The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) – Encore Review 2


“Now, then, ladies and gentlemen, do you see this gun? It fires 750 rounds of 9-millimeter ammunition per minute. In other words, if all of you simultaneously were to rush me, not a single one of you would get any closer than you are right now. I do hope I’ve made myself understood.” – Mr. Blue

Number of Times Seen – Too many to count (TV, Video, DVD, 11 Jul 2013, 21 Sep 2015 and 29 Apr 2019)

Link to original reviewHere and Here

Brief Synopsis – A group of 4 men hijack a New York City subway train and ask for a million dollars in return for the hostages.

My Take on it – This is a film that I’ve loved ever since I first saw it over thirty years ago and love revisiting it because it’s such an enjoyable ride from start to finish.

They manage to keep things thrilling from the very start and that helps keep things going throughout.

The story and action is paced quite well and that helps keep the viewer on the edge of their seat the entire time.

Walter Matthau plays slightly against type as a wisecracking transit authority policeman who must handle this hijacking and be the direct connection to the hijackers.

He manages to use both his wit and scruples to try and get things done even when he adds in a bit of comedy along the way.

Robert Shaw is also superb as the lead hijacker and these two great actors get to verbally spar throughout the film which helps make things even more tense as they each try to outsmart one another.

The supporting cast is also great in this film and I love how the other 3 hijackers are quite familiar actors (Martin Balsam, Hector Elizondo and Earl Hindman).

WE also get some great scenes with Jerry Stiller as Matthau’s wisecracking partner.

The film utilizes it’s musical score really well and it helps create an even more tense and suspenseful atmosphere as the story moves along.

Despite having seen this film many times, I still find it quite thrilling to watch especially since it is done so well.

I’m actually now quite intrigued to try and track down a copy of the novel this film is based on just to see how different and similar the two really are.

This is clearly one of the best films of it’s kind, and I look forwrad to getting an opportunity to see it again in the relatively near future.

Bottom Line – Amazing thriller that works so well. The pacing is great and things are constantly in motion which keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat throughout. Matthau is superb in the lead and he is able to use both wit and comedy to get things done here. Shaw is also superb as the leader of the gang of hijackers and these two men are great as they try to outsmart one another. The supporting cast is quite effective and it’s great seeing familiar faces as the three remaining hijackers (Balsam, Elizondo and Hindman) along with the wisecracking Stiller as Matthau’s partner. The music is amazing and helps create a tense and suspenseful atmosphere for the story from start to finish. Even after having seen this film so many time,s it’s still a thrill to watch because it’s done so well.  I’m now intrigued to try and track down a copy of the book this is based on. One of the best films of its kind. Highly Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Since the film’s release, no #6 train has ever been scheduled to leave Pelham Bay Park Station at either 13:23 or 01:23 by the New York City Transit Authority. This was the practice for many years until the policy was discontinued. Trains are still not scheduled to leave the Pelham Bay Park Station at either 1.23 am or pm. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (10/10) (no change from original review)

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3 thoughts on “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) – Encore Review 2

  1. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten | MovieRob

  2. Pingback: MovieRob’s Birthday Bash of Favorites 2020 (#33 of 47) – The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) – Encore Review 3 | MovieRob

  3. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1974 | MovieRob

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