The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) Poster


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  • Four men, who go only by the names Mr Blue (Robert Shaw), Mr Green (Martin Balsam), Mr Gray (Hector Elizondo), and Mr Brown (Earl Hindman), hijack New York City's Pelham 1:23 subway train, take 17 passengers plus the conductor as hostages, and demand $1 million dollars in ransom, and they want it in exactly one hour or they will execute one hostage each minute that the money is late. Lt Zachary Garber (Walter Matthau) of the NYC Transit Police must negotiate with the hijackers, contend with City Hall red tape, and try to identify the hijackers and figure out how they intend to escape, since they are in a tunnel surrounded on all sides by police. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (aka The Taking of Pelham 123) is based on the 1973 novel (same title) by American author Morton Freedgood, writing under the pen name of John Godey. The novel was adapted for the movie by American screenwriter Peter Stone. There have since been two remakes: The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1998) (a television release in 1998) and The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009) (2009). Edit (Coming Soon)

  • "Pelham" refers to a local Manhattan train that departs from Pelham Bay Park. The 1-2-3 refers to the time that it leaves: 1:23. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • In order to assure the safety of the hostages, the mayor (Lee Wallace) agrees to pay the ransom. Unfortunately, it took them almost a half hour to come to that decision. Now they've got only 30 minutes to get and deliver the million dollars. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The dead man feature is a device built into the train that requires a motorman's hand to be pressing the throttle at all times. If it's released, the train stops cold. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Once the money is in their hands, the hijackers start up the train, having found a way to circumvent the dead man feature. They get off the train and backtrack through the tunnel while the train goes forward, picking up speed until the passengers become alarmed and realize that no one is driving the train. On a hunch, Lt Garver and Inspector Daniels (Julius Harris) backtrack to the 17th Street station where the train made a short stop (that's where the hijackers got off). Meanwhile, the train has tripped a red light and stopped at the South Ferry Loop, and all of the passengers are safe. Mr Blue has shot and killed Mr Gray for refusing to relinquish his gun, Mr Green has exited the subway with his share of the money, and a plain clothes policeman, who was among the hostages and managed to get off the train, has shot and killed Mr Brown and been shot by Mr Blue. Just as Mr Blue is about to finish off the policeman, Garver shows up and pulls a gun on Mr Blue. Realizing that he's been caught and learning that New York does not execute criminals, Mr Blue steps on the hot rail and electrocutes himself. Three hijackers accounted for, but who is the fourth? Armed with a list of nine ex-motormen, one of whom could possibly be the fourth hijacker, Garver and Lt Patrone (Jerry Stiller) visit each man on the list, checking their alibis. Harold (Mr Green) Longman's alibi sounds a bit shaky ("I was here sleeping until an hour ago"), and Garver and Patrone are about to leave when Longman suddenly sneezes, and Garver replies "Gesundheit", just as he did several times earlier when he heard Mr Green sneezing over the radio. Edit (Coming Soon)


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