Down 151 this week

The Railway Man (2013)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, Romance  |  23 May 2014 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.1/10 from 24,635 users   Metascore: 59/100
Reviews: 110 user | 179 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

A former British Army officer, who was tormented as a prisoner of war at a Japanese labor camp during World War II, discovers that the man responsible for much of his treatment is still alive and sets out to confront him.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $7.99 on Amazon Video

7 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A woman wakes up every day, remembering nothing as a result of a traumatic accident in her past. One day, new terrifying truths emerge that force her to question everyone around her.

Director: Rowan Joffe
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong
Devil's Knot (2013)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

The savage murders of three young children sparks a controversial trial of three teenagers accused of killing the kids as part of a satanic ritual.

Director: Atom Egoyan
Stars: Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon, Alessandro Nivola
Arthur Newman (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A story of a man who fakes his own death and assumes a new identity in order to escape his life, who then moves in with a woman who is also trying to leave her past behind.

Director: Dante Ariola
Stars: Colin Firth, Emily Blunt, Anne Heche
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A romantic comedy about an Englishman brought in to help unmask a possible swindle. Personal and professional complications ensue.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Marcia Gay Harden
Gambit I (2012)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

An art curator decides to seek revenge on his abusive boss by conning him into buying a fake Monet, but his plan requires the help of an eccentric and unpredictable Texas rodeo queen.

Director: Michael Hoffman
Stars: Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman
Belle (2013)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral is raised by her aristocratic great-uncle in 18th century England.

Director: Amma Asante
Stars: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Matthew Goode, Emily Watson
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

The story of former Hollywood star Grace Kelly's crisis of marriage and identity, during a political dispute between Monaco's Prince Rainier III and France's Charles De Gaulle, and a looming French invasion of Monaco in the early 1960s.

Director: Olivier Dahan
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth, André Penvern
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

While subjected to the horrors of World War II Germany, young Liesel finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others. In the basement of her home, a Jewish refugee is being sheltered by her adoptive parents.

Director: Brian Percival
Stars: Sophie Nélisse, Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson
Australia (2008)
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Set in northern Australia before World War II, an English aristocrat who inherits a sprawling ranch reluctantly pacts with a stock-man in order to protect her new property from a takeover plot. As the pair drive 2,000 head of cattle over unforgiving landscape, they experience the bombing of Darwin, Australia, by Japanese forces firsthand.

Director: Baz Luhrmann
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Shea Adams
A Single Man (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An English professor, one year after the sudden death of his boyfriend, is unable to cope with his typical days in 1960s Los Angeles.

Director: Tom Ford
Stars: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode
Rabbit Hole (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Life for a happy couple is turned upside down after their young son dies in an accident.

Director: John Cameron Mitchell
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest
Unbroken I (2014)
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

After a near-fatal plane crash in WWII, Olympian Louis Zamperini spends a harrowing 47 days in a raft with two fellow crewmen before he's caught by the Japanese navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.

Director: Angelina Jolie
Stars: Jack O'Connell, Miyavi, Domhnall Gleeson


Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael MacKenzie ...
Jeffrey Daunton ...
Bryan Probets ...
Major York
Takato Kitamoto ...
Japanese Officer
Keith Fleming ...
Removal Man


Eric Lomax was one of thousands of Allied prisoners of war forced to work on the construction of the Thai/Burma railway during WW2. His experiences, after the secret radio he built to bring news and hope to his colleagues was discovered, left him traumatised and shut off from the world. Years later, he met Patti, a beautiful woman, on a train and fell in love. Patti was determined to rid Eric of his demons. Discovering that the young Japanese officer who haunted her husband was still alive, she faced a terrible decision. Should Eric be given a chance to confront his tormentor? Would she stand by him, whatever he did? Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Revenge is never a straight line.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing prisoner of war violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |



Release Date:

23 May 2014 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Un pasado imborrable  »

Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$61,845 (USA) (11 April 2014)


