.
The Train is old, B&W but thanks to a simple and well told story, acting that isn't over the top, and lots of action (and I mean lots of action), still manages to maintain entertainment levels to this day.
Highly recommended for fans of WWII actioners and classic films.
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