[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/strangers_on_a_train.jpg]]

->'''Bruno:''' It's so simple, too. A couple of fellows meet accidentally, like you and me. No connection between them at all. Never saw each other before. Each of them has somebody he'd like to get rid of, but he can't murder the person he wants to get rid of. He'll get caught. So they swap murders.\\
'''Guy:''' Swap murders?\\
'''Bruno:''' Each fellow does the other fellow's murder. Then there is nothing to connect them. The one who had the motive isn't there. Each fellow murders a total stranger. Like you do my murder and I do yours.\\
'''Guy:''' We're coming into my station.\\
'''Bruno:''' For example, your wife, my father. Criss-cross.
-->-- ''Strangers on a Train''

A 1951 Creator/AlfredHitchcock thriller starring Farley Granger and Robert Walker. Guy Haines (Granger), an amateur tennis star, meets the eccentric Bruno Anthony (Walker) on a train. Bruno has read about Guy's romantic troubles in the paper, and suggests that he might want to... [[MurderIsTheBestSolution dispose of his wife]], the unfaithful Mrs. Miriam Joyce Haines (Kasey Rogers under the alias "Laura Elliot"), so he can marry Anne Morton (Ruth Roman), the daughter of a U.S. Senator. Bruno tells Guy of his own unhappiness with his father, and outlines his plot for the perfect murder: [[StrangersOnATrainPlotMurder two strangers who both have someone they want dead "exchange murders"]]. Guy laughs the whole thing off and gets off the train but, as he learns a few days later, Bruno wasn't joking.

The movie was based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith (of ''Literature/{{Ripliad}}'' fame) and had a screenplay originally written by Creator/RaymondChandler (before he was fired and replaced). The book and the movie are the {{Trope Namer|s}}, {{Trope Maker|s}}, and TropeCodifier for StrangersOnATrainPlotMurder, although there's a lot more to the story than [[AllThereIsToKnowAboutTheCryingGame just that one trope]]. The 1987 comedy ''Film/ThrowMommaFromTheTrain'' is part parody, part remake and part homage of this film.

A remake directed by Creator/DavidFincher, written by Creator/GillianFlynn and starring Creator/BenAffleck, simply titled ''Strangers'', was announced in 2015. Currently in Trope/DevelopmentHell due to the schedules of those three people.

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!!This film provides examples of:

