IMDb > Emperor of the North (1973)
Emperor of the North Pole
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Emperor of the North (1973) More at IMDbPro »Emperor of the North Pole (original title)

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Down 7% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Christopher Knopf (written by)
View company contact information for Emperor of the North on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
24 May 1973 (USA) See more »
Only one man can be ... "Emperor of the North Pole" See more »
In 1933, during the Depression, Shack the brutal conductor of the number 19 train has a personal vendetta against the best train hopping hobo tramp in the Northwest, A No. 1. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
One of the great unsung films of the 1970's See more (68 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Lee Marvin ... A No. 1

Ernest Borgnine ... Shack

Keith Carradine ... Cigaret

Charles Tyner ... Cracker

Malcolm Atterbury ... Hogger

Simon Oakland ... Policeman
Harry Caesar ... Coaly
Hal Baylor ... Yardman's Helper

Matt Clark ... Yardlet

Elisha Cook Jr. ... Gray Cat (as Elisha Cook)
Joe Di Reda ... Dinger (as Joe di Reda)
Liam Dunn ... Smile
Diane Dye ... Girl in Water

Robert Foulk ... Conductor
Jim Goodwin ... Fakir (as James Goodwin)
Raymond Guth ... Preacher (as Ray Guth)

Sid Haig ... Grease Tail
Karl Lukas ... Pokey Stiff
Edward McNally ... Yard Clerk
John Steadman ... Stew Bum

Vic Tayback ... Yardman

Dave Willock ... Groundhog
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Don Blackman ... Old Shine (uncredited)

Jack Collins ... Dispatcher (uncredited)
Richard Daughty ... The Cub (uncredited)
Bennie E. Dobbins ... Mechanic (uncredited)
Joe Haworth ... Ash Eater (uncredited)

Lance Henriksen ... Railroad worker (uncredited)
Harry Hickox ... Elder (uncredited)
Bern Hoffman ... Halfy (uncredited)
James Kingsley ... Machinist (uncredited)
George McFadden ... Prairie Special engineer (uncredited)
Ralph Montgomery ... Alkee Stiff (uncredited)
Hal John Norman ... Hobo (uncredited)
Danny 'Big Black' Rey ... Hobo (uncredited)
Wayne Sutherlin ... Gink (uncredited)
Forrest Wood ... Station agent (uncredited)

Directed by
Robert Aldrich 
Writing credits
Christopher Knopf (written by)

Jack London  short story (uncredited)

