Charles Bronson (The Magnificent Seven, Death Wish) is at his dynamic, heroic best inthis suspenseful action-packed mystery-western based on the best-selling novel by Alistair MacLean (Where Eagles Dare). With a powerful c... more »ast that includes Ben Johnson (The Last Picture Show), Richard Crenna (First Blood), Jill Ireland (Death Wish II) and Charles Durning (Tootsie), 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 ofeveryone on the train - as he uncovers a deadly secret that explodes in a torrent of shocking revelations, explosive brawls and blazing gun battles.« less
Jean W. from JORDANVILLE, NY Reviewed on 7/16/2012...
typical Bronson/Ireland film. Not the worst movie I ever saw, but certainly not the best.
1 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Western murder mystery from Alistair MacLean
T O'Brien | Chicago, Il United States | 05/14/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Breakheart Pass is a suprisingly good mystery/thriller from a genre you might not normally expect; a western. Based on the novel by Alistair MacLean, the movie begins with a train loaded with troops and medicine stopping in a small town called Myrtle City. The train takes on two passengers, John Deakim, a gambler accused of murder, and Nathan Pearce, a U.S. Marshal. It is revealed the train is traveling to Fort Humboldt to deliver some much needed medical supplies. But soon, dead bodies start appearing, and we realize something more sinister is going on. I was suprised by how much I enjoyed this movie. There are enough plot twists and suprises to keep you entertained, and several good action scenes. Throw in a very catchy Jerry Goldsmith score and how can you lose?
I've said this in other reviews of Bronson movies, but moviegoers often assume Charles Bronson is a one-trick pony, that he can't play anything other than his Paul Kersey Death Wish character, but here is another role that proves otherwise. Bronson plays John Deakim, a gambler accused of murder who knows more than he is letting on during the train trip. Ben Johnson co-stars as U.S. Marshal Pearce, a deputy marshal who finds his way onto the train with Deakim. The strong supporting cast includes Richard Crenna as Governor Fairchild, the governor of the unnamed territory, Jill Ireland as Marica Scoville, a young woman visiting her father, Charles Durning as O'Brien, the railroad represenative, Ed Lauter as Major Claremont, the officer in charge, and Bill McKinney as Peabody, a travelling reverend. The DVD offers a pretty nice looking widescreen presentation and trailers. Don't judge this book by its cover. I didn't think a murder mystery western on a train sounded very good, but I really enjoyed this movie. So for a good mystery/thriller western with a great cast, a good Goldsmith score, and plenty of twists and turns, check out Breakheart Pass!"
MacLean takes a shot at a western
Darren Harrison | Washington D.C. | 08/20/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Novelist Alistair MacLean, whose normal area of expertise is World War II thrillers such as "Where Eagles Dare" and "The Guns of Navarone", took a break from his wartime suspense novels to write an American western. Here Charles Bronson plays a mysterious man held captive on board a train rolling through the bleak winter wilderness towards Breakheart Pass. Accused of a crime, all is not as it seems for Bronson's character Deacon, is he really a criminal or an undercover agent? With gun runners, government agents, deceitful officials and Indians, this action thriller really thrills and one could do worse than watch this on a rainy afternoon. Highly recommended."
My All-Time Favorite Western
Indiana Jeff Reynolds | Indianapolis, IN USA | 01/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember going to the drive-in with my dad (Neal Clark Reynolds, a top 500 reviewer on Amazon), where this movie was the second of a double header. I was not really interested in seeing a Western, but Dad talked me into watching it, and I was hooked through watching it.
The back-drop is the West, but this is a pure adventure/mystery. It is based on Alistair MacLean's excellent novel (I think MacLean worked on the screenplay). There are changes: there is a triangle between John Deakin (Charles Bronson), Gov. Fairchild (Richard Crenna) and Marcia Scoville (Jill Ireland) in the movie; in the book, Marcia was the niece of the governor, eliminating the triangle facet. Also, the ending differs between the two. But for the most part, it is faithful to the book.
This is an exciting movie, with some plot-twists and hidden identities that would keep you guessing."
Old West Mystery on A Train
RoyalRaider | USA | 06/19/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very intruiging and effective action thriller on board a train. Charles Bronson star's as John Deakin who is arrested for cheating at poker. But Bronson in reality is an undercover agent. The train is occupied by Richard Crenna who is (Governor Fairchild) , Jill Ireland who is on her way to visiting her father , Ben Johnson who is a U.S. Marshall and Ed Lauter who is the Army Major. The plot of this film is this train is carrying medical supplies to an army outpost in Utah and also carries many army soldiers who are to replace soldiers who have been wiped out by a medical disease. However as People start disappearing and dead bodies turn up Bronson begins snooping around and discovers a plot that is in reality a way for the train to get to the Utah outpost so that awaiting Indians can take over boxes of medical supplies but in reality the boxes contain rifles and ammunition and there is a group of outlaws also waiting at the outpost who plan to steal Gold and Silver which happens to be distributed through that particular outpost. There are some holes in the plot but the film is full of action and suspense along with a terrific musical score. The beautiful snow covered landscapes for which the train travels through is astonishing. Great acting from Bronson ,Jill Ireland who was never one of the greatest leading ladies so to speak actually does a very good job here , Robert Tessier who Plays the Lead Outlaw (Calhoun) is solid and Ed Lauter really standsout and he has always been an underated actor who has never really gotten his Due.There is a Fight scene involving Bronson and Former Boxing Champion Archie Moore who plays the train's Chef . This fight scene Between Bronson and Moore takes place on top of the moving train covered with snow and is without a doubt one of the greatest fight scenes you will ever see."
Offbeat Alistair MacLean Action Western
hille2000 | USA | 11/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."