Robert Shaw's refined, utterly in control villain feels like it set the template for just about every sophisticated movie terrorist to come, including Alan Rickman in "Die Hard." The film is at its best when displaying an almost documentary-like grit and neutrality; which is why a broad subplot involving the Mayor of New York that's played for laughs adds little to what is an otherwise taut Seventies thriller.
Intensely exciting grimy urban thriller. I love how films from the 70s just have a different feel from anything else, a dark grittiness one can almost smell. Adored Walter Matthau in this (that last shot is delightful) and there are some incredible thrills, but I think it missed a trick by not fleshing out the passengers. I wish thrillers came as textured as this now. Great score too! Mayor brings tone down.
Immensely unfashionable, what Pelham has going for it (and it has a lot) is its grit (not in the nihilistic sense). It sees the detritus of infrastructure all around, and even without the subway graffiti manages to make a great deal out of many systems struggling to make the trains run on time. And what I expect was true of 70s New York, that the personalities all make up for these economic failings.
New York pressure cooker, everyone’s down to business whether its shepherding subway cars or stolen cash. Sargent maintains the film’s driving linearity with few deviations outside of the more broadly satirical moments - a bed-ridden sickly mayor gets injection into his ass while being chided by an aide on how to handle the press.
One of the first terrorists-hijack-something movies and it is also one of the more realistic films in it's genre. It has a good premise and the getaway plan is pretty reasonable. Walter Matthau is solid in a "tougher" role for him. It is tons better than it's glossier remake even if some tension is lost everytime that laughable unlikable mayor character appear on the scene.
I know its a cliche to say this, but they don't make movies like this anymore. The authentic NY atmosphere and speech, the genuine intensity, narrative arch and performances PERFORMANCES. Robert Shaw is chilling, young Hector Elizondo is scary and Matthau...goes from depth to comedy in a split second. Classic.
One of the great music scores of any film, but also one of the best on location films ever. Up there with Dassin's Naked City and French Connection for my money. The cast is impeccable. Everyone is just top notch and gives their characters so much life. Probably Matthaus best non-comedic role, although his face at the end is hysterical. 5 easy stars. Essential 70s classic
Self destroys in the last half hour, being entirely predictable and unrewarding. Walter Matthau knows nothing all the time, but is given a lot of screen time. Some details could expand to social commentary but they never do. I wished the Color Gang won the day against this lame New York.
From David Shire's rollicking opening title theme right to the brilliant final shot of Walter Matthau's expression, The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three puts not a single foot wrong in its entire running time. Infused with a sarcastic New York wit despite the ruthlessness of the criminals involved, it's one of the great American films of the 1970s of any genre. One of my favourites of all time and always will be.
Stone cold classic of gritty, dirty, bankrupt 70s New York. An ensemble almost entirely made up of amazing character actors. Matthau is the kind of every man hero we don't get as much any more. Funky ass score. Love the humor in the denouement. The remake can take it in the dumper.