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:

Joseph Sargent

Writers:

John Godey (novel), Peter Stone (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Walter Matthau ... Lt. Garber
Robert Shaw ... Blue
Martin Balsam ... Green
Hector Elizondo ... Grey
Earl Hindman ... Brown
James Broderick ... Denny Doyle
Dick O'Neill ... Correll
Lee Wallace ... The Mayor
Tom Pedi ... Caz Dolowicz
Beatrice Winde Beatrice Winde ... Mrs. Jenkins
Jerry Stiller ... Lt. Rico Patrone
Nathan George ... Ptl. James
Rudy Bond ... Police Commissioner
Kenneth McMillan ... Borough Commander (as Kenneth Mc Millan)
Doris Roberts ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film has a 100% rating based on 38 critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. See more »

Goofs

When Mr. Green first catches the 6 Train at 59th street, the train has storm door with no roll down windows, while in later scenes, the storm doors do have roll down windows. See more »

Quotes

Inspector Daniels: Garber, I just had a terrible thought: suppose they're not on the train? What if they set the throttle and jumped off? While we're chasing the train, they're sneaking out of an emergency exit somewhere behind us.
Lt. Garber: Ingenious thought, sir, except for one thing: it's impossible.
Inspector Daniels: Why?
Lt. Garber: Little gizmo known as a dead man's feature. It was built into the controller handle in case a motorman should ever drop dead. The controller handle has to have a man's hand pressing down on it hard at all times. Otherwise...
[...]
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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 »

User Reviews

 
What a Thrill!
1 November 2004 | by lancaster2778See all my reviews

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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

14 November 1974 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

El tomar de Pelham uno dos tres See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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