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Taking of Pelham One Two Three

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“The Taking of Pelham One Two Three” has to be the best movie ever made about public transport. With Walter Matthau as the hero, this was obviously the seed for “Die Hard”, except with Walter Matthau, and subway trains in Noo Yawk Ciddy in the 70s.

One of the reasons it is the precurser to “Die Hard” is the sub-plot of the Japanese mass transit officials. And for blockbuster precident there’s Robert Shaw. While he is evil, he doesn’t scratch his fingernails across a blackboard, you have the subway trains for that.

Oh, and “Reservoir Dogs” too what with all the Mr. Brown, and Mr. Gray and all.

While I’ve been in the Tokyo subway (and at rush-hour too, what you’ve heard about how bad it is, it’s actually worse) I’ve never been in the New York subway, and I think this movie played a large role. I like riding subways, have been in Montreal, Boston, Toronto, Hong Kong (you can get to mainland China by subway, but don’t do it on Saturday, trust me), but never New York. I really must do it the next time I go there, but without Walter Matthau to protect me, I’m not so sure.

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About Jim Carruthers

  • Chris Kent


    I once made a list of the 20 greatest films no one had ever heard of and The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three was in the top five. I LOVE this movie and think it to be one of the great suspense/action thrillers of the last 30 years. And that soundtrack! A sort of fusion of jazz and Dirty Harry funk – very, very good. For those unacquainted, The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three is a gem awaiting discovery………Excellent film…..

  • Agree Chris and Jim, Pelham 1,2,3 is an underloved classic. I was introduced to it by a college lecturer a couple years ago. I think he showed it just because he was undergoing a whole “tarantino needs to be OUTED AS A MOTHERFUCKIN HACK!” period, but still, thanks lecturer.
    Incidently, he didn’t show City On Fire, so loses points. Maybe he did later, maybe in Tarantino Is A MOtherfucking Hack 102. Who knows? But yes, this is good stuff. It was on BBC2 a while back but i forgot to tape it. Shame on me, The Duke, very, very shame on me.