* AdaptationalHeroism: In the original book, Guy tragically succumbed to Bruno's pressure to murder his father.
* AdaptationalNameChange: Charles Anthony Bruno became Bruno Anthony, while Anne Faulkner became Anne Morton.
* AdultFear: Concerned mothers are seen helplessly watching their children trapped in the dangerously spinning carousel.
* AlmostDeadGuy: Bruno, under the carousel, is able to deliver some final incriminating words against Guy before dying.
* AmbiguouslyGay: Both lead characters. Bruno, the SissyVillain, is almost overt about it; Guy (whose actor was openly bisexual) is more of a "sexually ambiguous" ingenue. The film, with an up-and-coming man with a future in politics who gets involved with another man who acts in a flirtatious manner, has been read as commentary on the anti-homosexual hysteria of the 1950s, when the [[RedScare HUAC]] was on a witch hunt for "sex perverts" and other subversives in the government.
* AmusementPark: The scene of [[spoiler:Miriam's murder]] and of the film's climax.
* AngryGuardDog: Subverted. After sneaking into the Anthony house late at night to find Bruno's father and [[spoiler:warn him]], Guy encounters a growling Great Dane on the stairs. However, as he gets closer the dog comes up and licks his hand.
* ArtisticLicenseGunSafety: The cops chasing the clearly unarmed Guy through a carnival break every police firearm procedure there by firing at him as he runs through a crowd of children. One of the shots hits and apparently kills an innocent bystander, who happened to be operating a merry-go-round, causing it to careen out of control.
* AssholeVictim: Miriam Haines.
** JerkassWoobie: In the book. She still refuses Guy a divorce and tries to join him in Palm Beach, where Guy is supposed to be remodelling a country club, as a way of cutting in on his earnings and/or convincing his co-workers that he's the father of her baby, thereby forcing him to support the child. However, Miriam suffers a fall in her own home and miscarries, which leaves Guy perfectly free to aggressively pursue a divorce and means that Bruno had absolutely no reason at all to kill Miriam.
* BadassBystander: The random CoolOldGuy who volunteers to stop the speeding carousel...by crawling underneath it to get to the mechanism at the center.
* ChekhovsGun: Bruno's tie pin which Anne notices later.
* ClutchingHandTrap: Bruno, a remorseless murderer, gets his arm stuck in a drainage hole by the sidewalk. This is played for suspense, as it helps buy time for Guy to finish his scheduled tennis match ([[spoiler:though Bruno makes it to the amusement park first anyway]]), though it does have Alfred Hitchcock's trademark dark humor. Subverted, as Bruno is able to easily pull out his hand clutching the lighter from the tight grid where he struggled to slide his forearm through just moments ago.
* CreatorCameo: Hitchcock appears lugging around an upright bass the first time Guy gets off the train.
* DefiantToTheEnd: In the face of a witness to his murder, his possession of incriminating evidence, and his [[spoiler: imminent death]], Bruno ''never'' stops trying to [[spoiler: frame Guy.]]
* DepravedHomosexual: If Bruno is gay he definitely fits this trope.
* TheDitz: Bruno's mother. Anne had to bluntly spell it out for her that her baby boy killed a woman, for his mother to ask if ''Bruno'' told her any of this and if not, that isn't true.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: Much like in ''Film/ShadowOfADoubt'', there is a pre-occupation with strangulation in this film, Bruno strangles Miriam and Guy expresses desire to strangle Miriam. Their desire may very well be a response to subconscious sexual urges, namely that of erotic asphyxiation.
** It's also important to note that Miriam, declared a tramp and adulteress by numerous characters before and after her murder, is double teamed by two men in the tunnel of love and goes to the secluded island, which is referred to as a hot spot for 'smoochers', with them. For comparison, in the book at least one of her companions is noted to be her brother.
* FauxAffablyEvil: Bruno. While showing a calm demeanor throughout his scenes, he gets extremely agitated and rude to bystanders when the lighter drops into the drain hole which jeopardizes his plan.
* FeetFirstIntroduction: For both Bruno and Guy, the first of many times the movie contrasts the two.
* FlashedBadgeHijack: When Guy takes off in a cab after the tennis match, the two cops shadowing him decide to hijack a car in order to stay on his heel.
* {{Foil}}: Bruno and Guy, very intentional (see NumerologicalMotif below).
* ForcedPerspective: The final scene of the so-called American version has Barbara and Anne Morton waiting for Guy to call on the telephone. Alfred Hitchcock wanted the phone in the foreground to dominate the shot, emphasizing the importance of the call, but the limited depth-of-field of contemporary motion picture lenses made it difficult to get both phone and women in focus. So Hitchcock had an oversized phone constructed and placed in the foreground. Anne reaches for the big phone, but actually answers a regular one.