$4,435,083 (USA) (11 July 2014)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film uses compressed time to speed up the story. Eric Lomax and Patti Wallace did meet in 1980, but in reality they didn't marry until 1983. Eric didn't learn that Takashi Nagase was still alive until 1993, and they finally met in 1995. See more »


The Royal Border Bridge at Berwick-on-Tweed is shown with overhead wires, which were not built until 1989. See more »


[first lines]
Eric: At the beginning of time, the clock struck one. A drop of dew, and the clock struck two. From the dew grew a tree, and the clock struck three. Then the tree made a door, and the clock struck four. Then man came alive, And the clock struck five. Count not, waste not, the hours of the clock. Behold I stand at the door and knock.
See more »


References Brief Encounter (1945) See more »


Introduction (Prelude) from Gadfly Suite
Performed by Ukraine National Symphony Orchestra, Theodore Kuchar (Conductor)
Composed by Dmitri Shostakovich (as D. Shostakovich)
Published by Native Tongue Publishing
Licensed Courtesy of Select Audio Visual Distribution on behalf of Naxos
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Firth and Railway Man Deliver for Patient Viewers
25 April 2014 | by (Alexandria, VA) – See all my reviews

Based on a true memoir of survival, love, retribution, and forgiveness, "The Railway Man" sets off from Edinburgh at a leisurely pace. The film slowly unfolds through flashbacks as layer upon layer of a World War II veteran's repressed memories are stripped away. A brutal, less spectacular cousin to "The Bridge on the River Kwai," the film centers on events that followed the British surrender of Singapore in 1942 and the subsequent Japanese use of British prisoners of war to construct a railway line from Thailand into Burma. Hidden secrets erupt from a rumpled domestic scene and unfurl in a bleak and monochromatic Scotland. However, in flashback, the cinematography shifts to warmer hues that imbue the tropical prison camp scenes shot around Kanchanaburi, Thailand, and the actual rail line that crosses the River Kwai.

The film's outer layer is a love story between an aging unkempt railway enthusiast, Eric Lomax, and a younger woman, Patti, whom he meets during a train journey. Once wed, Eric's suppressed demons from his war experiences surface, and Patti attempts to unravel her husband's mysteries and reclaim the man that she loves. Colin Firth portrays Eric in a restrained internalized performance that simmers with efforts to suppress harrowing memories, pent-up anger, and a thirst for vengeance. Unfortunately, Nicole Kidman's perfect complexion and carefully made-up demeanor work against any verisimilitude as Patti, the loyal, loving wife of an introverted man with dark secrets; once beyond her looks, however, she does an earnest capable job in the undemanding role. The rest of the film's cast is also fine; Jeremy Irvine does well as the young Eric, who convinces viewers that he could age into Colin Firth. Stellan Skarsgard has a short, but effective role, as Finlay, the mature version of Lomax's prison mate, who helps Patti delve into Eric's past. Tanroh Ishida and Hiroyuki Sanada are excellent in key roles as Japanese guard and interpreter.

Unlike the David Lean classic, "The Railway Man" is no action thriller, but rather a psychological examination of the lingering effects of war's brutalities on the survivors, both the victors and the vanquished. Colin Firth gives another powerful, if underplayed, performance in a still rising career of memorable roles; Firth alone is reason enough to see the movie. At times, director Jonathan Teplitzky is a bit too arty for the film's good; his wide-screen images are sometimes self-consciously composed; and holding the camera on static shots of characters thinking or remembering may be mesmerizing for some viewers, but tedious for others. However, despite pacing issues, most evident early in the film, patient viewers will be rewarded with a powerful heartfelt closing that should stimulate the tear ducts.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The Waterboarding Scene is Bogus AuAgFinder
Why Diden't He Pay His Bills ? hakan_lovdahl2
Why no US release date for this? mimacdon4
The Railway Man: History vs. Hollywood matrix25
Anyone else confused by the chronology in this film? evcorco
Did not do justice to the book OliviaF
Discuss The Railway Man (2013) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: