Anthony Sadler

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Anthony Sadler
Anthony Sadler in 2015.png
Sadler in 2015.
Born Anthony Sadler Jr.
July 13, 1992
Sacramento, California, United States
Nationality American
Alma mater California State University, Sacramento (2012–2017; B.S. in kinesiology)[1]
Occupation Actor · television personality · writer
Years active 2015–present
Known for Stopping a gunman on a Paris-bound train travelling from Amsterdam via Brussels in August 2015
  • Anthony "Tony" Sadler Sr.[2] (father)

Anthony Sadler Jr. (born July 13, 1992) is an American actor, television personality and writer. Sadler, along with Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone, stopped a gunman on a Paris-bound train travelling from Amsterdam via Brussels in August 2015, gaining international recognition for their role in the event. Recognized by then-U.S. President Barack Obama and French President François Hollande, Sadler received several awards and decorations for his actions. He, along with his friends, was awarded the Legion of Honour by the French president which is the highest French order for military and civil merits. After the event, Sadler made several television appearances, including a guest appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and honored with the 2016 Spike Guys Choice Award on Spike TV, among other appearances. He, Skarlatos and Stone co-authored a memoir, titled The 15:17 to Paris, published in August 2016, which detailed the events leading up to the attack, which occurred a year prior to the release of the book. Clint Eastwood directed a biographical film with the same title based on Sadler, Skarlatos and Stone's memoir, starring them, along with actresses Jenna Fischer and Judy Greer. The film was released in early 2018 by Warner Bros. Pictures. Sadler graduated from California State University, Sacramento in 2017.

2015 Thalys train attack[edit]

On August 21, 2015, Sadler and his childhood friends Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone, were traveling together during a sightseeing vacation in Europe when they boarded Thalys train 9364 from Amsterdam bound to Paris via Brussel.[3] A 25-year-old Moroccan man, believed to be Ayoub El-Khazzani,[4] was in train car No. 12, armed with an AKM assault rifle and equipped with 270 rounds of ammunition.[5] Another passenger tackled the gunman, but failed to stop him.[4] Sadler reported that they heard a gunshot and breaking glass behind them, seeing an employee sprint down the aisle followed by a man with an automatic rifle.[6] Stone woke up from the breaking glass, with Skarlatos telling Stone to "go".[7] Stone tackled the armed suspect, and was stabbed in the neck and eyebrow and almost lost his thumb.[6] Skarlatos took action and seized the assailant's rifle, beating him in the head with the muzzle of it until he was unconscious.[8] Skarlatos stated that "I was thinking about survival," and "[i]t was to survive and for everybody else on the train to make it."[9] Sadler and British man Chris Norman helped to subdue the gunman. Sadler stated that "He was just telling us to give back his gun... But we just carried on beating him up and immobilised him and that was it."[10]

International recognition[edit]

Sadler, in an interview, talks about his experience in the aftermath of the 2015 Thalys train attack.

After the event, Sadler, Skarlatos and Stone received international attention for their actions in preventing the attack. French president François Hollande awarded Sadler, his friends Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone, as well as a British businessman and a French lecturer, France's highest decoration, Knights of the Legion of Honour (Chevaliers de la Légion d'honneur).[11] Hollande said the men "faced [off] with terror" and that they "gave us a lesson in courage, in will, and therefore in hope".[11] French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve praised them for their bravery, as well as then-British Prime Minister David Cameron.[12]

The White House expressed gratitude for "courage and quick thinking of several passengers, including U.S. service members, who selflessly subdued the attacker..."[13] U.S. President Barack Obama telephoned the three Americans, thanking them for their heroic actions.[14] General Philip M. Breedlove of the U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, added his voice, calling the three Americans heroes for their actions which "clearly illustrate the courage and commitment our young men and women have all the time, whether they are on duty or on leave."[15]

Kevin Johnson, mayor of Sacramento, California, held a parade to honor Skarlatos, Sadler, Stone, and the victims of the September 11 attacks.[16] Stone was awarded a United States Air Force Airman's Medal and a Purple Heart at a ceremony held at The Pentagon[17]; Sadler was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Valor.[18]

Career and public image[edit]

Shortly after the foiling of the 2015 Thalys train attack earlier that year, Sadler made an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon with host Jimmy Fallon in September 2015, discussing his role in disarming the gunman.[19] Months later in 2016, Sadler, Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone started working on a memoir, titled The 15:17 to Paris, detailing the events of the train attack.[20] Perseus Books Group, which published the book, described the memoir as “the gripping true story of a terrorist attack that would have killed more than 500 people if not for their actions, but it is also the story of three American boys, their friendship, and the values we hold dear.” David Steinberger, president and chief executive of Perseus Books Group, said that he was “confident that this is going to be a film. It’s extremely cinematic, and there’s a lot of interest in the movie.”[20] He further stated, "based on the material, that this was going to be an important book and one that readers were really going to respond to.”[20] The memoir was made available to the public on August 23, 2016, almost a year after the 2015 Thalys train attack.[21] Sadler made an appearance on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in October 2016 as a part of a special "Hometown Heroes" week. Playing as a team with Skarlatos and Stone, they won $250,000.[22] In July 2017, it was announced that Clint Eastwood would direct the upcoming biographical film titled after Stone, Skarlatos and Sadler's memoir, starring them, along with actresses Jenna Fischer and Judy Greer. Filming began on July 11, 2017 and the film was released on February 9, 2018.[23] When asked about casting the trio as themselves in the film, Eastwood stated that he was considering casting actors "But I kept looking at the faces of these young just struck me that it would be an interesting experiment."[24]



