17 user 6 critic

SUBWAYStories: Tales from the Underground (1997)

The actual experiences of New York City subway riders are dramatized in a collection of 10 intriguing and very different vignettes. The tales showcase an ensemble of familiar faces, and ... See full summary »


Adam Brooks (segment), John Guare (segment) | 9 more credits »
2 wins. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Bill Irwin ... Bill Irwin (segment "Subway Car from Hell")
KRS-One ... Vendor (segment "Subway Car from Hell") (as Kris Parker 'KRS-One')
Tina North Tina North ... Grandmother (segment "Subway Car from Hell")
Paul Lazar ... Mr. Nervous (segment "Subway Car from Hell")
Andre B. Blake ... Knish Buyer (segment "Subway Car from Hell")
Anthony S. Calypso Anthony S. Calypso ... Knish Buyer (segment "Subway Car from Hell")
Robert W. Castle ... Knish Buyer (segment "Subway Car from Hell")
Marlon Cherry Marlon Cherry ... Musician (segment "Subway Car from Hell")
Carl J. Ferrazza Carl J. Ferrazza ... Hot Dog Buyer (segment "Subway Car from Hell")
Daniel Freedman Daniel Freedman ... Strange Man (segment "Subway Car from Hell")
Marc Mueller Marc Mueller ... Musician (segment "Subway Car from Hell")
Paul Mueller Paul Mueller ... Musician (segment "Subway Car from Hell")
Simon Seven Simon Seven ... Musician (segment "Subway Car from Hell")
Joe Toutebon ... Knish Buyer (segment "Subway Car from Hell") (as Joseph Toutebon)
Daniel Wolff Daniel Wolff ... Knish Buyer (segment "Subway Car from Hell")


The actual experiences of New York City subway riders are dramatized in a collection of 10 intriguing and very different vignettes. The tales showcase an ensemble of familiar faces, and range from stories of compassion and love to reflections on violence and loss. Among them: a disabled beggar quarrels with a woman and ruins her shoes with his wheelchair, provoking onlookers to wrath and pity; a skittish tourist proves to be her own worst enemy; a newlywed trysts with a mysterious sexpot; a commuter helplessly witnesses a suicide attempt; and, in the most affecting segment, a young woman grieves over her mother's imminent death. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Every ride is as unpredictable as the city itself. See more »




TV-MA | See all certifications »






Release Date:

17 August 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Subway Stories See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Spike Lee directed a segment titled "Niggericans" but it did not make the final cut. See more »


Tucker gets off at the 7th avenue stop, noted by the signs on the brick pole, but at the top, the sign hanging from the ceiling is revealing the actual true stop, which looked to be Church Avenue. See more »


Old Man (segment "The 5:24"): As the hooker once said, "If they pay you for it, it's not love."
See more »

Crazy Credits

The camera pans around and breaks the fourth wall by showing the crew during the closing credits. See more »


Featured in Venice Report (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

A little bit of unforgettable urban poetry.
9 September 2001 | by EThompsonUMDSee all my reviews

Like the few other viewers of "Subway Stories: Tales from the Underground" who bothered to comment on this wonderful HBO "indie" film, I came upon it by chance (well, channel-surfing to tell the truth) and immediately became enthralled. A series of shorts held together by the NYC subway setting (obviously), by a wonderful framing device that brings the work to a highly satisfying and affirmative conclusion, and by a shared sense of found life, the effect of the whole is even greater than the individual parts although some of those were unforgettable.

Each of the stories were, like life, completely unpredictable and most were left open-ended: Was the stock-tipster (Jerry Stiller) a con-man or an unacknowledged financial genius? Was the beggar (Dennis Leary) a bitter Vietnam Vet or the cynical system-beater he was accused of being by the Lady in the Red Shoes (Christine Lahti)? Would the pregnant woman (Anne Heche) jump into the oncoming subway and would the calloused New Yorker with the headphones (Gregory Hines)notice, care, try to stop her? I could never guess any of the resolutions or stop wondering about their significance.

The structure of "Subway Stories" is somewhat analogous to the loosely connected short stories in Joyce's collection, "Dubliners." Each segment is a little slice of life that builds not to a rousing climax, but to an understated epiphany in which either we, a character, or both share a moment of truthful revelation. Although not all the stories are equally developed or intriguing, the whole production is characterized by first rate ensemble acting and direction. There's some great music too.

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