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The Great Train Robbery
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Customer Reviews:

  • Crichton's period heist film is quite exciting...
    'The First Great Train Robbery' is about a quite impossible mission in Victorian underworld... It is about gold bars placed in strongboxes and taken by armed security guards to the railway station...

    'The First Great Train Robbery' is about four keys separately kept and guarded by different parties... and a daring gentleman thief who never tells the truth...

    'The First Great Train Robbery' is about a bunch of crooks that can steal your heart... and is about a young stunning mistress who suspects that her father breaks his own regulation for each morning of the shipments...

    'The First Great Train Robbery' is about the fastest pickpocket you'll ever see...

    The film chronicles the grandeur and hypocrisy at all levels of England during the Victorian Era, and proves that the cleverness and prowess of a criminal mastermind is elevated to heroic status...

    With excellent photography of Ireland beautiful countryside, and great music score by Jerry Goldsmith, Michael Crichton's period heist film is quite exciting... The movie gave American's audience a pleasure to escape from the outcome of the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal...

    ...more info
  • Almost as good as the book!
    I read Michael Crichton's book a few years ago, and I loved it, but I did not see the movie version until recently. Then I read Crichton's book "Travels," which has a chapter on the filming of the movie, which he directed. With my interest now piqued, I got the movie CD and enjoyed it very much, especially after reading Crichton's account of the problems during filming. Filmed in 1978, this is Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland at their finest, playing two Victorian scalawags trying to pull off the biggest heist in British history. To say any more about the outcome would be a spoiler, but the movie is almost two hours of nonstop intrigue and tension as the two crooks try to figure how to steal the unstealable.

    With Crichton writing the screenplay and directing, the movie was pretty faithful to the book, although if you want all the little details, read the book also. This was based on an actual event, but I don't know how faithful Crichton's story is to the real event. In any case, the movie does a great job of recreating mid-nineteenth century London and the sights and sounds of the period, even to the old steam locomotive used.

    Except for one brief, harmless scene in a London bordello, this is a great family movie.

    Highly recommended for two hours of entertainment! ...more info
  • Nice Period Piece For A Heist Flick; Needs A Blu-Ray Transfer
    Wow, this is a wonderfully-filmed movie that especially looked good since it was one of the first DVDs I purchased over a decade ago. Rich colors and good period detail of 19th century England made it visually attractive. However, compared to most DVDs, the transfer here was too grainy. I hope MGM re-issues this on Bllu-Ray and gives it the sharp transfer it deserves.

    Story-wise, beware that it takes quite awhile before the actual holdup takes place. This is almost a two-hour film and they build up slowly to famous heist. However, I didn't find any of it boring. This is rated PG but there are quite of bit of sexual innuendos early on by Connery as he woos Lesley-Ane Down. Other than that, it's a pretty tame film. Donald Sutherland adds a touch a touch of humor here and there as he and Connery pull off the suspenseful heist....and it is suspenseful.

    Connery trying to maneuver on top of the train was a highlight, as was the "whooshing" sound of the train each time it passed under a bridge. The stereo in here is very good for a film almost 30 years old.
    ...more info
  • On track
    With great actors and a great plot this movie is a real charmer.
    After reading the book I was pleased to see that the movie actually
    follows the book much better than many others I have seen. There is
    a bit of uneveness in the movie but it is still a great watch....more info
  • An adventure for all Connery fans...
    Based on actual fact and the novel by Michael Crichton (who also directed it), this a very tense and humorous adventure-thriller set in Victorian times during the Crimean War.

    Sean Connery, Donald Sutherland and Lesley-Anne Down form a fantastic trio of robbers, train robbers that is, with style and panache.

    Through a lot of planning, plotting and training, we are immersed in this amazing adventure and introduced in the underground world of Victorian crime life.

    The entire subject is treated with a good dose of British humor and outmost taste and respect for historic detail.

    The DVD sports a very good image transfer and the 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack (English track only, French is in Mono) is well balanced, although the music (by Jerry Goldsmith), which is masterfully rendered, sometimes blasts off and tends to cover some of the more subtler portions of dialogue (but this only happens a couple of times, so nothing to really worry about).

