Review: Breakhart Pass

Blu-ray & DVD: Breakhart Pass (1975)

Based on the novel by Alistair MacLean (my Dads’s favourite author and whose books I grew up reading), Breakhart Pass is set on a locomotive at the height of the frontier era, as it makes it’s way through the Rocky Mountains on a classified mission to a remote Army post. As people are mysteriously murdered on the train, it is left to prisoner-in-transit John Deakin (Charles Bronson) to fight for the lives of everyone onboard as he uncovers a deadly secret that has explosive consequences.

With some great ‘iron horse’ shots (including the obligatory fist fight atop its roof as it races through the Rocky Mountains), fantastic scenery, a twisting narrative, and characters that are not always what they seem, Breakhart Pass steams along (pun intended) from its very first minute until the end credits roll.

Packed with a superb cast including the aforementioned Charles Bronson (who was currently on a run of making some classic movies at the time), his real life wife Jill Ireland, Ed Lauter, Ben Johnson, and Richard Crenna (who I always expect to say “I don’t think you understand. I didn’t come to rescue Rambo from you. I came here to rescue you from him.” whenever I see him) the acting is top notch and helps draw you into its cinematic world.

While not being particularly violent, Breakhart Pass has its fair share of action scenes, and the stoic Bronson is always ready to kick some butt if someone should so much as look at him the wrong way.

Despite being mostly set on a train, the passing scenery and cinematography give Breakhart Pass a far less claustrophobic feel than you would envisage from its synopsis. Though when the action does kick off inside the train, its confined space adds that extra tension as to what may happen next.

Not your typical Western by any means, but Breakhart Pass is definitely one to watch if you are a fan of the genre, and Bronson (for me at least) is always worth the price of admission.

A first time release on Blu-ray in the UK.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • 1080p presentation of the film on Blu-ray, with a progressive encode on the DVD
  • Uncompressed LPCM audio (on the Blu-ray)
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
  • A new video interview with critic and author Kim Newman
  • Original theatrical trailer

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Review by Dave (host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Eureka Entertainment.