The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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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.
Action & Adventure , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
United Artists

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Walter Matthau
as Lieutenant Garber
James Broderick
as Denny Doyle
Dick O'Neill
as Correll
Lee Wallace
as The Mayor
Carolyn Nelson
as Coed #1
Tom Pedi
as Caz Dolowicz
Lucy Saroyan
as Coed #2
Walter Jones
as Mr. Mattson
Beatrice Winde
as Mrs. Jenkins
Jerry Stiller
as Lt. Rico Patrone
Robert Weil
as Marino
Nathan George
as Patrolman James
Rudy Bond
as Police Commissioner
Tim Myers
as Plumber
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
Cynthia Belgrave
as The Maid
Burtt Harris
as Ptl. Ricci
Anna Berger
as Mother
Gene Gross
as Muscat
Gary Bolling
as Homosexual
Conrad Yama
as Mr. Tomashita
Carol Cole
as Secretary
Toru Nagai
as Mr. Yashimura
Bill Cobbs
as Man on Platform
Alex Colon
as Delivery Boy
Joe Seneca
as Police Sergeant
Joe Fields
as Salesman
Mari Gorman
as Hooker
Carmine Foresta
as Train Expediter
Carey Loftin
as Stunt Driver
Michael Gorrin
as Old Man
Thomas LaFleur
as Older Son
Paul Nuckles
as Stunt Driver
Harry Madsen
as Stunt Driver
María Landa
as Spanish Woman
Louise Larabee
as Alcoholic
Rick Seaman
as Stunt Driver
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 (34) | Top Critics (6)

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.

Full Review… | June 10, 2009
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is a good action caper about a subway car heist under the streets of Manhattan.

Full Review… | March 4, 2008
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.

Full Review… | March 4, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The film retains a fascination.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Darkened encounters with the ghost of Abe Beame don't come more giddily thrilling.

Full Review… | August 26, 2003
Village Voice
Top Critic

It's the only action picture I've seen this year that has a rousing plot.

Full Review… | May 21, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Taking of Pelham One Two Three


Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer


Excuse me, do you people still execute in this state?

For me personally, the best Robert Shaw performance ever. No one scarier than Mr. Blue, I kid you not. He asks this of Matthau right before he . . . Don't want to give it away. It's an electrifying scene.

As if his work in The Laughing Policeman just the year before was a tune-up, Matthau appears again as the dogged cop dutifully dealing with the bad guys. This is for me, his most memorable dramatic role. He and Shaw, as adversaries, give a performance for the ages. I miss them both.

Lanning : )
Lanning : )

Super Reviewer


A ruthless gang with colour coded pseudonyms (sound familiar?!) and automatic weapons hijack a New York subway train in this hugely entertaining heist movie. Walter Matthau is at his sardonic best as the transport cop in charge of the situation, with Robert Shaw as the coldblooded mercenary heading the hijackers who include Hector Elizondo as the obligatory psychotic loose cannon ("they threw him out of the mafia"!) It concentrates more on the dialogue and characters to build tension than fireworks including some great behind the scenes banter as the mix of trademark New Yorker foul-mouthed ill temper, pragmatism and sarcasm come into effect when dealing with the situation, all set to a cool Schifrin-esque soundtrack. One of the best thrillers of the 1970s.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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