Produced by
Stanley Hough .... producer (as Stan Hough)
Kenneth Hyman .... executive producer
Original Music by
Frank De Vol  (as Frank DeVol)
Cinematography by
Joseph F. Biroc (director of photography) (as Joseph Biroc)
Film Editing by
Michael Luciano 
Casting by
Jack Baur 
Art Direction by
Jack Martin Smith 
Set Decoration by
Raphael Bretton  (as Rafael Bretton)
Makeup Department
William Turner .... makeup artist
Production Management
Saul Wurtzel .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Malcolm R. Harding .... assistant director (as Malcolm Harding)
Michael D. Moore .... second unit director
Larry Powell .... second assistant director
Barry Steinberg .... second assistant director
Art Department
John La Salandra .... construction coordinator
Ygnacio Sepulveda .... property master
Maurice Larson .... painter (uncredited)
Stuart MacKenzie .... greensman (uncredited)
Tom Pedigo .... leadman (uncredited)
Dominick Williams .... prop assistant (uncredited)
Sound Department
William Hartman .... sound effects
Don Isaacs .... sound effects
Godfrey Marks .... dubbing dialogue editor
Richard Overton .... sound mixer
Edward Rossi .... sound effects
Theodore Soderberg .... re-recording mixer
Don S. Walden .... sound effects (as Don Walden)
Don Parker .... sound recordist (uncredited)
Howard Wilmarth .... boom operator (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Henry Millar Jr. .... special effects
Tom Fisher .... special effects (uncredited)
Jack Monroe .... special effects (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
L.B. Abbott .... visual effects
Bennie E. Dobbins .... stunts (uncredited)
Jerry Gatlin .... stunt double: Ernest Borgnine (uncredited)
Chuck Hayward .... stunts (uncredited)
James Kingsley .... stunt double: Keith Carradine (uncredited)
Walter Scott .... stunt double: Lee Marvin (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Joe Jackman .... camera operator
Kenneth Peach Jr. .... camera operator (as Ken Peach Jr.)
Robert Bells .... lamp operator (uncredited)
Ray De La Motte .... first assistant camera (uncredited)
Robert Duggan .... dolly grip (uncredited)
Robert Duncan .... dolly grip (uncredited)
John Flanagan .... best boy (uncredited)
Don Gerrard .... lamp operator (uncredited)
Paul Gilbert .... generator operator (uncredited)
Orville Hallberg .... camera operator (uncredited)
Bill Hannah .... gaffer (uncredited)
O.T. Henderson .... grip (uncredited)
Roy Hogstedt .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Edward Morey III .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Jack Richter .... key grip (uncredited)
Phillip R. Sarabia .... second grip (uncredited)
Paul Schwake Jr. .... dolly grip (uncredited)
Orlando Suero .... still photographer (uncredited)
Joseph E. Thibo .... first assistant camera (uncredited)
Robert Woodside .... lamp operator (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Ed Wynigear .... wardrobe
Richard La Motte .... wardrobe assistant (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Frank Capacchione .... associate editor
Roland Gross .... associate editor
Willie Navarro .... assistant film editor (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Chris Haynes .... driver
Kelly Aldrich .... driver: camera car (uncredited)
Aram Betkijian .... transportation captain (uncredited)
Other crew
Walter Blake .... title designer
Dave Davies .... unit publicist
Howard Hohler .... script supervisor
Robert Sherman .... dialogue supervisor
Betty Berry .... production secretary (uncredited)
Ernie Fuentes .... first aid (uncredited)
Richard Menchaca .... craft service (uncredited)
Carl Skelton .... auditor (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Emperor of the North Pole" - USA (original title)
See more »
118 min | 116 min (FMC Library Print)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Australia:M | Finland:K-16 (cut) (1987) | Finland:K-16 (cut) (1973) | Netherlands:16 | Norway:15 | Norway:16 (1973) | Sweden:15 | UK:AA (original rating) | UK:15 (video) | USA:PG | USA:TV-PG | West Germany:16 (f)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Showbusiness trade paper 'Variety' reported that "the production takes its title from hobos crowning 'Lee Marvin' "emperor" for riding Ernest Borgnine's train even a mile, something no other hobo has ever accomplished."See more »
Factual errors: When the hobos are picking the switch lock, they are using lock picking tools that are used on tumbler locks and talking about tumblers. An Adlake switch lock of that design is a warded lock and does not have tumblers.See more »
A no. 1:You ain't stopping at this hotel, kid. My hotel! The stars at night, I put 'em there. And I know the presidents, all of them. And I go where I damn well please. Even the chairman of the New York Central can't do it better. My road, kid, and I don't give lessons and I don't take partners. Your ass don't ride this train!See more »
A Man and a TrainSee more »


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34 out of 34 people found the following review useful.
One of the great unsung films of the 1970's, 22 May 1999
Author: Cru3 from Vancouver, Canada

Robert Aldrich was one of the most interesting American directors of the last 40 years. He moved with relative ease between genres and told his stories in a direct, honest style. This film is one of the unsung gems of the seventies, part adventure film, part social drama, part road movie.

Set during the depression when riding the rails was a way of life for desperate men (and women), the film follows three characters - Lee Marvin, as Number One, a legend among the grizzled hobos congregating along the rail lines; Ernest Borgnine as Shack, the sadistic conductor perfectly willing to do whatever necessary to keep free loaders off his trains; and a young Keith Carradine as Two-Bit, a novice full of bluster and false bravado out to make a name for himself. Marvin takes the kid under his wing; their relationship is part adversarial, as the weary elder tries to educate the fool how to survive on the line. Looming in the background is Borgnine, out to do his job at any cost. Ultimately a wager is made, and Marvin will put his life on the line to best Borgnine and show he is the Emperor of the North.

At times it's a very brutal film - the final confrontation between Marvin & Borgnine is one of the toughest, nastiest fights ever photographed - but it is splendidly made and endlessly fascinating.

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