Runaway Train 1985 blu-ray UK art illustration

Runaway Train Blu-Ray

cast&crew Akira Kurosawa, Eric Roberts and Jon Voight

filmOA | blu-ray

text Sam Thorne

Runaway Train (1985) is a stern action-thriller with some real personality and pulse. The film is directed by Andrei Konchalovsky (Siberiade, Duet for One) with a script based on a shelved screenplay written by legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa.

Runaway Train



Oscar ‘Manny’ Manheim (Jon Voight) is a convicted killer who has spent 3 years welded into his cell in solitary confinement. After an appeal and his release from the cell, Manny escapes Stonehaven prison along with Buck (Eric Roberts). They journey through the freezing cold and hitch on a passing train. Whilst climbing aboard the engineer falls off, leaving the train unmanned. The brakes soon burn off, sending the train rogue at incredibly dangerous speeds. The rail’s staff and several police officers try to stop the train to basically no avail. Pure tension and suspense ooze from Runaway Train, as an escape to freedom would seemingly turn into a journey to certain death.

Jon was convinced the role would be detrimental to his career, however Andrei Konchalovsky persuaded him Manny is a much more tragic figure than evil

Although he initially refused the role for it’s negative connotations and seemingly villainous characteristics, Jon Voight steals the show as the demented criminal with some semblance of heart. Jon was convinced the role would be detrimental to his career, however Andrei Konchalovsky persuaded him Manny is a much more tragic figure than evil. Of course Eric Roberts also deserves praise for his roll as the brawny and incredibly dim loudmouth Buck. There’s a brotherly kind of relationship between the duo, as Manny attempts to educate Buck who clearly idolizes him. The film is quite subversive with it’s depiction of criminals as it’s primary protagonists, alongside it’s morally ambiguous symbolism and certainly goes against the grain. Although it received four Academy Award nominations and performed well at the box office, Runaway Train has sunken into obscurity in recent years.

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Arrow Films are re-releasing the film for its Blu-Ray premiere on the 22nd of July. In addition to a glorious cut of the aesthetically pleasing film in fantastic 1080p, it also comes with a standard DVD disc and a bunch of superb additional content. In particular ‘Running on Empty’, an in-depth interview about Andrei Konchalovsky’s experience arranging and filming the film was riveting context to the 80’s thrillride. Interviews with Jon Voight and Eric Roberts are also featured, respectively known as ‘from Thespian to Fugitive’ and ‘Savage and Sweet’. What also caught my eye was the intensive artbook which contains several stills from the film, in addition to an intriguing interview with production designer Stephen Marsh, and excerpts from the Life magazine article which inspired the film.

Runaway Train is a fantastic piece of cinema, which is vastly underrated. The Arrow films release offers the whole package and more for the film’s Blu-Ray premiere, which I highly enjoyed from it’s stunning visual quality, additional content, artbook, and cell-shaded redux of the film’s original DVD cover. I certainly suggest picking it up. filmOA end logo





Packaging and Additional Content




Aesthetics and Picture Quality



worth the popcorn