7.7/10
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181 user 80 critic

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)

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?

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)

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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
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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:

No other hijack was ever like his 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:

Pelham  »

Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the novel, Grier gets the idea for the hijacking after reading in the newspaper about two men who stuck up a change booth at a subway station in the Bronx. See more »

Goofs

Departing the 42nd Str. (Express) Station for the 33rd Str. (Local) Sta. those downtown tracks - and only those, receive a switchpoint whereby the 42nd Str."shuttle" joins the Lexinton Avenue line... Those points are shown BUT in the opposite/wrong direction. (Either the scene is using a different set of points somewhere else in the System OR that scene was somehow edited-in to the film BACKWARDS.) See more »

Quotes

Lt. Rico Patrone: Wait a minute. I just figured out how they're going to get away.
Lt. Garber: I'm listening.
Lt. Rico Patrone: They're going to fly the train to Cuba.
Lt. Garber: You're a sick man, Rico.
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 Castle: Kill Switch (2014) 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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