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Strangers on a Train (1951)

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A psychotic socialite attempts to force a professional tennis star to prove a theory that two complete strangers can get away with murder.

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

Raymond Chandler (screen play), Czenzi Ormonde (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
4,468 ( 360)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Farley Granger ... Guy Haines
Ruth Roman ... Anne Morton
Robert Walker ... Bruno Antony
Leo G. Carroll ... Sen. Morton
Patricia Hitchcock ... Barbara Morton
Kasey Rogers ... Miriam Joyce Haines (as Laura Elliott)
Marion Lorne ... Mrs. Antony
Jonathan Hale ... Mr. Antony
Howard St. John ... Police Capt. Turley
John Brown John Brown ... Prof. Collins
Norma Varden ... Mrs. Cunningham
Robert Gist ... Det. Leslie Hennessey
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Storyline

Bruno Antony thinks he has the perfect plot to rid himself of his hated father, and when he meets tennis player Guy Haines on a train he thinks he's found the partner he needs to pull it off. His plan is relatively simple: Two strangers each agree to kill someone the other person wants gone. For example, Guy could kill his father and he could get rid of Guy's wife Miriam, freeing him to marry Anne Morton, the beautiful daughter of a U.S. Senator. Guy dismisses it all out of hand, but Bruno goes ahead with his half of the "bargain" and disposes of Miriam. When Guy balks, Bruno makes it clear that he will plant evidence to implicate Guy in her murder if he doesn't get rid of his father. Guy had also made some unfortunate statements about Miriam after she had refused to divorce him. It all leads the police to believe Guy is responsible for the murder, forcing him to deal with Bruno's mad ravings. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some violence and tension | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

30 June 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's 'Strangers on a Train' See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,200,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$7,630,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut) | (preview)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted a "name" writer to lend some prestige to the screenplay, but was turned down by eight writers, including John Steinbeck and Thornton Wilder, all of whom thought the story too tawdry, and were put off by Patricia Highsmith's first-timer status. Talks with Dashiell Hammett got further, but here too communications ultimately broke down, and Hammett never took the assignment. See more »

Goofs

Bruno stops at a lunch stand when he returns to the amusement park for the climax. The young girl in the hat sips nonstop on her straw but the level of drink in the glass doesn't change. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Bruno Anthony: I beg your pardon, but aren't you Guy Haines?
See more »

Alternate Versions

There are several differences in the British version of the film, including:
  • The first encounter between Bruno and Guy on the train is longer, and features a more obvious homoerotic flirtation by Bruno;
  • In the scene where Guy sneaks out of his apartment to go to Bruno's house, a shot of him opening a drawer to get the map Bruno sketched is added;
  • The very last scene in the US version, which involves a clergyman, was deleted.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Strangers on a Train : A Hitchcock Classic (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Ain't We Got Fun
(1921) (uncredited)
Music by Richard A. Whiting
Played as Bruno gets in line during the last amusement park scene
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Amazing performance by Robert Walker
4 July 2006 | by MovieAddict2016See all my reviews

"Strangers on a Train" was one of those film classics I had always heard about but somehow never gotten around to actually seeing. I finally watched it a few weeks ago and, as always with any Hitchcock movie, it not only stood up to the test of time, it far surpassed most thrillers being made today. You can see the inspiration for future action movies here - the climactic ending with the out-of-control merry-go-round and the two villains dueling each other reminded me of the big action sequence at the end of Jan de Bont's "Speed." Of course, "Strangers" is over forty years older than "Speed" and contains no modern special effects, but the visceral thrill is there - Hitchcock was a true genius.

The not-so-subtle gay side of Bruno (Robert Walker in an amazing performance) has taken form in many other psycho-stalker-figures in future movies. Consider him a male version of Jennifer Jason Leigh in "Single White Female." He knows about Guy before he even meets him on the train - we almost get the feeling their contact isn't incidental - and is soon entirely obsessed with him.

Hitchcock loved the Oedipial elements in his movies (also see "Psycho" for more blatant undertones) and there's a lot of that here. Bruno hates his father and wants him to die so he can be with his mother. His effeminate ways and obvious homosexuality must have just slipped by the censors in 1951, when gays were not "allowed" to be portrayed on the screen - yet Hitchcock gets the message through effectively when we see Bruno in the lounge on the telephone wearing a very non-masculine robe, flirting with Guy and responding to his mother.

The deep layers of this movie make it a fast-paced thriller than you can return to again and again - unfortunately it's being remade as a big-budget Hollywood production, but after seeing the original I honestly can't imagine anything surpassing the sheer white-knuckle thrills of this movie.


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