Runaway Train, Death Defying Acts, The Class of ’92: films on TV today

Jon Voight and Eric Roberts do the locomotion, Houdini works his magic in Scotland, and the rise and rise of David Beckham & co: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today

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BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY

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Runaway Train ★★★★
11.00pm-1.20am ITV4 

Based on a script by Akira Kurosawa and directed by Andrei Konchalovsky, this is a raw, wild thriller with a lot of class. Jon Voight and Eric Roberts are escaped convicts, both dangerous men, who leap on a train consisting of four linked locomotives. Freedom — until the driver collapses and dies. The two men can’t stop the train; neither can the only other person aboard, railway employee Rebecca De Mornay. As they hurtle along at increasing speed, subplots develop — railway dispatchers squabble over how the tracks ahead can be cleared to avoid a fatal crash and the prison warden in a helicopter is hot on their trail, determined to kill the escapees. Boundless tension, very strong performances and an emotionally powerful ending.


Death Defying Acts ★★★
11.20pm-12.50am BBC2 

Catherine Zeta-Jones plays the bogus psychic who’s trying to hoodwink Harry Houdini (Guy Pearce) in an atmospheric period romantic drama set in 1920s Edinburgh.


Awakenings ★★★★
2.30-5.00pm Movie Mix 

The true story of a neurologist who managed to rouse coma patients after decades in stasis. Robin Williams plays doctor to Robert De Niro and if the film is a bit too Hollywood (Dr Oliver Sacks was, in fact, British) it doesn’t make the events any less remarkable.


The Class of ’92 ★★★★
 8.00-10.00pm ITV4 

Whatever your footballing allegiance, this is still a fascinating look how a group of young footballers at Manchester United formed the core of one of England’s most successful club sides.


Bronson ★★★
11.20pm-1.10am Film Four 

This fact-based biopic is blessed with an unbelievable storyline and a powerhouse performance from Tom Hardy. Bronson is the nom de guerre of Michael Peterson, who named himself after the Deathwish actor and sentenced himself to a life behind bars. It’s a gripping portrayal that got Hardy noticed not only in Hollywood but also in Australia, where he walked into the lead role in the Mad Max: Fury Road (in cinemas now).


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