Throw Momma from the Train (1987)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Thriller  |  11 December 1987 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.2/10 from 26,033 users  
Reviews: 71 user | 21 critic

A bitter ex-husband. A put upon momma's boy. Both want their respective spouse and mother dead, but who will pull it off?



Watch Trailer
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A couple, cheated by a vile businessman, kidnap his wife in retaliation, without knowing that their enemy is delighted they did.

Directors: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Bette Midler, Danny DeVito, Judge Reinhold
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A married couple try everything to get each other to leave the house in a vicious divorce battle.

Director: Danny DeVito
Stars: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito
City Slickers (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

On the verge of turning 40, an unhappy Manhattan yuppie is roped into joining his two friends on a cattle drive in the southwest.

Director: Ron Underwood
Stars: Billy Crystal, Jack Palance, Daniel Stern
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

This is the sequel to "Romancing the Stone" where Jack and Joan have their yacht and easy life, but are gradually getting bored with each other and this way of life. Joan accepts an ... See full summary »

Director: Lewis Teague
Stars: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Two con men try to settle their rivalry by betting on who can swindle a young American heiress out of $50,000 first.

Director: Frank Oz
Stars: Steve Martin, Michael Caine, Glenne Headly
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Shortly after their first western adventure, Mitch Robbins and his friends discover a treasure map that belonged to their late trail guide Curly and set out to discover its secrets.

Director: Paul Weiland
Stars: Billy Crystal, Jack Palance, Daniel Stern
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Two street-wise Chicago cops have to shake off some rust after returning from a Key West vacation to pursue a drug dealer that nearly killed them in the past.

Director: Peter Hyams
Stars: Gregory Hines, Billy Crystal, Steven Bauer
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A romance writer sets off to Colombia to ransom her kidnapped sister, and soon finds herself in the middle of a dangerous adventure.

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito
Twins (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A physically perfect but innocent man goes in search of his long-lost twin brother, who is a short small-time crook.

Director: Ivan Reitman
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito, Kelly Preston
Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Three unemployed actors accept an invitation to a Mexican village to replay their bandit fighter roles, unaware that it is the real thing.

Director: John Landis
Stars: Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Martin Short
Scrooged (1988)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A selfish, cynical T.V. executive is haunted by three spirits bearing lessons on Christmas Eve.

Director: Richard Donner
Stars: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe
Roxanne (1987)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Based on the play "Cyrano de Bergerac", large nosed C.D. Bales falls for the beautiful Roxanne while she falls for his personality but another man's looks.

Director: Fred Schepisi
Stars: Steve Martin, Daryl Hannah, Rick Rossovich


Cast overview, first billed only:
Joey DePinto ...
Raye Birk ...
Olivia Brown ...
Philip Perlman ...
Stu Silver ...


Larry Donner is an author and writing professor who tutors people that want to write books. Larry's life has become a misery when his ex-wife Margaret has published a book he wrote under her name and has gotten rich over it. Owen Lift, one of Larry's students, offers Larry to kill Margaret, and in return Owen, wants Larry to kill his horrible mother. Larry thinks it's a joke, until he learns Owen killed his ex-wife. And Larry has now become the prime suspect. Written by Daniel Williamson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Owen asked his friend, Larry, for a small favor...


Comedy | Crime | Thriller


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

11 December 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tira a mamá del tren  »

Box Office


$14,000,000 (estimated)


$57,915,972 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Momma kicks open the door in the scene which Larry meets Momma. The sound effect of the door being kicked open by Momma sounds almost like a shotgun blast. See more »


When Owen sneaks into Margaret's house, he's barefoot. Then when her gardener shows up, he has to hide behind the couch, it clearly shows he has shoes on. See more »


Larry: Hate makes you impotent, Love makes you crazy, somewhere in the middle you can survive.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credit for Assistant Sound Editor Robert Martel has a gap in the vertical stroke of the L. See more »


Referenced in V.I.P.: Throw Val from the Train (2000) See more »


Written by Frank Gari & Daniel O. Baker
Copyright © 1986, Frank Gari Productions, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Overlooked black comedy.
3 June 2008 | by (Omaha, NE USA) – See all my reviews

Black comedy isn't always an easy sell. Every now and then you get a black comedy that is hugely successful, like Fargo, for example. But usually they don't often find big audiences. People seem to either set their minds for intellectual comedy, or for serious mayhem. There doesn't seem to be a big market for a good mixture of both. Throw Momma From the Train was a fairly decent hit, yet few people seem to remember much about it in this day and age. Danny DeVito just about hit this one all the way out of the park back in 1987.

DeVito plays an odd mamma's boy named Owen looking to rid himself of his outrageously overbearing and unpleasant mother whom he still lives with. The mother is played by Anne Ramsey, who passed away shortly after this was released, and she is quite a caricature. She is loud, ugly, rude, and overbearing. Though Owen hardly seems like he could take care of himself, he wants desperately to have his mother offed. He fantasizes about it in some truly weird scenes, but he clearly doesn't have the guts to actually do it himself. That's where Billy Crystal comes in. Crystal plays Larry Donner, Owen's creative writing teacher at a nearby community college. Larry is a paranoid would-be intellectual novelist who claims his ex-wife stole his novel and made millions off it. He is currently trying to write a new one, but cannot even come up with a decent first sentence. "The night was...." Owen hears Larry wish his ex-wife were dead during an outburst at the school cafeteria. And borrowing the idea from Strangers on a Train, Owen decides to travel to Hawai'i and murder Larry's ex-wife. Once it appears he has done so, he expects Larry to return the favor and kill his mother. The resulting action is often quite funny, and even poignant. It's certainly never dull and often full of surprises.

The acting is exceptional, even if Ramsey was a bit over the top. Crystal is as good as he can be, and DeVito has always been undervalued as a performer. The film relies on quite a bit of physical comedy which usually works, often painfully so. The film makes use of some truly innovative editing techniques in some scenes, and the off-beat tone is truly refreshing. I have often been critical of the late 1980s as being a time of artistic malaise and down right lazy film-making. Throw Momma From the Train takes chances. Both in how its characters are drawn as well as its general plot. How many comedies revolve around a son having his mother murdered? The film isn't too long, and it is chock full of laughs. Writers are apt to find it more interesting than the general public, but it can still be enjoyed by just about anyone. 9 of 10 stars.

The Hound.

19 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
he doesn't really say pork does he? kuribogoomba
Wow pretty underated WJKelly100
I Actually Felt Bad For Devito's Character riggins345
Alternative Ending?? lizswann12
Something I alway wondered CCHSMike
Kim Greist fallom14
Discuss Throw Momma from the Train (1987) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page