Based on the best-selling novel by John Godey, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is a riveting thriller that remains a watershed moment in 1970s cinema. The movie concerns a quartet of criminals who commandeer a New York City subway car and hold its occupants hostage for a million-dollar ransom. Robert Shaw stars as the crooks’ sinister leader, who demands the money within the hour or he’ll kill one passenger every minute; and Walter Matthau is the put-upon transit police lieutenant tasked with taking him down. The film’s peerless supporting cast includes Martin Balsam, Hector Elizondo, and Jerry Stiller, all of whom infuse the picture with unforgettable performances that help heighten the film’s very specific NYC flavor. The film has had two remakes, neither of which can compare to the tension produced by the original.
A huge success at the box office, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is so fondly respected because of its taut direction, engaging story and fantastic acting. Indeed, the film had such an influence on Quentin Tarantino that he borrowed the movie’s gimmick of having crooks use colors instead of names for his own Reservoir Dogs. And as a time capsule of New York City during the peak of its economic and societal troubles, this film remains unmatched.
We’ve taken a still from the film and given it a comedic caption. Do the same in the comments below. And Gesundheit!