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Ronald Christopher "Buster" Edwards (Phil Collins) is a small time crook who pulls a big time job. When he finds that the Police will not let the case drop, he goes into hiding and can't contact his wife and child. He arranges to meet them in Mexico where he thinks they can begin again, but finds that he must choose between his family and freedom.Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
In May 2016, BBC One showed a version of this movie, that confusingly, was a semi-cropped letterboxed academy ratio version, with left and right side bars, even though the movie was shot in a wider widescreen ratio that would fill 16:9, as seen in the trailer. Seemingly, the only broadcast version of the movie currently available is a late 1980s telecine academy ratio VHS release version master. This version has been broadcast recently since the U.K. introduced high definition widescreen. It's currently unclear as to the status of the original production elements to generate a high definition widescreen re-master. See more »
In the opening scenes, when Buster walks off wearing a new suit he has just stolen, a Vespa P range motor scooter is visible. That model was introduced in 1977. See more »
Buster Edwards never got the deal he hoped for. On the 9th December 1966 he was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for conspiring to rob Her Majesty's Royal Mail Train. See more »
The initial U.S. release of this film had its running time cut from 102 minutes to 94 minutes by its U.S. distributor, Hemdale Films. The subsequent video release by HBO Home Video was based on this edited version, however, a more recent release by MGM Home Video includes the complete film uncut. See more »
Paved The Way For Lock, Stock And Endless Imitations
I remember watching Buster one afternoon at High School during the fag end of term time before summer holidays. The opening scene with the dust bin going through the window raise quite a cheer!
Buster is a typical sort of British crime film that is not actually as bad as its detractors will insist, but neither as good as its champions try and tell you. It supposedly recounts the infamous Great Train Robbery of 1963 from the perspective of Ronald 'Buster' Edwards - probably the most well known participants, although not the most important. Just a pity then the planning and execution of 'the job' only takes up about twenty minutes.
The remaining running time, before and after the Robbery, including a fairly lackadaisical police pursuit, and the extended holiday in Mexico, is a dull kitchen sink drama between Phil Collins and his beloved Julie Walters; she's the long suffering wife; he's the lovelable rogue, heart of gold, good family man, lives by 'respect', etc.
In other words, Buster sets the template for any or all of the cheeky chappy Mockney geezers in the endless cycle of runabouts and capers we would see a decade later.
Given the level of talent involved the acting is generally quite good - but it could have been better; Walters's incessant whinging soon grates; Collins isn't bad in the lead role, but he doesn't make much of an impact either. The soundtrack is OK, but overall I'd say Buster was a bit of a chore to sit through.
That the film downplays the violence of the robbery, the critical injuries sustained by train driver Jack Mills, the threats to Post Office staff, and the unsavoury background of the principals - most were professional criminals who did not baulk at using force, and were who were aware of the risks of who they were ripping off - caused great contraversy at the time. Sure, one or two minor members may have been unjustly sentenced, but I'd question how much public sympathy there was for these 'Robin Hoods' when the extent of Mr Mills's ordeal became known.
Try Bank Heist, Thief, The League of Gentlemen or The First Great Train Robbery if you want to see a decent heist movie with a lot more tension and comedy. Compared to these gems, Buster is a bit of a letdown.
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