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Strangers on a Train (1951)

A psychotic socialite confronts a pro tennis star with a theory on how two complete strangers can get away with murder - a theory that he plans to implement.

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Top Rated Movies #248 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Miriam Joyce Haines (as Laura Elliott)
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Mr. Antony
Howard St. John ...
Police Capt. Turley
John Brown ...
Prof. Collins
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Robert Gist ...
Det. Leslie Hennessey
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Storyline

Bruno Anthony thinks he has the perfect plot to rid himself of his hated father and when he meets tennis player Guy Haines on a train, he thinks he's found the partner he needs to pull it off. His plan is relatively simple. Two strangers each agree to kill someone the other person wants disposed of. For example, Guy could kill his father and he could get rid of Guy's wife Miriam, freeing him to marry Anne Morton, the beautiful daughter of a U.S. Senator. Guy dismisses it all out of hand but Bruno goes ahead with his half of the 'bargain' and disposes of Miriam. When Guy balks, Bruno makes it quite clear that he will plant evidence to implicate Guy in her murder if he doesn't get rid of his father. Guy had also made some unfortunate statements about Miriam after she had refused him a divorce. It all leads the police to believe Guy is responsible for the murder, forcing him to deal with Bruno's mad ravings. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Now a very special Alfred Hitchcock event! A hundred and one breathless minutes of matchless suspense! See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some violence and tension | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

30 June 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's 'Strangers on a Train'  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£23,764 (UK) (13 August 1999)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut) | (preview)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The relationship between Raymond Chandler and Alfred Hitchcock was not a happy one. The main bone of contention between the two men was that Chandler's writing paid more attention to character motivation while Hitchcock was more interested in the visual development and formal structure of the movie laid out in the treatment. In a letter to a studio executive, Chandler said he preferred to work with a director "who realizes that what is said and how it is said is more important than shooting it upside down through a glass of champagne." The two men also had different meeting styles. Hitchcock enjoyed long, rambling off-topic meetings where often the film would not even be mentioned for hours, while Chandler was strictly business and wanted to get out and get writing. He called the meetings "god-awful jabber sessions which seem to be an inevitable although painful part of the picture business." Chandler was also a hard drinker and a difficult person to get along with under the best of circumstances. Interpersonal relations deteriorated rapidly until finally Chandler became openly combative. When Hitchcock arrived at Chandler's home for a story meeting, Chandler hollered from his window, "Look at the fat bastard trying to get out of his car!" When his secretary warned that Hitchcock might be able to hear him, Chandler said he didn't care. See more »

Goofs

Guy arrives at the amusement park late because a long-running tennis match delayed him. It would have been a simple matter for him to lose the match quickly. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Bruno Anthony: I beg your pardon, but aren't you Guy Haines?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Hard Knuckle (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Ain't She Sweet
(1927) (uncredited)
Music by Milton Ager
Played at the beginning of both amusement park scenes
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One of Hitchcock's finest achievements
15 August 2006 | by (prejudicemadeplausible.wordpress.com) – See all my reviews

"Strangers on a Train" is a brilliant example of what Hitchcock could do best, continually develop his plot and characters in an atmosphere both creepy and humorous. The film has great dialogue, superb characters, good acting, and naturally superb direction from the master of suspense who is truly at his best here. Robert Walker's Bruno Anthony is a character few will forget; he is creepy, psychopathic, and as M. Night Shyamalan says on one of the DVD's special features it is the fact that he has moral standards, however unconventional and disturbed they may be, that makes him such a dangerous man.

Strangers is a truly involving film, one that takes you on a ride you won't forget anytime soon, it has one of the best examples of buildup you could find on film, and as soon as it ends the film takes you on a journey that entertains and terrifies and even makes you laugh. This is a truly brilliant example of film-making, every shot is drenched in suspense, every cut is masterful, every detail important, every second exciting, it never lets go till the very end, and what an ending that is, a delicious bit of humor that is perfectly in tone with the rest of this delightful masterpiece.

Some have criticized Farley Granger's performance as Guy Haines, but it really is quite perfect; he delivered all his lines well and makes us feel honestly sympathetic towards him. Robert Walker is simply genius as Bruno Anthony, a great character that wouldn't have been nearly as memorable without Robert Walker's devilishly evil portrayal of him. The supporting cast are good, Ruth Roman, Leo G. Carroll, Kasey Rogers, Howard St. John and Patricia Hitchcock all deliver good performances that enhance what was already a good film and make it a great film. Alfred Hitchcock's direction is, as always, sublime.

What makes "Strangers" so good is the simple plot. It isn't a complicated story, two strangers meet on a train, and one comes up with a crazy plot: "You do my murder, I do yours." One takes it as a joke and shrugs it off, but the other takes himself seriously and goes on to commit the murder he offered to, getting the 'good guy' into huge trouble. The script is adapted superbly well by Whitfield Cook from a novel by Patricia Highsmith.

This is really one of Hitchcock's most interesting films from a technical perspective while also providing more than enough laughs, suspense, and thrills to keep just about anybody engaged.

10/10


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