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The Tall T*

Saw The Tall T on video last night. It was ok, but when it comes to movies whose titles begin with that particular character string, I think The Tall Target was much better. I’d say The Tall Target is the best train movie ever, but maybe that title should go to Intolerable Cruelty, which was much better than Out of Sight, another movie featuring George Clooney playing the George Clooney character. As far as Elmore Leonard adaptations go, I think The Tall T was much better.


  1. Jonathan (another one) says:

    OK… But what was the *worst* train movie ever? My recall here is pretty limited, but I’m going to go with recency bias and pick the 2019 Murder on the Orient Express.

    • David says:

      Anthony Lane is vicious: “According to the end credits, Poirot is played by Branagh himself. So it was him. I was glad to have the mystery cleared up, having spent the previous two hours gazing at a vast expanse of salty mustache and trying to work out who, or what, might possibly be hiding behind it. “

    • Train fan says:

      I am still waiting for “Snakes on a Train”.

      • Andrew says:


        There are lots of great noir-era train movies. As noted above, my favorite of these is The Tall Target, but there’s also Double Indemnity, The Narrow Margin, and, of course, Strangers on a Train. And don’t forget Supercop, featuring Jackie Chan.

        • MARK PALKO says:

          Glad to see Narrow Margin on the list, but you left off The Lady Vanishes which is more of a Hitchcock train picture than Strangers (also a better movie in my opinion but that’s a discussion for another day).

          The General is the greatest film about a train but somehow it’s not a train film.

          • Andrew says:


            The Lady Vanishes was ok for what it was but maybe I’m just getting tired of the way that Hitchcock movies have so many plot holes. But, yeah, it belongs on the list. Also Carlito’s Way, which was hokey but memorable. And I’m sure I’m forgetting a few more. We also saw Union Station which was a train station movie, not a train movie, but in any case it was a bit disappointing.

            • MARK PALKO says:

              For me, it’s Hitchcock’s set piece and macguffins that are getting old. That’s why Strangers has dropped in my estimation. Lots of things in his films seem to be there just because they make for cool shots.

              By comparison, Lady seems to hold together better and make better use of the claustrophobia of a long train trip.

              • MARK PALKO says:

                Breakheart Pass is a solid piece of entertainment that makes great use of the train setting.

                As does the Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 if we can count subways.

                Surprised no one has mentioned Runaway Train, I assume the only collaboration between Kurosawa and Golan/Globus

            • Joshua says:

              > We also saw Union Station which was a train station movie, not a train movie,…

              I recall quite enjoying The Station Agent, which I suppose might qualify as a “not a train movie” but I’m not quite sure of the exclusion criteria.

      • @Train fan:

        Wait no more:

        Other films: 3:10 to Yuma is more about waiting for a train than the actual train ride, but it’s very good — both the 1957 and 2007 versions — and it fits the post since it’s based on an Elmore Leonard story!

        And I agree with Mark Palko that The General is fantastic. I’d call it a train movie!

  2. Dzhaughn says:

    In this genre I prefer The Tall Tea by Beckett, a very humble evening meal impossibly out of reach of a few hungry characters musing about their predicament.

    I’m told it inspired Mt. Crumpet in the Grinch.

  3. Rahul says:

    And then there is Trainspotting.

    A movie with train in the name but nothing about trains.

  4. Xi'an says:

    Bong Joon Ho’s Snowpiercer ? There is nothing but the train!

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