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Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express

4.5 out of 5 stars 344 customer reviews

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(Sep 07, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Elegant, escapist entertainment at its stylishly European best. This Agatha Christie whodunit boasts an incredible international cast as some of the most wonderfully eccentric characters ever created. Ingrid Bergman won an Oscar for her slightly dim-witted, Bible-quoting Swedish missionary. Albert Finney is the dapper detective Hercule Poirot, for whom murder-solving is a precise, intellectual exercise. Poirot agrees to interview all aboard the famous train's Calais coach, hoping to find the killer of an American millionaire before the local police arrive. Packed with sparkling dialogue and visually rich in texture, this incomparable thriller received six Academy Award nominations.

Special Features

  • "Agatha Christie: A Portrait"
  • 4-part series on the making of the film

Product Details

  • Actors: Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, Anthony Perkins
  • Directors: Sidney Lumet
  • Writers: Agatha Christie, Paul Dehn
  • Producers: John Brabourne, Richard B. Goodwin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: September 7, 2004
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (344 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002I832C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,083 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Agatha Christie's mysteries changed the genre. With twists, turns and credible watertight plotting her novels divorced themselves from the hackneyed conventions of the genre. Sidney Lumet's superb film of Christie's novel looks marvelous on this deluxe DVD from Paramount. The rich, colorful cinematographer of Geoffrey Unsworth ("2001: A Space Odyssey") looks terrific. Lumet's assured hand guides the film without hesitation to a truly stunning conclusion. Paramount has remastered the soundtrack for Dolby Digital 5.1 giving the sound a richer feel than previous video editions of the movie. While it doesn't quite convey the detail one might hear in a brand new movie, it does a great job of improving an already great mystery movie.

After working on a case, Hercule Poirot (Albert Finney) travels home on the Orient Express hoping for a relaxing journey. Instead, when the train is caught in the show he's drawn into a mystery on the very train he's traveling on. A millionaire named Ratchett (Richard Widmark) has been brutally murdered. Who could the murderer be and what was his or her motive? Poirot must work this out and discover which of the train's passengers committed the crime. He discovers an unusual link between the millionaire and many of the passengers on the train. Is this the vital link that will help him solve the crime?

Featuring a stellar all cast of Hollywood and London stage and screen veterans, "Murder on the Orient Express" chugs along on the charm of the performers, a solid script by Paul Dehn ("The Spy Who Came in the Cold", "Goldfinger", "Beneath the Planet of the Apes") and outstanding direction by Sidney Lumet ("The Verdict", "Deathtrap", "Network", "Prince of the City"). The casting is a bit unusual.
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4 Comments 159 of 172 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on September 1, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
...but turn on the closed captioning, because as one reviewer pointed out Albert Finney's heavy accent and often garbled speech could try anyone's comprehension, not to mention patience. But Finney is still excellent, though he falls short of David Suchet, who is the quintessential Hercule Poirot.
But enough about that. They rarely make films this lavishly entertaining anymore. "Murder on the Orient Express" is visually striking to say the least; the Orient Express and its various set pieces are magnificently rendered, and at no small expense either. The all-star cast is impressive; from Lauren Bacall's scene-stealing American chatterbox to Anthony Perkins' disturbing, PSYCHO-reminiscent secretary, the cast list adds emphasis to the idea of the house-party whodunit. The film is, essentially, a Hollywood party on a grand scale.
Although the film is sluggish at times and the unraveling of Agatha Christie's labyrinthine plot doesn't work as well on the screen as it does on paper, this is still great fun, the perfect Saturday night movie for viewers who like a dose of wit and intelligence with their entertainment.
3 Comments 49 of 56 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on December 12, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
This classic 1974 film is, for the most part, an excellent adaptation of Agatha Christie's most famous novel, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, which stars Hercule Poirot as the ingenious yet slightly egotistical little Belgian detective. The cast is filled with distinguished actors: Albert Finney, Ingrid Bergman, Dame Wendy Hiller, Lauren Bacall, Michael York, Vanessa Redgrave, Sean Connery, Richard Widmark, and many more. I must state right away that I don't care for Finney's interpretation of Poirot. Perhaps I am simply biased, having been "brought up" on David Suchet's refined, humorous, yet never ridiculous characterization, which strikes me as definitive. The rest of the actors play their parts to perfection. Particular standouts for me include Martin Balsam as Poirot's Italian friend, Bianchi (Balsam's Italian accent is wonderful; one would never guess that the actor was in fact Jewish and from The Bronx) and Sir John Gielgud, very witty as the murdered man's butler (!) Anthony Perkins is outstanding as the murdererd man's secretary, a more sympathetic Norman Bates. Sidney Lumet's direction is, of course, beyond criticism. The elegant yet cramped atmosphere of the train is ideally conveyed, while such sequences as the opening, the discovery of the murder victim, and the flashback-reenactment of the murder are stunningly effective. You should watch this if you want to see a filmed version of MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS. However, I would suggest also watching any of the "Poirot" episodes to experience David Suchet's interpretation of the title character.
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Format: DVD
To me the definitive Hercule Poirot will always be Peter Ustinov, but in 1974 Albert Finney tackled the role in this excellent adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel of the same name and the movie continues to this day as one of my very favorite whodunnit's - thank goodness it is finally making its way to DVD.
Starring a cast that is simply incredible this movie set the standard for the Ustinov star studded movies that would follow (starting with 1978's DEATH ON THE NILE). Included on the list of stars are such names as Sean Connery, Jacqueline Bisset, Sir John Gielgud, Richard Widmark, Vanessa Redgrave, Ingrid Bergman and Anthony Perkins.
Aboard the Orient Express a businessman (played by Widmark) with a mysterious past is murdered in the middle of the night. Desperate to resolve the matter before they arrive at the next major stop on the line (to avoid a lengthy police investigation) Hercule Poirot is persuaded by an executive for the train company to begin his own investigation. An avalanche over the line gives Poirot plenty of time to interview all the passengers and make his conclusions as to the guilty party (or parties).
When Finney's Poirot faces off with the fellow passengers and describes his account of how the murder was committed and by whom you will be amazed - astounded. It's this very element and the star power of this movie that carries this intriguing mystery far above the standard whodunnit fare.
The movie is well plotted, the acting beyond reproach and the direction steady and inspired. MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS is a triumph in every respect, and when you consider it takes it's story from the worlds most read and respected mystery author it's not difficult to see why.
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Topic From this Discussion
The Best Poirot
I thought Peter Ustinov's performance was great, but Poirot had BLACK mustaches and hair, often hinted at dyed. I did not like Albert Finney's performance at all, too overdone, really as if he were playing it for as comedy.
This movie was made before David Suchet took over the role, but I think... Read More
Aug 18, 2013 by Sylvia Skinner |  See all 2 posts
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