Directed by Michael Crichton
Written by Michael Crichton from his nove.
Starring Sean Connery, Donald Sutherland, Leslie-Anne Down
Sean Connery is a lot more than just James Bond. He walked away from the iconic role, but not from further interesting films, where his talents could be apparent. The Great Train Robbery* is a lesser known showcase for his talents, and a gem.
The England of 1854, Edward Pierce (Connery) is a gentlman thief, one whose goal is less to steal money as it is to outwit the police. He learns that there is a monthly shipment of gold, and hatches a plot to steal it all, joined by Robert Agar (Donald Sutherland), a safecracker, and a crew of others, including his mistress Miriam (Leslie-Ann Down).
It’s your standard caper film, enhanced by the acting and the setting and some clever plotting. Connery is brilliant, and it gives him a chance to say one of my favorite Connery lines ever (don’t try to follow what Sutherland is saying; there’s a lot of argot and plot related material. Just let him rant, then listen to what Connery says):
Sutherland also is fine. His name recognition is high, but too many of his roles he just came in to be Donald Sutherland. This is one chance to not only be a character, but to play one that’s different from his usual image.
Michael Crichton, of course, is known for his thriller novels and the movies made from them, often touching on science fiction. He didn’t direct a lot, but this is probably his most successful film.
*UK Title The First Great Train Robbery