The First Great Train Robbery

The First Great Train Robbery (1979) 1855 – La prima grande rapina al treno




In 1854, Edward Pierce (Sean Connery), a charismatic member of London’s high society, is secretly a master thief. He plans to steal a monthly shipment of gold from the London to Folkestone train which is meant as payment for British troops fighting in the Crimean War. The gold is heavily guarded in two heavy safes in the baggage car, each of which has two locks, requiring a total of four keys. Pierce recruits Robert Agar (Donald Sutherland), a pickpocket and screwsman. Pierce’s mistress Miriam (Lesley-Anne Down) and his chauffeur Barlow (George Downing) join the plot, and a train guard, Burgess (Michael Elphick), is bribed into participation. The executives of the bank who arrange the gold transport, the manager Mr. Henry Fowler (Malcolm Terris) and the president Mr. Edgar Trent (Alan Webb), each possess a key; the other two are locked in a cabinet at the offices of the South Eastern Railway at the London Bridge train station. In order to hide the robbers’ intentions, wax impressions are to be made of each of the keys.

Pierce ingratiates himself with Trent by feigning a shared interest in ratting. He also begins courting Trent’s spinster daughter, Elizabeth (Gabrielle Lloyd), to learn the location of her father’s key. Pierce and Agar successfully break into Trent’s home at night, and make a wax impression of the key before making a clean getaway despite a close call with the butler.

Pierce targets Fowler through his weakness for prostitutes. Miriam reluctantly poses as “Madame Lucienne”, a high-class hooker in an exclusive bordello. Miriam meets Fowler and asks him to undress, forcing him to remove the key worn round his neck. While Fowler is distracted by Miriam, Agar makes an impression of his key. Pierce then arranges a phony police raid to rescue Miriam, forcing Fowler to flee to avoid a scandal.

The keys at the train station prove a much harder challenge. After a diversionary tactic with a child pickpocket fails because Agar cannot locate the two Chubb safe keys in the key cabinet, much less wax them in the time available, Pierce decides to use cat burglar Clean Willy (Wayne Sleep) to climb the station’s wall, climb down into the station, enter the office via a small hatch in the office ceiling, and open the office door and the key cabinet from within. Because Clean Willy is incarcerated at Newgate Prison, Pierce and Agar first have to break him out, using a public execution as a distraction. With Willy’s help, the criminals succeed in taking wax impressions of the keys when the night guard takes a scheduled restroom break without detection.

Clean Willy is subsequently arrested after being caught in the act pickpocketing and informs on Pierce. The police use Willy to lure Pierce into a trap, but the master cracksman easily eludes capture. Clean Willy escapes from his captors but is murdered by Barlow on Pierce’s orders. The authorities, now aware that the robbery is imminent, increase security by having the baggage car padlocked from the outside until the train arrives at its destination and forbidding passengers to travel in the guard’s van. Any container large enough to hold a man must be opened and inspected before it is loaded on the train.

Pierce smuggles Agar into the baggage car disguised as a corpse in a coffin. Pierce plans to reach the car across the coach roofs while the train is under way, but he and Miriam encounter Fowler, who is riding the train to Folkestone to watch over the shipment. After arranging for Miriam to travel in the same compartment as Fowler to divert his attention, Pierce crosses the roof of the train and unlocks the baggage van’s door from the outside. He and Agar replace the gold with lead bars and toss the bags of gold off the train at a prearranged point. However, soot from the engine’s smoke has stained Pierce’s clothes and he is forced to borrow Agar’s suit, which is much too small for him. The jacket splits across the back when he disembarks at Folkstone. The police quickly become suspicious and arrest him before he can rejoin his accomplices.

Pierce is put on trial for the robbery. As he exits the courthouse, he receives the adulation of the poorer British masses, who consider him a folk hero for his daring act. In the commotion, a disguised Miriam kisses him full on the mouth, in the process slipping him a key to his handcuffs by invisibly transferring the key from her mouth to his. Agar is also present, disguised as a Police van driver. As Pierce is about to be shoved into the wagon, he frees himself and he and Agar escape, to the jubilation of the crowd and the chagrin of the police.

Music by Jerry Goldsmith


Nel 1855 il mezzo di locomozione più veloce e moderno al mondo è il treno a vapore. La banca inglese Hundleston & Bradford utilizza abitualmente il treno per trasferire, da Londra al porto di Folkestone, le casse contenenti le paghe dei soldati inglesi impegnati nella guerra di Crimea. Il prezioso carico è costantemente presidiato da guardie armate e custodito in una cassaforte con quattro serrature. Le possibilità di appropriarsi dei soldi durante il tragitto sembrano inesistenti, ma Edward Pierce (Sean Connery), dai suoi semplicemente conosciuto come l'”armatore”, non crede che ciò sia irrealizzabile. Usando ingegno, pazienza, audacia ed un ristretto numero di aiutanti, Pierce compirà un’impresa ben presto definita da tutti i giornali “storica”.

Musiche Jerry Goldsmith

Lesley-Anne Down: The First Great Train Robbery

Lesley-Anne Down: The First Great Train Robbery

Risultati immagini per Great Train Robbery (1979) gif

Complete Soundtrack link :

Track list (00:36:32) :

01. Main Title (02:36)
02. Breakfast In Bed (01:50)
03. No Respectable Gentleman (02:25)
04. Clues (03:56)
05. Rotten Row (02:42)
06. The First Key – Bordello Raid (00:52)
07. Kiddie Kaper (02:04)
08. Street Attack – Casing The Station (03:09)
09. Over The Wall (02:00)
10. Night Entry (02:29)
11. Double Wax Job (02:58)
12. The Tombstone (01:14)
13. Departure (00:44)
14. The Gold Arrives (02:37)
15. Torn Coat (01:53)
16. End Title (02:58)

Complete movie ITA 720p link :