Strangers on a Train

Movie review by
Scott G. Mignola, Common Sense Media
Strangers on a Train Movie Poster Image
Classic nail-biter is a must for thriller fans.
  • PG
  • 1951
  • 103 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 7 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

Pemeditated murder, stalking.

Violence

Graphic murder, and a slug-fest on a high-speed carousel. Stalking.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is solid nail-biting entertainment for those who enjoy stylish, well-crafted suspense. Don't expect a moral here, but do expect a lot of suspense and some dark subject matter that makes it inappropriate for young viewers who should probably stick to Scooby-Doo. The British version devotes slightly more screen time to Bruno's Liberace-like flamboyance, giving that fateful meeting with Guy on the train a vague air of flirtation. Parents concerned about homoerotic content need not be; it's presented discreetly, merely as a character trait.

User Reviews

Parent of a 13 year old Written byTsion April 11, 2009

Thrilling and Frightening Suspense...

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN is a great movie. It isn't quite 5-stars, but it is a wonderfully tense and engaging thriller. There is no language or sex, though it... Continue reading
Parent Written byPlague June 9, 2010

Strangers on a Train

A fantastic thriller, and a Hitchcock classic.
Teen, 15 years old Written bybubbo April 9, 2008
A great suspense movie for families! It's definitely suspenseful enough for parents and not too scary for older kids (a mature 9+). One of Alfred Hitchcock... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old January 24, 2018

Fantastic!

This is a 1951 stunning Alfred Hitchcock film, and great like all of the others!

What's the story?

From the novel by Patricia Highsmith, Alfred Hitchcock's STRANGERS ON A TRAIN takes a seemingly innocent conversation between tennis player Guy (Farley Granger) and well-heeled Bruno (Robert Walker) and turns it, by degrees, into a grueling worst-case scenario. A chance meeting on a train embroils the two men in a shrewd murder scheme that quickly goes awry. Co-scripted by Raymond Chandler, this stylish, suspenseful 1951 Hitchcock classic will have the whole family squirming and second-guessing each other about the outcome as an innocent man is drawn into a lunatic's murder scheme. The master of suspense gives us a dead body, but doesn't leave us asking who, where, when or why. We witnessed the crime. We understand the murderer's motive. If this were a straightforward murder mystery, the end credits would be rolling, but because it's an Alfred Hitchcock picture it's just beginning. So buckle up, because the tension builds relentlessly all the way to the climax.

Is it any good?

In the hands of a less-competent director, the story might not have amounted to much, but Hitchcock builds the suspense relentlessly, almost sickeningly. That's why they call him the master.

This adaptation devotes slightly more screen time to Bruno's Liberace-like flamboyance, giving that fateful meeting with Guy on the train a vague air of flirtation. Parents concerned about homoerotic content need not be; it's presented discreetly, merely as a character trait. There's no great moral to be found here ("Crime doesn't pay" is stretching it a little). This is just solid nail-nibbling entertainment for those who enjoy stylish, well-crafted suspense.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the hallmarks of a suspense film, and how continued suspense, especially when the tension and danger continues to increase, is often more thrilling, entertaining, and downright scary than films filled with constant, gratuitous violence.

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love thrills

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