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This is a great film and underrated in my opinion. Who reviews these films anyway giving it so much negative press. The excellent score by Jerry Goldsmith, Sean Connery, Lesley-Anne Down, Donald Sutherland all great actors. The story holds your interest the entire film and is meant to be long and full of suspense. I watch this film in my regular rotation and it's one of my favorites.
Story/Screenplay: (4/5) An entertaining action/heist story.
Duration/Tempo: (3.5/5) Doesn't feel long, but not short either. If it had been any longer than its 1 hour and 50 minutes, the movie would have suffered.
Cast & Crew: (4/5) Sean Connery, Donald Sutherland, and Lesley-Anne Down were exceptional. Very good casting choices.
Summary: (3.5/5) An older movie that didn't feel like an older movie. Was paced well.
I love a good heist movie, and I thought The Great Train Robbery did a wonderful job of setting up the difficulty of the job and what hurdles they would find in their way when stealing the gold. It has an episodic feel as the team works to secure the required keys one by one. I enjoyed these adventures, and the different techniques they used to outsmart their targets. There was something about the style of the movie that reminded me of a TV miniseries because it was so neatly divided up into chapters, and something about the visual aesthetic of the sets felt small and contained rather than grandiose like a film. Also, the story all seemed a bit familiar, and I’m not sure whether that is related to the fact that I read the book in the past or that it is so similar in style to other TV shows and movies that try to pull off the same kind of robbery. That being said, even if it was predictable because of its familiarity, and shot in front of cardboard sets, I’d still enjoy The Great Train Robbery for the kind of adventure it provides. No matter what I thought about the sets, the style of storytelling, the characters, etc. I was still on the edge of my seat. Sean Connery is a solid lead in the film, and provides the necessary charm needed for that role. I appreciated that he was the kind of con man who was a few steps ahead of everyone and able to think on his toes. Donald Sutherland is a good counterpoint as the somewhat nervous and skeptical partner, who reluctantly goes along with the plan. However, the biggest flaw in the film is that they don’t make these crooks into heroes. The best movies in the heist genre are those that either justify the criminals by giving them a noble cause, or just make them so much more likable than the people they are stealing from that you can’t help rooting for them to succeed. The Great Train Robbery does neither of these things. The two protagonists are stealing entirely for selfish reasons, and they are willing to do anything (including commit murder) in order to make it happen. The murder scene was the one that soured me on the film the most, because that’s when I realized there was no redeeming these characters, and I kind of wanted them to fail. I still think The Great Train Robbery has an entertaining story, and is a movie that was well worth my time, it’s just not in the top tier of its genre.
An enthralling crime caper with hilarious comedy.
Michael Crichton's crime caper comedy The Great Train Robbery (1978) is one of my personal favorite funny films. Crichton's writing is pithy with an amiable quick wit about it. The plot is interesting as Crichton transports you back in time to period London of the 1800's with lavish sets, ornate costumes, and accurate make-up. Jerry Goldsmith's score is exciting and sweeping. His music is fit for an epic adventure and that's just what Crichton embarks the viewer upon as you are carried away for an entertaining time. The Great Train Robbery has been a favorite of mine since childhood, although I appreciated it more as a teenager and an adult.
Crichton's direction is surprisingly moody. He takes you from funny scenario to funny scenario with a fast pace and easy attitude. But for the suspenseful scenes, Crichton is stylish and haunting as London's atmosphere is foggy, dirty, and disquieting in its ambiance. The robbery of the 2 keys in the train station lockbox is the most tense sequence and beautifully directed by Crichton. The fog coming out of the dim lighting, shadow enveloping the trainyard as well as swallowing characters whole in an ominous fashion. The Great Train Robbery is a well made film and a fantastic time.
Sean Connery is hilarious as a smooth talking, suave, debonaire gentleman robber. He is the brilliant mastermind behind the ambitious plan to rob a moving train full of gold headed to Crimea for the first time in history. Connery convinces you he is a genius with impromptu ideas and carefully laid out plans alike. He is delightful to behold as he tricks man after man for their security keys and persuades various criminals into his scheme. I love his stylish suits that make Sean Connery look all the more dashing and realistic for the era.
