Last Updated on July 31, 2020
What are the best train movies of all time? Here is the definitive list, sorted by IMDb ranking. Each film features a train as a prominent or memorable setting.
These movies make great gifts for train enthusiasts. Help them find an old favorite, or discover something new!
Please note that this post contains affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something you see on our site we may receive a commission at no cost to you. Read our full disclosure here.
31 Best Train Movies
Our list includes the best train movies that feature the classic characteristics of a train film – the tight spaces, dashing back and forth through various compartments, dining car conversations and mishaps, the bustle of train stations. These are the train movies you’re really looking for.
OK, here are the all-time greatest train movies!
- North by Northwest (1959, PG, 8.3 IMDb) – Hitchcock’s ultimate “wrong man” adventure. The train scene is only one part of the film, but it is very famous.
- The General (1926, G, 8.1 IMDb) – Buster Keaton’s best. On a train.
- Brief Encounter (1945, PG, 8.0 IMDb) – A chance encounter on a train leads to romance.
- Strangers on a Train (1951, PG, 8.0 IMDb) – Two strangers (and Hitchcock), on a train.
- The Lady Vanishes (1938, G, 7.8 IMDb) – Hitchcock, a train, dry English humor.
- The Train (1964, PG, 7.8 IMDb) – WWII Germans and French fighting over art.
- Night Train (1959, PG, 7.8 IMDb) – Classic Polish drama with an enchanting cast of characters, subplots, and mystery.
- The Narrow Margin (1952, PG, 7.7 IMDb) – A detective protects a mob witness on their train journey from Chicago to testify in LA.
- The Incident (1967, PG-13, 7.7 IMDb) – Two hoodlums hold passengers on a subway hostage.
- The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974, R, 7.7 IMDb) – NY subway hijacking.
- Twentieth Century (1934, G, 7.5 IMDb) – Two former stage stars and lovers find themselves aboard the same train back to New York.
- Source Code (2011, PG-13, 7.5 IMDb) – Sci-Fi Groundhog Day on a train.
- Train to Busan (2016, R, 7.5 IMDb) – Zombies on a train.
- Hugo (2011, PG, 7.5 IMDb) – Charming story of an orphan who lives within the walls of a train station.
- Emperor of the North (1973, PG, 7.3 IMDb) – A conductor and a train-hopping hobo face off.
- Murder on the Orient Express (1974, PG, 7.3 IMDb) – Agatha Christie’s classic train mystery. The 2017 remake is good too!
- The Great Train Robbery (1903, G, 7.3 IMDb) – Early film classic of a train stickup.
- Night Train to Munich (1940, G, 7.2 IMDb) – Carol Reed imitates The Lady Vanishes, and does it well.
- Runaway Train (1985, R, 7.2 IMDb) – Convicts stuck on a train with no brakes.
- The Darjeeling Limited (2007, R, 7.2 IMDb) – Quirky Wes Anderson dramedy on a train.
- Von Ryan’s Express (1965, PG, 7.1 IMDb) – WWII POWs steal a train to escape.
- Snowpiercer (2013, R, 7.1 IMDb) – Post-apocalyptic survivors all live on train that traverses the globe.
- The Great Train Robbery (1970, PG, 6.9 IMDb) – Elaborate Victorian England train heist.
- Terror By Night (1946, G, 6.9 IMDb) – Sherlock Holmes solves a murder and theft on a train.
- The Great Locomotive Chase (1956, G, 6.9 IMDb) – A Civil War Union spy steals a Confederate train.
- Silver Streak (1976, PG, 6.9 IMDb) – Slapstick train mystery.
- Unstoppable (2010, PG-13, 6.7 IMDb) – Runaway train thriller. It’s actually pretty good!
- Transsiberian (2008, R, 6.7 IMDb) – A train trip devolves with murder and lies.
- The Polar Express (2004, G, 6.6 IMDb) – A magical Christmas train to the North Pole.
- The Girl on the Train (2016, R, 6.5 IMDb) – Train commuter witnesses a brutal crime… or did she?
- The Cassandra Crossing (1976, R, 6.4 IMDb) – Train passengers are exposed to a deadly disease.
Train Gift Ideas
Any of these train films would make a great gift idea for a train enthusiast. For more creative gift ideas, check out our list of 17 Exciting Train Gift Ideas for Ferroequinologists.*
*A ferroequinologist is a person who loves trains.
More Great Train Films
Additional great films where trains play a role:
- Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
- Toy Story 3 (2010)
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
- Some Like it Hot (1959)
- The Fugitive (1993)
- Mission: Impossible (1996)
- Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)
- Back to the Future Part III (1990)
- White Christmas (1954)
- Speed (1994)
- Throw Momma From the Train (1987)
- Red Sun (1971)
- Young Tom Edison (1940)