Armed men hijack a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage in return for a ransom, and turning an ordinary day's work for dispatcher Walter Garber into a face-off with the mastermind behind the crime.
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
Grier is calmer in the novel and in the film, but in the 2009 remake, he's a lot angrier and his name is Ryder like in the novel. See more »
When the gang separates the train and backs it up to separate it from the train, the young conductor says in amazement, "I didn't know these things went backwards." Cute, but this is a very unlikely line from an apprentice conductor "studying to take the motorman's exam." Besides the usual running back and forth while making up trains in the yards, every subway car runs in both directions, because they usually do not turn the train around at the end of the line. Instead, the operator stops at the last station, walks from the former front to the former back, switches controls to the new "front end" and goes back the way he came. So all subway cars spend half of their life "going backwards," as any conductor would know. See more »
Okay, kid, out loud now so's I can hear what you're sayin'.
I'm checkin' the passengers gettin' on and off...
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?
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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 »
Filled with exciting moments and heart-pounding suspense.
Sharp and fast-paced thriller that follows an easy-going N.Y.C. transit cop (Walter Matthau) who's forced to out-match the wits of four well-armed gunmen and their resilient leader (Robert Shaw) who are holding eighteen passengers on a subway train and demand one million dollars within the hour.
Made in the era of smart, stylish, and ingenius thrillers ('70s), this film didn't fail to loose my attention at all. In addition to Matthau and Shaw, the supporting cast (Hector Elizondo, Martin Balsam, Jerry Stiller, Tony Roberts, and so forth) is are just as excellent as the two unflappable leads. This well-polished crime movie is filled with exciting moments and heart-pounding suspense. Plus, there are some quirky one-liners thrown into the story as well.
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