7.8/10
8,815
39 user 58 critic

Closely Watched Trains (1966)

Ostre sledované vlaky (original title)
An apprentice train dispatcher at a village station seeks his first sexual encounter and becomes despondent when he is unable to perform.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Slovakia during WW2. Tono lives a poor life, but the authorities offer him to take over the Jewish widow Lautman's little shop for sewing material. She is old and confused and thinks that ... See full summary »

Directors: Ján Kadár, Elmar Klos
Stars: Ida Kaminska, Jozef Kroner, Hana Slivková
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The volunteer fire department in a small town is having a big party when the ex-boss of the department celebrates his 86th birthday. The whole town is invited but things don't go as planned... See full summary »

Director: Milos Forman
Stars: Jan Vostrcil, Josef Sebánek, Josef Valnoha
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Middle-aged Antonin and his friends, the major, now retired, and the canon, are in the river, swimming and philosophizing. Then it starts to rain. It just seems to be that sort of summer. ... See full summary »

Director: Jirí Menzel
Stars: Rudolf Hrusínský, Vlastimil Brodský, Frantisek Rehák
Comedy | Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A factory manager in rural Czechoslovakia bargains with the army to send men to the area, to boost the morale of his young female workers, deprived of male company since the local boys have... See full summary »

Director: Milos Forman
Stars: Hana Brejchová, Vladimír Pucholt, Vladimír Mensík
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A look at the glamorous life at an old-world Prague hotel.

Director: Jirí Menzel
Stars: Ivan Barnev, Oldrich Kaiser, Julia Jentsch
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Set in the late 1940s, the film concerns the treatment of suspect "bourgeois elements", a professor, a saxophonist, and a milkman, who are put to work in a junkyard for rehabilitation.

Director: Jirí Menzel
Stars: Rudolf Hrusínský, Vlastimil Brodský, Václav Neckár
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Comedy about the people who inhabit a small town. For years the overbearing Pavek has endured Otik, the "town idiot," sharing his meals and the front seat of their dump truck. But Otik is ... See full summary »

Director: Jirí Menzel
Stars: János Bán, Marián Labuda, Rudolf Hrusínský
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Set in World War II, a demented cremator believes cremation relieves earthly suffering and sets out to save the world.

Director: Juraj Herz
Stars: Rudolf Hrusínský, Vlasta Chramostová, Jana Stehnová
Shortcuts (1981)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An evocation of the childhood memories of Bohumil Hrabal in his provincial town of Nymburk, dominated by the local brewery.

Director: Jirí Menzel
Stars: Magda Vásáryová, Jirí Schmitzer, Jaromír Hanzlík
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A minor Czech clan falls afoul of the King in medieval times, against the backdrop of Christianity replacing Paganism.

Director: Frantisek Vlácil
Stars: Josef Kemr, Magda Vásáryová, Nada Hejna
Daisies (1966)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Two girls try to understand the meaning of the world and their life.

Director: Vera Chytilová
Stars: Ivana Karbanová, Jitka Cerhová, Marie Cesková
Ucho (1970)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Husband (senior ministry official) and wife find their house is riddled with listening devices put there by his own ministry. A harrowing night follows (reminiscent of 'Who's Afraid Of ... See full summary »

Director: Karel Kachyna
Stars: Jirina Bohdalová, Radoslav Brzobohatý, Gustav Opocenský
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Milos Hrma
...
Hubicka
...
Zednicek
Vladimír Valenta ...
Max
Alois Vachek ...
Novak
Ferdinand Kruta ...
Uncle Noneman
Jitka Scoffin ...
Masa (as Jitka Bendová)
Jitka Zelenohorská ...
Zdenka
...
Victoria Freie
...
Max's wife
...
The countess
Pavla Marsálková ...
Mother
...
Zdenka's mother
Zuzana Minichova
Václav Fiser ...
Plasterer (as V. Fiser)
Edit

Storyline

A young man follows his father's footsteps and joins the railway company, where he learns the job and has his first affair. Set in the country, during the German occupation. Written by Michael Crew <m.crew@bbcnc.org.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

All it takes to make a man of a boy is a woman. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

18 November 1966 (Czechoslovakia)  »

Also Known As:

Closely Watched Trains  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Voted One of the Year's Ten Best Films by the 1967 New York Times Film Critics. See more »

Goofs

The blanket covering the stamped girl changes between shots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Milos Hrma: My name is Milos Hrma. People often laughed at my name. But ours was a famous family. Great Grandfather Lukas was a drummer and fought on the Charles Bridge in Prague. The students threw cobblestones at the soldiers and hit Grand Grandfather so hard that he was pensioned off on one gulden a day. He didn't do anything after that except buying a bottle of rum and a pack of tobacco every day.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Banánové rybicky: Jak prezít lékare a nemoci (1999) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
"Do you know what Czechs are? Laughing animals."
23 July 2005 | by (Indianapolis, Indiana) – See all my reviews

It's amazing just how many visual sex metaphors director Jirí Menzel managed to cram into 92 minutes, without ever becoming ridiculous or losing the plot. It makes Hitchcock's train going into the tunnel shot from 'North By Northwest' look like the work of a rank amateur.

Ostensibly 'Closely Watched Trains' is the story of Trainee Milos Hrma (Václav Neckár) starting his job at the local train station during the Nazi occupation of what was then Czechoslovakia (only I guess it wasn't, because it was officially absorbed by the Reich). Throughout most of the film the war, complete with what the local Nazi functionary describes as "beautiful tactical withdrawals," is a long way off and Milos has more important matters to attend to. Specifically he's trying to lose his virginity and deal with another problem common to young men everywhere, one which the local doctor advises him to solve by thinking about football during critical moments.

Made in 1966, when some Czechs were clearly already looking ahead to 1968's Prague Spring, the film slyly uses the Nazis as a stand-in for the Soviets. As proof of this, and the Hollywood establishment's anti-Communist bent in the late 60s, 'Closely Watched Trains' won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1968. It is, however, imminently deserving of the win on its own merits.

History lessons aside 'Closely Watched Trains' is beautifully shot, well acted, and absurdly hilarious, while still tasting of tragedy. Excellent.


45 of 57 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?