© The Cannon Group Inc.

RAILMARKET.com recommends railway-themed films for cosy evenings in the run-up to spring. Enjoy the excitement of train travel in the comfort of your own home.

"Runaway Train" is a riveting action-thriller directed by Andrei Konchalovsky, based on a screenplay by Akira Kurosawa. The story begins in a harsh Alaskan maximum-security prison where two inmates, Manny (Jon Voight), a seasoned convict and unofficial leader of the prison, and Buck (Eric Roberts), a young and impulsive prisoner, manage to escape. Their bid for freedom leads them to board a four-engined train. However, their escape plan takes a dangerous turn when the engineer suffers a heart attack and the train speeds uncontrollably through the desolate Alaskan wilderness.

As the train barrels forward with no means of stopping, Manny and Buck discover that they are not alone; a railway worker named Sara (Rebecca De Mornay) is also on board. The three of them must navigate not only the physical dangers of their runaway train but also the psychological pressures of their dire situation.

© The Cannon Group Inc.
© The Cannon Group Inc.

Shooting a film that takes place primarily on a moving train presented unique challenges and required innovative solutions. The production team chose to shoot on location in Alaska, capturing the train's wild ride through breathtaking yet dangerous landscapes. Using a real train, rather than relying solely on studio sets or models, added a level of authenticity and immersion that heightened the suspense and realism of the story.

Behind-the-scenes facts:

  • Alaska Railroad has stipulated that the company's name and logo cannot appear anywhere in the film.
  • Akira Kurosawa was inspired by a real-life runaway train incident between Syracuse and Rochester, New York.
  • Filming in Alaska used four ARR locomotives and took place between Girdwood and Whittier, mostly on the main line. Regular traffic was not altered, so the crew had to repeatedly pull their trains onto sidings. Exterior train shots, bridge crossings, helicopter stunts and a crash were filmed in Alaska.
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