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Avalanche Express (1979)

Soviet KGB General Marenkov defects to the Americans and together with his CIA handler Harry Wargrave they plan an operation meant to reveal the KGB agents in Europe.

Directors:

Mark Robson, Monte Hellman (uncredited)

Writers:

Abraham Polonsky (screenplay), Colin Forbes (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lee Marvin ... Col. Harry Wargrave
Robert Shaw ... Gen. Marenkov
Linda Evans ... Elsa Lang
Maximilian Schell ... Col. Nikolai Bunin
Joe Namath ... Leroy
Horst Buchholz ... Julian Scholten (as Horst Bucholz)
Mike Connors ... Haller
Claudio Cassinelli ... Col. Molinari
Kristina Nel Kristina Nel ... Helga Mann
David Hess ... Geiger
Günter Meisner ... Rudi Muehler (as Günter Meissner)
Sylva Langova Sylva Langova ... Olga (as Sylvia Langova)
Cyril Shaps ... Sedov
Vladek Sheybal ... Zannbin (as Vladets Shebal)
Arthur Brauss ... Neckerman
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Storyline

When a senior Russian official, Gen. Marenkov, decides to defect to the west, CIA agent Harry Wargrave is sent to lead the team to get him out. Malenkov reveals that the Russians are trying to develop biological weapons. Wargrave decides that Malenkov should travel across Europe by train, on the "Atlantic Express", in an attempt to try and lure the Russians into attacking the train so that they can discover who the Russian secret agents in Europe are. During the journey they must survive terrorist attack and an avalanche, all planned by Russian spy-catcher Nikolai Bunin. Written by Matt <matt@measham.force9.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Fast Track For All-Star Adventure.

Genres:

Action | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Ireland | USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

19 October 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El expreso de los espías See more »

Filming Locations:

Munich, Bavaria, Germany See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (DeLuxe)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Shaw was very ill during filming and died during its production. His voice was so weak and his delivery was so shaky because of his illness that his voice was dubbed by Robert Rietty, although Rich Little also dubbed three words near the end of the picture ("Harry, come on") and six words in Shaw's own voice were deemed usable ("Too hot in that train" and "Harry"). Little insisted he not be paid, as he was a big admirer of Shaw. See more »

Goofs

The tyres of the terrorists Mercedes squeal but they are on snow. See more »

Quotes

Gen. Marenkov: My plan is to force Bunin to destroy himself.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Avalanche Express... The Slow Track For All-Star Adventure
19 August 2005 | by James_Bond_007_218See all my reviews

Upon watching Avalanche Express, Robert Shaw's final film I was rather disappointed. Shaw, one of my favourite actors, lines are dubbed and this detracts from the viewing pleasure. This is not only because the voice sounds nothing like Robert Shaw, but because the dubbing has been done so poorly.

When I read a previous review which stated that it was not worth watching, I tend to agree. The film is suppose to be an action adventure but is nothing of the sort. To start off with, it is a very long time before we actually get to any exciting parts, the most memorable being the train escape during the avalanche. The special effects are also worth a mention. The avalanche doesn't look hokey, I was actually more impressed than I thought I would have been. The main problem with the film is its slow pacing. I found myself drifting off to sleep several times during its screening. Any film that does that to you really tells you something, doesn't it!

I think had both the star Robert Shaw and director Mark Robson not died during the production, it would have been something special. It had the potential, but sadly it is not an excellent film. I only recommend purchasing this film if you are a fan of Robert Shaw (Even though his lines are dubbed, its nice to see him in any film) or if you can purchase it for less than $5.00 - $10.00 US (I purchased it on DVD, which was a surprise as I have only ever seen it for sale on VHS).

Final rating: 5/10 - I don't think it deserves to be called a bomb, but it certainly isn't a masterpiece. If your looking for an excellent action/adventure film, check out Black Sunday starring this films star, Robert Shaw. I regard it as an underrated classic.


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