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The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)

7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 18,568 users   Metascore: 68/100
Reviews: 171 user | 71 critic | 4 from Metacritic.com

In New York, armed men hijack a subway car and demand a ransom for the passengers. Even if it's paid, how could they get away?

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Title: The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Lee Wallace ...
Al - the Mayor of New York City
Tom Pedi ...
Beatrice Winde ...
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Nathan George ...
Police Ptl. James
Rudy Bond ...
Phil - Police Commissioner
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Harry - Borough Commander (as Kenneth Mc Millan)
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Jessie - the Mayor's Wife
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Storyline

Four seemingly-unrelated men board subway train Pelham 1:23 at successive stations. Mr. Blue, Mr. Green, Mr. Grey and Mr. Brown are heavily armed and overpower the motorman and novice conductor to take control of the train. Between stations they separate the front car from the remainder of the train, setting passengers in the back cars and the motorman free. The four demand $1 million ransom within exactly one hour for the remaining eighteen hostages, including the conductor. If their demands are not met in time or their directions are not followed precisely, they will begin to shoot hostages dead, one every minute the money is late. Wisecracking Lt. Zach Garber of the transit police ends up being the primary communicator between the hijackers and the authorities, which includes transit operations, his own police force, the NYPD, and the unpopular and currently flu ridden mayor who will make the ultimate decision of whether to pay the ransom. Unknown to Garber, what may be working on ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Everyone read it. Now you can live it. See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

14 November 1974 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

El tomar de Pelham uno dos tres  »

Box Office

Gross:

SEK 1,003,937 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When frustrated by the situation on the subway train, the Mayor blurts out, "Shit, piss, fuck!" These are, in order, the first three of the seven words you can't say on television for which George Carlin is famous. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the film, Patrone and Garber are investigating 9 subway motormen from the list of those fired. Presumably all in one day, they see one in a wheelchair, one at a tollbooth, and Longman. When they're at Longman's apartment door, Garber asks Patrone how many more suspects from the list they still need to see that day. Patrone answers, "6, 7, I don't know." Apparently both of these highly trained and experienced cops have very short memories, or can't count to three. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mr. Mattson: Okay, kid, out loud now so's I can hear what you're sayin'.
Bud Carmody: I'm checkin' the passengers gettin' on and off...
Mr. Mattson: Uh-huh.
Bud Carmody: Front and back. Shuttin' the doors. Rear section first and the first section. And the doors are closed. Now I'm checking my indicator lights to make sure all the doors are locked. I remove my switch key and back out the window for a distance of three car lengths to make sure no one's being dragged. 51st Street next stop; next stop, 51st Street. How'd I do?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Although many of the scenes in this film were taken on transit property, the New York City Transit Authority is not responsible for plot, story and characters portrayed. The Authority did not render technical advice and assistance. See more »

Connections

Referenced in James K. Polk Was @#?!ing Awesome (2009) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Much imitated, never bettered.
21 October 2002 | by (North Hemis) – See all my reviews

Modern tough-guy filmmakers like Quentin Tarentino acknowledge their debt to this pedal-to-the-metal thriller, directed by Joseph Sargent from John Godey's bestseller. Walter Matthau is a hoot as the savvy NY transit cop who's smarter than he looks, well-matched by Robert Shaw as the icy mercenary whose gang has hijacked a subway car for a one-million-dollar ransom.

This film's been imitated so often because its makers were really at the top of their game. Owen Roizman (THE FRENCH CONNECTION) handled the gritty location photography; scripter Peter Stone contributed terse, funny dialogue; scene-stealers like Martin Balsam, Jerry Stiller, Dick O'Neill and others made their roles indelible; and David Shire's percussive score set a standard for the genre.

The ending is classic. When you have Matthau as your star, this is how to end your movie.


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