(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition, we take a look at some of the best train movies you’ve probably never seen.)
Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express is back on the big screen again, and while Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation has received something of a mixed response, it’s a reminder that some of us just love a good train-set movie. From Buster Keaton’s The General to Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer, there’s something fairly unique about films that take part at least partly on a train. It’s a contained location, but it’s moving across an ever-changing landscape. Sure, cars and planes do the same, but there’s less opportunity for moving around aboard those vehicles. Trains have different cars, private rooms, luggage departments, and best of all, rooftops on which characters can run, fight, and fall while traveling at high speeds.
There are a lot of train-set movies, from comedies (Silver Streak) to slashers (Terror Train) to nightmarish holiday journeys through the uncanny valley (The Polar Express), but for every one you know there’s a few you probably haven’t seen yet. Some are forgettable, but others, like the ones below, don’t get talked about nearly enough and are well worth seeking out for a good time at the movies.