7.1/10
36,005
139 user 187 critic

The Railway Man (2013)

Trailer
2:29 | Trailer
A former British Army officer, who was tortured 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.

Director:

Jonathan Teplitzky

Writers:

Frank Cottrell Boyce (screenplay), Andy Paterson (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
7 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Horror | Mystery
    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
Genius (2016)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A chronicle of Max Perkins's time as the book editor at Scribner, where he oversaw works by Thomas Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and others.

Director: Michael Grandage
Stars: Colin Firth, Jude Law, Nicole Kidman
Australia (2008)
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    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
Strangerland (2015)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

A family finds their dull life in a rural outback town rocked after their two teenage children disappear into the desert, sparking disturbing rumors of their past.

Director: Kim Farrant
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes, Hugo Weaving
The 12th Man (2017)
Drama | History | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

They were 12 saboteurs. The Nazis killed 11 of them. This is the true story of the one who got away...

Director: Harald Zwart
Stars: Thomas Gullestad, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Marie Blokhus
Rabbit Hole (2010)
Drama
    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
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Political intrigue and deception unfold inside the United Nations, where a U.S. Secret Service agent is assigned to investigate an interpreter who overhears an assassination plot.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Sean Penn, Catherine Keener
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
Arthur Newman (2012)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 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
Hemingway & Gellhorn (TV Movie 2012)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A drama centered on the romance between Ernest Hemingway and World War II correspondent Martha Gellhorn, Hemingway's inspiration for For Whom the Bell Tolls, and the only woman who ever asked for a divorce from the writer.

Director: Philip Kaufman
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Clive Owen, David Strathairn
Ravens (2017)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

1970s, Sweden - Hard working farmer Agne (played by acclaimed actor Reine Brynolfsson) struggles with the harsh reality of his daily life, hoping his teenage son Klas will take over the ... See full summary »

Director: Jens Assur
Stars: Lars-Gunnar Aronsson, Reine Brynolfsson, Peter Dalle
War Horse (2011)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Young Albert enlists to serve in World War I after his beloved horse is sold to the cavalry. Albert's hopeful journey takes him out of England and to the front lines as the war rages on.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, David Thewlis
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeremy Irvine ... Young Eric
Colin Firth ... Eric
Stellan Skarsgård ... Finlay
Nicole Kidman ... Patti
Michael MacKenzie Michael MacKenzie ... Sutton
Jeffrey Daunton Jeffrey Daunton ... Burton
Tanroh Ishida ... Young Takeshi Nagase
Bryan Probets ... Major York
Tom Stokes ... Withins
Tom Hobbs ... Thorlby
Sam Reid ... Young Finlay
Akos Armont ... Jackson
Takato Kitamoto Takato Kitamoto ... Japanese Officer
Keith Fleming Keith Fleming ... Removal Man
Ben Aldridge ... Baliff
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

Revenge is never a straight line.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

Switzerland | UK | Australia

Language:

English | Japanese

Release Date:

23 May 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Railway Man See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$61,845, 13 April 2014

Gross USA:

$4,438,438

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$24,174,885
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film uses compressed time to speed up the story. Eric Lomax and Patti Lomax 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 »

Goofs

After the surrender of British forces in Singapore, the Union Flag is lowered, and the Nisshoki, or Hinomaru (red disk on a white field) is hoisted in its stead. However, as Singapore was being occupied by the Japanese military, and not, at this point, yet a part of the Japanese empire, the flag should have been the Kyokujitsu-ki, or 'Rising Sun' flag. The flags shown later, hanging from military vehicles, also Nisshoki, are correct, as Thailand had at this point been effectively annexed, and was now part of the Japanese Empire. The Thai-Japanese alliance was signed on December 21st, 1941. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

References Brief Encounter (1945) See more »

Soundtracks

Introduction (Prelude) from Gadfly Suite
Performed by Ukraine National Symphony Orchestra and 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

 
Read the book for a fuller story
14 January 2014 | by billm-4See all my reviews

"The Railway Man" is a sober restrained film for much of its running time. Its low key approach makes the torture scenes and the depictions of Eric Lomax's searing post-war nightmares all the more horrifying and unforgettable. The acting is uniformly excellent. The direction and all the technical contributions are admirable. I normally never consciously notice the sound design, but here it contributes intelligently and gently to several episodes. I was particularly fascinated to see Eric and the other signals staff emerging into the sunlight from the underground "Battle Box" headquarters in Fort Canning Park, Singapore. I toured it in 2007; it is now a museum peopled by realistic waxworks of the soldiers, senior and junior, who were there on surrender day, 15th February 1942.

Yet the film has several irritating shortcomings. The title character, Eric, was 61 at the time of the scenes set in 1980. Good as he is, Colin Firth is visibly too young. Perhaps it shouldn't matter, given the power of his performance, but it gets in the way if you try to make sense of the time lapses.

The very down to earth portrayal of Eric's lonely life is immensely touching, as in the scene where his new love Patti wants to scrub clean the cooking pot in his grubby bachelor kitchen. But such practical matter of fact detail inevitably invites down to earth speculation such as "Where does the characters' money come from?" This tiresome little problem hardly matters in more fantastical Hollywood sagas where everyone is filthy rich or in possession of superpowers. Eric is shown to drive a Triumph 2000, a car typically owned by the affluent middle classes of that time. (I have not seen one for years. The Triumph marque disappeared long ago along with much of the British car industry. The equivalent British middle classes now drive BMWs, Mercedes and Audis). This fine car and his neglected house are the only signs that he had a successful and productive working life between 1945 and 1980.

His tormented friend at the veterans club notes how the survivors of the 1940s horrors are now bank clerks, teachers, engineers, retired people; honest productive citizens, whose unsung post war endurance is as admirable as their war time survival. (One of my teachers around 1969 had been a Prisoner of War at Changi Prison in Singapore, but you would never have heard it from him.) Presumably many of these gentle heroes were married, as was Eric. But his failed post-war marriage and two children are unmentioned in the movie. As are Patti's three children. Somehow, despite a failed marriage, she has the cash to tour Britain. The fact that she had been married is barely hinted at (she describes herself as single again). The fact that the real Patti lived in Canada for many years is unmentioned.

Even a passing mention of the characters' histories could have considerably enriched the film. As it stands, it feels as if they were dropped into the story from Mars.

In his book "Hollywood vs America", the critic Michael Medved noted the inviolable barrier between Church and Studio in most Hollywood films. The same deep rooted reluctance to mention spiritual matters, even when they are relevant to the characters, is very evident in this film. The only sign of the prisoners' religious leanings in this real Valley of the Shadow of Death is the recitation of a Psalm in one scene. Eric's deep Christian faith helped him through the nightmare and perhaps lead to his forgiveness of his tormentor decades later. He carried a Bible for decades during and after his imprisonment until it was utterly worn.

You can get the background story from the book. For the price of a cinema ticket, it is much better value for money. You get at least a limited sense of the vanished Britain of the 1920s and 1930s when Eric grew up. The lovingly described details of the social and industrial environment that formed him make sense of how this man came to be a survivor. A new preface in the movie tie-in edition describes how Eric did not want to see the finished film; he died before it was released. If he had seen it, he might have pointed out, in the most polite manner, how much of the really important story had been left out.


52 of 74 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 139 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed