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
Composer David Shire was asked to extend the end credits piece of score to allow for extra time/credits added in. His then wife, Talia Shire, suggested that he write in an adaption of the theme that reflected a more romantic view of New York city, to contrast the gritty sounds used for the film's main score. David Shire adopted this approach in the extended passage. See more »
The action takes place on the local downtown Lexington Avenue Line, which terminates at the abandoned City Hall loop station, just past Brooklyn Bridge station. While the fact that the train in the film runs to the inner loop at South Ferry (where some express trains terminate) may appear to be a goof, the hijackers request that the switches be set in order to put them in the South Ferry loop - and there is indeed a switch onto the downtown express tracks, right before the Brooklyn Bridge station. At the time the film was made, the Lexington 5 and 6 lines went to South Ferry station. That section of track is still there but no longer in use. See more »
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 »
I am biased a little with this film to begin with, as I live in NYC and am a big subway fan. So a gritty 70's flick that takes place in a NYC subway sounds good to me! But the truth is, this film is a great film full of extremely talented actors with a dynamite story. Shaw and Matthau are the obvious stars with everyone else putting in a good co-starring role.
The story takes place on the "6" train no less, which happens to be my fave subway line! It was a great surprise when I found the DVD for only ten bucks, I would have paid a normal price. And the quality of the DVD transfer is VERY nice. The film, though a bit brutal sometimes, even has some decent humor, even the ending is kinda funny, but perfect. I recently watched this on TV, just to compare the two versions and see where all the cuts and edits were. You can't go wrong with this film.
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