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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)
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:

1:23pm. Grand Central Station, New York. A packed commuter train is hijacked. A ransom is set - at one million dollars. The subway is a closed system. For the four hijackers, surely there is no way out. But they have a deadly plan... 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)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

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

The movie inspired two songs, Deadly Avenger's "We Took Pelham" and Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machines "The Taking of Peckham One Two Three". Moreover, the Beastie Boys' song "Sure Shot" features a lyric inspired by this film that says: "Well, it's the taking of Pelham, one, two, three / If you want a doodie rhyme then come see me". See more »

Goofs

The relevant section of the Lexington Avenue Line includes curves sharp enough to have speed-controlled signals. As Mr. Green would have known, these cannot be cleared to green in advance of the train's arrival and will not clear if it is running away. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Green: What's your name, motorman?
Denny Doyle: Uh, Denny Doyle.
Mr. Green: Ever get written up?
Denny Doyle: Uh, yes, sir. Once.
Mr. Green: What for?
Denny Doyle: Running a red signal. How about you?
Mr. Green: Twice. Once on the Canarsie...
Mr. Blue: That's right, Mr. Green. Tell Mr. Doyle all about yourself, will you?
See more »

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 Mystery Science Theater 3000: Mitchell (1993) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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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