director Joseph Sargent
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is a amazing thriller, a pure 1970’s picture replete with excellent character actor performances and a raw naturalism of gritty New York City. It’s not surprising that this movie has been re-made, the concept (the hijacking of a NYC subway car in the labyrinthine underground) is the kind you can imagine a modern writer/director re-imagining in one’s head. But what you would never recapture is the time and place of the original, of which this story is so deeply ingrained.
Starring Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, and Martin Balsam, this film is taut and thrilling without really any big explosions or car chases or major shoot-outs.
It’s amazing that such a nearly perfect flick like this comes from a director, Joseph Sargent, with no other major stand-out films to his credit (unless you want to throw in Jaws: The Revenge (1987) as an ironic counterbalance).
I don’t know what else to add, really. I’d meant to see this movie for years, so many now, that I can’t recall exactly what first caused me to queue it up. But I will tell you, I’d recommend it wholeheartedly. Amazing flick.