Taking Of Pelham One Two Three

The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three

4.3 6
Director: Joseph Sargent

Cast: Joseph Sargent, Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam


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This classic New York City subway-heist film suffers from a stripped down DVD release. Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw are both excellent in this hard-boiled, '70s cops-and-robbers drama that relies heavily on black humor. The film was ahead of its time in combining laughs with violence, and Quentin Tarantino was obviously watching. (Notice how the bad guys use


This classic New York City subway-heist film suffers from a stripped down DVD release. Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw are both excellent in this hard-boiled, '70s cops-and-robbers drama that relies heavily on black humor. The film was ahead of its time in combining laughs with violence, and Quentin Tarantino was obviously watching. (Notice how the bad guys use color-coded aliases like Mr. Brown, which popped up in Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs). Matthau's dry one-liners predate the sensitivity of the P.C. era and give the movie its edge. Presented here in theatrical widescreen, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three offers no extras other than its trailer, joining an annoying trend of bare-bones DVD releases. The package does include a liner note booklet with information about the production, focusing instead on the film's use of the NYC subway. This archaic feature easily could have been digitized and expanded; the fact that it was not displays the lack of creativity that marks this entire release.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Joseph Sargent's film version of the book by John Godey is an electrifying thriller sparked by great performances, unrelenting action, and the fantastic use of location shooting. Walter Matthau stars as a wrinkly transit cop negotiating a potentially deadly situation: four criminals have hijacked a New York City subway train full of hostages -- whom they plan to kill one by one if they don't receive one million dollars in one hour. Peter Stone's gritty script (nominated for the Writer's Guild Award) ratchets up the tension splendidly, revealing perfectly timed details that keep viewers firmly on their toes. The dialogue has all the saltiness and cynical humor that mark true New York City speech, and the cast doesn't miss a beat with it. Matthau is quite simply a show stealer, whether he's leading a tour group of Asian cops whom he thinks don't speak English or coolly taking control of the crisis that brings the Big Apple to a standstill. Other notables include Robert Shaw, who leaves a distinct mark as the cold-blooded lead villain, Martin Balsam as Shaw's sickly cohort, and Woody Allen regular Tony Roberts as the mayor's wry assistant. Technically, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is first-rate, with particular credit going to the film's editing and lighting. David Shire's memorable music score recalls a style used in that other '70s crime classic, Dirty Harry. The villains' use of phony color names (Mr. Green, Mr. Blue, etc.) was later used by Quentin Tarantino in his film Reservoir Dogs. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three was remade for TV in 1998, and again in 2009 for the big screen.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Mgm (Video & Dvd)
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Collectible booklet; Original theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Walter Matthau Lieutenant Garber
Robert Shaw Blue
Martin Balsam Green
Hector Elizondo Grey
Earl Hindman Brown
Thomas LaFleur Older Son
Maria Landa Spanish Woman
William Snickowski Hippie/Plainclothes Policeman
James Broderick Denny Doyle
Dick O'Neill Correll
Kenneth McMillan Borough Commander
Carolyn Nelson Coed #1
Lucy Saroyan Coed #2
Walter Jones Mr. Mattson
Robert Weil Marino
Christopher Murney Dispatcher
Tim Myers Plumber
Thomas Barbour T.A. Chairman
Simon Deckard Ptl. Miskowsky
Sal Viscuso Ptl. O'Keefe
Burtt Harris Ptl. Ricci
Gene Gross Muscat
Conrad Yama Mr. Tomashita
Toru Nagai Mr. Yashimura
Bill Cobbs Man on Platform
Joe Seneca Police Sergeant
Carmine Foresta Train Expediter
Carey Loftin Stunt Driver
Paul Nuckles Stunt Driver
Harry Madsen Stunt Driver
Rick Seaman Stunt Driver
Lee Wallace The Mayor
Tom Pedi Caz Dolowicz
Beatrice Winde Mrs. Jenkins
Jerry Stiller Lt. Rico Patrone
Nathan George Patrolman James
Rudy Bond Police Commissioner
Doris Roberts Mayor's Wife
Cynthia Belgrave The Maid
Anna Berger The Mother
Gary Bolling The Homosexual
Carol Cole The Secretary
Alex Colon The Delivery Boy
Joe Fields The Salesman
Mari Gorman The Hooker
Michael Gorrin The Old Man
Louise Larabee The Alcoholic
George Lee Miles The Pimp
Jerry Holland Budy Carmondy
Ruth Attaway Mayor's Nurse
Tony Roberts Warren LaSalle
Julius Harris Inspector Daniels

Technical Credits
Joseph Sargent Director
Alixe Gordin Casting
Jerry Greenberg Editor
Anna Hill Johnstone Costumes/Costume Designer
Gabriel Katzka Producer
Stephen F. Kesten Associate Producer
Robert Q. Lovett Editor
Dick Mingalone Camera Operator
Herb Mulligan Set Decoration/Design
Chris Newman Sound/Sound Designer
Owen Roizman Cinematographer
Gene Rudolf Art Director
Edgar J. Scherick Producer
Peter R. Scoppa Asst. Director
David Shire Score Composer
Peter Stone Screenwriter

Scene Index

Scene Selections
0. Scene Selections
1. Logo/Main Title [5:56]
2. "Taking Your Train" [3:39]
3. Lt. Gerber [2:18]
4. The Tour/Rico [1:50]
5. Where Is Pelham 123? [3:04]
6. Splitting Cars [4:01]
7. Jostling Passengers [3:40]
8. Contact [3:39]
9. "You're All Hostages!" [1:15]
10. The Demands [5:04]
11. The First Shots [5:30]
12. Police Response [1:18]
13. A Decision Made [4:55]
14. Telling The Hijackers [3:17]
15. The Bank/Appearances [2:57]
16. "$20 A Trick Hooker" [3:11]
17. Money En Route [3:14]
18. "50 Seconds" [:50]
19. Wrecked [1:16]
20. Further Instructions [:06]
21. Delivery Boys/Gunfire [1:13]
22. Firing The Conductor [3:19]
23. "Do What I Tell You" [4:41]
24. "She's Moving" [3:23]
25. Mobilizing [5:55]
26. Onboard Cop [1:26]
27. "Nobody Driving!" [2:03]
28. Two Down [3:52]
29. Drop It [3:46]
30. Screeching Halt [2:04]
31. Gesundheit! [4:17]
32. End Credits [4:09]


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The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Despite its being dated, espeically with regard to such political incorrectness as making yellow-man fun of a Japanese business delegation, this thriller is an extraordinary example of how storytelling can overcome its own defects. From a beginning that feels harsh and over-the-top, and a set of New York characters you'd RUN to avoid, the momentum builds to a frantic 3-way intercut chase that will leave you glued to the screen and breathless--a masterpiece of directing that clearly influenced Tarantino in more than just the "Mrs" "White" and "Green."
DeafDeeDee More than 1 year ago
My husband and & I saw this movie when it was first released. In our old age, we'd like to have a DVD of this old favorite of ours. HOW-SOME-EVER, we wonder why the currently released DVD does not employ CLOSED CAPTIONS or SUBTITLES IN ENGLISH!!! There are subtitles in French and Spanish for a film that is designated Region #1 ONLY - meaning it can't be shown in Europe -- so why the subtitles in Spanish & French in a region that cannot telecast it? Doesn't make sense. Why doesn't someone wake up and small the coffee and insert some English Subtitles or English Captions.
book-chick More than 1 year ago
Unsure about the movie, have never seen it. Purchased it for a gift for someone else, they wanted to see the older version before the new version.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago