28 user 7 critic

Ginga-tetsudô no yoru (1985)

Two kittens go on a metaphysical journey on a magical railroad train.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Giovanni (voice)
Chika Sakamoto ... Campanella (voice)
Junko Hori ... Zanelli (voice)
Ayumi Ishijo ... (voice)
Kaori Nakahara ... Kaoru (voice)
Yoshie Shimamura ... Givoanni no haha (voice)
Shun Yashiro ... (voice)
Reiko Niimura ... Old Woman (voice)
... Birdcatcher (voice)
Hidehiro Kikuchi ... Young Man (voice)
Yuriko Fuchizaki ... (voice)
Tetsuya Kaji ... Train Conductor Shashou (voice)
... Wireless operator (voice)
Seiji Kurasaki ... Milkman (voice)
... Dr. Bulganillo, Campanella's Father (voice)


On the night of a cat village's Festival of the Stars, a kitten and his friend go on an celestial journey on a magical space locomotive. On that trip, they have various stops where they meet strange sights, even more unusual fellow passengers and learn some lessons of life on their trip to the terminus of the Galactic Railroad. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

7 February 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Night on the Galactic Railroad  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


The wireless operator picks up fragments of a cryptic message which is later discovered to be parts of "Nearer, My God, To Thee" (Hymn #306). The express later picks up three people from a shipwreck closely resembling that of the Titanic. That hymn was one of the last the ship's band played as passengers filled the lifeboats. It is uncertain in what hymnal it is listed as #306; however, there were 306 bodies recovered from the disaster by the cable ship MacKay-Bennett. See more »


Giovanni: The scorpion said "If I had accepted my fate and let the weasel eat me, at least then my death would have some purpose. Now I am going to die alone in this hole, my death will help no-one". Then the scorpion burst into flames.
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Referenced in Gusukô Budori no denki (2012) See more »


Symphony #6
from the New World
by Antonín Dvorák
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User Reviews

Kenji Miyazawa's Night on the Galactic Express (1985)
22 January 2012 | by See all my reviews

Night on the Galactic Railroad isn't your traditional family film. It deals with some incredibly deep themes, as well as having a slow meditative pace. We follow a young cat (changed from human in the original book) called Giovanni. Giovanni has no time for himself. His father is away, his mother is sick, and when he isn't at school he has to work. One evening the family's delivery of milk never comes, so Giovanni goes to get it. He rests on top of a hill before being confronted by a train. He gets on and finds his friend Campenella. From there the duo encounter a number of passengers each with a strange story to tell. This film is certainly all about the metaphysical. Each story strengthens the themes of religion and sacrifice. It gets highly emotional at times. The imagery is often surreal but always memorable. The animation is calm in both colours and movement. This film is presented in chapters, which I think may be a better way to digest it. It's something no country but Japan would try, and the ending is so powerful it really does make the journey worth it. Mature and thoughtful, if sometimes a little slow.

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