Year Title Role Notes
2015 The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Himself Guest appearance and interview with Jimmy Fallon
2016 Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Himself Guest appearance on the show for "Hometown Heroes" week
2018 The 15:17 to Paris Himself Film based on Sadler's memoir of the same title; filming began July 11, 2017

Awards and decorations[edit]


Year Award
Work Category Result Ref
2016 Spike Guys Choice Awards N/A Hero Won


Ribbon Decoration
Secretary of Defense Medal for Valor
Legion of Honour, Knight (France)
Civic Medal for bravery, 1st Class (Belgium)


  1. ^ Chavez, Nashelly (21 May 2017). "French train hero Anthony Sadler celebrates another milestone: Earning a college degree". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 15 December 2017. 
  2. ^ Holloway, Lynette (23 August 2015). "Father of US Train Hero Anthony Sadler Jr. Is 'Relieved' He 'Wasn't Hurt or Killed'". The Root. Retrieved 5 September 2016. 
  3. ^ Sangree, Hudson (23 August 2015). "Carmichael childhood, faith unite friends who stopped train attack". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 5 June 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Barrett, David. "Revealed: The mystery man who tackled AK-47 assault rifle from train gunman". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 June 2016. 
  5. ^ Gary, Melissa; Meilhan, Pierre (22 August 2015). "French train suspect carried two guns, lots of ammo". CNN. Retrieved 5 June 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Trayner, David (23 August 2015). "Heroic airman on France train was napping when gunman attacked". The Independent. Retrieved 5 June 2016. 
  7. ^ Parry, Hannah (7 December 2015). "American hero in Paris train attack says it was 'team effort'". Mail Online. Retrieved 5 June 2016. 
  8. ^ Nossiter, Adam (22 August 2015). "A Shot, a Glimpse of an AK-47, and U.S. Servicemen Pounced on Gunman on Train to France". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 June 2016. 
  9. ^ "French train attack hero Spencer Stone returns to U.S." New York Daily News. Retrieved 5 June 2016. 
  10. ^ Chrisafis, Angelique (22 August 2015). "France train attack: Americans overpower gunman on Paris express". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 February 2018. 
  11. ^ a b Chrisafis, Angelique; Kassam, Ashifa (24 August 2015). "French train attack men receive Légion d'honneur for 'preventing massacre'". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 June 2016. 
  12. ^ "France train shooting: Hollande thanks 'heroes' who foiled gunman". BBC News. 22 August 2015. Retrieved 5 June 2016. 
  13. ^ Ellis, Ralph; King, Jessica; Dailey, Peter; Seshadri, Archith. "2 U.S. service members overpower attacker on train in Belgium". CNN. Retrieved 5 June 2016. 
  14. ^ Karimi, Faith (23 August 2015). "Train shooting heroes: The men who helped avert a massacre in Europe". CNN. Retrieved 5 June 2016. 
  15. ^ "Defense Officials Praise Troops". U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. Washington, DC. Retrieved 5 June 2016. 
  16. ^ Ortiz, Gamaliel (3 September 2015). "Mayor releases details for parade honoring Sacramento heroes". KCRA. Retrieved 5 June 2016. 
  17. ^ "Obama lauds 'train heroes' at White House". Yahoo! News. Washington, DC. 17 September 2015. Retrieved 5 June 2016. 
  18. ^ "Secretary Carter to Present Medals to French Train Attack Heroes". U.S. Department of Defense. 2015-09-17. 
  19. ^ "French Train Hero Anthony Sadler Describes Disarming Gunman with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show" (video). NBC. 1 September 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2018. 
  20. ^ a b c Charles, Ron (20 January 2016). "They saved a train from a terrorist attack; now they have a book deal". The Washington Post. Retrieved 9 June 2016. 
  21. ^ "Anticipation grows for 'The 15:17 To Paris,' by Sacramento train heroes". The Sacramento Bee. 19 August 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2016. 
  22. ^ Fletcher, Ed (28 October 2016). "Millions await French train heroes". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 30 October 2016. 
  23. ^ Kroll, Justin (11 July 2017). "Clint Eastwood Casts Real-Life Heroes in Next Film 'The 15:17 to Paris' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 11 July 2017. 
  24. ^ Collis, Clark (21 November 2017). "First look at Clint Eastwood's terrorist train attack film The 15:17 to Paris". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 13 January 2018. 

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