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Assault on the Pay Train (1962)
"Assalto ao Trem Pagador" (original title)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  June 1965 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 319 users  
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Film about the true events in Rio de Janeiro, in 1960, when a gang having the infamous outlaw Tião Medonho as a leader performed a sensational railroad hold-up on a train carrying a small fortune.



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Title: Assault on the Pay Train (1962)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Eliezer Gomes ...
Tião Medonho
Reginaldo Faria ...
Grilo Peru
Jorge Dória ...
Átila Iório ...
Ruth de Souza ...
Helena Ignez ...
Marta (as Helene Ignês)
Luiza Maranhão ...
Dirce Migliaccio ...
Edgar's Wife
Miguel Rosenberg ...
Grande Otelo ...
Clementino Kelé ...
Lino (as Kelé)
Oswaldo Louzada ...
Miguel's tenant (as Osvaldo Louzada)
Miguel Angelo ...
Antônio Pereira ...
(as Antonio Carlos Pereira)
Mozael Silveira ...


The gang composed by small-time thieves from the slum and leaded by the criminal Tião Medonho (Eliezer Gomes) plans and successfully executes the robbery of the train with the payments of the Banco do Brasil ("Bank of Brazil"). The police has no leads and believes that the heist was committed by an international gang. Meanwhile, Tiao imposes that each outlaw can only spend 10% of the share, but the poor reality and the greed of most of them spoil the planning. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama





Release Date:

June 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Assault on the Pay Train  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Protagonist Eliezer Gomes (Tião Medonho) was an ambulance driver with no former acting training. He was chosen over 300 candidates. See more »


Featured in Mulheres de Cinema (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

What happens when a favela gang robs a train big time?
22 September 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Assault on a Pay Train" is based on a huge robbery in 1960 in Rio, done by a gang of impoverished mostly black men from a shanty town or slum or favela. In the movie, the idea comes either from an unknown outside "engineer" or from a much lighter-skinned man who pretends there is an outside planner.

The film is both neo-realist and noir all the way, showing realistically and suspensefully the aftermath of the robbery and its effects on each man who participated. As in other noir stories of this kind, the problems of the robbers begin after the robbery. In this case, it is very tempting for poor people to spend all that money, but if they do, they will attract attention.

The lead actor, who was not a professional actor, delivers a powerful performance in the part of a complex man, who can be kind and violent. The part is extremely well written. The whole movie is well written, for that matter, and every character rings true.

The photography is almost all on location, and a large part of it is in a favela. This creates the neo-realist atmosphere as do the surprises of how real people behave under trying circumstances, and this includes the women associated with some of the robbers.

Without being sentimental and avoiding polemicism, the story roots itself among the poor people in this favela, showing their varied attitudes, personalities, ways, and aspirations. The racial divides are brought out. There are also sequences that bring out the police operations and especially the nature of crowds, reporters, and those attracted to the sensations of finding the robbers. The crowd scenes in their own style and depiction easily rival "The Big Carnival" or mob scenes in "Try and Get Me". The film treats the poor people more sympathetically than these sensation-seekers. There is an interesting characterization of the head cop, using almost no dialog, as he witnesses what is happening and especially the dignity of the wife of the main robber with her three young sons.

But don't get me wrong. All of this is woven in masterfully around the character of the natural leader of the gang, Tiao, played by Eliezer Gomes and a number of his associates in crime whose spending he tries to stem as well as other problems that arise that might and do lead police to them eventually. Tiao has a wife and a mistress. He has to deal with confederates with a number of weaknesses, not to mention his own. There are loose lips, and there are remorse and conscience.

After 50-odd years, this film holds up and more than holds up.

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