This is a bona fide classic! One of the most influential action movies ever. Watch it and you'll see the elments that were later used in action films like Die Hard, etc.
Although it is a little bit overlooked today, it remains a one [heck] of a ride! Lancaster plays a french railroad employee who works for the resistence. He and his group of three men must do anything to stop a train loaded with art treasures (Picassos, Matisses, Renoirs, Monets - no less) which is heading to Germany, according to the plans of a german Colonel who happens to love art. Stopping a train is easy - as they all discover. The problem is the art treasures who cannot be simply blown up (and that is a problem the allied planes do no know of).
So, it is up to a small group of men to keep the train out of both nazis and allies power - a difficult task in the last days of WW2.
The story meets many exciting complications and climaxes but the real catch is the strong performances from the two leads (Burt Lancaster and Paul Scofield) who fight each other in a battle of wills we'll rarely see again. Their antagonistic missions are the key element in a film full of great moments.
The black and white cinematography by Jean Tournier is great and the DVD do it justice. Keep in mind that this is a film by John Frankenheimmer - the great director who brought us movies like "The Manchurian Candidate", "Birdman of Alcatraz", and "The French Connection".
The DVD also has a great commentary by the director himself and an alternate "music-only" audio track for the Maurice Jarre's music soundtrack. This is a true great film. The only minus is the lack of a new dolby 5.1 sound mix - in a film like this, it would sure be a great thing! Anyway, the Dolby original Mono is solid enough.