Total Film - 07/01/2012 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] nervy thriller propelled by a sleazy funk score, drenched in the sweaty intensity of grizzled crims Robert Shaw and Martin Balsam. It's one of the great NYC movies..."
THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE superbly achieves what few other movies do: a successful blend of thrills, style, comedy, drama, suspense and action. It is the precursor for many thrillers of the 1990s, from indie hits like Quentin Tarantino's RESERVOIR DOGS, and more popular, Hollywood vehicles like SPEED.
The story focuses on four criminals who hijack a subway car and demand one million dollars from the mayor of New York, threatening to kill one hostage per minute if their demands aren't met. The hijackers are Mr. Blue (Robert Shaw), the crafty and efficient leader; Mr. Green (Martin Balsam), the train driver; Mr. Gray (Hector Elizondo), the hothead; and Mr. Brown (Earl Hindman), a nervous, stuttering man. New York City transit lieutenant Zachary Garber (Walter Matthau) goes above and beyond his call of duty to play negotiator with the hijackers. The camera grabs the viewer by taking him down into dark gritty hallows of the subway tunnels and into the midst of the harrowing situation on the hijacked car. Based on the book by John Godey, TAKING OF PELHAM is a true classic that depicts the dark, crime-ridden climate of 1970s New York city.
An all-star cast, including Oscar® winners* Walter Matthau and Martin Balsam, teams up with Robert Shaw (Jaws) to deliver 'sure-fire entertainment [that's] gripping and exciting from beginning to end (The Hollywood Reporter). Based on the sizzling best seller by John Godey, this pulse-pounding picture is guaranteed to give you the ride of your life! Somewhere underground, in New York's subway system, just outside the Pelham Station, a gang of armed men hijack a train,threatening to kill one hostage per minute unless their demands are met. Forced to stall these unknown assailants until a ransom is delivered or a rescue is made, transit chief Lt. Garber (Matthau) must ad-lib, bully, con and shrewdly outmaneuver one of the craftiest and cruelest villains (Shaw) ina battle of wits that will either end heroically or tragically. From the minute you board this train until its exhilarating climax, you will be taken by plenty of surprises and lots of nail-biting action (Blockbuster Movie Guide)! *Matthau: Supporting Actor, The Fortune Cookie (1966); Balsam: Supporting Actor, A Thousand Clowns (1965)
Essential Cinema |
New York City |
Theatrical Release |
Theatrical release: October 2, 1974
Ever since the release of the film, no #6 train has ever been scheduled to leave Pelham Bay Park at either 13:23 or 01:23.
Filmed mostly in the tunnels leading to the decommissioned IND Court St. station in Brooklyn. The station itself served as Grand Central and 28th St.