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The Taking of Pelham One Two Three [Blu-ray] (1974)

 R |  Blu-ray
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Mono), French (Mono), Spanish (Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: May 29, 2011
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0053ENPPA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,152 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw and Martin Balsam lead an all-star cast in this "gripping and exciting" (The Hollywood Reporter) suspense film based on the sizzling best seller by John Godey. A gang of thugs who have hijacked a subway train near New York's Pelham Station threaten to kill one hostage per minute. Forced to stall the assailants until a ransom is delivered or a rescue made, transit chief Lt. Garber (Matthau) must somehow ad-lib, con and outmaneuver one of the craftiest, cruelest villains (Shaw) ever. It's a race against time, and no one knows whether things will end heroically or tragically in this pulse-pounding thrill ride!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
65 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 is #1 with me! July 3, 2000
Of all the gritty, realistic police dramas of the 1970's, "The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3" stands out as the best of a very good lot. Released during the low-point year of NYC history in 1974, "Pelham" is argueably the most real-life look at New York and New Yorkers one can get without actually visiting the big town. The plot concerns the hijacking of an IRT subway train by a gang of four men, led by the coolheaded Robert Shaw (Jaws, Black Sunday). The late Walter Matthau shines as Lt. Zach Garber of the NY Transit Police who, over a two-way radio, has to deal with the terrorists unbelievable demands. The writing in this movie crackles with smart-mouthed NY urgency. The acting, photography, editing, and music MUST have all been created by native NYers. Even the 18 passengers who are taken hostage in the lead car of the #6 train look like they stepped off the street and into the IRT without missing a beat. You wanna hijack me just before rush hour? Go ahead, but I'm not ganna make it easy for you, punk! Many other NY movies (Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, French Connection) have overshadowed this gem, but do yourself a favor and buy it, especially in the DVD version, which gives the viewer a panorama of a NYC that has faded into history.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything a New York thriller should be. November 2, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
If you're feeling nostalgic for gritty, rude, 1970's New York, then you should watch this movie. Every detail seems absolutely spot-on, from the location shots and flourescent-lit interiors, to the dialog and characters (check out the sniffley, vote-counting mayor and pragmatic deputy mayor.) Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw give terrific performances in the main roles (not to mention the redoubtable Martin Balsam) but it's the gallery of character actors and walk-on roles that give this film it's hyper-watchable texture and charm. Jerry Stiller and Tony Roberts are great, but there's a trainload (if you'll pardon the expression) that I can't even name, all of whom seem like they stepped right off the Manhattan sidewalk, circa 1974. The guy who monitors the subway display board and keeps asking "What the Hell's going on here?"----he was also in The Hot Rock, as the bank employee who get hypnotized. The time-limit of one hour that the train-jackers give before thay start shooting hostages provides much of the suspense---think of a mid-70's Speed with brains and nuance. The absurdly pulse-pounding score will leave you feeling manipulated and loving it. There's narry a wasted moment in this very economical yet densely detailed film, right down to the perfect, meaningful look Matthau gives at the end. The many humorous touches don't ever threaten to turn it into an outright comedy, since many of them center on how the city works. Call it a light-hearted suspense-thriller; it must have seemed like a shameless piece of urban exploitation when it came out, but now it looks like a masterful, pleasurable time capsule.
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50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The subway...lifeblood of New York. The largest mass transit system in the world, currently operating over 8,000 rail and subway cars, traveling on over two thousand miles of track, serving nearly eight million passengers daily. Seems like a logistical nightmare, keeping tabs on it all, but MTA (Metro Transit Authority) does, anticipating many problems before they arise. One thing they couldn't anticipate, what no one could have, is someone hijacking one of the trains. But it did happen, once (in movie world, at least).

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974), directed by Joseph Sargent (Colossus: The Forbin Project, Jaws: The Revenge), presents a wonderfully talented cast including Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam, and Hector Elizondo. Also making appearances are Jerry Stiller (Seinfeld), Dick O'Neill (Gamera), Kenneth McMillian (Dune), and Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond). The film involves the hijacking of a New York subway train by a group of men armed with semi-automatic weapons for the purpose of extorting one million dollars from the city, otherwise they begin executing passengers, one by one. `What the hell they expect for their lousy 35 cents? To live forever?!"

This is really an entertaining, tense and witty film that kept me interested up until the very end. Matthau really owns this film, appearing as harried yet cool-headed Lt. Zachary Garber, an officer working for the Metro Authority, and main negotiator with the hijackers, lead by the ruthless Mr. Blue, played by Robert Shaw (it's said Quentin Tarantino got the idea of using colors for the names of his characters in Reservoir Dogs (1992) from this film).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all-time favorites July 12, 2001
P>It's the oldest videotape I have in my collection. .
The film has been released on DVD, and I am absolutely overjoyed, as it is one of my all-time favorites.
Theatrically released in 1974, The Taking Of Pelham 123 is about a group of four armed men (three of them played by the great actors-the late Robert Shaw, the late Martin Balsman and Hector Elizondo) whom hijack a New York City subway train on an otherwise uneventful afternoon, and hold 18 of its passengers hostage. The ransom: One Meeeeeeeellion dollars.
Ooops...that's another movie.
The ransom IS indeed one million dollars (Hey, it was shot in 1974) to be paid by the City Of New York. There are two catches.
Catch #1: The city has only one hour to pay up. For very minute that the city is late, the hijackers will execute one hostage. It is up to Lieutenant Zachary Garber (the late, legendary Walter Matthau) to stop, or at least outsmart them before they kill one. High drama, considering it takes the city FOREVER to do ANYTHING. I know...I live in New York.
Catch #2: The hijackers are underground. IF they get their do they plan on getting away?
Great performances all around from a great mix of big name actors, and fine character actors. People such as Jerry Stiller, Kenneth McMillan, Dick O'Neill, Julius Harris and Tony Roberts, who plays the Deputy Mayor. But the film belongs to Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw. Matthau, in a departure from his usual comedic roles, displays a tough, yet somewhat humorous demeanor as he "matches wits" with Robert Shaw (whom one year later would play his most celebrated role as Quint in "Jaws"). Shaw's performance is properly understated...which serves his character well, as he is supposed to be cold and calculating.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Much better than the remake. This all star cast performed superbly in this gritty drama.
Published 9 days ago by S. Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Pelham 1,2,3.
Great movie! Love Walter Mathau humor. Wonderful addition to my collection!
Published 1 month ago by andy
5.0 out of 5 stars Tight Thriller
A great movie. Better than the recent re-make. Robert Shaw and Martin Balsam at their best!
Published 1 month ago by Don P. Desilva
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Impressed by fast delivery. Product as described.
Published 1 month ago by Roseann152
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An absolutely great movie. Better than the modern remake.
Published 1 month ago by Matthew Woods
5.0 out of 5 stars It is very obvious that this is the BEST ONE.
If I compare this movie with the two remakes; one with Eduard James Olmos and Vincent Donofrio, and the second one with John Travolta and Denzel Washington, It is very obvious that... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Fernando I. Casas
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by George King
4.0 out of 5 stars This is so much better than the remake
This is so much better than the remake. Robert Shaw always played the coolest villains. Walter Matthew delivered another evenly played performance. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sue DiCato
4.0 out of 5 stars It Was The Great To See The NYC
It Was The Great To See The NYC,Locations Of The Era From Early To Mid 1970s. On The Old IRT Subway Cars, We See Old Vintage Ads That We Do Not See In The NYC Subway Anymore. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Matthew Bulger
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
We found it to be very exciting, enjoyable movie.
Published 2 months ago by Shirley J. Stokes
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