Unstoppable (2010)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 39 mins

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A runaway train carrying a cargo of toxic chemicals puts an engineer and his conductor in a race against time. They're chasing the runaway train in a separate locomotive and need to bring it under control before it derails on a curve and causes a toxic spill that will decimate a town.
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Chris Pine, Denzel Washington, Rosario Dawson

Crew: Tony Scott (Director), Ben Seresin (Director of Photography), Harry Gregson-Williams (Music Director)

Rating: U/A (India)

Genres: Action, Thriller

Release Dates: 12 Nov 2010 (India)

Tagline: 1,000,000 Tons. 100,000 Lives. 100 Minutes

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Did you know? Animal noises were used to make the 777 train sound more menacing. Read More
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Direction

Director

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Screenplay Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography

Music

Music Director

Sound

Sound Re-recording Mixer
Sound Effects Editor

Art

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Set Decorator

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Costume and Wardrobe

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Special Effects Coordinator
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Stunts

Stunt Coordinator
Film Type:
Feature Film
Language:
English
Colour Info:
Color
Sound Mix:
Dolby Digital, DTS, Sony Dynamic Digital Sound
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
Stereoscopy:
No
Taglines:
1,000,000 Tons. 100,000 Lives. 100 Minutes
1 million tons of steel. 100,000 lives at stake. 100 minutes to impact.
1 million tons of steel. 100,000 people at risk. 100 minutes to impact.
Goofs:
Factual Mistake
A pickup truck was shown at the beginning of the movie with a Pennsylvania license plate on the front bumper. Pennsylvania does not issue front license plates.

Factual Mistake
When Dewey and Gilleece are pursuing the 777 in the highrailer and attempting to board from the siding, the door of the highrailer is ripped off by a wayside signal with a bell. Wayside signals do not have bells; only signals at grade crossings.

Factual Mistake
There are numerous Deputy Sheriffs depicted in the film (along with the PA State Police) as being a typical patrol-style law enforcement agency. Sheriffs in PA are mostly tasked with civil duties such as serving civil records notices, courthouse security, prisoner transport, and serving warrants. A very small minority of counties, mostly urban high-crime areas, have patrol divisions, which perform the same duties as a municipal officer, but the vast majority of the rural counties (like those depicted in the film) do not.

Factual Mistake
The vehicles depicted as Pennsylvania State Police, were not only incorrect of the color, but of the light bar as well. Actual PSP cars are white Ford Crown Victorias with red, white, and blue Vector or Vision light bars, as seen on the Sheriff's cars. PSP Troopers also do not wear badges on their uniforms.

Factual Mistake
After the 777 barely makes it through the curve at the maximum 30 mph speed, the media shortly thereafter claims it quickly accelerates to speeds "in excess of 75 mph." It would be an impossible feat for that train to accelerate that fast.

Factual Mistake
It's unlikely that the fictional AWVR would freely disseminate information such as employees' names and images and the cause of the runaway to the media. In the real instance which inspired the film, the cause of the runaway was not disclosed until months later when the National Transportation Safety Board released its report, and CSX never made public the name of the engineer whose error let the train slip, nor what disciplinary action it took.

Factual Mistake
Several references are made to the locomotives being limited in what they can do due to the unit moving in reverse. The electric drive motors they use do not have a concept of forward or reverse like the common car does. The engine works just the same in either direction. The locomotives in this film are equipped to operate short hood first in normal operation. (Some railroads normally operate their hood units long hood first.) The problem with running in reverse at high speeds isn't so much with the locomotive's capabilities, but with the fact that the cab and controls are set up for operation in the other direction, and that the view toward the rear (past the long hood) may not be as good as that in one designed to operate short hood first, meaning that the engineer may not see obstacles or emergency circumstances ahead in time - or at all.. It would be similar to driving a car at fifty miles per hour in reverse, looking over your shoulder, with a large package in the back seat blocking the center third of the view behind (in front of) the car.

Factual Mistake
When Frank tells Will to "hit the independent", Will grabs the Automatic Brake handle, not the Independent handle. Making an Automatic brake application will still cause the independent to apply though, albeit at a slower and less controlled rate than making such a brake application with the Independent handle.

Factual Mistake
Portable derails are used and the description of the process by which they work is technically accurate but they were not installed correctly. The "lifting" mechanism should be on the inside of the rail (where the flange of the wheel is), not on the outside as shown in the movie.

