Buster (1988): David Green’s Oscar-Nominated Tale of the Royal Mail Train Robbery

Buster tells the story of a junior robber, Buster Edwards (played by pop singer Phil Collins), in the (in)famous crime known as The Main Train Robbery.

On August 8, 1963, the Royal Mail train, on its nighttime run from London to Glasgow, was robbed by 15 men, who stole 2.6 million pounds.

The film details the planning of the heist, but its main concern is Buster’s relationship with his family and his devotion to his wife June (Oscar nominee Julie Walters).

The Edwards are like a close-knit family, trying to make ends meet in their rental apartment, but instead of a bus driver, Buster is a petty thief.

After the Royal mail train robbery, the Conservative Government, already suffering from the Profumo scandal, uses the train robbery as a means to divert attention from the scandal by bringing the train robbers to justice.

Buster and June go into hiding, before finally escaping to Mexico.  But the Edwards find their money quickly being eaten up and discover that they cannot adapt to the Mexico milieu.

June is homesick, and Buster, wishing to make her happy, offers to return to England and turn himself in to the police.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Song: Two Hearts, music by Lamont Dozier, lyrics by Phil Collins.

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The winner was Carly Simon’s Let the River Run, from the comedy “Working Girl.”


Hemdale Releasing

Running time: 102 mins.

Directed by David Green

DVD: Dec 2, 2003