The Taking of Pelham One Two Three


The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

Critics Consensus

Breezy, thrilling, and quite funny, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three sees Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw pitted against each other in effortlessly high form.



Total Count: 38


Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,420
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Movie Info

Lead by a former subway operator, a team of criminals takes the occupants of a subway train hostage, demanding a ransom of one million dollars. The transit authorities and New York police cooperate in an attempt to rescue the hostages before time runs out in this acclaimed suspense drama.


Walter Matthau
as Lieutenant Garber
James Broderick
as Denny Doyle
Dick O'Neill
as Correll
Lee Wallace
as The Mayor
Tom Pedi
as Caz Dolowicz
Lucy Saroyan
as Coed #2
Beatrice Winde
as Mrs. Jenkins
Walter Jones
as Mr. Mattson
Jerry Stiller
as Lt. Rico Patrone
Nathan George
as Patrolman James
Tim Myers
as Plumber
Rudy Bond
as Police Commissioner
Thomas Barbour
as T.A. Chairman
Kenneth McMillan
as Borough Commander
Simon Deckard
as Ptl. Miskowsky
Doris Roberts
as Mayor's Wife
Julius Harris
as Inspector Daniels
Sal Viscuso
as Ptl. O'Keefe
Burtt Harris
as Ptl. Ricci
Gene Gross
as Muscat
Conrad Yama
as Mr. Tomashita
Gary Bolling
as Homosexual
Carol Cole
as Secretary
Toru Nagai
as Mr. Yashimura
Bill Cobbs
as Man on Platform
Alex Colon
as Delivery Boy
Joe Fields
as Salesman
Joe Seneca
as Police Sergeant
Carmine Foresta
as Train Expediter
Carey Loftin
as Stunt Driver
Paul Nuckles
as Stunt Driver
Thomas LaFleur
as Older Son
María Landa
as Spanish Woman
Harry Madsen
as Stunt Driver
Rick Seaman
as Stunt Driver
Louise Larabee
as Alcoholic
William Snickowski
as Hippie/Plainclothes Policeman
Jerry Holland
as Budy Carmondy
Ruth Attaway
as Mayor's Nurse
Tony Roberts
as Warren LaSalle
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Critic Reviews for The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (38)

  • The large, well-characterized cast is ably headed by Walter Matthau, whose wonderfully weary sense of irony is perfect.

    Oct 3, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Taps into viewers' paranoia over a decrepit, vulnerable infrastructure and then provides bitter laughs and a harrowing catharsis.

    Aug 27, 2018 | Full Review…
  • What's good about Pelham's example of the form is that the performances are allowed enough leeway so that we care about the people not the plot mechanics. And what could have been formula trash turns out to be fairly classy trash, after all.

    Apr 29, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The original version of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three was made 35 years ago, yet it retains a quality of cool that will remain long after people have forgotten the current version.

    Jun 10, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is a good action caper about a subway car heist under the streets of Manhattan.

    Mar 4, 2008

    Todd McCarthy

    Top Critic
  • Superior exercise in urban paranoia; the superb location work of director Joseph Sargent goes a long way toward tempering the artificialities of the plot.

    Mar 4, 2008 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

  • Jun 01, 2014
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Mar 26, 2013
    I have no idea what the remake is like and I suspect that it pales in comparison to the original which is wonderful..just wonderful. The ending is absolutely perfect. It borders on corny but somehow Matthau makes it work.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 25, 2012
    Director Joseph Sargent's The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is a well crafted and thrilling film with a wonderful cast. The strength of the film lies in an electrifying plot that delivers intense thrills from start to finish. With a brilliant, tense performance by Robert Shaw, this is a stunning, near flawless film that is among the finest action thrillers of the 1970's. This is a stunning work of cinema that is executed to near perfection and the key to the success of the film is in the taut and thrilling, well written script that delivers a memorable and very entertaining plot that still holds up to this day. So many great classic cinematic works are set in New York, and this is one of the few that has been overlooked and very underrated. If you love the classic, unfiltered action films of old that don't use nifty special effects, but the power of a terrific script, wonderful acting to create its tense situations, then give this one a viewing. Brilliantly executed and this is a stellar work of a heist film that has enough thrills to rival any action pictures that came after it. The remake was good, but it fell short of course, and with that being said, this film's biggest strength is the tour De force demented performance of Shaw who plays the leader of criminals who highjack the train Pelham one, two, three. His role alone is for me anyways one of the most memorable roles in any film of this period and it is among his greatest performances. Sit back, buckle in and be prepared because Pelham one, two, three is a ride that you won't soon forget.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Sep 03, 2012
    Its near genius rests in the simplicity of the plot. Sargent doesn't waste a moment with any needless exposition and the result is thrilling. Also, while Matthau and Shaw share almost no screen time, they do prove to be worthy adversaries to one another.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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