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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)

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

Photos

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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
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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:

Before this train reaches the next station it will become the scene of the most spectacular hijack ever attempted See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Walter Matthau wears a multi-colored shirt and a yellow tie in this movie. In the film's second remake, The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009), Denzel Washington wears a similar color-schemed wardrobe. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Lt. Garber: Well, the guy who's talking s'got a heavy English accent. He could be a fruitcake.
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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 »

Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #26.100 (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Much imitated, never bettered.
21 October 2002 | by jckruizeSee 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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