3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
One Of The Best Disaster Movies Of The 70's, And better than Silver Streak,
This review is from: The Cassandra Crossing [DVD]  (DVD)
In 1976, two rail-orientated films were released : "Silver Streak", directed by Arthur Hiller, and the more superior disaster-epic, "The Cassandra Crossing", directed by George Pan Cosmatos.
The Cassandra Crossing centres around the chain of events of two terrorists mounting a raid on The International Health Organisation in Geneva, and results in both becoming infected with the plague, and one of them escaping on the Euro-Continental Express carrying this deadly epidemic.
Enter Richard Harris as Dr Johnathan Chamberlain, Ingrid Thulin, as Dr Stradler, and Burt Lancaster as the unpleasant Colonel Steven MacKenzie as the main players as each one of them has a different method of containing the disease.
Lee Strasberg's, Mr Kaplan is one of the most effective characters in the film as he is scared, and apprenhensive when the passengers learn that their route, which is Janov, Poland involves crossing an unsafe bridge, hence the name Cassandra Crossing which was named after the trojan princess whose predictions never came true, and that people lived under it, but moved away long after. Due to the fact that we learn that part of that line was closed in 1948, Chamberlain challenges MacKenzie to uncouple a section of the train to isolate the rest of the passengers from the infected area, but MacKenzie is adamant that the train will not be stopped at any cost which leads Chamberlain to lead an attempt to take over the train. Richard Harris's character is the more sympathetic here as he is more concerned with the welfare of the passengers than Lancaster's Colonel MacKenzie whose decision not to stop the train has fatal consequences. Aided by Sophia Loren, Chamberlain manages to save most of the 1000 passengers.
With Ava Gardner, Martin Sheen, OJ Simpson, and Lionel Standler as excellent support this easily outclasses Arthur Hiller's Silver Streak in every field.