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The First Great Train Robbery
Based On: The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton
Directed By: Michael Crichton
Released: February 2, 1979
Runtime: 110 minutes
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English

'The First Great Train Robbery — known in the U.S. as The Great Train Robbery — is a 1979 film directed by Michael Crichton, who also wrote the screenplay based on his novel The Great Train Robbery.


The story is loosely based on the Great Gold Robbery of 1855, in which a cracksman called William Pierce (named Edward Pierce in Crichton's book and film) engineered the theft of a train-load of gold being shipped to the British Army during the Crimean War; £12,000 (equal to £809,417 today which in turn is USD$1,281,550 and 930,143 Euros) in gold coin and ingots from the London to Folkestone passenger train was stolen by Pierce and his accomplices, a clerk in the railway offices called Tester, and a skilled screwsman called Agar. The robbery was a year in the planning and involved making sets of duplicate keys from wax impressions for the locks on the safes and bribing the train's guard, a man called Burgess.[1] The plot was inspired by Kellow Chesney's 1970 book 'The Victorian Underworld' , which is a comprehensive examination into the more sordid aspects of Victorian society.

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