The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) - Action, Crime, Thriller

Hohum Score



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?

IMDB: 7.7
Director: Joseph Sargent
Stars: Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw
Length: 104 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 8 out of 194 found boring (4.12%)

One-line Reviews (127)

This is a splendid film from a time when exciting movies still tried to mirror the real world instead of mimicking amusement park rides.

However, in spite of this, the movie is still entertaining, due in large part to a terrific cast of acting veterans and regulars, including Marty Balsam, Hector Elizando, and Earl Hindmen ("Wilson" on TV's 'Home Improvement') who portray the hijackers, and Jerry Stiller, James Broderick, and many other familiar faces serving as Matthau's support team.

It's as exciting as the chase sequence in "Bullitt".

New York City in its bankrupt "Ford To City: Drop Dead" period offers a compelling backdrop to the story of four desperate men who launch a scheme to make the city pay a million dollars by taking a subway car and its passengers hostage.

A sincere and well-meaning screenplay , as Peter Stone's snappy script hardly needs to resort to the foul-mouthed language it sometimes uses .

The blend is smooth, being funny when it needs to be, thrilling when it needs to be, and just plain entertaining from beginning to end.

Take a simple hijacking plot, mix in some of the finest actors on screen and you get an underrated and exciting action movie that will absorb you to the end.

Solid Exciting Thriller .

All in all, I just thought it was a gripping, exhilarating ride of a movie, unfairly overlooked and worthy of plaudits which somehow seemed to pass it by on original release.

I watched that modern remake myself but I got bored with it within minutes.

"The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3" is an exciting, suspense thriller involving the hijacking of a subway car one afternoon in New York City.

Further enhanced by Owen Roizman's crisp widescreen cinematography, given an extra kinetic kick by David Shire's driving'n'dynamic score, and topped off by a priceless last image, this honey rates highly as one of the all-time best and most exciting nail-biters from the gloriously gritty 1970's.

I had forgotten what a thrilling, exciting, and often uproariously funny gem of a thriller this movie was, and it still holds up beautifully almost four decades later.

Highly recommend if you are looking for an edgy / fast paced action, comedy, drama!

Many action pictures bore us with unneeded car chase scenes, shoot-em-ups, explosions and other mayhems that are used as filler when true creativity comes up short.

the movie has some suspense and has 1 really thrilling sequence.

I won't give away too much more, but at the crisis point the subway car is rigged so that it will go from Times Square to South Ferry (roughly fifty City blocks or so) with nothing but green signals so that it will not only not stop, but will pick up speed and eventually we are faced with a runaway subway car, screaming hostages, police rendered impotent, and a chiller of a denouement that ends at the final moment with an unexpected laugh (I won't tell you what it is; it would be too much of a spoiler).

Well written (very intelligent, VERY tense and darkly funny) exciting and memorable--this is a great film to watch...

a Pelham 1-2-3) is a riveting suspense movie that builds on great acting, a fine script, and an amazing story line!

Exciting, classic .

This has got to be one of the best movies of all time - The story is riveting - a bunch of crooks and a disgruntled sacked train driver hijack a subway train (pelham 123) with about a dozen people on board and they're not afraid to turn their guns on their hostages if their demands of $1,000,000 in an hour isn't met.

So recently I bought the DVD and when I watched it again I was bored to death!

Enjoyable .

Academy Award winning scenarist Peter Stone of "Father Goose" as well as "Mirage" and "Arabesque," based his riveting screenplay on author John Godey's bestselling novel.

I had been led to believe that this was supposed to be an exciting, suspenseful drama about the hi-jacking of a subway tray in Manhattan.

It is an intense ride and both Denzel Washington and John Travolta shine.

You will literally be on the edge of your seat, wondering where the next plot twist will take you.

He was backed up by a mafia reject, the crazed and unpredictable Mr. Gray who couldn't wait to show who was boss and was keen to rack up a body count, or as he put it "get on the scoreboard"!

The film finds humor in the most unexpected places and the tension is built from the very first frame.

When watching "Pelham" it's easy to see why it was remade twice: a gripping storyline, intriguing characters, an event that could easily happen forty years ago, or twenty years from now.

It's a fascinating story with a lot of local color and a perfect distillation of suspense.

The hair-gripping suspense is the major element for this type of film, and it may last more than an hour to prepare for the unexpected to happen.

I have never seen a movie portray a cop that, at the same time, is so realistic as a human being, entertaining as a character, and effective as a detective despite inevitable false starts.

All in all absorbing viewing with a great bunch of 70's character actors.

Thoroughly gripping despite glum production...

