6.8/10
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41 user 35 critic

Berlin Express (1948)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 1 May 1948 (USA)
A multinational group of train passengers become involved in a post-World War II Nazi assassination plot.

Director:

Jacques Tourneur

Writers:

Harold Medford (screen play), Curt Siodmak (story)
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Merle Oberon ... Lucienne
Robert Ryan ... Robert Lindley
Charles Korvin ... Perrot
Paul Lukas ... Dr. Bernhardt
Robert Coote ... Sterling
Reinhold Schünzel ... Walther (as Reinhold Schunzel)
Roman Toporow Roman Toporow ... Lt. Maxim Kiroshilov
Peter von Zerneck Peter von Zerneck ... Hans Schmidt (as Peter Von Zerneck)
Otto Waldis ... Kessler
Fritz Kortner ... Franzen
Michael Harvey ... Sgt. Barnes
Tom Keene ... Major (as Richard Powers)
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Storyline

In divided Germany just after WWII, people from many different countries are passengers on a train. When one of the passengers, a German working for peace, is kidnapped by people who don't want his ideas to work, the others must set aside their differences and work together to find him in time for an important conference. Written by Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Trapped on a Train of Terror!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | French | Russian

Release Date:

1 May 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Berlin-Express See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

American soldiers stationed at the I. G. Farben munitions building in Salzburg, which deliberately was left untouched during bombing raids so that the U.S. could use it as an occupation headquarters, appeared as themselves in the film. See more »

Goofs

The narration for the final scene says the train arrived at Wannsee, in the far west of Berlin, but the scene shows them driving from the east, down Unter Den Linden and into West Berlin. The British and American then ask passing jeeps for lifts to their respective bases which they would have driven past on the way from Wannsee, whilst the Russian turns around and drives back under the Brandenburg Gate into East Berlin. See more »

Quotes

Robert Lindley: I know. We don't have any more German enemies, do we?
Sterling: No authorized ones, anyway.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening credits, a title card states that the photography of Berlin and Frankfurt is used with the cooperation of the occupying armies. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Image Book (2018) See more »

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User Reviews

 
On the right track
4 May 2008 | by LCShackleySee all my reviews

Earlier today I posted a negative review of SPY TRAIN, a WWII-era thriller flop about Nazi spies on a train, all done by the numbers, and not very well.

Thank heaven for BERLIN EXPRESS, which is a potent antidote to formulaic war thrillers. Here the "McGuffin" is the need to deliver Dr. Bernhardt safely to a conference in Berlin, where he has a wonderful plan for reuniting Germany. But of course, there are sinister forces at work to prevent him from arriving.

Bernhardt's secretary, Lucienne (Oberon) is on a train with her boss and several good-looking male passengers who represent the four Allied powers. An intercepted message has warned of danger, but no one knows what to expect. Danger does indeed strike, and when the train arrives in Frankfurt, things become decidedly worse. There's a kidnapping, a hanging, a gun-toting clown, and plenty of awe-inspiring shots of bombed-out Frankfurt (much like the Vienna of THIRD MAN). Bits of humor lighten up a taut, well-written script.

What makes this film better than dreck like SPY TRAIN is its sense of reality, which is cemented by good characters and embellished by the very real locations. Shot in Paris, Frankfurt, and a shelled Berlin, it plays like something from post-war headlines. (The running narration, which is not obtrusive, lends the sense of a documentary.) The only sour note is a saccharine ending, in which the characters from each country exit the screen to the sounds of national theme songs. But that's not enough to spoil a very engaging thriller. It's great for war movie fans, and for students of history who want a look at the aftermath of WWII.


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