Runaway Train (1985) Poster

(1985)

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  • Two prisoners—Oscar "Manny" Mannheim (Jon Voight) and Buck McGeehy (Eric Roberts)—escape from Stonehaven Maximum Security Prison in Alaska during the dead of winter and take refuge in a train consisting of four locomotives that they hope will carry them far away before brutal Warden Ranken (John P. Ryan) can catch up them. Unfortunately, just as the train starts up to leave the train yard, the engineer suffers a heart attack, leaving Manny and Buck on a runaway train with only "woman hostler" Sara Maguire (Rebecca De Mornay) aboard. As the train picks up speed, Manny and Buck realize that the cost of their freedom is certain death. Edit

  • Runaway Train started life in the 1960s as an original screenplay written by Japanese film-maker Akira Kurosawa and his screenwriting partners Ryuzo Kikushima and Hideo Oguni. The story was inspired by an article in Life Magazine about a runaway locomotive in the U.S. Northeast. However, after having problems with rewriting the script (from Japanese to English), filming in the snow, and securing financial backing, Kurosawa shelved the project. It was picked up 20 years later by Russian film director Andrei Konchalovsky. The screenplay was rewritten by Serbian screenwriter Djordje Milicevic along with American writers Paul Zindel and Edward Bunker. Edit

  • For insulation against the cold. Grease acts like an insulating layer of blubber and holds the plastic wrap close to the body. Plastic wrapped tightly against the body will trap a person's body heat and prevent it from escaping into the cold water or air. Edit

  • In order to save the chemical plant, dispatcher Frank Barstow (Kyle T. Heffner) orders the Elkins Station to shunt the runaway train onto a dead end siding. Sara recognizes the switch and realizes that the train is on a collision course. Meanwhile, Warden Ranken is being lowered onto the train from a helicopter. Resolved not to return to prison, Manny works his way outside between the second and first engines, smashing the fingers of his left hand on the coupling, and makes the dangerous leap. He crawls his way into the lead engine just as Ranken lands on the roof and climbs down into the cab. Immediately, Manny attacks Ranken with a fire extinguisher and handcuffs him inside the cab. With the crash imminent in five minutes, Ranken warns Manny to brake the train, but Manny refuses. "You'll die," Ranken warns. "You'll die with me," Manny replies. When Ranken reminds him about Buck and Sara in the second car, Manny climbs back out to the coupling and releases the rest of the train from the lead engine. Buck and Sara's car slows to a stop, while the runaway engine races on. In the final scene, Manny climbs to the roof of the runaway engine, riding it like a surfboard. The engine gradually disappears into the whiteout of the falling snow. The following quote then appears on the screen: No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity. But I know none, and therefore I am no beast. From Richard III by William Shakespeare. Edit

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