Breakheart Pass


John Deakin is being transported, as a prisoner, on a train with supplies and medicine to Fort Humboldt, Nevada.

ACTORS  : Charles Bronson, Ben Johnson, Richard Crenna


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Breakheart Pass, After a sudden outbreak of diphtheria, the authorities dispatch an express train carrying reinforcement soldiers and medical supplies through the frozen West across the Rocky Mountains to aid the remote garrison of Fort Humboldt. Along with the troops, there are also aboard Governor Richard Fairchild; the outpost commander’s daughter, Marica; the squad’s captain, Major Claremont; the U.S. Marshal, Pearce, and his mysterious prisoner, John Deakin. Indeed, this was supposed to be a routine operation; however, before long, in this confined but well-guarded place, missing officers and unexplained deaths start to shroud the mission with mystery and suspicion, as an unstoppable unknown killer is picking them off one by one. Who is the murderer in their midst?


A classic must-see for fans of Bronson, Westerns, mysteries or train movies

Breakheart Pass, I loved the original novel “Breakheart Pass”, which seamlessly combined the adventure, mystery, and Western genres and produced something memorable and fairly unique. My main fear about watching the movie adaptation was that the filmmakers would make the same mistake that was made with “Ice Station Zebra” and change the story line to something unrecognizable.

Breakheart Pass, Fortunately, the director and screen writer stayed faithful to the book and managed to incorporate those elements that work in cinema to make a lively and enjoyable film. The casting is perfect – there’s not a miscast actor or a bad performance in the bunch. The scenery is breathtaking and the sense of scale and place as the movie switches from train compartment to mountain scenery and back keeps everything fresh. The story is a corker, with twist after twist – almost nobody is who they claim to be (including the hero) and the plot includes several horrific scenes not for the faint of heart along with some pretty vigorous action. (To give you an idea, I count at least 3 deaths by people either falling off or being thrown off the train.)

It’s a lot easier to find fault with movies at length without boring a reader, so I will keep this short. Make sure to see this movie if you like Bronson, Westerns, trains, or Alistair MacClean novels.

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