Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Best Movie Scenes On Trains

trainscenes.jpg
spiderman-2.jpg
back-to-the-future-3.jpg
mission-impossible.jpg

As useful for high-speed chases as they are for romantic encounters and clandestine plotting, trains are usually really boring if you're commuting but brilliant if you're making a film.

Here, we've gathered together some of the most memorable locomotive scenes in cinema history, from the heart-warming to the heart-racing.

N.B. Obviously the scene from the beginning of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade should be here but the internet is just not playing ball.

(Images: All Star, Rex Features)

From Russia With Love

They are many arguments to be made about which is the best fight in the Bond series and several of the contenders are in From Russia With Love - hi Rosa Klebb - but perhaps the finest punch-up of all twenty films is 007's battle with SPECTRE agent Grant on a train. It's a demonstration of how, when necessary, Bond can be a brutal thug rather than the suave, well-tailored ladykiller.

____________________________________________________________

Skyfall

Another Bond. There were a lot of nods to 007's past in the 20th film, and this train chase and fight might be seen as a wink to From Russia With Love, and perhaps Octopussy. Obviously, being a modern Bond it made everything way, way bigger. Who brings a digger to a train chase? And there has never been a Bond moment cooler than that cuff adjustment.

____________________________________________________________

The General

The grandaddy of all train sequences and still never bettered. Buster Keaton performed all of the stunts himself, many of them absurdly dangerous and with a high chance of killing him. The man would do anything for a good visual gag. And thank the cinema gods that he did. You can watch the whole film online as it's now out of copyright. It's highly recommended that you do so.

____________________________________________________________

Back To The Future Part III

Director Robert Zemeckis spoke of how much he looked at The General for the final sequence in the final part of his time-hopping series. You can see it in the combination of comedy and danger. Part III might have been the patchiest of the Back To The Future movies but this entire runaway train segment was pure joy.

____________________________________________________________

Strangers On A Train

The pivotal moment in Hitchcock's thriller takes place on rails, when two men meet and discuss how much easier their lives would be if each was rid of the one person holding them back. They decide to each murder the other's respective millstone, but making the promise to murder is not the same as actually following through with it...

____________________________________________________________

Dumbo

There's a surreal, vaguely sinister quality to much of Dumbo -the Pink Elephants on Parade sequence, Dumbo depressed and dressed as a clown - and that's also true of the early scene when the train carries the circus cross-country. It's a sentient train. That sings to itself. This is not normal. WE ARE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS HERE, PEOPLE, AND IT IS DARK.

____________________________________________________________

Before Sunrise

It's that moment of Before Sunrise when you decide whether or not this entire series is going to be for you. Jesse and Celine (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) meet on a train and do a little bit of flirting about books and traveling. When Jesse asks Celine to get off the train with him, you'll either think 'this is wildly romantic' or 'these are the people I move away from on trains and that woman is going to wind up murdered by this stranger'. It's one of the interesting things about the movie, you either love it or despise it.

____________________________________________________________

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Another meeting on a train. Perhaps there's something about train journeys being transient, in neither one place nor another, that makes them so cinematically useful for first encounters. In Michel Gondry's beautiful romance, Joel and Clementine (Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet) meet on a humdrum journey on the Long Island Rail Road. In one short conversation they discover they're extreme, complimentary opposites. And then there follows much sadness as Joel tries to forget the greatest thing that ever happened to him.

____________________________________________________________

Mission: Impossible

Nobody does 'peril face' like Tom Cruise, who scowls his way through the gloriously bonkers finale of Brian De Palma's film, in which Ethan Hunt (Cruise) pursues a mole in the Impossible Missions Force. There are a lot of things in this sequence that make very little sense, but that is true of the entire film, which has a plot so convoluted that it's still a bit fuzzy after several watches, but in both cases it doesn't matter. The experience is glamorous, slick and enormously fun.

____________________________________________________________

Source Code

If not the equal of Moon, Duncan Jones' follow-up is an interesting sci-fi ride. Jake Gyllenhaal is Colter Stevens, a U.S. Army helicopter pilot who keeps waking up in the body of someone else on a train that keeps blowing up. The train scenes become more and more tense as Stevens tries to work out who's blowing up the train as he falls for Christina (Michelle Monaghan), a friend of the man he's somehow inhabited. And the explosion is terrifying and beautiful.

____________________________________________________________

Wanted

Angelina Jolie is a renowned bad-ass. James McAvoy is more often known as a terribly nice chap. But the two work perfectly together in this bonkers action movie in which an office drone (McAvoy) is told he's the son of a famed assassin and invited to join a secret order. There are curved bullets and car-train interfaces and the whole thing is absurd and great.

____________________________________________________________

Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows

Who can even remember the plot of the second Sherlock Holmes movie? But, that doesn't alter the fact that the train shoot-out/blow-up/punch-up is tremendously done.

____________________________________________________________

Top Secret

So silly. So brilliantly silly.

____________________________________________________________

Spider-Man 2

Well, it's the best scene from Sam Raimi's entire trilogy, isn't it. Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina) and Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) get into a punch up that takes them up and down a skyscraper and then inside and outside a high-speed train. It's absolutely masterful action direction.

____________________________________________________________

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

One of the great buddy comedies ends with businessman Neal (Steve Martin) finally parting with traveling salesman Del (John Candy) after a nightmare journey home to his family for Thanksgiving. As he sits on that final train for the short ride back to Chicago, Neal realises that the man he's been trying to get away from for several nightmare days might not have an end to his journey. Please only watch this if you've already seen the movie. If you haven't seen the movie go and watch it immediately.

Related

italian-job.jpg

30 Memorable Subway Scenes in cinema

bullit1.jpg

20 ultimate car chases

air3.jpg

The Best Airport Scenes in Film

Comments

More

Bernardo Bertolucci vehemently denies Last Tango rape accusations

06 Dec 2016

The trailer for the new Mummy is here

Can Tom Cruise outact Brendan Fraser?

by Emily Badiozzaman
05 Dec 2016

Why Rocky is the most important film about masculinity ever made

As the film turns 40, here's why the boxing saga is so much more than an underdog story

by Tom Fordy
01 Dec 2016

We asked men to tell us which movies make them cry

...and then we definitively ranked their pain

by Sam Diss
30 Nov 2016

Watch newly released trailer for Star Wars: Rogue One

by Joe Ellison
28 Nov 2016

Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield spent a week in silence in Wales

Solid dedication to a film's title

by Emily Badiozzaman
25 Nov 2016

Watch boxing drama Bleed For This for FREE with ShortList Film Club

Another, erm, knockout offer from our Film Club

by Tom Fordy
23 Nov 2016

Danny Boyle tells us what to expect from Trainspotting 2

Danny Boyle on why he’s brought back four icons for T2: Trainspotting

23 Nov 2016

Watch the trailer for Martin Scorsese's epic 'Silence'

30 years in the making: here's your first look

by Dave Fawbert
23 Nov 2016

Watch the full trailer for Netflix's Barack Obama biopic

From Beta House to The White House

by Joe Ellison
22 Nov 2016