Best Movies by Farr
Runaway Train Poster
Released Runtime Category
1985 112 Action/Adventure
Director Language
Andrei Konchalovsky English
Jon Voight, Eric Roberts, Rebecca de Mornay

Runaway Train

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What's it About

Hardened convict Manny (Voight), and younger sidekick Buck (Roberts), make a difficult, daring escape from a remote prison in Alaska. When they end up on a moving train, their getaway seems assured, until a key complication arises: the train’s engineer falls dead of a heart attack. With only junior railway worker Sara (De Mornay) on-board with them, there’s nobody equipped to man the controls, as the train barrels through the snowy wilderness towards an inevitably violent end.

Why we love it

Director Andrei Konchalovsky’s underexposed masterpiece doubles as both gripping action film and existential drama. (This may account for Akira Kurosawa originally being slated to helm it.) The film’s virtues include expert pacing, a salty script, and outstanding lead portrayals (both Voight and Roberts received Oscar nods), not to mention Kyle T. Heffner’s dastardly supporting turn as a hateful prison warden. Only de Mornay’s character Sara feels tacked on, as the usually glamorous actress looks unrecognizable and decidedly out of place. But in the overall scheme of things, this seems a minor quibble; without question this “Train” remains a runaway success.

BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"