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The Great Train Robbery (1979)

July 23rd, 2008 by Betina Chan-Martin Product Manager

A history lesson: In 1855, England and France were at war with Russia in the Crimean territory, south of what is now the Ukraine. During the war, payment for the British troops was sent by rail from London. Secured in a double-locked traveling safe that was guarded throughout the journey, this gold traveled to Paris, where authorities discovered that it had been replaced with lead, making this the first robbery to occur on a moving railway train.

And that is the basis for Michael Crichton’s 1975 bestselling novel, The Great Train Robbery, which he later turned into a film. Released in 1979, The Great Train Robbery is a classic heist flick, full of snappy one-liners delivered by Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland. Connery pulls off the heroic mastermind Edward Pierce with aplomb, playing a gallant thief whom you can’t help but root for — a Victorian-era Danny Ocean of sorts. Meanwhile, Sutherland is Robert Agar, a knuckle-cracking safecracker who lends his talents to the caper. Their accomplice, Pierce’s lover, Miriam (Lesley-Anne Down), is a ready-and-willing distraction when Pierce and Agar need access to a crucial set of keys.

As Pierce says himself, it takes genius, charm, timing, nerve and courage to pull off a robbery like this — and the cast is perfectly willing to go along. Connery did his own stunts and even fell off a moving train at one point, and Crichton’s hair caught on fire during the filming. While The Great Train Robbery‘s high-velocity conclusion seems a bit slower compared to the special effects we see so often today, this intricately planned caper still stands the test of time.

Rebecca (),

Last comment: Mar 5th 2012 1 Comment
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