[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/silverstreak.jpg]]

->''"Getting on the Silver Streak is easy. ''Staying'' on is the problem."''

A 1976 comedy/action/mystery film directed by Arthur Hiller, written by Colin Higgins, and starring Creator/GeneWilder, Jill Clayburgh, and Creator/RichardPryor.

George Caldwell (Wilder) is a book editor traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago via a passenger train nicknamed the "Silver Streak". On board, he meets a vitamin salesman named Bob Sweet (Ned Beatty) and a secretary named Hilly Burns (Clayburgh), whom he quickly romances.

While trying to get intimate with Hilly, George sees the body of Hilly's employer, Professor Schreiner, falling off the roof. When George attempts to investigate, he too is thrown off the train. He eventually makes his way back on the train, and tells Bob Sweet what happened. Sweet reveals that he's actually an FBI agent who's been tailing international art dealer, Roger Devereau ([[Series/DangerMan Patrick]] [[Series/ThePrisoner McGoohan]]), and believes that he's the one responsible for Schreiner's death. Schreiner's new book on Rembrandt would have exposed several of Devereau's prized pieces as frauds. However, Devereau's henchmen [[spoiler: kill Sweet]], and attempt to kill George who escapes the train, hoping to inform the authorities. Unfortunately, Devereau has already framed George for Sweet's death. He is able to evade the police with the aid of a thief named Grover T. Muldoon (Pryor), and must find a way back aboard the Silver Streak to stop Devereau and rescue Hilly.

This was the first of four films that Wilder and Pryor appeared in together.
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!!Tropes seen in ''Silver Streak'':

* AlwaysSaveTheGirl: George's reason for getting back on the train [[spoiler:the second and third times]].
* AndADietCoke: The '70s version: we see two [[BigEater very hefty men]] in the dining car drinking Tab with their meals.
** Later, when exiting the train at the emergency stop, one of them is escaping with a box of Twinkies and other snack foods.
* BerserkButton: Grover's reaction to Devereau dropping the N-Bomb on him... priceless!
* BloodFromTheMouth: [[spoiler: Bob Sweet]] after being shot dies this way while talking to George.
* BookEnds: Provided by the train porter, Ralston:
-->"Goodbye, L.A., goodbye!"
-->"Hello, Chicago, hello!"
* BuzzingTheDeck: Rita's "just itchin'" to buzz some sheep. George is somewhat [[BringMyBrownPants less enthused]].
* ChessMaster: Devereau certainly fancies himself as one, although his supposed mastery is mostly one IndyPloy after another. Bob Sweet (a.k.a. [[spoiler: Agent Stevens]]) is also a ChessMaster, of the CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass variety.
* ClearMyName: As if George didn't have enough to worry about, he's framed for [[spoiler:Sweet's]] murder.
* CloudCuckooLander: Rita Babtree, who encourages George to [[ItMakesSenseInContext "take a tit in each hand and let nature take its course,"]] takes him on [[BuzzingTheDeck a sheep-buzzing dive]] despite [[ImplausibleDeniability his clear discomfort with flying]], and simply ''cannot'' get his name right.
-->'''Rita:''' So long, Steve!
-->'''George:''' (over his shoulder, running for the train) ''George!''
* CoolCar: The Jaguar XK-E that Grover steals from the used car lot, and the Fiat he liberates after the Union Station crash at the end.
-->'''George:''' Are you crazy? I thought we were gonna take the Chevy in the back?
-->'''Grover:''' Chevy? That's a jerk-off, man! This here is ''pure pussy''!
-->'''George:''' "Pure pussy"? Tell that to the judge!
* CoolOldLady: Lucille Benson (who specialized in that kind of role) as Rita Babtree, the crop-duster pilot who gives George a lift after he's ejected from the train the first time.
* CrooksAreBetterArmed: Played straight. The Feds have revolvers. Devereau and his men have what appear to be M-16s.
* DeadfootLeadfoot: [[spoiler:Devereau is killed after taking over the train, but unfortunately there's still a heavy toolbox sitting on the dead-man's pedal (Which would otherwise apply the emergency brakes if not constantly held down.). Modern locomotives use an intermittent alerter system to avoid this potential for abuse.]]
* DumbMuscle: Devereau claims Reace is "like a child."
* EvilKnockoff: Devereau has an EvilMinion who can impersonate Professor Schreiner.
* FictionalCounterpart: [=AMRoad=], for Amtrak. The "Silver Streak" itself is presumably based on Amtrak's "Southwest Chief" train (though the train scenes were actually filmed using the thinly disguised Canadian Pacific Railway "Canadian").
* GiantMook: Reace, played by Richard Kiel.
* Music/HenryMancini: Provided the music score.
* HarpoonGun: George finds one in the cargo car before confronting Reace on top of the Silver Streak and shoots him with it.
* HiddenDepths: Bob Sweet, who at first seems to be a womanizing buffoon, is actually [[spoiler: an undercover government agent chasing the BigBad. In fact, given his first conversation with George, he may even be the ChessMaster.]] Hinted at by how much he knows about Devereau.
* ImplausibleDeniability: George repeatedly denies being afraid of flying, but when we see him in a plane, he's clearly ''very'' uncomfortable. Granted, the fact that [[CloudCuckooLander the pilot]] briefly puts the plane into what must, to him, appear to be [[BuzzingTheDeck a suicidal dive]] may have something to do with it.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Grover, a car thief that George encounters and helps free from arrest about halfway through the film, goes out of his way to help George rescue Hilly instead of simply thinking about his own freedom.
--> '''Grover:''' You forgot your wallet.
--> '''George:''' Thanks. Some thief you are!
* LowClearance: George is knocked off the top of the train by a signal light.
* MagicBrakes: Surprisingly accurate: [[spoiler: uncoupling the cars causes the air lines to break, thus setting off the emergency brakes.]]
* MistakenForCheating: Hilly, when George sees her with Devereau. Granted, they'd only met the night before, but the hurt on George's face is so obvious, even the apparently-besotted Sweet comments on it.
--> '''Sweet:''' Well, what do you expect? She's a hot little number, and he's very heavy competition.
* MoodWhiplash: George and Hilly share a romantic and flirty dinner, retire to bed with more champagne and clear intentions of having sex, then complete with ScareChord, a figure, "shot through the head" falls off the train outside the window.
--> '''George:''' If this is what the DT's are like, I'm giving up the bottle for life!
* OnlySaneMan: George is a simple book editor with a love of gardening, who suddenly finds himself caught in a web of intrigue between government agents, art forgers and a random criminal who becomes his partner as he tries to stop the plot.
* PoliceAreUseless: George's efforts to explain Devereau's plot to TheSheriff prove ineffective.
** Averted when it is revealed that the manhunt for George was a ruse to bring him in and get information on Devereau's plan. Then, sadly, reinstated when the shoot-out at the end is [[TheLopsidedArmOfTheLaw started by the Feds]].
* PoliticallyIncorrectVillain: Devereau drops the N-bomb on Grover.
** Doubles as a PrecisionFStrike.
* RuleOfThree: George is thrown off the train three times. [[RunningGag Each time]] he expresses his frustration with a loud "SONOFABITCH!!!"
* RunawayTrain: Devereau has his men disable the brakes, as they prepare their escape.
* SaltAndPepper: George and Grover.
* ShoeShineMister: The police are looking for George, so Grover buys some shoe polish from a shoeshiner at a stand at the train station to use to [[BlackLikeMe disguise him as a black man]].
* SpiritualSuccessor: To ''Creator/NorthByNorthwest'', which this film's director (Arthur Hiller) and screenwriter (Colin Higgins) admired.
* TheTeetotaler: Professor Schreiner, which [[spoiler:provides Stevens with an important clue to Devereau's plan]].
* ThisIsReality: George is surprised as to how quickly a gun runs out of bullets.
--> '''Grover:''' "[[LampshadeHanging What do think this is,]] [[BottomlessMagazines a Western]]?"
* ThrillerOnTheExpress: The plot doesn't get confined to the train all the time but most is there and the events on the train generate the reasons for George not having anywhere else to go.
* TraintopBattle: George has one of these against Reace about halfway through the film. (Footage from the scene, with Wilder - or rather his stunt double - dangling from an overhead railroad signal, was later incorporated into the opening credits of ''{{Series/The Fall Guy}}''.)
* UnusualEuphemism: "Yeah, I wanna lie back on the grass and have you teach me some more about gardening." Sold by George's reaction.
* WhatAnIdiot: In universe, the shoe shine guy's reaction to George and Grover's shopping spree at his stand, especially seeing as they didn't buy a brush.
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