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.
An ambitious reporter gets in way-over-his-head trouble while investigating a senator's assassination which leads to a vast conspiracy involving a multinational corporation behind every event in the worlds headlines.
Alan J. Pakula
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
Appearing in a small role in the film was Lucy Saroyan who was the daughter of writer William Saroyan and step-daughter of the film's co-lead star Walter Matthau. Moreover, also appearing in the film was another of Matthau's relatives, Michelle Matthow', his niece. 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 »
Every time I put this one on and watch it, I feel like I'm sitting in the front seat of a bad-a** roller coaster about to go on the ride of my life. This movie grabs you by the neck and forces you down into the dirty, dank subway and onto that terror-filled car. New York City in the '70s; what joy! This movie feels gritty and almost has a semi-documentary smell to it. The acting is top-notch; Matthau's Garber and Shaw's 'Mr. Blue' play a nice little game of mental cat-and-mouse that will please even the most cynical viewer. Oh, one more thing... the theme music rocks out loud!
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