Factual Mistake
Engine #1206 is instructed to take the nearest siding upon hearing the news of the oncoming train. The crew (Frank) does the math and determines that they will not fit into that siding. He states the siding as being 4011 feet between signals, with about 2500 feet of actual usable space (I'm assuming they mean between crossings). Engine #1206 with 25 cars would only equal about 1580 feet, giving them more than enough room to clear in the first available siding. The average length of a railroad car is 60 feet. Even if the cars were considered "long", 25 total cars would have fit into that siding.

Factual Mistake
The film greatly exaggerates the possible damage the molten phenol would cause in a fire. This would be true in a regular fire - that is, if the phenol is spilled immediately and begins burning on the ground. However, if one or more cars did not rupture sufficiently to freely spill its load, and a fire started around them a BLEVE (Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapour) type explosion might result, as the liquid inside the car boils, finally developing enough pressure to split the car and spray a cloud of combustible vapour into the fire. In a 1969 BLEVE event in Laurel Mississippi, involving tank cars of liquefied propane, one of the tank cars was thrown 1000 feet into the air, wheelsets from one car landed 1/4 mile away.

Factual Mistake
When asked how much power he has, Frank replies "5000". Locomotive 1206 is a model SD40 which has 3000 horsepower.

Factual Mistake
In the yard scene when 777 accelerates from idle to notch 8 throttle, this is impossible due to the design of the throttle lever. Locomotive throttle levers are notched, and require significant force to move.

Factual Mistake


Errors in Geography
The city of Stanton is depicted as having a population of 752,000. Philadelphia is the only city in PA with a population even remotely that large (approx 1.5 million). By comparison, the second most populous city in PA (Pittsburgh) has a population of only 311,000, and "Stanton" as depicted is vastly smaller than Pittsburgh, which can be seen out the window of Oscar Galvin's office.

Errors in Geography
Attempts were made to mask the reporting marks of the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway, where most of the movie was filmed. However, locomotives sporting the "Wheeling & Lake Erie" name are visible in at least two scenes. The first is in the background in the turntable scene in Brewster, Ohio, and the other is behind Dewey and Gilleece as they are entering the yard office to tell Connie the bad news about 777.

Errors in Geography
A route map shows the real PA towns of Julian and Port Matilda, with Julian northwest of Port Matilda and the rail line connecting the two. In reality, Julian is northeast of Port Matilda.

Errors in Geography
During the first news broadcast, we are shown a map of the main track. This is a real map of PA counties in central PA. The top one is Lycoming, the smallest one in the center is Montour and Northumberland and Columbia are to the left and right, respectively to it. However, in the second broadcast, Clinton and Cameron are the major ones shown. They are in fact to the north and west to Northumberland. If the "coaster" is traveling south, the train would be near Berks instead of farther north.

Errors in Geography
No one in PA would refer to a part of the state as "Northern Pennsylvania" or "Southern Pennsylvania". Since PA is much wider east-west than it is north-south, regions are referred to such as "Southeastern PA", South-Central PA", or "Northwestern PA".

Errors in Geography
A caption erroneously states that the city of Wheeling is in Pennsylvania. In fact, it is in the northern tip of West Virginia.

Errors in Geography
When 777 is shown approaching the crossing blocked by the horse trailer, the landscape surrounding the tracks switches between tree-covered and open land in alternating shots.

Errors in Geography
The TV news graphics state that the film's fictional town of Stanton, Pennsylvania, has a population of 752,000. This would make it among the 20 largest cities in the United States - larger than cities like Baltimore and Boston. Yet it is shown as being a fairly small town, likely with one-tenth such population.

Errors in Geography
The electronic map shows Olean, Portville and Horsehead in Northern Pennsylvania. These are Southern Tier New York towns just above the Pennsylvania border. Horsehead is actually Horseheads, NY near Elmira, NY.

Errors in Geography
Towards the end two red and white 'Buckeye Crossbucks' railroad crossing signs can be seen. These were designed and mounted only in the state of Ohio, and never adopted in other states.

Errors in Geography
Stanton, Pa is just a wide spot in the road, however it does have a large curve in the tracks which is not elevated.

Revealing Mistakes
When Will is in the red Ford truck attempting to jump onto 777, the shot showing the truck's speed shows the speedometer of "Eleanor", the 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 from Gone in Sixty Seconds.

Revealing Mistakes
Although the runaway train is stated to be a half mile long, the visual length of the train changes throughout the film. At some points it appears to be not much longer than 100 meters (this is especially noticeable just after it misses Frank and Will's train).

Revealing Mistakes
After Will's sister in-law comes over to show her what has been going on, the news shows a quick glimpse of 777, except the train is not marked "777" but "767".

Revealing Mistakes
When 777 passes the Railway Safety train, the shot from inside the passenger car showing 777 barreling past is flipped: the number "777" is backward.

Revealing Mistakes
When 1206 is running Light across the Stanton Curve Viaduct on its way to the Zinc plant the first helicopter flyby shows the rear number boards are black with no lettering, moments later on another flyby, the numbers 1206 are back.

Revealing Mistakes
Frank and Will are catching up with the runaway train, so they are going over 70mph to do so. Looking at the cab window, the raindrops are not moving.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When the Troopers and Sheriff's Deputies are attempting to shoot the fuel switch, a real PA State Police Expedition is visible behind them in some shots blocking the road.

Continuity
When Barnes and Colson are walking to 1206, they cross the front of the locomotive.In the next shot they are again walking towards it, then crossing it again.

Continuity
When the hi-rail comes at Ned as he is waiting for the train, Ned takes out his cell-phone and dials Connie. The hi-rail arrives and the three men are arguing. The camera angle changes when Ned says "Do I look like I have a train hidden in my back pocket?" There is no phone in Ned's hands at all. When the camera angle returns to the original, the phone is again in Ned's hand and he begins to speak to Connie.

Continuity
As Frank is running along the top of the train near the end of the movie, we see Connie clutching her cellphone as she watches the news. However, when Ned arrives alongside the train, she picks up the phone to call him. He hangs up on her and she is then clutching the phone anxiously as she continues watching the news coverage.

Continuity
When Dewey and Gilleece are loafing in the yard eating lunch, they have no train approaching on the adjacent track. Then the yardmaster orders them to move the red GE locomotives. In the next shot, there is a train with a blue locomotive approaching them on the adjacent track, but in the next shot of them from overhead, there is no train on that track again.

Continuity
In the scene where Dewey and Gilleece are attempting to catch 777 in the AWVR truck, immediately after the truck's passenger door is torn off by the signal there is a shot of the truck paralleling 777. In this shot, both of 777's ditch lights are off while in the previous and following scenes they are on.

Continuity
When 777 crashes into the horse trailer, the left ditch light on the engine (from the crew's perspective) goes out. Throughout the rest of the film, the left ditch light is lit and the right one is out.

Continuity
The horse driver leads the horse to safety in the nick of time as 777 slams into the trailer. In the wide shot shown on the news (shot from the same side of the crossing) there is no horse and no driver, just an empty trailer waiting to be struck by the train. There is also no dump truck, the one that caused the trailer to get stuck on the tracks in the first place.

Continuity
Connie sends Ned to set the switch so 777 will go into a siding near the diner he is visiting. After the hi-rail comes along, he calls Connie and tells her he set that switch six minutes ago. However, he never re-aligns the switch. Yet the hi-rail stays on the mainline when it leaves. (You can also see the siding is not aligned if you look at the track as Ned is pacing and waiting.)

Continuity
When Ned asks for a police escort, an officer takes his work ID badge. After Ned mentions Connie, the camera angle changes and the ID is no longer in that officer's hand, though we never see him return it to Ned or Ned take it back.

Continuity
During the press conference, we see the police vehicle arrive with Connie. Then when a camera close-up focuses on Frank and Will, she can briefly be seen jogging towards them. Then, we see Connie exit the police vehicle.

Continuity
Conductor side of 777 shows ditch light & handrail damage after hitting horse trailer. Handrail was completely bent from steps toward center. Final scene shows no damage to handrails as character grabs on and climb steps.

Continuity
As the train approaches the disabled horse trailer, a view inside the trailer shows the trailer parallel to, and on top of, the rails. The shot of the train hitting trailer clearly has the trailer angled across the tracks before the train hits it.

Continuity
After Frank is stopped from jumping the large gap to the flatbed with the large pipes on it, he returns to the tank car (the barrel-shaped car that holds the chemicals). Later, as Will is riding in the back of Ned's truck, they drive alongside Frank. After Frank waves them on, the car directly in front of him has changed from the flatbed to another tank car.

