Generally favorable reviews - based on 4 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 14 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: In this 1974 film, four armed men hijack a New York City subway train and demand 1 million dollars -- which must be delivered in 1 hour -- for the train and the lives of the passengers held.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Reviewed by: Nora Sayre
    Throughout, there's a skillful balance between the vulnerability of New Yorkers and the drastic, provocative sense of comedy that thrives all over our sidewalks.
  2. 70
    Sargent's whole enterprise doubles as a '70s archaeological dig.
  3. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    Exciting, suspenseful drama.
  4. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    Good action caper.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Feb 1, 2011
    One of the best heist films ever made. It follows Morton Freedgood's book very closely while the difference is that it has a social satire of New York. Another thing remarkable is Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw as the hero and villain. Their acting is tremendous like always. The humour is pretty good it isn't laugh-out-loud funny, it more like laughing on the inside type of humour. Jerry Stiller make a good small role as well. Expand
  2. Jan 6, 2013
    Outstanding thriller with an entertaining blend of suspense and humor with dynamic performances Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw. Four armed men hijack a New York City subway train and demand $1 million dollars which must be delivered in 1 hour for the train and the lives of the passengers held hostage. Lt. Zachary Garber (Walter Matthau) of the New York City Transit Police must contend with City Hall, the demands of the hijackers, and the ticking clock in his efforts to save the passengers and bring the hijackers to justice. The initial hijacking plan doesn't seem to make any sense because their options are so limited. At one point Lt. Garber jokingly says: "They're gonna get away by asking every man, woman and child in New York City to close their eyes and count to a hundred." But there is a clever getaway plan coordinated by Mr. Blue (Robert Shaw), who plays a former mercenary soldier. His team members include two professional criminals and a fired motorman (Martin Balsam) with a grudge. It's the performances and chemistry between Matthau and Shaw, and fine supporting performances that makes this film work. We are drawn in by skillful character development, allow personalities to take shape, giving this thriller charisma and a vitality all of it's own. Expand
  3. Apr 23, 2014
    The original Taking of Pelham One Two Three is better than the Travolta-Washington remake because of its ability to find tension and thrills without too much bloodshed. In other words, it relies on its script and atmosphere rather than pervasive f-words and heavy gore. Expand
  4. Aug 23, 2010
    Men hijack subway train, hold passengers to ransom, try to escape, things don't go to plan.
    Excellent Seventies action film with Robert Shaw,
    Walter Matthau & Martin Balsam in fine form.
    It has dated slightly in the look, dialogue & characters but the acting is good & the story flows well. Great ending too.
  5. Nov 28, 2012
    "The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three" is a 1974 action thriller starring Walter Mathau and Robert Shaw. The movie was directed by Joseph Sargent and it tells the story of a man (Shaw) who, with some other gunmen, hijack a subway train in New York City. The man is soon pitted against a railway police official (Mathau) who, with the help of others, tries to stop him. Now let me start off by saying that I actually saw the 2009 Tony Scott remake before I saw the 1974 original. Is the original better than the 2009 remake? In short - yeah, pretty much. In comparing the two movies, it seemed as though, while the 2009 remake felt more up-to-date, it's more modern approach to elements presented in the original often came off as too over-the-top. I felt that in presenting these certain elements, the 1974 version came off more subtle and pulled it off with a lot more finesse. The 1974 movie has two really impressive actors in the leading roles - Mathau and Shaw. Both of which are really, very entertaining in "Pelham", but I'd have to say that Shaw's performance shines the most in this movie. His demeanor throughout the entire movie is really hilarious. He just comes off as this soulless jerk - a soulless jerk with some pretty hilarious one-liners. That brings me to the script which, as I said, contains some pretty great one-liners not only from Shaw, but from Mathau and others. It's nothing really impressive or Oscar-worthy, but it does have a few gems in it here and there. While I, a Generation-Z kid, found this movie to be very easy to watch, it did at times have a few moments of cheese. That being said, I'm not going to knock the movie for being a little long in the tooth - but it does show sometimes. The movie was really entertaining and I can see why it was well received when it came out. I can also see the immense amount of expectations the 2009 movie had to live up to. Overall, I found "The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three" to be a fairly enjoyable crime thriller. Expand

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