The First Great Train Robbery aka The Great Train Robbery (1978)

<strong class="MovieTitle">The First Great Train Robbery</strong> aka <strong class="MovieTitle">The Great Train Robbery</strong> (1978)

(On Cable TV, May 2018) Sean Connery as an impossibly cool criminal masterminding a gold robbery from a moving train? All aboard! Adapted somewhat loosely from an early Michael Crichton novel, The First Great Train Robbery isn’t much more than a romp, but it’s a superbly executed romp taking us through the Victorian underworld and what was then cutting-edge technology. Not only is Connery terrific in the lead role, but he’s supported by actors such as Donald Sutherland and Lesley-Anne Down in a script from Crichton himself, who also directs and cleverly adapts his material to a far more entertaining tone with an upbeat finale. The pacing is uneven, with some lower-interest segments toward the middle of the film, but it picks up in time for a spirited final sequence that build and build until we’re running on top of a moving train, with stunt sequences that have palpable pre-CGI energy and danger. We’ve seen this kind of film before and since, but The First Great Train Robbery is executed well enough to be a fun film even today.

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