|Written by Paul D. Race for , , , and Garden Train Store(tm)|
Train-Related Movies - from Family Garden Trains™ and BigIndoorTrains™
This page will contain links to movies with strong train themes. We've enjoyed watching several of these together as a family - others have been recommended to us.
About The General and The Great Locomotive Chase - Two of the movies on this page actually commemorate the same historical event. During the Civil War, Northern spies stole a locomotive that the Confederacy was using, and a small band of Southerners gave hot pursuit. Buster Keaton's version is a classic silent comedy (in my opinion, the best ever made). Keaton operates the pursuing locomotive by himself and performs literally dozens of stunts that could have gotten him killed. Fess Parker's version is a bit more of a family-friendly adventure film, with Disney touches. Still, you'll probably enjoy them both.
Several other good feature movies that featured trains aren't currently available on DVD. In addition, there are several movies that might be worthwhile, but I haven't had a chance to review them yet. So if your favorite movie isn't on our page, let us know and we'll check it out.
I will give honorable mention to a recent entry-Unstoppable. Unlike Runaway Train (which is one of my Dad's favorites, but not one of mine), it took into account the way trains really work, and the way railroads really operate.
A movie that is not PG or particularly about trains is Silver Streak, starring Gene Wilder and Richard Prior in their funniest film together, trying to stop an art forger who is traveling by train from getting away with murder. There's one gratituous "making out" scene early on that loses the PG rating, followed by some North by Northwest-style tension, several gut-busting funny parts, and a great bit with Scatman Crothers. But the best part is that they actually crashed the train (pulled by two Canadian Pacific locomotives painted "Amroad" instead of Amtrack) into a full-sized replica of the Chicago terminal at the end of the movie and captured the action on a bunch of unmanned cameras. Since that terminal was scheduled for demolition anyway, I thought for years that they had actually crashed into the real thing (and not a movie set in an airplane hangar in Toronto). So it makes the list. . . .
About Movies With "Train" in the Title - If you start looking for feature movies that feature trains, you'll discover many, many films that have "train" or related words in the title, but don't really feature trains to speak of. As an example, the "Strangers on a Train" spend more time on a Merry-Go-Round than they do on a train. "Runaway Train" is really a gritty and disturbing movie about a prison break. The fact that most of the action takes place on a train doesn't make this a train movie (and it certainly doesn't make it "family friendly," something we try to look for in our recommendations). Several well-known westerns with "train" in the title don't even show the train until the last few minutes of the movie.
About DVDs versus Blue-Ray: Today, people who want their home theater experience to be as close as possible to a theatrical experience (without the noisy jerk in the next row) are going to very large screens with 1080p (maximum HD) resolution, and Blue-Ray disks. On such an optimum screen, you CAN tell the difference between a DVD and a Blue-Ray disk. On the other hand, if you have a 37" or smaller screen and one of those DVD players that "upconverts" resolution by digitally interpolating lines, the difference between DVD and Blue-Ray is not nearly as dramatic as it seems in the "big box" stores. Also, Blue-Ray doesn't add that much detail to made-for-TV shows, most hand-drawn animation, or most unrestored movies made before 1970, because there isn't that much detail on the screens to begin with. I have a 37" 1080i and a 22" 1080P, and one of those DVD players that "Upconverts" resolution by digitally interpolating lines of resolution - I have to say that on a well-made DVD, the resolution is very nice with both setups. That said, newer movies, like Unstoppable will generally be more impressive on Blue-Ray. So it's your call.
Why We Have Mostly DVD Links: Most of the movies we profile are reasonably priced on DVD, so we have started out providing DVD links first. . At any rate, we're starting out linking to DVD, though we don't have a problem with you buying the Blue-Ray version if you think you'd rather have that. But in most cases, if you click on the DVD link, somewhere on the page, Amazon will give you the option of buying the Blue-Ray version instead.
Feature Films that Feature Trains
Videos About Real Railroads
Kid-Friendly Movies With Trains
War Movies With Trains
Model Railroading Videos
Note: Family Garden Trains™, Garden Train Store™, Big Christmas Trains™, Big Indoor Trains™, Big Train Store™ and Trains-N-Towns™ are trademarks of Breakthrough Communications™ (www.btcomm.com). All information, data, text, and illustrations on this web site are Copyright (c) 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 by Paul D. Race. Reuse or republication without prior written permission is specifically forbidden.