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The Train
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The Train (1964) More at IMDbPro »

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The Train -- In 1944, a German colonel loads a train with French art treasures to send to Germany. The Resistance must stop it without damaging the cargo.


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7.9/10   9,552 votes »
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Down 10% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Franklin Coen (screen story) and
Frank Davis (screen story) ...
View company contact information for The Train on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
7 March 1965 (USA) See more »
It carried their hopes, their nation's honour!
In 1944, a German colonel loads a train with French art treasures to send to Germany. The Resistance must stop it without damaging the cargo. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
A personal favorite and semi-overlooked classic See more (124 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Burt Lancaster ... Labiche

Paul Scofield ... Von Waldheim

Jeanne Moreau ... Christine

Suzanne Flon ... Mlle Villard

Michel Simon ... Papa Boule

Wolfgang Preiss ... Herren
Albert Rémy ... Didont (as Albert Remy)
Charles Millot ... Pesquet
Richard Münch ... Von Lubitz (as Richard Munch)
Jacques Marin ... Jacques
Paul Bonifas ... Spinet
Jean Bouchaud ... Schmidt
Donald O'Brien ... Schwartz (as Donal O'Brien)
Jean-Pierre Zola ... Octave
Arthur Brauss ... Pilzer (as Art Brauss)
Jean-Claude Bercq ... Major (as Jean-Claude Berco)
Howard Vernon ... Dietrich
Louis Falavigna ... Railroad Worker
Richard Bailey ... Grote
Christian Fuin ... Robert
Helmo Kindermann ... Ordnance Officer
Roger Lumont ... Engineer Officer

Gérard Buhr ... Corporal (as Gerard Buhr)
Christian Rémy ... Tauber (as Christian Remy)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Victor Beaumont ... Bit Part (uncredited)
Jacques Blot ... Hubert (uncredited)
Michel Charrel ... Bit Part (uncredited)

Nick Dimitri ... German Soldier (uncredited)
Max Fromm ... Gestapo Officer (uncredited)
Bernard La Jarrige ... Bernard - Doctor (uncredited)
Jean-Jacques Leconte ... Lieutenant of Retreating Convoy (uncredited)
Daniel Lecourtois ... Priest (uncredited)
Wolfgang Sauer ... Bit Part (uncredited)

Directed by
John Frankenheimer 
Arthur Penn (uncredited; fired, replaced by John Frankenheimer)
Writing credits
Franklin Coen (screen story) and
Frank Davis (screen story)

Franklin Coen (screenplay) and
Frank Davis (screenplay)

Rose Valland (book "Le front de l'art")

Walter Bernstein  uncredited
Howard Dimsdale  uncredited
Albert Husson  French version (uncredited)
Nedrick Young  uncredited

Produced by
Jules Bricken .... producer
Bernard Farrel .... associate producer
Original Music by
Maurice Jarre 
Cinematography by
Jean Tournier (photographed by)
Walter Wottitz (photographed by)
Film Editing by
David Bretherton 
Gabriel Rongier (uncredited)
Production Design by
Willy Holt 
Makeup Department
Georges Bouban .... makeup artist
Production Management
Serge LeBeau .... unit manager (as Serge Lebeau)
Robert Velin .... production manager
Art Department
Marc Frédérix .... assistant production designer (as Marc Frederix)
Roger Volper .... assistant production designer
Sound Department
Jacques Carrère .... sound re-recordist
Joseph de Bretagne .... sound (as Joseph De Bretagne)
Jacques Maumont .... sound re-recordist
Special Effects by
Lee Zavitz .... special effects
Visual Effects by
Jean Fouchet .... optical effects (as Jean Fouchet F.L)
Steven Burnett .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
André Domage .... camera operator
Vincent Rossell .... still photographer (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Jean Zay .... wardrobe
Music Department
Maurice Jarre .... conductor
Other crew
Jules Bricken .... presenter
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"John Frankenheimer's The Train" - USA (complete title)
See more »
133 min | UK:140 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Did You Know?

Burt Lancaster performs all of his own stunts in this movie. Albert Rémy also gets into the act by performing the stunt of uncoupling the engine from the art train on a real moving train.See more »
Revealing mistakes: When the bombing of the railway yard is about to start, we are shown a close up of Major Herren's Von watch when he is talking on the phone to Deitrich in the switch tower. The watch shows 10 o'clock, but the second hand is not moving, indicating the watch had not been wound.See more »
Christine:Men want to be heroes, and their widows mourn.See more »
Movie Connections:


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64 out of 84 people found the following review useful.
A personal favorite and semi-overlooked classic, 29 November 2001
Author: ggh6 from Pennsylvania, USA

A standout WWII drama, loosely based on a true story. In 1944, as the Allies spread across France from the Normandy landings, the Nazis looted Paris art museums and loaded the works onto a train, with the intention of carrying them back to the Fatherland and selling or bartering them for scarce war materials. A fairly hare-brained scheme, to be sure, and in reality the train never made it further than a siding just east of the city, but that shouldn't hinder one's enjoyment of what turns out to be a classic action film.

The centerpiece of the movie is a clash of wills between Von Waldheim, a cultured but iron-backed Nazi colonel (well-played by Paul Scofield) charged with getting the stolen artworks to Germany, and a taciturn railway troubleshooter named Labiche (Burt Lancaster). Von Waldheim first enlists Labiche as 'insurance' against any monkey business during the train's journey. Labiche, though, happens to have Resistance connections and, with serious reservations, is drawn into a desperate, improvised plot to stop the train, preferably without damaging the precious artifacts inside.

Although easily enjoyed as a straight action flick, what gives the film weight is the supporting story, in which Labiche at first argues against wasting precious lives on a few crates of paintings he's never seen, then gradually comes round as he begins to understand that the Nazis are effectively carrying off a large piece of the heart of France. Beautiful deep-focus black and white photography, and solid supporting performances by a mostly French cast (of which Jeanne Moreau may be the best-known), convincingly evoke the bleak misery of the Occupation. John Frankenheimer's economical direction manages to present highly-charged action scenes without glossing over the human cost, as Von Waldheim exacts savage reprisals against escalating efforts to hinder the train's passage.

Lancaster, who performed his own stunts, is excellent, furiously athletic as he slides down ladders, leaps onto moving locomotives, and charges over ridges and fields in pursuit of the train. At the same time, he manages to effectively bring a subtle authenticity to his portrayal of the weary, fatalistic railwayman.

Finally, the action set-pieces are nothing short of stunning, and include the train's mad dash through an Allied carpet-bombing attack, a strafing raid on a speeding locomotive, and several wrecks and derailments, all staged full-scale with period equipment donated by the French national railway. Well worth obtaining on DVD, the film may be hard to find on broadcast television these days.

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