© MIDO Film

RAILMARKET.com recommends movies with railway themes for cozy winter nights. Enjoy the excitement of train travel in the comfort of your own home.

"The Brain ("Le Cerveau") is a 1969 French comedy film directed by Gérard Oury. The film stars Jean-Paul Belmondo and Bourvil as two criminals who are part of a gang planning to rob a train carrying NATO funds from Paris to Brussels. Unbeknownst to them, another criminal known as "The Brain", played by David Niven, is also planning to steal the same money. The title "The Brain" refers to Niven's character, who is reputed to be the mastermind behind several high-profile heists. The plot thickens as both parties, unaware of each other's plans, prepare to execute their respective heists. 

© MIDO Film
© MIDO Film

The film is known for its humorous take on crime capers, much in the vein of the Pink Panther series, which also featured elaborate heists and comedic situations. "The Brain" is appreciated for its witty script, charismatic performances, and the chemistry between its lead actors. It has become a classic of the French cinema.

© MIDO Film
© MIDO Film

The train in The Brain is a central element of the robbery, around which the entire plot revolves. It's a moving target, carrying millions of dollars in NATO funds, which makes it the focal point of the robbery. The train's journey from one country to another adds a layer of complexity to the heist, involving cross-border logistics and the challenge of pulling off a robbery in motion. This scenario allows for a variety of comedic and suspenseful situations, such as disguising as train staff, evading the authorities, and the logistical difficulties of planning a robbery on a moving train.

Behind-the-scenes facts:

  • "The Brain" boasted a remarkable ensemble of actors who were among the most popular and charismatic European stars of the time. Jean-Paul Belmondo and Bourvil were giants of French cinema, renowned for their versatility and charm. 
  • For its time, The Brain featured impressive technical achievements in terms of set design and action sequences. In particular, the train robbery scenes required careful choreography and filming techniques to convincingly portray the action in and around a moving train.
  • The railway viaduct where the money is transferred is located between Peronville and Patay, about 15 kilometers from Orléans.
  • The animation of the preparation of the train robbery recalls how the first great train robbery was carried out on 15 May 1855.
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