The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three1974

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)



Critic 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.

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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.

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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)

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

October 3, 2018 | Full Review…

Taps into viewers' paranoia over a decrepit, vulnerable infrastructure and then provides bitter laughs and a harrowing catharsis.

August 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.

April 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.

June 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.

March 4, 2008

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

March 4, 2008 | Full Review…

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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