* HandStomp: Hugo stomps on Guy's hands when the latter is hanging on to a steel bar to keep him from being propelled away from the spinning carousel.
* HomoeroticSubtext: Creator/AlfredHitchcock and Robert Walker (Bruno) worked out an elaborate series of gestures and physical appearance to suggest the homosexuality and seductiveness of Bruno's character while bypassing censor objections.
* IdenticalStranger: Barbara Morton and Miriam Joyce Haines. Not quite identical, but similar enough that it becomes a plot point.
* ImperiledInPregnancy: Miriam is pregnant at the time of her murder. (In the book, she has suffered a miscarriage shortly before that point.) Oddly, nobody seems particularly concerned by this fact, perhaps because she's an AssholeVictim.
* InformedAttribute: Bruno claims his father is a horrible person, but we have only the word of a madman to go on. Indeed, the one time we see him he appears genuinely concerned for his son's well-being.
** Moreso in the novel, where the aforementioned scene never takes place and the reader knows nothing about Bruno's father right up until [[spoiler: Guy kills him]], at which point a private detective in Bruno's father's employ tells Bruno that if he honestly thinks his father didn't love him then he really didn't know him at all.
* InspirationNod: ''Film/ThrowMommaFromTheTrain'' is built around the same let's-trade-murders plot. This is directly referenced in the movie, when writing teacher Larry tells his hapless student Owen to watch some Hitchcock for inspiration. Owen watches the first few minutes of ''Strangers'', immediately recognizes the similarity to his current situation, and runs off to kill Larry's wife.
* InTheBack: Subverted. It looks like Bruno is going to shoot Guy in the back as the latter walks out of the mansion but he refrains from doing so, noting that the noise would wake his mother.
* KarmicDeath: [[spoiler:Bruno.]]
* MacGuffin: Guy's lighter.
* MamaDidntRaiseNoCriminal: When Anne come to talk to Bruno's mother about his deed, the latter wouldn't hear any of it.
* {{Meganekko}}: Ann's younger sister, Barbara "Babs" Morton (played by Hitchcock's daughter Patricia).
* MommasBoy: Goes hand in hand with Bruno's OedipusComplex.
* MyGodYouAreSerious: Guy's reaction when he learns about Bruno [[spoiler:killing his wife]].
* NumerologicalMotif: The number two and the concepts of doubles and doppelgangers are both important in this movie.
** The theme of crosses and ''double'' crossing could fit under here as well.
* OedipusComplex: Bruno wants to kill his father and is very... ''close'' with his mother. More so in the book where Bruno's mother is described as moderately attractive and has a lot of male friends. In the film she's fairly old and delusional.
* ThePerfectCrime: At least as Bruno likes to see it.
* PsychologicalHorror: Not as much compared to some Hitchcock movies, but it's certainly there. While he's kind of funny most of the time, there are moments when Bruno is ''terrifying''.
* PsychopathicManchild: Bruno.
* ReflectiveEyes: Or Reflective Eyeglasses, anyway; we see [[spoiler:Bruno strangle Miriam]] in them after they're knocked to the ground.
* RichIdiotWithNoDayJob: Bruno hates his rich father partly because the latter wanted him to take on a regular job.
* SarcasmBlind: Guy's reaction to Bruno's plan is bewilderment, and when Bruno asks if he thinks it is a good plan, Guy sarcastically responds in the affirmative.
* SissyVillain: Bruno.
* SoundtrackDissonance: [[spoiler:Miriam's murder]] is accompanied by jaunty carousel music in the background (which actually goes [[NumerologicalMotif twice as fast]] as it does in the rest of the amusement park scenes).
* SparedByTheAdaptation: Guy actually kills Bruno's father in the book. In the film, he doesn't go through with it.
* StrangersOnATrainPlotMurder: {{Trope Namer|s}}, and an UnbuiltTrope: Guy laughs Bruno's suggestion off as a joke, only to discover that Bruno is all too serious. [[spoiler:In the end, Guy doesn't go through with it -- in the movie, at least.]]
* UnconventionalVehicleChase: A "chase" on a Merry-Go-Round.
* {{Undercrank}}: The climax on the spinning carousel was achieved this way. It hasn't [[SpecialEffectsFailure aged particularly well, however.]]
* VillainBall: Bruno all but outright tells Anne what he's going to do to [[spoiler:frame Guy]], just to rub Guy's nose in it, even though it gives Guy a chance to stop him.
* WeAreNotGoingThroughThatAgain: At the end, Guy finds himself in a train carriage with a stranger who recognises him and tries to strike up a conversation. Having just gone through a hell of an ordeal resulting from someone else on a train recognising him and striking up a conversation, Guy gets up and goes to another compartment without saying a word.
* WeNeedADistraction: Babs distracts the cops after the tennis match long enough for Guy to slip by them and into the cab.
* YoureInsane: Variations of the phrase are frequently used by Guy to describe Bruno, much to his chagrin.

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