Sean Connery executes ‘The Great Train Robbery’ on Prime Video

Think of The Great Train Robbery (1979) as a 19th century heist movie.

Sean Connery plays the gentleman thief who masterminds the heist and Donald Sutherland and Lesley-Anne Down are his partners in crime, a safecracker and pickpocket and a con artist, respectively. The scheme calls for four keys to a safe transporting gold bullion to be lifted and copied, each key a set piece in its own right, before boarding the train and executing the robbery and escape while going full throttle down the tracks.

It’s an old-school caper film with a modern sense of humor. The movie is fiction but author Michael Crichton based his novel on a true story, first successful robbery from a moving train in 1855 England, and directed his own adaptation for the screen. He brings a droll humor to the project, which the three leads play with a light touch, but keeps the caper scenes tight and suspenseful. There’s even a steam age version of the Mile High Club, though it’s played safely within PG parameters.

The stars bring plenty of personality to their roles and the period sets, costumes, and details give the film a distinctive character, delivering a colorful and entertaining picture that refreshingly relies on wits and sleight of hand rather than the technobabble and computer hacker gimmicks of so many modern thrillers.

Rated PG

Also on Blu-ray and DVD and on SVOD through Amazon Video and/or other services. Availability may vary by service.
The Great Train Robbery [Blu-ray]
The Great Train Robbery [DVD]

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The Blu-ray and DVD releases feature commentary by director/writer Michael Crichton.

Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears at, Turner Classic Movies online, The Film Noir Foundation, and Parallax View.

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