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The Great Train Robbery (1978)

The First Great Train Robbery (original title)
In Victorian England, a master criminal makes elaborate plans to steal a shipment of gold from a moving train.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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A two-part drama which portrays The Great Train Robbery of 8 August 1963, firstly from the point of view of the robbers and then from the point of view of the police who set out to identify and catch the robbers.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Alan Webb ...
...
...
Sharp
...
Burgess
Wayne Sleep ...
Clean Willy
...
...
Elizabeth Trent
George Downing ...
Barlow
...
Harranby
John Bett ...
McPherson
...
Station Despatcher
Janine Duvitski ...
Maggie
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Storyline

Sutherland and Connery wish to rob a moving train's safe in Victorian England. They need wax impressions of keys, coffins, dead cats, and a great deal of planning in order to pull it off. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gold | key | safe | train | bank | See All (177) »

Taglines:

Never have so few taken so much from so many.


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 February 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Great Train Robbery  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$391,942, 4 February 1979, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$13,027,857
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Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (as Dolby Sound)

Color:

(sepia colour)| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the final film for both André Morell and Peter Butterworth, both of whom had died by the time that it was released. See more »

Goofs

In the execution scene, outside Newgate prison, there are several people in the crowd wearing modern clothes, including jeans. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Edward Pierce: [narration] In the year 1855, England and France were at war with Russia in the Crimea. The English troops were paid in gold. Once a month, twenty-five thousand pounds in gold was loaded into strongboxes inside the London bank of Huddleston and Bradford and taken by trusted armed guards to the railway station. The convoy followed no fixed route or timetable. At the station, the gold was loaded into the luggage van of the Folkestone train for shipment to the coast and from there to ...
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Connections

Referenced in Murder, She Wrote: The Great Twain Robbery (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls
(uncredited)
Music by Michael William Balfe
Lyrics by Alfred Bunn (1843)
Heard on violin offstage in bordello
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Great Gold Heist of 1855
31 December 2006 | by See all my reviews

With Mission Impossible like precision, Sean Connery, Lesley Anne Down, and Donald Sutherland pull off The First Great Train Robbery, years before Jesse James did it in the American West.

Of course holding up a train with a dozen masked bandit confederates doesn't equal the near precision complexity that it took to steal gold bullion off a train by three men in stealth. Connery is the mastermind of the scheme and he plays Edward Pierce with the usual charm we've come to associate with Connery.

It was interesting how Connery gets the idea for the heist in your typical Englishman's club with at least one of the responsible parties for the gold in that very room. The other club members know him as a retired industrialist who seems rather well fixed and comfortable. If they only knew the real source of his comfort.

Lesley Anne Down may have given her career performance here as Connery's girl friend. Their scenes fairly crackle with witty repartee and sexual innuendo. Down is certainly not above using her sex to help in the robbery. In fact the first part of the plan which took about a year in preparation was to get duplicates of four keys that unlock the safe on the train where the bullion is transported. She compromises one of the key custodians in a Victorian bordello which is the film's humor highlight.

Donald Sutherland is the safecracker friend of Connery's enlisted for the caper. He gets the dirtiest details of the caper. In fact the authorities get wind of some kind of plan in the works and Connery has to make some last minute adjustments to his plan. The adjustments call for Sutherland to get into the car in a coffin with a dead cat for odorous effect. What some won't do for money. Sutherland handles the whole thing quite well.

Connery has the dangerous part of the caper which calls for him to go from front to back on a moving train. Those sequences according to the Films of Sean Connery were shot in Ireland which better represented the look of rural 1855 England. I was stunned to learn that Connery himself did the stunts. Sean admitted himself that it was the most dangerous business he ever undertook for any film. What some will do for the sake of art.

The First Great Train Robbery is a stylish caper film set in Victorian Great Britain and the film really captures the look and manner of the period. One of Sean Connery's best films, definitely worth a look.


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