The Great Train Robbery

1979

The Great Train Robbery

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

73%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 26

68%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,979
User image

The Great Train Robbery Photos

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

Watch it now

Cast

Sean Connery
as Edward Pierce
Alan Webb
as Edgar Trent
Malcolm Terris
as Henry Fowler
Robert Lang
as Insp. Sharp
Wayne Sleep
as Clean Willy
Pamela Salem
as Emily Trent
Gabrielle Lloyd
as Elizabeth Trent
John Bett
as McPherson
James Cossins
as Insp. Harranby
Peter Benson
as Station Dispatcher
Clive Swift
as Mr. Chubb
Brian Glover
as Capt. Jimmy
Agnes Bernelle
as Woman on Platform
Brian de Salvo
as Trent's Butler
Joe Cahill
as Rail Guard
Derry Power
as Workman in Chubb's Workshop
Susan Hallinan
as Emma Barnes
John Dunne
as Boy Thief
Cecil Nash
as Chaplain
Donald Churchill
as Prosecutor
Oliver Smith
as Ratting Assistant
Jenny Till
as Woman on Strand
John Altman
as First Pickpocket
Paul Kernber
as Second Pickpocket
Paul Kember
as Second Pickpocket
Geoff Ferris
as Third Pickpocket
Craig Stokes
as Urchin on Strand
Noel Johnson
as Connaught
Donald Hewlett
as Club Member
View All

Critic Reviews for The Great Train Robbery

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (4)

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

    Jul 30, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

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

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
    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.

    May 9, 2005 | Rating: 4/5
  • 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.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The Great Train Robbery is not a good adventure film and it's a shame because it could have been. [Full Review in Spanish]

    Aug 6, 2019 | Full Review…
  • The Great Train Robbery is elegant and stately. But it is a slow-moving story, when what we really want from a period thriller is a feeling for the excitement generated during the actual events.

    Feb 6, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Great Train Robbery

  • Jul 25, 2015
    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. W Super Reviewer
  • Sep 06, 2010
    Oh, so boring... Sure there's a good cast, but they're not even doing anything exciting anyway.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Aug 10, 2010
    A great film with brilliant period detail and fun performances from Connery, Sutherland and Lesley-Anne Down (god, she's hot!). It's almost like a period version of Ocean's 11. P{erhaps it's not as good as the source novel but most of the best bits from there are still included and it's one helluva fun ride. Shame the dvd transfer is so rubbish. Hope they bring out a better version on blu-ray.
    David S Super Reviewer
  • Jun 15, 2010
    Writer and director Michael Crichton's highly enjoyable tongue-in-cheek crime caper period drama, is based on his script for his own bestselling novel "The Great Train Robbery," which in turn was based on a real historical event. It was deemed impossible to rob a moving railway train back in 1855, so a dapper and cunning master thief named Edward Pierce, played sensationally by Sir Sean Connery, who is so devilishly charming, in a polished, stylish performance has quite the challenge ahead of him if he wants to steal a shipment of gold bullion from an English train outfitted with armed security guards and all manner of locks. Enlisting the aid of his clever beautifully girlfriend Miriam, played wonderfully by the ravishing Lesley-Anne Down and the jovial professional safecracker and pickpocket Agar, played brilliantly by Donald Sutherland, he sets his ingenious and wildly intricate plan in motion with his lovable troupe of rogues. Astute direction by the late Crichton, who has mounted a very handsome well-crafted production filled with attentive period detail. During the exciting climactic heist Connery did his own dangerous and impressive stunt work, in which he races on the top of a moving train, which is edge of your seat fun. This was legendary Academy Award winning cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth last film, he passed away shortly before the film's release, and his stupendous lensing for this motion picture is typically noteworthy, as is the rousing score by the late great Jerry Goldsmith. A hell of good time, and a must-see! Highly Recommended.
    Danny R Super Reviewer

The Great Train Robbery Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features