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In New York, armed men hijack a subway car and demand a ransom for the passengers. Even if it's paid, how could they get away?
"Even great men have to pee."
Yes, even Walter Matthau.
The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three is a film that had the misfortune of being a thriller made in the 1970s. What this meant was that instead of getting the absolute widespread plaudits, awards and huge box office that it quite obviously deserves, it ended up bubbling under a fair amount of the massive numbers of other similar films made in the decade.
It's not the fault of the film or anyone involved - it just happens like that sometimes. There is no doubt in my mind, though, that this is not only every bit as deserving as other more iconic films from the decade such as The French…
I only reviewed this last December. And I said that I wasn't doing any more rewatches in this season. But it's my birthday today so I'm not even slightly sorry. No I won't tell you how old I am, fuck off.
This was probably my sixth or seventh viewing of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three and this time round my thoughts turned to why this is a cut above almost every other film of its type, not just from this decade, but from any decade. I wonder if it's because it isn't really of this 'type', if you know what I mean. It's not just the central plot, which sees a bunch of colour-monikered…
Yeah, I watched it again. Problem with that?
This time I have three really good reasons for doing so.
1) It sort of ties in nicely with my current project.
2) I've been asked to write an article about film soundtracks for a friend's website and I decided to choose this one as the subject, so I had to watch it for research.
3) Well, because it's The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three.
I probably can't come up with a review for it this time that doesn't just rake over the ground that I covered in my review here. Oh, and this one here. Suffice to say that it's still one of my top ten of all time.
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is a perfect film. A crime procedural that does not put one foot wrong. It is lean and sardonic; the action is crisp and to the point, the script is funny but realistic and the acting is absolutely top-notch.
The film is a 100 minutes of 1970s crime, again showing the best decade at its best. It is sheer pleasure to watch and listen to Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw trading barbs and demands. Shaw is ultra-professional, Matthau dogged.
While the supporting cast - Martin Balsam, Héctor Elizondo, Lee Wallace, Tony Roberts, Jerry Stiller - is absolutely first class. The film is mostly stolen by Tom Pedi as Caz Dolowicz, the hollering, swearing…
Aside from Walter Matthau's questionable fashion sense, there really was no need to remake this film in 2009.
This near-perfect thriller wastes no time getting into the action, as we see the events begin to unfold immediately, and the suspense doesn't let up until the end.
Four hoods hold a New York City subway train hostage for, <voice occupation="doctor" nature="evil">$1,000,000!</voice>
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three has immaculate and speedy characterisation; in the first 7 minutes we know everything we need to about each of the hijackers without one of them speaking a word. The cast? You'll be busy going "hey, isn't that..." as this film has some of the greatest character actors around, and Steve, you're right about the soundtrack... sparsely used but Shire brings in some stonking horns and wild percussion when needed!
You may have noticed I've used the term "character" a couple of times? That's because that's what this film has: character. Something the glossy and forgettable Tony Scott remake was…
Speed, Die Hard and even Reservoir Dogs owe quite a bit to this one. Excellently structured and a lot funnier than I was expecting. Robert Shaw is a reliably great villain and at Walter Matthau is an unexpected but brilliant bit of casting. He brings an effortless charm and humour to his character, and the film, like him, is a hell of a lot of fun.
A really straightforward thrill ride with an amazing cast. Good ole Matthau. He says shut up like no one else.
Great! Interesting how crime / action movies of the 1970's were more about supsense and tension and the threat of violence rather than actual violence and explosions. And the ending of the movie was so good! It just bumped up the rating by one star by just having a great moment at the end!
This movie is fucking awesome. Gritty, funny and suspenseful. Brilliant performances and a fantastic script.
Four heavily armed men seize a New York subway train and its passengers. They demand one million dollars for the release of the passengers unharmed.
This taut thriller, starring Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw and Martin Balsam, is one of the better films of the 1970s.
I had better expectations... But it's OK. Nice adaptation.
Oh my god, that was fantastic! Absolutely classic movie. Over Christmas I saw "The Sting" for the first time (which is pretty good) and I think I can honestly say that this movie (released the following year) was better. They share Robert Shaw in common and it has to be said that he is awesome in both of them.
The premise of the movie is that a group of men hijack a subway train and then demand a ransom for their hostages within the train. The whole point, as you might imagine, is that no one would expect anyone to hijack a subway train. Robert Shaw plays the head hijacker in the original and is cool-headed about it.
I think this may be one of my favourite movies of all time.
My review is here:
First time seeing this one and damn was it a fun flick. I had seen the remake with Denzel and Travolta once but it didn't do much for me. It was alright. This though, was a blast. The cast was so good, but mostly I loved the humor that was sprinkled in. Walter Matthau isn't someone you think of to be a "hero" in a crime flick, but he makes it so much better with his presence. And pitting him against the great Robert Shaw as the villain. I just really enjoyed myself with this movie from start to finish. Speaking of humor, the ending was excellent. It really showcases what I love about this movie. You get something serious and with action...but then it ends with a humorous note thanks to Matthau. Loved it. Great flick.
A perfect movie.
Exciting, suspenseful, violent, and funny... very funny.
Every scene crackles because the artists and craftsmen in front of and behind the camera are all working at the top of their game.
It stands as one of the best 1970's New York-set films alongside the works of Sidney Lumet and Martin Scorsese from that period.
David Shire's classic pulse-pounding, hard-edged jazz score is a one-of-a-kind.
The smash cut ending is perhaps one of the greatest film finishes ever.
Movies that are slightly off.