Ranking the the 5 best train films in cinema history seems like a fitting thing to do with the upcoming release of Bullet Train. Whether it’s an action film, a mystery or a thriller, there’s a surprising amount of diverse films where the singular location is on a locomotive. So, here they are, the 5 best train films of all time.
5. Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
The popular and well known detective Poirot is on his way home after concluding yet another case, but unfortunately for him, a powerful billionaire is killed during the trip, and it falls to him to figure out who and why before the train reaches it’s destination. Thankfully an avalanche blocking the tracks does give him the extra time, but the film is a journey of interesting characters, their motivations and a compelling ending.
4. Strangers on a Train (1951)
Not known as Alfred Hitchcock’s best work, but excellent none the less, Strangers on a Train features two characters simply having a discussion during a train ride. What starts off relatively innocently ends up with the realization they both have someone in their lives they want to kill, but can’t as they’re directly connected to them. However, there’s nothing to connect to them if they murdered one another’s victims. One of the two main characters thankfully disagrees, but the other still follows through on his end of the deal, and it escalates quickly from there.
3. Source Code (2011)
Source Code is one of those films that when you’re watching, you don’t really know who’s telling the truth, what’s really going on or what’s going to happen. Jake Gyllenhaal’s Colter Stevens wakes up on a train, unsure of what was going on or where he is, or who he is for that matter. What follows is a sci-fi whodunnit surrounding a terrorist attack, which will keep you engaged throughout. One particularly visceral scene about midway will stick in your head for a while to come.
2. Train to Busan (2016)
A zombie film set on a train? What’s not to enjoy? Set in South Korea, we follow Seok-Woo as he takes his daughter Soo-An to visit his estranged wife. What starts as a father and resentful daughter dynamic changes quickly when the outbreak affects the train journey with disastrous, graphic and extremely bloody consequences. Spawning a couple of sequels/spin-offs, Train to Busan is firmly at the top of my favorite zombie films, and deserves the recognition from anyone that will watch it.
1. Snowpiercer (2013)
Based on a popular graphic novel series of the same name, Snowpiercer is an easy choice for number one on a list of the 5 best train films. The story is a familiar one, if not in a slightly odd setting. The human race is nearly extinct and to avoid rapid onset global-warming, the last dregs of it have escaped onto a self-sustaining, forever moving train. The film follows Curtis as he attempts to overthrow the dictator like government that runs the train. Tense, full of twist and turns and a beard-having Chris Evans, if you’ve not seen it yet, I’d implore you to.