MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 22,289 this week

Riding the Rails (1997)

7.4
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 130 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 9 critic

Riding the Rails offers a visionary perspective on the presumed romanticism of the road and cautionary legacy of the Great Depression. From 'middle class gentility to scrabble-ass poor,' ... See full summary »

Directors:

,
0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

IMDb Picks: August

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in August.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 23 titles
created 07 Feb 2011
 
a list of 580 titles
created 15 Feb 2011
 
a list of 3369 titles
created 08 Aug 2011
 
a list of 145 titles
created 07 Jan 2012
 

Related Items

Search for "Riding the Rails" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Riding the Rails (1997)

Riding the Rails (1997) on IMDb 7.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Riding the Rails.
19 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
C.R. 'Tiny' Boland ...
Himself
Charley Bull ...
Himself
Rene Champion ...
Herself
Peggy De Hart ...
Herself
John Fawcett ...
Himself
Clarence Lee ...
Herself
Jim Mitchell ...
Himself
Arvel 'Sunshine' Pearson ...
Herself
James San Jule ...
Himself
Bob 'Guitar Whitey' Symmonds ...
Himself
...
Narrator (voice)
Edit

Storyline

Riding the Rails offers a visionary perspective on the presumed romanticism of the road and cautionary legacy of the Great Depression. From 'middle class gentility to scrabble-ass poor,' the undiscriminating Great Depression forced 4,000,000 Americans away from their homes and onto the tracks in search of food and lodging. Of this number, a disturbing 250,000 of the transients were children. The filmmakers relay the experiences and painful recollections of these now-elderly survivors of the rails. Forced to travel more by economic necessity than the spirit of adventure, the film's subjects dispel romantic myths of a hobo existence and its corresponding veneer of freedom. Riding the Rails recounts the hoboes' trade secrets for survival and accounts of dank miseries, loneliness, imprisonment, death, and dispossession. Sixty years later, the filmmakers transport their subjects back to the tracks, where the surging impact of sound and movement resuscitates memories of a shattered ... Written by Rebecca Yeldham, Sundance Film Festival Programmer

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Edit

Details

Official Sites:

|

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

January 1997 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

Features Wild Boys of the Road (1933) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A very touching documentary
10 July 2002 | by (Corvallis, Or) – See all my reviews

Riding the Rails is the story of the children the either ran away or were forced to leave home during the depression. In most movies the hobos riding the rails are shown as grown men and as bums. This movie debunks that myth and shows that most of the rail riders were teenage runaways.

The story is told very effectively in a series of interviews with the survivors from this era and shows footage from old movies and newsreel. Most of survivors are now in their late 70's or 80's but were as young as 13 when they first ran away. These are very personal stories about children who had no hope of a better life and how they hopped boxcars hoping to find something better.

I've seen this documentary a number of times now and it never fails to move me. I remember the first time it came on TV it was late at night, I had to work the next day but I couldn't stop watching it. The whole next week I couldn't get these people out of my mind. It all happened over 60 years ago when the world was a very different place and yet their stories are still very moving today. This documentary really captures the desperateness of the depression and shows the sincerity of the people that grew up in that time.

The film does have a happy ending but it may not be everyone's cup of tea. This is not a movie five star yuppies will enjoy, however if you have ever been a backpacker, a hitchhiker or a traveller you may find this is a documentary you can relate to.


9 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Rambling Rudy zelley-1
Discuss Riding the Rails (1997) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?