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Breakheart Pass [Blu-ray]

4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Charles Bronson, Ben Johnson, Richard Crenna
  • Directors: Tom Gries
  • Format: Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: PG
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • Release Date: Aug. 12 2014
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #25,074 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

Charles Bronson (Mr. Majestyk) is at his dynamic, heroic best in this suspenseful, action-packed mystery/western based on the best-selling novel by Alistair MacLean (Where Eagles Dare). With a powerful cast that includes Ben Johnson (The Last Picture Show</>), Richard Crenna (First Blood), Jill Ireland (Breakout), Charles Durning (Tootsie) and Ed Lauter (The Longest Yard). Breakheart Pass throws open the throttle for runaway excitement! At the height of the frontier era, a locomotive races through the Rocky Mountains on a classified mission to a remote Army post. But one by one, the passengers are being murdered! Their only hope is John Deakin (Bronson), a mysterious prisoner-in-transit who must fight for his life - and the lives of everyone on the train - as he uncovers a deadly secret that explodes in a torrent of shocking revelations, explosive brawls and blazing gun battles. Directed by Tom Gries (Will Penny).


Adventure movies are hard to come by these days--they've been replaced by action movies, which favor fast cars and big explosions over the dangers of nature and explorations of human character. Breakheart Pass stars Charles Bronson as a mysterious petty criminal on the Western frontier. After being caught cheating at cards, he's arrested and held on a military transport train heading through the Rocky Mountains toward a fort on the coast, a fort stricken with diphtheria and in desperate need of the medical supplies on the train. But there's a conspiracy afoot--people on the train keep getting killed or disappearing--and the situation at the fort isn't what it seems either. Alistair MacLean adapted the screenplay from his own novel, and it's a well-plotted, efficient piece of work, made more compelling by a cast of solid character actors, ranging from Charles Durning (The Sting, Tootsie), Richard Crenna (Body Heat), and Ben Johnson (Oscar winner for The Last Picture Show) to guys whose faces you'll recognize, even if their names don't sound familiar. Breakheart Pass isn't The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and Bronson isn't Humphrey Bogart, but the movie is a lean adventure flick with an outstanding score by Jerry Goldsmith. (Trivia buffs will catch Sam Elliot and Sally Kirkland in bit parts.) --Bret Fetzer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
A tale of mystery and suspense in a western setting is rather uncommon, making Breakheart Pass an unusual film. It is based on the novel by Scottish author Alistair MacLean, who also wrote the screenplay. The story is centered on an army troop train on its way to Fort Humbolt, where there is apparently a medical emergency. The train is loaded with medical supplies and relief troops to replace those suffering from an epidemic. The cast is headed by Charles Bronson, as John Deakin an accused killer, and fugitive from the law. Also on board are the arresting marshal (Ben Johnson), the army troop commander (Ed Lauter), a trainman (Charles Durning), and a governor (Richard Crenna) and his mistress (Jill Ireland aka Mrs. Bronson).
While at a train stop, Deakin is arrested, and put on board the train for transport to the stockade at Humbolt. Already strange things have begun to happen, as two soldiers have disappeared. With an urgent mission to complete, the train must get under way. Trouble and misfortune begin to mount. A passenger is found dead, and then a train worker has a fatal fall. Next a whole carload of soldiers suffers a catastrophe. The survivors push on towards the fort, but find themselves with no way to communicate, as their telegraph set is mysteriously missing. What is happening, and who is behind it? Deakin investigates to try get to the bottom of the dark and deadly plot. Outlaws, Indians, guns and gold all figure into the mix. Deakin takes command of the train as it heads for a showdown in Breakheart Pass.
Breakheart Pass was written when MacLean's best works were already behind him. While it doesn't rank as one of his best books, it does make pretty good material for the big screen. The film is not outstanding, either as a western or as an action-adventure.
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Format: DVD
Trust no one and believe only half of what you see. At least that's what the trailer said. This is an odd little action film that takes place aboard a train full of mysterious characters that traverses snow covered landscapes (beautifully photographed by Lucien Ballard) and leaves bodies along the way. Charles Bronson plays the stoic John Deakin a secret service agent who tries to uncover the plot hidden aboard the train to Breakheart Pass. Once again director Tom Gries delivers a good action Western. The good cast includes Ben Johnson, Richard Crenna, Jill Ireland, Charles Durning and Ed Lauter. However I thought the real star of this film was Jerry Goldsmith's score. The powerful theme he composed for this movie advances the plot like a runaway steam engine.
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Format: DVD
Anyone who's ever had to slog through his soul-destroying ITC or Cannon-years output will find it hard to imagine that there was ever a time when Charles Bronson was a half-decent actor who not only made films that were actually released in theaters, but good ones at that. Breakheart Pass is probably the best of the last burst of quality output in the actor's oeuvre that also saw Hard Times (aka The Streetfighter) and the whimsical From Noon Til Three; for that matter, the last good Alistair MacLean screen outing before what seems like an eternity of formulaic made-for-TV efforts with C-list casts.
The plot has all the MacLean staples - sabotage, secret identities, wolves in sheep's clothing and a plot where no-one and nothing is what they appear to be. The only novelty is the location, a train rushing through the old West to bring medical supplies to a cholera-infected fort through strikingly snowbound mountain countryside beautifully captured through cinematographer Lucien Ballard's lens. But the fact that so much of the film is simply one of the author's beloved WW2 plots with outlaws and Indians instead of Nazis doesn't matter: it's the telling that counts, and with a tight script and strong direction from Tom Gries that is equally adept at the mystery (more a 'what the heck's going on?' than 'who's behind it all?') as action (most notably a good rooftop punch-up and a spectacular wreck) it's never a dull ride.
Bronson, still making an effort in those days, comes over well, while the strong supporting cast (including John Ford and Sam Peckinpah regular Ben Johnson, as well as Richard Crenna, Charles Durning and Ed Lauter) add a pleasing layer of professionalism and credibility. Even Jill Ireland, never the most interesting of leading ladies, acquits herself well here.
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Format: DVD
I first watched this film in the late 70s on television and found it to be an very watchable action flick. Whenever I spotted this movie while surfing cable, I would stop and watch it to it's conclusion. In short, it is about a military train transporting medical supplies to a fort. While stopped for fueling, a criminal (Bronson) is captured and taken aboard the train as a federal prisoner until he can be tried. As might be expected, the train's mission and Bronson's true intentions are not what they appear to be. The pace of the movie is quick and entertaining. The DVD's only extra is the original movie trailer which has undergone no touchup. The video quality of the movie is what I would call a very good VHS transfer. The same can be said of the sound. Considering the purchase price, I guess you could not expect the best transfer to DVD. Even with those deficiencies, I am glad I purchased the movie. It is a very good action movie that continues to entertain.
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