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Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

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In December 1935, when his train is stopped by deep snow, detective Hercule Poirot is called on to solve a murder that occurred in his car the night before.

Director:

Sidney Lumet

Writer:

Paul Dehn (screenplay by)
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2,859 ( 518)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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When a murder occurs on the train on which he's travelling, celebrated detective Hercule Poirot is recruited to solve the case.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Albert Finney ... Hercule Poirot
Lauren Bacall ... Mrs. Hubbard
Martin Balsam ... Bianchi
Ingrid Bergman ... Greta
Jacqueline Bisset ... Countess Andrenyi
Jean-Pierre Cassel ... Pierre (as Jean Pierre Cassel)
Sean Connery ... Col. Arbuthnot
John Gielgud ... Beddoes
Wendy Hiller ... Princess Dragomiroff
Anthony Perkins ... McQueen
Vanessa Redgrave ... Mary Debenham
Rachel Roberts ... Hildegarde
Richard Widmark ... Ratchett
Michael York ... Count Andrenyi
Colin Blakely ... Hardman
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Storyline

The first class compartment of the December 1935 departure of the Orient Express from Istanbul is full, unusual for this time of the year. Regardless, famed and fastidious Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, who needs to get back to London immediately, is able to secure last minute passage in the compartment with the assistance of his friend, Signor Bianchi, one of the directors of the train line who is also making the trip. Some of the first class passengers seem concerned about Poirot's presence on the train. At least one of them has reason to be concerned, as later, another first class passenger, who earlier in the trip asked Poirot to provide protection for him due to several death threats, is found murdered in his stateroom by multiple stabbings. At the time the victim is found, the train is unexpectedly stopped and delayed due to snow in remote Yugoslavia, which may be problematic for the murderer in getting away now that Poirot is on the case, which he is doing as a favor to ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The greatest cast of suspicious characters ever involved in murder. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | French | German | Turkish | Italian | Swedish

Release Date:

24 November 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Murder on the Orient Express See more »

Filming Locations:

France See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£1,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$35,733,867, 31 December 1975
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Colour by) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When this story takes place, the Orient Express and CIWL, Compagnie Inernationale des Wagons-Lits (International Sleeping-Car Company) were at their zenith. Belgian George Nagelmackers founded CIWL in 1874 to provide luxury train service across Europe. He got the idea after visiting the United States in 1867 to 1868 where he saw the success of the Pullman night trains. By 1886, CIWL was operating its luxurious dining and sleeping cars on train routes across Europe and into Asia. Eventually, it operated in Africa and much of Asia. The company owned no train engines outright. Its cars were pulled by the state-run railroads of the time. In 1931, the company reached its peak of two thousand two hundred sixty-eight railroad cars. CIWL branched out into a luxury hotel line. Over the years, the original company underwent mergers and separations in the travel industry. See more »

Goofs

Just after Poirot sips his liqueur (the green drink) in the dining car, a blurry white sedan can be seen zipping across the landscape in a way that cars do not move in the 30s. It appears to be a sedan from the 70s. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ferry conductor: Your ticket, please.
Mary Debenham: Oh, yes.
Ferry conductor: Welcome aboard, Miss Debenham.
Mary Debenham: Thank you.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Ingrid (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

The Knife
(uncredited)
Composed by Richard Rodney Bennett
Performed by Royal Opera House Orchestra, Covent Garden conducted by Marcus Dods
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A well executed murder in every sense of the word.
31 December 2005 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Murder on the Orient Express started a nice trend in filming some of the most stylish of Agatha Christie novels by producer John Brabourne. Although Albert Finney who does a fine job as the Belgian Sleuth Hercule Poirot declined to do further films with Poirot, Peter Ustinov more than amply took up the slack in later productions.

Richard Widmark is an American expatriate traveling on the famous Orient Express train and he's been receiving mysterious death threats. As it happens Poirot is on the train also and refuses Widmark's offer to be a bodyguard.

Widmark is later stabbed to death in his compartment and while the train is stranded somewhere in Yugoslavia due to snow drifts, Poirot investigates the murder in the best Agatha Christie tradition. Of course in that same tradition the plotters would have gotten away with it more than likely had Poirot and his little gray cells not been present.

Widmark as it also turns out was a gangster who had to flee America because he was named as the mastermind of a horrific crime that shocked the nation. There are a whole lot of people who had reason to want him dead.

Poirot conducts his inquiry of the other passengers and they are quite a crew consisting of among others, Lauren Bacall, Michael York, Sean Connery, Ingrid Bergman, Wendy Hiller, Rachel Roberts, Vanessa Redgrave, Jacqueline Bissett, etc.

Of course I won't tell you the solution, but here's a hint. Note what Sean Connery says while he's being grilled.

It's a great ensemble cast of course with a bunch of seasoned players doing their thing. Ingrid Bergman got a Best Supporting Actress award for her portrayal of a simple soul who is a missionary. I'm betting the critics noted that her part was offbeat casting for her which she pulled off. In any event she was surprised as all get out when her name was read at the Oscars in 1975. In accepting the award she got up and said quite matter-of-factly that fellow nominee Valentina Cortese deserved it. Of course she didn't turn it down.

As I said, this was one elaborately planned murder and I think you will enjoy seeing Poirot unravel it and what happens later.


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