The Great Train Robbery on DVD

Category: Blu-ray's and DVD's

trainrobberyWhen you hear The Great Train Robbery, you probably think of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, or another group from the Old West. But this has nothing to do with America, the Old West, or cult figures of that time.


From the writer of the hit British series Broadchurch comes this two-part British miniseries The Great Train Robbery, starring Luke Evans and Jim Broadbent. The story is based on actual events and is divided into two sections. The first disc tells the story of the men who planned and executed the amazing robbery of the Royal Mail train in 1963, and the second disc is the story of how the detectives hunted down everyone connected with that crime.


On August 8, 1963 the Royal Mail train was en route from Glasgow to London as usual. But along the way a group of men hijacked the train and stole a great deal of money. The actual amount they took was £ 2,631,784, which in today’s money would be over £ 41 million. That’s not chump change.


There are not really humorous scenes in this story, however the one that comes the closest to giving viewers a chuckle is when the robbers are attempting to learn how to drive a train so they can pull off the heist. Once they get going, they need to stop, but the driver admits, “I can’t remember which one is the break.” Needless to say, after that debacle they added a professional train driver to their crew.
The robbery occurred after extensive planning. Although they were not planning on any violence, they were pretty violent with their victims. And the final sum of their heist was a lot more than they bargained for, to their surprise. Although they were happy with their new wealth, the sum brought the wrath of the country and the detectives down on them. “It wasn’t supposed to be the crime of the bleeding century,” quipped mastermind Bruce Reynolds, played by Luke Evans.


The second disc is the hunt for the criminals, under the supervision of Scotland Yard’s Detective Chief Superintendent Tommy Butler, played by Jim Broadbent. This man refused to do anything but focus on the criminals. It took time, but Butler and his crew managed to hunt down the members of the group responsible for the robbery. He wouldn’t even retire when he was supposed to. He wanted to wait until he got the last one, the mastermind, Bruce Reynolds.


Butler and his investigators were relentless and brilliant. It took five years to complete the task, but they managed to get the robbers and solve the crime. This real-life story is amazing to watch unfold on the screen.


Bonus features on the discs include many interviews with those involved in the film. “I really enjoyed the research,” Evans acknowledged. Having many newsreels of the real Reynolds to study, the actor knew how to portray him when it came to filming the story.
And Jim Broadbent admitted he enjoyed the format of the film, which is “simple in structure.” Yes, this is a simple story, and yes it can be slow moving at times, but given the fact that it really happened makes this an intriguing drama. It’s an interesting part of British history.


The Great Train Robbery’s two discs (“A Robber’s Tale” and “A Copper’s Tale”) are now available on DVD. The film is not rated.



About the Author

Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment business for 20 years. She also writes about technology and has been a travel writer for the past 12 years. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet The World of Entertainment Journalists, from Sourced Media Books.

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