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The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009)

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Armed men hijack a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage in return for a ransom, and turning an ordinary day's work for dispatcher Walter Garber into a face-off with the mastermind behind the crime.

Director:

Tony Scott

Writers:

Brian Helgeland (screenplay), John Godey (novel)
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2,237 ( 1,249)
1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Denzel Washington ... Walter Garber
John Travolta ... Ryder
Luis Guzmán ... Phil Ramos (as Luis Guzman)
Victor Gojcaj Victor Gojcaj ... Bashkin
Robert Vataj Robert Vataj ... Emri
John Turturro ... Camonetti
Michael Rispoli ... John Johnson
Ramon Rodriguez ... Delgado
James Gandolfini ... Mayor
John Benjamin Hickey ... Deputy Mayor LaSalle
Alex Kaluzhsky ... George
Gbenga Akinnagbe ... Wallace
Katherine Sigismund ... Mom
Jake Siciliano ... 8-Year-Old Boy
Jason Butler Harner ... Mr. Thomas
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Storyline

In early afternoon, four armed men hijack a subway train in Manhattan. They stop on a slight incline, decoupling the first car to let the rest of the train coast back. Their leader is Ryder; he connects by phone with Walter Garber, the dispatcher watching that line. Garber is a supervisor temporarily demoted while being investigated for bribery. Ryder demands $10 million within an hour, or he'll start shooting hostages. He'll deal only with Garber. The mayor okays the payoff, the news of the hostage situation sends the stock market tumbling, and it's unclear what Ryder really wants or if Garber is part of the deal. Will hostages, kidnappers, and negotiators live through this? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

train | hostage | subway | hijack | ransom | See All (117) »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and pervasive language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | Ukrainian

Release Date:

12 June 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Taking of Pelham 123 See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$23,373,102, 12 June 2009

Gross USA:

$65,452,312

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$150,166,126
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The production team worked closely with the MTA and was given access to the MTA control room for research. See more »

Goofs

When Garber is instructed by Lt. Staley in the use of the Walther PPK .380 he is told that the safety is on when the lever is up and off when it is down. This is the opposite of the safety's actual operation. When the lever is up, exposing a red dot, the safety is off. When down it is in the SAFE position. See more »

Quotes

Ryder: I talked to God.
Walter Garber: That's good, what did he say?
Ryder: He said I should trust in Him, all others pay cash. How soon can you get it down here?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film starts with the picture way in the distance and it slowly approaches, making it appear as if the audience is in a subway tunnel. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Nostalgia Critic: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014 (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

99 Problems
Written by Leslie West (as Leslie Weinstein), John Ventura, Norman Smart (as Norman Landsberg), Felix Pappalardi, Billy Squier, Ice-T (as Ice T), Alphonso Henderson and George Clinton (as George Clinton, Jr.)
Performed by Jay Z
Courtesy of Roc-A-Fella Records/The Island Def Jam Music Group
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
Contains a sample of "Long Red"
Performed by Mountain
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Entertainment
Also contains a sample of "The Big Beat"
Performed by Billy Squier
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Pelham Offers Quite a Ride!
12 June 2009 | by dglinkSee all my reviews

The new Tony Scott movie gives one helluva ride, but don't sit and analyze the plot for credibility during the closing credits, this is not that kind of movie. Four sleazy thugs, who could be spotted as bad guys by a blind man, hijack a Lexington Avenue subway and take passengers as hostages. A ransom-for-hostages negotiation begins via radio between the driver's compartment on the train and the central control center for the New York City subway system. The premise is hardly new territory, and, for those who have seen the Walter-Matthau-Robert-Shaw version of the John Godey novel, the film is even less original.

However, for audiences that want a night out at the movies with a rousing action flick, "The Taking of Pelham 123" will fill the bill nicely. The editing is often frenetic, and the camera moves even during dialog-heavy scenes. The chases are fast paced, the car crashes are over the top, and the bloody scenes are properly bloody. While all of this is enough for some mindless entertainment, four excellent performances enhance the proceedings and make the film seem better than it is. John Travolta pulls out the stops as Ryder, the head hijacker, and, in his full wacko persona, steals his every scene. As the man on the other end of the phone, bespectacled Denzel Washington, dressed down in everyman frumpy, is quiet and assured, although nothing quite suggests that the character of Walter Garber will or could rise to his climactic actions. James Gandolfini plays the mayor with a sly sense of fun, and John Turturro is a hard-to-gauge hostage negotiator. "Pelham" is a man's movie, and the women are relegated to small, peripheral roles as wives, conductors, and hostages. How refreshing the film might have been if Scott had cast a female in one of the four main roles.

However, whatever the movie's flaws, and there are many, "The Taking of Pelham 123" does what it sets out to do: entertain and engage the audience for two hours. Don't expect more, and you won't be disappointed, and, in a summer movie, "Pelham's" assets are exactly what most of us are looking for anyway.


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