Thursday Movie Picks #61: TRAIN Scenes

ThursdayMoviePicksHappy Thursday everyone! This is another entry to the weekly Thursday Movie Picks that’s spearheaded by Wandering Through the Shelves Blog. Here’s the gist:

The rules are simple simple: Each week there is a topic for you to create a list of three movies. Your picks can either be favourites/best, worst, hidden gems, or if you’re up to it one of each. This Thursday’s theme is… 

TRAIN Movies

For this month’s theme, instead of going with a film that’s set entirely or even mostly inside trains, I’m going to post three memorable train scenes in movies. The train is also a key part in the film so I think that would count.

So without further ado, here are my picks:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

It’s Harry’s third year at Hogwarts; not only does he have a new “Defense Against the Dark Arts” teacher, but there is also trouble brewing. Convicted murderer Sirius Black has escaped the Wizards’ Prison and is coming after Harry.

This is possibly my favorite Harry Potter film and if you’ve seen any of the films, obviously the Hogwarts Express plays a key role in the story. So there are many great train scenes, but this one is perhaps one of the most memorable ones. The Dementors are just so creepy!

I love the Hogwarts Express, they made it one of the main feature in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Florida. It’s one of my fave rides when I was over there last Spring.


Set in a future where a failed climate-change experiment kills all life on the planet except for a lucky few who boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, where a class system emerges.

The entire film is set inside the train and it’s definitely one of the most memorable films set inside a train, as well as one of the best futuristic sci-fis. There are many scenes here to choose from, and I like a lot of the scenes with Tilda Swinton, but if I have to choose only one memorable scene, I have to go with this axe battle. I mean how many axe battles actually happen inside a train? So the small space definitely makes the brutality even more potent!

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson join forces to outwit and bring down their fiercest adversary, Professor Moriarty.

I don’t love this movie, I think the first film is better but still it’s enjoyable thanks to the great bromance between Sherlock and Watson. The train sequence is particularly fun and action-packed. Robert Downey Jr. definitely relish on this over-the-top role and the constant bantering between him and Jude Law is what makes this movie watchable.



Mission Impossible (1996)

An American agent, under false suspicion of disloyalty, must discover and expose the real spy without the help of his organization.

Well technically this scene isn’t inside a train but on top of one. Well, every Mission Impossible film has to have one ridiculously preposterous action stunt and THIS is definitely the highlight. Even compared to the crazy plane scene of the latest movie, this one still gets my blood going.


What do you think of these train scenes? Which train movie scene(s) are your favorites?

40 thoughts on “Thursday Movie Picks #61: TRAIN Scenes

  1. Wonderful scenes to fix on, Ruth. For mine, I’d center on two classic WWII films. The fantastic train wreck sequence in the Burt Lancaster, Paul Scofield THE TRAIN (1964), which our friend Kevin highlighted last year. and the climatic and unforeseen finale from VON RYAN’S EXPRESS (1965) with Frank Sinatra.

    1. Thank you Michael! I thought you’d pick Strangers on a Train 😉 But yeah I remember Kevin’s review of The Train, and boy I’ve never actually seen any movie w/ Sinatra, better rectify that soon.

  2. Oh I love all the train fight sequence in Snowpiercer and I’ve watched that speeding bullet and helicopter chase scene in Mission: Impossible so many times I lost count. That Dementor sucking Harry’s soul was creepy but I fell asleep watching Sherlock Holmes 2 so I don’t even remember that scene, in fact I don’t remember much about that film.

    I always love NARROW MARGIN starring Gene Hackman and Anne Archer, it’s remake of an older film, I think it’s one of the underrated thrillers from the 90s:, the climatic sequence set on top of a train was quite thrilling. Also, a climatic foot chase in Carlito’s Way was pretty awesome, which involved a subway train.

    1. Hi Ted! I’m not fond of Sherlock Holmes 2 as a whole but the train scene was memorable. Yeah, that scene in MI when the chopper blade almost hit Cruise is still pretty intense!

      Haven’t seen Narrow Margin but from the description on IMDb it sounds really good!

  3. Well, there’s Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train. You can’t beat that one! The opening scene of Unbreakable on the train is great, as are the train scenes in Trading Places. Those are some picks.

    1. Hi Mark! I still need to see Strangers on a Train, one of Hitchcock’s I haven’t got around to. Oh yes, the opening sequence of Unbreakable is a good one, I almost put that in actually.

  4. I love the train scenes in the Harry Potter films. I almost went there but have picked a couple of those before. That Mission Impossible scene is brilliant as well. I almost picked that one too. Great picks!

  5. Nice twist on the theme. I haven’t seen Snowpiercer though it is everywhere today. I’ve had it in my queue for a while but I’ll have to bump it up. I loathe what Cruise and company have done to Mission Impossible but that first train chase is a good one. The first train scene that came to mind is the spectacular train crash that’s the climax of The Greatest Show on Earth.

    I went with whole movies set on trains, save one where the plot is initiated on the train and then followed up elsewhere. My first is a TERRIBLE remake of a classic that I chose merely to warn off anyone with thoughts it might be worth tracking down. My three plus an extra are:

    The Lady Vanishes (1979)-An example of all that can go wrong when a classic is inadvisably remade. Peter Bogdanovich recasts the roles so expertly done by Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave in the Hitchcock original with the totally unsuitable Cybill Shepard and Elliott Gould and proceeds to get everything else wrong that the first did right. The one bright spot-Angela Lansbury taking over the role of Miss Froy that Dame May Whitty played in the original but she’s in too little of the movie to save it.

