Runaway Train (1985)

R  |   |  Action, Adventure, Drama  |  6 December 1985 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 19,945 users  
Reviews: 143 user | 48 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


Once it starts, nothing can stop it! 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
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Did You Know?


The film's cast billing was as follows: Jon Voight (1st), Eric Roberts (2nd), Rebecca De Mornay (3rd). See more »


In the subsequent shots before the train slams into the caboose, the caboose is seen right before the collision as passing the runaway train onto the siding before it is hit. See more »


Sara: [after Manny says he will jump from the moving train] If you jump here, you're gonna break every bone in your body, and then what?
Manny: They been broke before.
See more »


Referenced in Video Violence (1987) 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

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User Reviews

Win, lose, what's the difference?
22 November 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Based around a screenplay written by the legendary Akira Kurosawa, Runaway Train simultaneously follows three threads. The escape of two prisoners, Manny & Buck, who jump on a train only to find that the driver has a heart attack, thus it speeds out of control. Then there is the efforts of the train dispatching office to try and safely stop the out-of-control train. And also there's the hunt by the sadistic prison warden who is hellbent on recapturing the fleeing convicts.

Relentless and engrossing action film from start to finish, Runaway Train boasts two Oscar nominated performances from John Voight {Manny} and Eric Roberts {Buck} and no little intelligence with its well scripted characters. The opening quarter is pretty stock routine prison fare, these guys are tough, the warden is a bastard and we just know they are going to escape. But once the guys board the train the whole film shifts in gear and tone. The dynamic that exists between Manny & Buck, partners but very different in life approach, is riveting stuff courtesy of the nifty dialogue exchanges. Things are further enhanced by the appearance of Rebecca DeMornay's also stranded railway worker, Sara, who far from being a shoe-horned token female character, is the crucial piece of the emotional jigsaw. He presence gives the guys room to exorcise their demons and pour out their feelings of anger, bravado and mistrust.

The action scenes are very well handled by director Andrei Konchalovsky and his crew. As the train hurtles thru the snowy Alaskan wilderness we are treated to a number of crash bang wallops involving the train itself; derring-do from our boys on the icy outside of the locomotive, and a helicopter pursuit chartered by the obsessed John P. Ryan as Warden Ranken particularly stand out. Bona fide action sequences that are executed skilfully. Then we get to the finale, a finale pumped up for emotional impact, both visually and orally it closes the film justly. We even get time for a bit of Will Shakespeare as we go about reflecting on what we have just witnessed. A fine movie it be. 7.5/10

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