Continuity
When Will kicks the coupler cut bar to couple the locomotive, he manages to couple the locomotive to the grain hopper car, but did not hook up the air hose for the brake line. In some exterior shots and in the shot when Frank goes to turn the hand brake wheel, the air hose is attached.


Observe the trees in the background of the film. It was shot over the course of September to November hence, there are scenes with green trees, fall colors, no leaves, then green leaves, then no leaves.

Continuity
Right after the company discovers 777 is under power a pacing shot shows the 777 with damaged front handrails, even though it has not yet hit anything. Moments later when it is about to collide with the horse trailer, a shot shows its handrails are intact.

Audio/Video Mismatch
The sounds have been dubbed for Ned's truck (red F-350 Ford dually). The truck is dubbed with general "v-8" sounds, however, Ford very seldom offers a v-8 engine with their newer dually trucks, it's almost always going to be a v-10 gas or diesel engine. Furthermore, the camera quickly shows the rear axle of the truck, which is a Dana 80; This axle is only supplied with Ford trucks equipped with the diesel engine.

Audio/Video Mismatch
When going over the bridge with the single locomotive (#1206), four distinct clanks can be heard when the locomotive runs over the joints in the rail. The locomotive has six axles, so six clanks should be heard. It may be because the sound was from a four axle locomotive that was dubbed in later.

Audio/Video Mismatch
When Galvin sees on the news that 777 is on a collision course with another train, the audio track has Galvin saying "We gotta learn about it on damn TV." However, looking at the visual, he is clearly using the full expletive "goddamn".

Audio/Video Mismatch
As Dewey is preparing to move 777 from D-16 to D-10 at Fuller yard near the beginning of the film, the sound of 777 starting up is from an EMD 645-E3, a two-stroke diesel engine found in a number of EMD locomotives, most notably the SD40 (locos like 1206). 777 is an AC4400CW built by EMD's rival GE and uses the GE 7FDL-16, a four-stroke diesel engine which make a completely different noise.

Audio/Video Mismatch
After passing the curve a reporter on the ground remarks that the train is "gaining speed, out of control and has to derail." His lips and voice do not match.

Character Error
When the trooper tell the news that they tried shooting the emergency shut off switch on the locomotive he says they used shotgun rounds, the troopers clearly used semi-automatic assault rifles.

Character Error
When officers are shooting at "777", they are obviously using semi- or fully-automated weapons. A few moments later, an information officer tells the press that shots were fired with shotgun rounds.

Character Error
As 1206 gets closer to 777, one of the Fox 43 chyron graphics misspells Stanton as "Stanon". This may have been done on purpose, as TV stations often insert typos during fast-breaking news events, and then fix them.

Character Error
At the start Will states that they are supposed to pick up 25 cars. However, later as they are leaving the Zinc plant, Frank asks Will how many cars they are supposed to have, and Will replies 20.
Trivia:
Tony Scott talked to railroad workers in order to research the main characters.

"Unstoppable" was in development for an extended period, starting in 2004, with actual filming not beginning until August 31, 2009. At various points, Robert Schwentke and Martin Campbell were attached to direct.

In Tony Scott's penultimate film The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009), the climax of that film also involved a runaway train that foreshadows the plot of this film.

Dynamic brakes work by switching the traction motors that drive the axles to act as generators. The current produced is dissipated as heat in a resistor grid located atop the locomotive. When Will attempts to brake the train coming into Stanton, the traction motors overheat and burn out - this is the flashes of fire under the train. The "independent" brake is the locomotive's own air brake, which still functions (by clamping against the wheel treads) after the dynamic brake is burnt out.

There are three occasions where it seems a line has been either cut or overdubbed. Both Gavin and Will both say "Goddamn", but the word is either cut totally, like in Will's case, or the word God has been cut, like in Gavin's case. However, there is the case of Ned. When Ned says "You guys are always screwing up.", The words "Screwing up.." seem to replace Ned saying "You guys are always 'fucking up'. These lines may have been cut/re-edited to help the movie have a PG-13 rating, instead of an R rating.

Twentieth Century Fox executives asked Denzel Washington to shave $4 million from his standard fee of $20 million. (They also asked director Tony Scott to cut $3 million from his usual $9 million fee.) Citing frustration with the lack of a start date, Washington withdrew from the film. Fox then came up with an as yet undisclosed enticement package, purportedly including a revised script, to bring Washington back on board two weeks later.

Denzel Washington recommended to Tony Scott that he read the script for this film.

The two maps of the rail line shown on the news are of real Pennsylvania counties: The First map has Union and Snyder on the left, and Northumberland, Montour and Columbia in the center and Lycoming on top as well as Schuylkill on the bottom. The Second map has Cameron on the top left, Clinton in the center, Centre on the bottom and Lycoming on the right.

The locomotives used in the movie were leased General Electric AC4400CWs from Canadian Pacific (4 units) and EMD SD40-2s from the Wheeling and Lake Erie dressed up as the fictional Allegheny West Virginia Railroad.

The attempted train derailment was filmed in a single take.

This was Tony Scott & Denzel Washington fifth & last film collaboration together (due to Scott's untimely death) as director & actor respectively. Their other film collaborations were Crimson Tide (1995), Man on Fire (2004), Deja Vu (2006), & The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009).

Tony Scott used real newscasters as much as possible as the TV reporters.

Ironically, a train used in filming accidentally derailed in Bridgeport, Ohio on November 21, 2009 while being shot for the production. No one was injured in the incident, but production was halted for the remainder of the day.

Tony Scott initially wanted to set the film in Montana, but ultimately decided against this because he thought the wide-open plains didn't convey a strong enough sense of danger.

Ryan Ahern, who plays Ryan Scott, is a real-life army soldier who served in the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq.

The moving train connection sequence between the grain car and the train engine took three days altogether to film.

All the control room scenes were shot during the last two weeks of production.

The number boards above the cabs for locomotives 777 and 767 were not originally there prior to the movie. They were added to give the locomotives a more menacing appearance.

The film is inspired by the "Crazy Eights" unmanned train incident in 2001. The train, led by CSX Transportation SD40-2 #8888, left its Walbridge, Ohio, rail yard and began a 66-mile (106 km) journey through northwest Ohio with no one at the controls, after the engineer got out of the originally slow-moving train to correctly line a switch, mistakenly believing he had properly set the train's dynamic braking system, just as his counterpart in the movie did. Two of the real train's tank cars also contained thousands of gallons of molten phenol, similar to the fictional train in the film.

The "Stanton Curve" featured in the film is an actual rail line in Bellaire, Ohio. The line runs on a historic stone viaduct after crossing the Ohio River from West Virginia. However, the extremely dangerously-placed oil/chemical storage tanks beside the curved track do not exist and have been added in by CGI to increase the sense of danger.

This was Tony Scott's final film before his untimely death on August 19, 2012.

Coincidentally, Rosario Dawson is a real-life train aficionado who travels on trains all over the world wherever possible.

A self-confessed acrophobic, Denzel Washington reluctantly performed the stunts where actually he runs along the top of the speeding train. What made the stunt even more hazardous was the fact that the train was empty, thus causing the individual cars to rock more violently. Even though Washington was "wired" as a safety precaution, the leaps from car to car presented a potentially hazardous sequence (interview: Breakfast: Episode dated 26 November 2010 (2010).

Real life train engineer Jess Knowlton served as a technical advisor to Denzel Washington. Knowlton's daughters actually work at Hooters, which is how Washington's Frank Barnes character's daughters wound up being similarly employed.

Jess Knowlton served as a technical advisor to this film. He was the engineer who chased after CSX 8888 in the real incident, eventually coupling up and slowing that train enough for someone to climb aboard and stop it.

According to the extras on the DVD, the runaway train was actually being run by a remote control, similar to a toy radio-controlled car.

The only siding long enough to allow 1206 to dodge the oncoming runaway is a "rip track". A rip track is a siding on which equipment can be parked for maintenance/repairs that don't require it to be taken to the shops. "Rip" is an acronym for "Repair In Place".

Animal noises were used to make the 777 train sound more menacing.

Denzel Washington recommended Chris Pine to Tony Scott for the role of Will Colson.

Although it was sometimes hard to tell during the sugar puffed cereal/potato flake storm scene, Chris Pine performed all of his own stunts. Denzel Washington had seven stuntmen, one for each day of live shots on running trains. In addition to insurance concerns, according to Tony Scott, "D's got a fear of heights, and I had him up at 25 feet on a 50 mph train, which was no easy task." When you do see Washington up on top of a tanker car, that's really him, though, not CGI.