7.7/10
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The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)

Trailer
2:27 | Trailer
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)
Reviews
Popularity
3,671 ( 2,491)
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:

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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the scene where the two officers arrive at the subway station to deliver the ransom money, one can glimpse the bright neon sign of the Belmore Cafeteria across the street. This establishment played a more prominent role in another classic 1970s film, Taxi Driver (1976), as the place where the cabbies would take their breaks during shifts. See more »

Goofs

When Pelham 1-2-3 initially enters 28th St., car 7339 is clean. As the train leaves the station after being hijacked, red splotches are visible on 7339. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Blue: You a policeman?
[cop nods]
Mr. Blue: Well done. The mayor will go to your funeral.
[Mr. Blue raises his gun and points it at the cop's head]
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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

Featured in Stars of the Silver Screen: Walter Matthau (2016) See more »

User Reviews

 
My favorite crime drama of the '70s. Maybe ever.
5 February 2004 | by GregCnAZ-1See all my reviews

With all the other plot summaries written here, I won't go into what this film is all about. I just want to say that I don't believe this genre has been done better, either before or since. I first saw "Pelham 1,2,3" when I was 14 at a drive-in theater in Northern CA. It holds a memorable place for me as the first R rated movie I ever saw, as well as the first time I ever heard the "F" word in a movie. But way beyond that, I was so completely sucked into the story even at my young age. Now all these years later, I still am. I own the movie and must see it periodically. I'm so glad, reading all the other user comments, to find that I'm just one of many who absolutely love this film. Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam, and the rest of the cast are all brilliant. The comedy in the film is also outstanding and never out of place within the storyline. It simply serves to make the film more realistic. And last but not least, David Shire's score is the coolest. I only wish they had put a soundtrack out for this film. When I watch this movie, the music must be cranked.

Don't bother catching this film on TV. It's always completely hacked up. Rent it or buy the DVD. It will remind you just how much fun movies used to be.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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)
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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