The scenes with the gun pointing at the audience and the train rushing towards the audience had audiences at the time screaming in fear, then laughing in relief.
The movie was directed and photographed by Edwin S. Porter--a former Thomas Edison cameraman. The movie starred A.C. Abadie, Gilbert M. "Bronco Billy" Anderson and George Barnes, although there were no credits.
The film has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.
An unrelated film, The Great Train Robbery (1979) was directed by Michael Crichton and based on his novel of the same name. The story was a caper novel set in the late 19th century about an ingenious plot to rob a gold train. It features many picturesque characters and scenes of the Victorian era, particularly the criminal mobs of the time. The film starred Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland.
The Great Train Robbery of 1963 was a real-life event unrelated to either film.