    The entire movie is as fresh and entertaining as the first time it appeared in movie theaters.

    I can highly recommend it....more info
  • Robbery Deluxe
    Sean Connery and Donald Southerland are very good in this movie based on the Michael Crichton novel. The scenes and costuming are magnificent, and the characteristics of the storyline ingenious and clever. Great writing, great acting and great viewing. ...more info
  • A Costume Crime Story
    The film tells how 25,000 in gold was shipped to pay British troops during the Crimean War in 1855. One man is found on the train, there is a fight, and he is thrown off. One "sharp business man" is very interested in these gold shipments. (Gold is untraceable.) Edward Pierce plans to steal the gold shipment and makes meticulous plans to steal and copy the four keys to the safe. This film shows the "ratting" sport, and people riding horses. It shows how each key is found and copied by different ruses. Mid 19th century London was recreated as the background. "All everybody thinks about is money." There is a security leak and new precautions are taken. Edward Pierce has a way to defeat those plans. "Social engineering" has a long history.

    This film shows how this theft is accomplished. There is a glitch (no plan is perfect) but it is overcome. Yet there is a final slip-up. The judge sentences Pierce. But one last trick trumps justice at the end. [Do you find it believable?] Does this remind you of "The Sting"?
    One problem is the shipment of gold in bullion rather than in coins.
    ...more info
  • Great Train Robbery
    This was by far one of the best heist movies I've seen in a long time. Don Sutherland and Sean Connery were as entertaining as ever. The plot kept me on the edge of my seat throughout....more info
  • Robbery Deluxe
    Sean Connery and Donald Southerland are very good in this movie based on the Michael Crichton novel. The scenes and costuming are magnificent, and the characteristics of the storyline ingenious and clever. Great writing, great acting and great viewing. ...more info
  • Reasonably Entertaining
    In 1855, England was near the height of its power. Industrialization had transformed the country, its empire stretched across most of the world, and high-speed rail was an established fact of life. In the midst of this Victorian order, Edward Pierce conceived and executed perhaps the most daring robbery up to that point in time. Specifically, he and his confederates set out to steal 25,000 pounds in gold bullion from a moving train protected by every form of security available in that age.

    This is something of a pet project for Michael Crichton. First he wrote the novel, The Great Train Robbery, and then he wrote and directed this adaptation. As one might expect, the movie largely stays true to the book except for some trimming to help keep the film from running too long. The tone is fairly tongue-in-cheek and the plot moves along at a good pace.

    The cast is largely populated with unknowns, though there are two obvious exceptions. Sean Connery takes center stage as Pierce and does an adequate, though highly understated, job of filling the role. Donald Sutherland plays his primary aide, Agar, and gives the part with a suitable touch of goofiness without going overboard. The no-names all do creditably jobs of filling their roles but none stand out.

    Those who love a good heist should enjoy The Great Train Robbery. Some of the intricacy is lost in the translation to film, but it's still very solid. One complaint is that there is a fair amount of 19th century slang and criminal jargon that can be tough to follow and is never explained or translated for 21st century viewers. It also seemed to me that Crichton might not have been the best director for this movie. It's very "by the numbers" and lacks any real verve. When you look at the plot, I see no reason why this couldn't be every bit as enjoyable as The Sting, but it's not even in the same league. There isn't enough sense of fun, and more emphasis on the intricacy of the planning would have made the crime seem more impressive.

    This is not a bad movie, and worth giving a try if you enjoy heists. Sean Connery doesn't give his most memorable performance, but his many fans should enjoy seeing him play the rogue. As long as you watch this with measured expectations, it's a pleasant way to spend two hours....more info
  • Wonderful mixture of comedy, suspense, and drama
    This movie is taken from a book by Michael Crichton. I love that author, but have never been able to read the book. So, I ordered the movie! It's great! The comment is made that this is the story of the first train robbery ever - like EVER - in history.
    Each character is unique. There is subterfuge here too.
    The ending is just wonderful! Sure to satisfy everybody....more info
  • Easier to understand if you already read the book.
    Pretty good dramatization of the book. It was far easier to watch the story as a movie than to get through the Victorian language and style of the book!...more info