Donald Sutherland is hypnotizing as a period era pickpocket, lockpick, keymaker, and safe cracker. He is hilarious, especially opposite the more fastidious Sean Connery. Sutherland's easy attitude makes his thief a likable character immediately. He always adds a unique charm thanks to his personality and charisma. Sutherland just looks like he's having a blast, which makes his pickpocket that much more endearing.
Furthermore, Sutherland finds the perfect balance between nervous paranoia and stealthy nonchalance. Sutherland's large mutton chops mustache, black peacoat, black leather gloves, and black top hat make for a cool look as well. The costume department went crazy with him. Donald Sutherland is my favorite aspect to The Great Train Robbery as he gives his all in a fascinating performance. I love the sequence where he must run to copy keys in under 75 seconds exactly.
Lastly, Lesley-Ann Down never looked so gorgeous as she does in The Great Train Robbery. Her multitude of luxurious period dresses are so lovely and ornate. The pink, purple, and black dresses are memorable movie looks. As for her performance, she is arguably the best part as her character gets stuck having to seduce dumb men in all manner of places. Her numerous accents, costumes, movements, and eye rolls are endlessly entertaining. Lesley-Ann Down rounds out the cast with a triumphant versatility.
In all, The Great Train Robbery is a timeless comedy classic and a thrilling crime caper. Whether they are copying keys before guards arrive, duping aristocrats with ease, escaping police capture, or running down a criminal that betrayed their group, these train robbers amuse you until the very end!
This period heist drama has good production value and cinematography, but lacks originality, and the star cast is not quite challenged in their roles.
A dull film that is essentially unwatchable. I am not sure how Michael Crichton messed this one up, but it is beyond terrible. (First and only viewing - 1/25/2019)
the special queue..
The Great Train Robbery
The Great Train Robbery is a character driven thriller about a heist pulled off by a team on a running train. The feature is brimmed with tiny notions and tactics that steals away one's attention that is not only slick but smarter than one usually gets from such genres.
The feature is much simpler and executed with conviction which is always safe to go for rather than implanting a convoluted concept and eerie perspective with unexplainable twists and turns that are mostly carried out to draw in the audience. Annoyingly, for the most part of the feature the subjective procedure is depicted which is often impactful, but with a calculative script like such that spends most of its time on setting up the plots and characters, that shucks away the intensity and uncertainty.
It is short on technical aspects like background score, sound department, cinematography and editing. Connery adapts the character aptly and his three dimensional take on it makes it much more appealing along with a decent support from hilarious Sutherland with his slick one liners. There are few sequences installed in so perfectly that it leaves the viewers in an awe of it on its excellence of weaving out on a large glorifying scale.
The adaptation by Crichton is layered and adaptive but lacks the essential grippiness that could have been much more impressive. But with a knowledge on withholding the cards on his execution skills, Crichton respects both his material and characters equally. The ruggedness oozing from each character that is foliated by the poised reputation among the society, the enthralling heists at the heart of it and the crisp that keeps the tale alive are the high points of the feature.
The Great Train Robbery is a plausible act but it has nothing of whatsover merit to stand on "the special queue".
Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland rob gold from a moving train.
Well done all around. It's cool that M Crichton wrote the book, screenplay & directed!
The First Great Train Robbery or you can call it The Great Train Robbery whatever you wanna call it. This is actually an extraordinary film with extraordinary cast like Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland. It all sets in the year 1855 where these two gentlemen are on a mission at the train to rob a pile of gold along with the help of Lesley-Anne Down but they need to find four shiny keys to open the safe. Now this is a toughest challenge for those two gentlemen. It is actually based on the novel by Michael Crichton and he even directed the film which is really obscure. I really do like the thrills and I really do like the train sequence at the end. The entire movie is even thrilling and funny at the same time that add some scenes for the people to laugh at, like Donald Sutherland has to stay in the coffin pretending to be dead with stinky dead cat while covered in green paint. I really like this film for it's extraordinary production design, the thrills and it does gets some laughs. I actually do love every second of this and I think it's magnificent.