The film was adapted from a novel by Morton Freedgood {writing under the pseudonym John Godey}, and features an excellent cast in Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw and Martin Balsam, as well as – in an unexpected treat for fans of TV comedy – Jerry Stiller ("Seinfeld") and Earl Hindman ("Home Improvement").

Then once the movie began, I was on the edge of my seat all the way to the end.

The filmmakers waste no time in thrusting you into the middle of the action.

"White Lightning" director Joseph Sargent's "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three" ranks as an exciting, intelligent, white-knuckled suspense thriller about the most unlikely hijacking in criminal history.

The film is fast paced and thrilling in this race against time.

But you don't have to be from New York, or even familiar with the inner workings of a city subway system, to be captivated by Joseph Sargent's brilliant and exciting creation, with a sensational script by Peter Stone, and Owen Roizman's marvelous camera-work, a particularly notable accomplishment since, this story being set in the subway, much of the action has perforce to take place in the dark or semi-dark.

I watched this movie again recently after a number of years and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Filled with exciting moments and heart-pounding suspense.

The characters are well developed and believable, the dialog crackles, and the situations, although improbable, are realistic enough to keep us on the edge of our seat.

As well as being very tight, gripping and a movie that keeps you guessing throughout, it lays on the humour too, a wonderfully sharp and cutting New Yawk kind of humour.

Exciting, realistic, simple, gritty.

With a terrific screenplay by Peter Stone and brilliant direction from Joseph Sargent, (it's easily the best thing he's ever done), "The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three" is still one of the most enjoyable heist movies ever made, (in this case, heist as in the hijacking of a subway train).

Matched with an exciting score- the 12-tone funk jazz piece by David Shire- this is a classic piece of action cinema.

Riveting support cast is frankly excellent , such as James Broderick , Doris Roberts , Julius Harris , Kenneth McMillan , and best of the rest : Dick O'Neill , Jerry Stiller and Tony Roberts as a straight-talking deputy mayor , among others .

The movie also doesn't feature any big action sequences or chases in it, to make the movie more exciting in parts.

There are a few other minor plot quibbles, and for some reason, we are never actually shown a key piece of machinery that enables the bad guys to make their escape, but overall, this is a fun, fast-moving thriller.

This is a first-rate, on the edge of your seat movie.

Exciting 70's action .

It's funny, gripping, and, most of all, entertaining.

A thrilling heist movie and a love letter to the New York City of our imaginations .

Speaking of evocative turns, Matthau pretty much mans it up too, throwing politically incorrect barbs all the way, while Jerry Stiller is very much himself, and Hector Elizondo playing the kind of character we have not seen him play in a long, long time, wishing he'd had more screen time.

This well-polished crime movie is filled with exciting moments and heart-pounding suspense.

All Aboard for this Classic Riveting Thriller .

Walter Matthau headlines a superb cast in this adrenaline charged, roller coaster ride.

Having passed on this film on a number of occasions over the years because I didn't think it was my "cup of tea", I finally bowed to curiosity and was engulfed and gripped by the witty, fast paced dialogue and tense action it contained.

The movie was really entertaining and I can see why it was well received when it came out.

Rather enjoyable .

This action packed film is lead by brilliant cast of Walter Mattau, Robert Shaw, & Martin Balsam.

""The Taking of Pelham One Two Three" is a perfect example of a tension filled, wonderfully constructed, and extremely entertaining thriller.

Never Letting Up, and if You can Forgive the Hyperbolic, Unlikable Characters (Mayor, Cops, and Transit Authorities) who all seem to be Straining to Stand Out among the many Stereotypical New Yorkers Populating the Frame, it can be an Exciting and Entertaining Movie.

They exhibit strong New York personalities which are fascinating to watch.

It's simple and straightforward and fast-paced and exciting and features excellent performances, particularly from Walter Matthau, who takes control of the situation for the Transit Police as Lt.

This was a brilliant and thrilling action thriller movie from the 1970's.

It is the tension between these two characters that keep you on the edge of your seat - not the action of which there is very little.

and most of all, a realistic and engrossing storyline.

For a while in the story, until the train starts to move again, not much goes on, but what does go on is meticulous, and therefore even more suspenseful.

It's also interesting to note that the villains give themselves code names involving colours , an idea that Taratino referenced blatantly in RESERVIOR DOGS All in all this is a very enjoyable thriller mainly down to the fact that in the 1970s no one who produced a movie thought along the lines of " Oh we'd better not say that in case we upset anyone " .

The twists and turns of this movie kept me on the edge of my seat.

POSSIBLE SPOILER COMMENTS ******WARNING****** POSSIBLE SPOILER COMMENTS I saw this movie for the first time this week and enjoyed it immensely.

I appreciated the comedy relief being added to this exciting film because the feeling turns more episodic for its increased value, and this special blend of formula works.

Fine blend of action, comedy and some clever situations in this entertaining heist flick that served as a key element in Quentin Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs" in using his crooks relying on the color-coded aliases attributed to this film's characters.

It is neither exciting nor suspenseful,It was done in a very crude,insulting,offensive manner.

It's not filled with pyrotechnics, breathtaking chase scenes, and characters that defy our ability to believe.

Director Joseph Sargent makes something that's very exciting, intense and unpredictable from what could look rather ordinarily plain on paper.

The very last scene of the movie also left me a bit empty.

It is totally understandable as to why they would do a remake of this film, the flawless itemization to this suspenseful and comedic thriller was absolutely amazing!!

Otherwise, this a movie is well worth the watch.

An edge of the seat, intriguing crime thriller about four men who hijack a subway train and demand $1,000,000 for the release of the train and its passengers.

)Now for my take on the film: fun, suspenseful and intriguing.

Quite gritty and unpredictable, filled with moments of genuine intrigue.

This was a highly enjoyable and energetic hostage film, after all; who's ever gonna come up the idea of stealing a subway train?

In fact the whole cast is a microcosm of the ethnic strains of New York City which makes the film so enjoyable, especially to one who lived there, the first 49 years of his life.

No how many times I watch this, I am still on the edge of my seat.

Overall, I found "The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three" to be a fairly enjoyable crime thriller.

This is one fast paced movie, that also is very pleasant to watch thanks to its light comical undertone and of course excellent actors that are present in this movie.

Despite everything, the movie remains relatively enjoyable: the cast is rather good, the movie is quite dynamic, its outcome arouse a certain curiosity and you even surprise yourself laughing to the few well tought-out touches of humour.

The police are slow-moving slobs mired in attitude and bureaucratic formality...

But it never seems like it, as the rapid pacing of the script take care of any possible lulls.

Director Joseph Sargent keeps the gripping story racing along at a breathless swift pace, generates plenty of nerve-wracking tension, and offers a pungent evocation of 1970's New York City in all its brash, loud, rude, and seedy glory.

Fast Moving, Exciting Seventies Thriller..What a Ride.

Exciting and simple action/thriller.

I just kept wondering about that as I continued to watch this engrossing film regarding terror on the subways.

Thrilling and moving musical score by David Shire in Lalo Schifrin style .

They, along with their prisoner-passengers, are a strange mix, creating unpredictable conflicts.

Gripping nailbiter about the ransoming of a NYC train .

All in all, an entertaining story and great flashback to early '70's cop thrillers.

David Shire's masterful score will keep you on the edge of your seat whenever it starts up, and the editing by Gerald B.

The acting, the directing, and the fast paced cinematography of New York City in this film were all fantastic!!

The movie is worth watching anyway.

Even the most realistic thriller was quite predictable by the early '70s and most have not aged well.

see it again and watch closely for Shaw's intense performance.

Exciting, suspenseful, dramatic .

It doesn't boast wall to wall action, instead focusing on telling an actual story, but when the action scenes do take place, they're utterly gripping and nail biting.

The villains are a fascinating lot.

The acting performances where superb, the script was tight and the whole was a finely compiled and thoroughly enjoyable film.

Even if you're not a transit freak, Watch this one for an exciting, dramatic thriller!

I found it unwatchable on my DLP projector because it was too blurry and over-processed.

Was it coincidence that he bore a great resemblance to Ed Koch, who was elected three years later?

I watched it again and still found it to be very entertaining.

For what we get is an authentic looking thriller that might not be spectacular, but it's starkly intense and littered with hard-bitten wit.

He could have added a romantic subplot with some pretty young thing being one of the hostages wishing her heroic boyfriend cop will jump over high-speed carriages or leap through windows to save her before the bomb goes off with a second to spare (yawn)!

Though implausible, the film is quite entertaining, as the suspense builds and reaches a satisfactory if unspectacular climax.

Full of snappy and rather salty dialogue, plenty of suspense, and black comedy, THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE-TWO-THREE offers up a solid contrast between Matthau and Shaw, which keeps the film moving through the slow spots, what few there are.

An all-star-cast lends powerful interpretations to this fascinating movie .

Simply well written, snappy, dialogue, complimented by an intelligent dramatic plot.

The Taking of Pelham 123 is one of the most enjoyable and upbeat movies I've seen in a while.

Sargent directed as TV as cinema films with enjoyable results .

Taught Thriller - Worth Watching .

I particularly enjoyed the negotiating between Matthau and Shaw which was riveting as well as entertaining.

It's an enjoyable movie, all around.

A fast and stylish movie with very fine pacing that keeps things on the edge of your seat .

The scenary is great, with a gripping script and fantastic acting - I can't believe I never heard of this movie before!!