In British India, a young prince must be taken to safey across rebel-held territory, and an old train is the only way to do it.



(adapted from a screenplay by) (as Frank Nugent), (original story) | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 3 BAFTA Film Awards. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Catherine Wyatt
Van Leyden
Bridie (as Wilfrid Hyde White)
Lady Windham
Eugene Deckers ...
Sir John Windham
Brigadier Ames
Govind Raja Ross ...
Basil Hoskins ...
S.M. Asgaralli ...
Havildar (1st. Indian Soldier)
S.S. Chowdhary ...
2nd. Indian Soldier
Moultrie Kelsall ...
Brittish Correspondent
Lionel Murton ...
American Correspondent


In northwestern India soon after the turn of the 20th Century, Moslem rebels seek to kill a six-year-old Hindu prince to end his family line. Captain Scott of the British Army is ordered to get the prince out of the region safely. Adventure ensues as Scott sneaks the child away, through Moslem-held territory, by train. Also on board are the boy's American governess, an arms merchant, a cynical reporter, and two upper class Britons. Written by George S. Davis <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

prince | train | india | hindu | muslim | See All (44) »


Two people trapped by fate. In a country with no destiny.


Adventure | Drama


See all certifications »





Release Date:

20 November 1959 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

Flame Over India  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


'Time Out' called this picture "the British equivalent of a Western". See more »


As Captain Scott and Van Layden talk beside the trainload of massacred refugees, one of the dead men, wearing a yellow turban and hanging out a train window behind Van Layden, visibly raises his head, turns his face away in the opposite direction, then resettles his head in a more comfortable position, all while Scott and Van Layden are talking. See more »


Catherine Wyatt: The British never do anthing until they've had their cup of tea, and bt then it's too late,
See more »

Crazy Credits

The American release, entitled "Flame Over India", gives Lauren Bacall top billing. The British release, which is entitled "North West Frontier" and is the one on DVD, gives Kenneth More, a popular star in England, top billing. See more »


The Eton Boating Song
Music by Algernon Drummond and lyrics by William Johnson
Sung by Kenneth More and heard as a theme
See more »

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User Reviews

A positively rip-roaring joy from start to finish.
4 September 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

We are in British India, Moslem rebels want to kill a young Hindu prince and thus killing his family blood line. The British army are charged with the task of ensuring the prince is safely escorted from the troubled provinces. The duty falls to one intrepid Captain Scott, the only chance to achieve the aim is by train, with his allies on board being a rather unique group of individuals, can Scott achieve the mission against the mounting odds?

North West Frontier has everything a great action adventure should have, action, tension, drama and an array of wonderfully colourful characters. The opening to the film is pulsating, as Scott has to fight off the rebels whilst smuggling the prince and his governess out to safety. From then on we are on a train journey that is rich with enjoyment, the tension mounts among the passengers, not least because of the class differences, and perhaps motives are not in alignment? But they must club together if they are to survive this journey.

Kenneth Moore, Lauren Bacall, Herbert Lom and Wilfrid Hyde-White (comedy gold when under attack) are all pulling together to make a cracking yarn. Directing duties falls to J. Lee Thompson, whose CV boasts Ice Cold In Alex, The Guns Of Navarone and Cape Fear, so this material was thankfully in very safe hands. The photography from Geoffrey Unsworth is top notch, barren and desolate landscapes beautifully realising the peril of the passengers' journey, whilst the music from Mischa Spoliansky leaves a lasting impression.

This train may well be crammed full of genre stereotypes, and sure enough the patronising nature of the piece is dated at the edges, but this remains a gloriously enjoyable film that the whole family can readily digest. 9/10

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