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Boxcar Bertha (1972)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Romance  |  14 June 1972 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 5,745 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 35 critic

During the depression, a union leader and a young woman become criminals to exact revenge on the management of a railroad.



(book), (screenplay) (as Joyce H. Corrington) , 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Barry Primus ...
Rake Brown
Von Morton
H. Buckram Sartoris
McIver #1
David Osterhout ...
McIver #2 (as David R. Osterhout)
Grahame Pratt ...
Emeric Pressburger (credit only)
'Chicken' Holleman ...
M. Powell (credit only)
Harvey Hall (as Harry Northrup)
Ann Morell ...
Tillie Parr
Marianne Dole ...
Mrs. Mailler
Joe Reynolds ...
Joe Cox


Based on "Sister of the Road," the fictionalized autobiography of radical and transient Bertha Thompson as written by physician Dr. Ben L. Reitman, 'Boxcar' Bertha Thompson, a woman labor organizer in Arkansas during the violence-filled Depression of the early '30's meets up with rabble-rousing union man 'Big' Bill Shelly and they team up to fight the corrupt railroad establishment and she is eventually sucked into a life of crime with him. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Bertha Loved Lovin'...But There Was More Money in ROBBIN' TRAINS! See more »


Crime | Drama | Romance


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 June 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A lázadók ökle  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$600,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


There was a rumor that Roger Corman's wife Julie Corman obtained the film rights to the story from Bertha Thompson herself after tracking her down in a San Francisco hotel room; she never actually met Thompson--because Thompson wouldn't open the door-but that rumor wasn't true. It may haver been a pre-release publicity stunt or maybe even a trick played on the Cormans by the true owner of the story, author Ben L. Reitman; the afterword in the fourth re-issue of the book "Boxcar Bertha" explained that the book is a work of fiction, and that the character Bertha Thompson was an amalgam of at least three women that Reitman knew, but was mostly modeled on a woman named Retta Toble. See more »


The boxcars rolling behind the characters in the 1930s, have dates stenciled on them indicating that they have been tested and repaired in the 1970s. See more »


'Big' Bill Shelly: Hey, Bertha!
See more »


Referenced in My Name Is Buck: A Look Back at 'Eaten Alive' (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Classic Scorsese
2 January 2000 | by See all my reviews

This was Martin Scorsese's second full-length feature film and it is a decent one. It's about a young girl in the 1930's who meets and falls in love with a union organizer, who also happens to be a thief. Together, they form a small gang and begin robbing trains as well as anything else they can get their hands on. The fun soon turns to fright when they become fugitives and are hunted down by law enforcement officers. There's action and entertainment but not a movie that you would expect from Martin Scorsese. It has none of his trade marks whatsoever. But do realize that this was one of his first films and try to respect that. I do.

20 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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