7.7/10
23,742
192 user 100 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:

Joseph Sargent

Writers:

John Godey (novel), Peter Stone (screenplay)

Watch Now

With Prime Video

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

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Walter Matthau ... Police Lt. Zachary Garber
Robert Shaw ... Bernard Ryder aka Blue
Martin Balsam ... Harold Longman aka Green
Hector Elizondo ... Giuseppe Benvenuto aka Grey
Earl Hindman ... George Steever aka Brown
James Broderick ... Denny Doyle - Train Conductor
Dick O'Neill ... Frank Correll
Lee Wallace Lee Wallace ... Al - the Mayor of New York City
Tom Pedi ... Caz Dolowicz
Beatrice Winde Beatrice Winde ... Mrs. Jenkins
Jerry Stiller ... Police Lt. Rico Patrone
Nathan George ... Police Ptl. James
Rudy Bond ... Phil - Police Commissioner
Kenneth McMillan ... Harry - Borough Commander (as Kenneth Mc Millan)
Doris Roberts ... Jessie - The Mayor's Wife
Edit

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:

What Do the *!!@X!! Passengers Expect for a Lousy 35 Cents - To Live Forever? See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

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 »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$18,700,000, 31 December 1974
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In the novel, one of the hostages asks the hijackers to let him off at their stop while making an escape. There is also a disobedient boy wanting to be let off that has to be chastised by his mother. See more »

Goofs

As the police car rushes uptown, the same buildings reflect off the car's windows several times. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Green: I think I might die today.
Mr. Blue: That's entirely possible.
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

Remade as Tezz (2012) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
"Pelham 1-2-3 is in motion"
28 May 2007 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

One of my favorite films from the seventies is The Taking of Pelham One, Two Three because it's so New York. Of course the film was shot entirely on location in The Big Apple including the interiors which helped greatly. But more than that, the characters have all the New York flavor about them with one exception.

The cat of course is led by Walter Matthau who plays a Transit Police Lieutenant. His character is a kind of combination of Archie Bunker and Detective Lennie Briscoe from Law and Order, in many ways not terribly admirable. He's also a transit cop and at that time the Transit Police were a separate entity. They were merged into the regular NYPD during the Giuliani administration.

There's no real glory in the Transit Police, these guys were mostly charged with dealing with drunks and kids with loud boom boxes. If a homicide ever occurred the NYPD quickly took it over as they would in most situations. But this ongoing crisis on a train on the Lexington Avenue Local occurs on his watch and it's career make or break case that Matthau is very aware of. And he proves fully capable during the crisis.

The crisis is four men, Robert Shaw, Earl Hindman, Hector Elizondo, and Martin Balsam mount a carefully planned assault on a subway train out of Pelham Bay station in the Bronx in mid-Manhattan and hold it and the passengers for ransom for a million dollars. The outsider to New York is Robert Shaw in one of his best roles, a former British army officer and mercenary. During the course of the robbery they kill a station supervisor played by roly poly Tom Pedi, one very quintessential New Yorker and their coldblooded villainy is established.

In fact the whole cast is a microcosm of the ethnic strains of New York City which makes the film so enjoyable, especially to one who lived there, the first 49 years of his life. Even the mayor is portrayed as a weak, fumbling nonentity and back then our mayor was one Abraham D. Beame who was just that, probably one of the worst mayors the city ever had. Tony Roberts has a very good role as the tough as nails Deputy Mayor concerned about both his boss's political career and resolving the crisis.

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three once the hijack is done is suspense filled and doesn't let up for a moment. I can't give the ending away, but the final shot of Walter Matthau's face as the end title music starts and the credits begin to roll is priceless.


41 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 192 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed