Armed men hijack a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage in return for a ransom, and turning an ordinary day's work for dispatcher Walter Garber into a face-off with the mastermind behind the crime.
Four seemingly-unrelated men board subway train Pelham 1:23 at successive stations. Mr. Blue, Mr. Green, Mr. Grey and Mr. Brown are heavily armed and overpower the motorman and novice conductor to take control of the train. Between stations they separate the front car from the remainder of the train, setting passengers in the back cars and the motorman free. The four demand $1 million ransom within exactly one hour for the remaining eighteen hostages, including the conductor. If their demands are not met in time or their directions are not followed precisely, they will begin to shoot hostages dead, one every minute the money is late. Wisecracking Lt. Zach Garber of the transit police ends up being the primary communicator between the hijackers and the authorities, which includes transit operations, his own police force, the NYPD, and the unpopular and currently flu ridden mayor who will make the ultimate decision of whether to pay the ransom. Unknown to Garber, what may be working on ...Written by
Lee Wallace, who plays the mayor of New York in this film, bears a striking resemblance to the real mayor Ed Koch. Many reviewers thought he was playing Koch, but Koch would not be the mayor for another four years. See more »
The action takes place on the local downtown Lexington Avenue Line, which terminates at the abandoned City Hall loop station, just past Brooklyn Bridge station. While the fact that the train in the film runs to the inner loop at South Ferry (where some express trains terminate) may appear to be a goof, the hijackers request that the switches be set in order to put them in the South Ferry loop - and there is indeed a switch onto the downtown express tracks, right before the Brooklyn Bridge station. At the time the film was made, the Lexington 5 and 6 lines went to South Ferry station. That section of track is still there but no longer in use. See more »
Although many of the scenes in this film were taken on transit property, the New York City Transit Authority is not responsible for plot, story and characters portrayed. The Authority did not render technical advice and assistance. See more »
This was meant to be Carry On At Your Convenience...
... Thank Goodness it wasn't!
I switched on me TV last night after an evening out and the opening credits of Pelham was just finishing. Not knowing the name of this film (the Carry On listing was clearly not being shown, perhaps the Producer-dude had a revelation of taste!) I began to watch it half-heartedly, whilst prostrate on the sofa.
By the end of the movie, and that glorious last look from Matthau, I was sitting blot-upright with the biggest grin I've had on my face at 2am for a long time!
What a flick! What a film! How good was this simple, little, under-rated, under-stated movie? Very.
See this film, forgive it for being written in the 70-ties, in fact revel in that non-PC fact (the Chinese/Lady jokes are, retrospectively, quite amusing, in a non-Carry On way).
They just don't make 'um like this anymore. Simple, sweet, suspense.
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