    Murder on the Orient Express (1974)-The gold standard for mystery adaptations. Superior version of Agatha Christie’s novel of a snowbound train on which a murder has occurred and which the famous detective Hercule Poirot sets out to solve. Everything is top of the line from the set and costume design to the cast. What a cast! In every role is a recognizable face from either American or international cinema. Everyone does terrific work though Ingrid Bergman’s best supporting actress Oscar is puzzling, even she didn’t think she deserved to win. Betty Bacall is a real standout as the loquacious Mrs. Hubbard and Albert Finney gives a tremendous performance of the fussy Belgian sleuth.

    Lady on a Train (1945)-A lady on a train, Deanna Durbin, witnesses a murder from her window but can only identify the victim not the killer. She goes to the police but when they don’t believe her story she turns to a writer of detective stories for help and together they try to find the killer and solve the case. Light mystery spoof even finds ways to have Deanna sing a few songs, backed up by a great supporting cast including Edward Everett Horton, Dan Duryea, Elizabeth Patterson, George Coulouris, Ralph Bellamy and William Frawley she has rarely looked so beautiful.

    Honorable Mention-Unstoppable (2010)-Because of a stupid mistake a train containing dangerous material has become a runaway. A mismatched pair of train engineers on their first day as partners try and stop it before disaster strikes. Fast paced and exciting with some cool derring-do but nothing that pushes the movie over into ridiculousness. Denzel Washington and Chris Pine make a solid team.

    1. Hi Joel! Interesting that you have two films w/ lady + train in the title, I’m curious about those now. As for Murder on the Orient Express, have you seen the BBC TV movie version from the Agatha Christie’s Poirot series? I saw that recently (as my French crush has a cameo as Count Andrenyi) but it seems that they took a lot of liberties w/ the story.

      Oh I quite enjoyed Unstoppable. It was preposterous but fun.

      1. I did see that TV version and found it wanting despite the quality of the cast. I can’t warm to David Suchet as Poirot, both Finney and Peter Ustinov to me are superior to him. They did play fast and loose with the story and since I love the original so much that drove me crazy.

        I know that Agatha Christie is prone to endless reworkings but as is illustrated by that dog of a remake of The Lady Vanishes that I chose any film that got it right should be left alone. I don’t object to remaking something that didn’t turn out quite right, The Maltese Falcon after all was the third of fourth try at that material, but once the elements come together how are you going to make it better? That’s why I’m hoping the foolish proposal about another version of Strangers on a Train falls apart. If they have to remake a Hitchcock let them take a crack at Topaz which had definite possibilities but fell flat as a pancake.

  6. Birgit

    I love your choices! I have seen Snowpiercer everywhere and must see this film but I love Harry Potter and I love Sherlock Holmes. These 2 are unique for sure. For entertainment reasons, I got with Sherlock but for a Train I wish I could travel on it would have to be the Train to Hogwarts. The train is so much a part of the entire story of Harry Potter that I am glad it got some love here today.

    1. Hello Birgit, welcome to FC! Yeah I figure Snowpiercer would be a popular pick but it’s a darn good film! Yeah it’d be cool to travel on Hogwart Express, in fact I couldn’t wait to ride it when I was at the Wizarding World of HP this past Spring. They did a great job making the experience as close as possible as in the movies that it made me so giddy! 😀

  7. Great choices all around. I actually seen all these films haha. Another scene that I really liked in Snowpiercer is the gun fight when the train is on a curve, I’ve don’t think I’ve ever seen that done before.

    1. Thanks Eddie! Cool that you’ve seen them all, I decided to go w/ contemporary movies but one film I wish I had included here was Source Code! Have you seen it? It’s a great sci-fi drama.

  8. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ruth:

    I’ll go with Nicholas Myers Sherlock Holmes film, ‘The Seven Percent Solution’. Where Nichol Williamson and Robert Duvall make a very good Holmes and Watson. Alan Arkin an equal Sigmund Freud.

    Excellent period “Who?” and “Why” Dunnit. With a nail biting sword duel atop a coal burning train.

    Also look for ‘Emperor of the North’. With Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine and Keith Carradine.
    Borgnine plays a clever, brutal conductor. Who wants to keep Marvin and rookie, Carradine off his train.

    Also back Michael on ‘The Train’ and ‘Von Ryan’s Express’.

  9. Good catch on Mission Impossible! Snowpiercer was well made. Haven’t seen Harry Potter or Sherlock.
    I love the opening train scene in Before Sunrise (1995), which is when the two chracters first meet.
    I’m also a fan of Runaway Train (1985) which has some action packed scenes onboard a moving train.

    1. Hi Chris! Somehow after Snowpiercer, the MI one was the second one that came to mind. It’s just so ridiculous! Oh nice picks with Before Sunrise n Runaway Train!

  10. Ah! Harry Potter. Didn’t think of that. Those dementors are very creepy. I have to agree that the main reason why the Sherlock films work are because of Law’s and Downey Jr’s chemistry, they are superb together.

    1. Oooh I LOVE that scene! I fell for Richard Armitage in that miniseries, before the Frenchman Stanley stole my heart completely. It’s one of my fave period dramas of all time!

  11. Brittani

    These are so great! That scene from Snowpiercer was so intense, and the one from PoA was very memorable. I never saw Game of Shadows.

  12. O

    SNOWPIERCER! Why have I not seen anyone else pick that for this? Why didn’t I think of it myself? Brilliant choice. I also love the MI mention. Perfect scene!

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