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Runaway Train (1985)

R  |   |  Action, Adventure, Drama  |  6 December 1985 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 19,801 users  
Reviews: 143 user | 47 critic

Two escaped convicts and a female railway worker find themselves trapped on a train with no brakes and nobody driving.


(as Andrei Konchalovsky)


(screenplay), (screenplay), 4 more credits »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Stacey Pickren ...
Walter Wyatt ...
Reid Cruickshanks ...
Al Turner (as Reid Cruikshanks)
Dan Wray ...
Fat Con
Michael Lee Gogin ...
Short Con
John Bloom ...
Tall Con
Old Con (as Norton E. 'Hank' Warden)


A hardened convict and a younger prisoner escape from a brutal prison in the middle of winter only to find themselves on an out-of-control train with a female railway worker while being pursued by the vengeful head of security. Written by Keith Loh <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Ride Of Your Death... See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

6 December 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Escape en tren  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$9,000,000 (estimated)


$7,936,012 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Most of the train action footage was shot with three cameras. Cinematographer Alan Hume said: "It was necessary while making a run on a track, we had to get as many shots as possible before another train came through". See more »


The cab interiors of the two rear locomotives are of an angled cab roof fitted type but the exterior shots of the two locomotives clearly show the cabs to be of the earlier design curved roof type. See more »


Manny: Win, lose, what's the difference?
See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Rebel Set (1992) See more »


Gloria in D Major
by Antonio Vivaldi (as Vivaldi)
Performed by The USSR Academic Russian Chorus and the Moscow Conservatoire Students Orchestra
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

a knock-out!
29 July 1999 | by (NAS Whidbey Island, WA) – See all my reviews

Everything about this film has a surreal, visceral, in-your-face quality; the anguished, violent intensity of the prison scenes, the frozen wastelands of the lands outside the prison (gee, a metaphor?), the train -- not just a lifeless machine but a huge, juggernaut-like beast -- that the title refers to, the fierce, animalistic performance by Jon Voight, who plays the character of Manny with such raw emotion and conviction that at no moment do we doubt that he is anything other than what he appears to be on screen.

It's based on a screenplay by the legendary Akira Kurosawa -- knowing this makes a lot of the elements a bit more familiar; the snow, the hopelessness, the apocalyptic atmosphere -- and it's directed by Russian Andrei Konchalovsky, who after this film directed two Hollywood embarrassments called "Homer & Eddie" and "Tango & Cash" (apparently trying to corner the market on ampersands), and most recently helmed the acclaimed Armand Assante mini-series "The Odyssey" for television. "Runaway Train" is not a perfect film, some of the minor supporting performances are really awful and some viewers may find Eric Roberts to be irritating, but the sheer kineticism, among the other stronger elements, makes it worthwhile. Often called an intellectual action picture, it's more of an existential one, i.e. man versus a indifferent/hostile universe, etc. Everything in the film has a greater, more universal meaning, and it's not rocket science to figure out what stands for what. The simplicity of its metaphors doesn't dull the impact of "Runaway Train" as a sensory experience, though, because it's still pretty potent stuff. Provided you're not completely close-minded, this is one you'll remember for a long, long time.

32 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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