Monday, 7 April 2014


This article features movies and tv series where luxury, first class or vintage trains that are real or fictional have more than a small role to play.

Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

Imdb Rating: 7.4 , Rotten Tomatoes: 7.9
Notable Actors: Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall

An intriguing thriller based on the classic novel by Agatha Christie.

Unexpectedly returning to England from Istanbul, famed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot finds himself traveling on the Orient Express. One of the passengers, Mr. Ratchett informs Poirot that he has been receiving anonymous threats and asks Poirot to act as his bodyguard. Poirot declines but when Ratchett is found the next morning stabbed to death, it is apparent that the threats he received were very real. Poirot soon deduces that Ratchett was in fact the infamous Cassetti, believed to have been the man behind the kidnapping and murder of 3-year old Daisy Armstrong some 5 years previously. As he begins to question the dozen or so passengers on the train, he realizes that several of them have a connection to the Armstrong family and he begins to form a solution to a very complex crime.

Real Orient Express Train in Instanbul

The Hunger Games (2012)  & Catching Fire  (2013)

Imdb Rating: 7.3 , Rotten Tomatoes: 8.1 | Imdb Rating: 7.9 , Rotten Tomatoes: 9.1

Notable Actors: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci

A sci-fi trilogy set in the dystopian future where nuclear war has reshaped North American into twelve districts controlled by the evil Capitol full of plastic citizens, highlighting extreme indifference towards poverty by rich people. ‘The Hunger Games’ is an annual event where children or teenagers volunteer to fight to the death in gaming arena while the entire event is televised. The winner is of course, promised riches but it mandatory for each district to select two volunteers.
Katniss in a reflective mood aboard the train's lounge.

All the districts are only connected on land by a single railway line. The volunteers travel on a luxury train through the districts to reach the Capitol. Jeniffer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson are brilliant in their portrayal of the protagonists.

Katniss, Haymitch and Peeta discuss strategy aboard the train's dining saloon.

The next movie of the 4 part series, Mockingjay - I is out in November, 2014.

Darjeeling Limited (2007)

Imdb: 7.2 , Rotten Tomatoes: 7.9
Notable Actors: Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Shwartzman

A year after the accidental death of their father, three brothers, each suffering from depression, meet for a train trip across India. Francis, the eldest, has organized it. The brothers argue, sulk, resent each other, and fight. The youngest, Jack, estranged from his girlfriend, is attracted to one of the train's attendants. Peter has left his pregnant wife at home, and he buys a venomous snake. After a few days, Francis discloses their surprising and disconcerting destination. Amid foreign surroundings, can the brothers sort out their differences? funeral, a meditation, a hilltop ritual, and the Bengal Lancer figure in the reconciliation. It's a  Wes Anderson movie so expect the expected in an unexpected way.
P.S The Darjeeling Limited is not considered close to a luxury train. In fact, it is similar to the concept of a toy train.

The Tourist (2010)

Imdb: 6.0 , Rotten Tomatoes: 4.2

Elise (Angelina Jolie) sits next to an American tourist, Frank (Johnny Depp), on a train going to Venice. She has chosen him as a decoy, making believe that he is her lover who is wanted by police. Not only will they need to evade the police, but also the mobster whose money her lover stole.  There are stunning chase sequences through Venice which make the movie worth watching despite the deep plot holes.

Wild Wild West (1999)

Imdb 4.7, Rotten Tomatoes 2.8

The two best hired guns in the West must save President Grant from the clutches of a 19th century inventor-villain.
The two travel in a specially equipped train, the Wanderer.

The Big Bang Theory Season07 E15 (2014)
‘The Locomotive Manipulation’

The long running successful tv series based on the lives of a group of friends with brilliant minds, working in the field of science dealing with everyday life things, highlighting their lack of real life skills.

Special mention to Dr Sheldon Cooper, for his genuine passion for trains.
Amy has organised a trip for herself, Sheldon, Howard and Bernadette, staying at a bed and breakfast in the Napa valley overnight and having dinner on a vintage train. The train coupled with Valentine’s Day finally manages to string some romantic notes for Sheldon to Amy’s immense satisfaction.