The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1998 film)

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is a 1998 Canadian/American television film directed by Félix Enríquez Alcalá and starring Edward James Olmos. It is a television adaptation of the novel of the same name by Morton Freedgood (writing under the pseudonym John Godey), and is a remake of the 1974 classic. It was followed by the 2009 remake.

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
Directed byFélix Enríquez Alcalá
Produced byEdgar J. Scherick
Screenplay byPeter Stone
(prev. screenplay)
April Smith (teleplay)
Based onThe Taking of Pelham One Two Three
by John Godey
StarringEdward James Olmos
Vincent D'Onofrio
Donnie Wahlberg
Richard Schiff
Lorraine Bracco
Music byStewart Copeland
CinematographyFélix Enríquez Alcalá
Edited byRobert A. Ferretti
Trilogy Entertainment Group
MGM Television
Distributed byMGM Television
Release date
  • February 1, 1998 (1998-02-01)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States


Edward James Olmos plays Detective Anthony Piscotti, a New York City police officer. He is trying to crack the taking of a subway train where the antagonists are holding the passengers for ransom.


Production details

The film is a remake, with Edward James Olmos in the Walter Matthau role and Vincent D'Onofrio replacing Robert Shaw as the senior hijacker. Although not particularly well received by critics or viewers, this version was reportedly more faithful to the book, specifically in the rigging of the hijacked train for the getaway.

The film was shot in Toronto's TTC subway system, mainly using the system's station platform Bay (TTC), St. Andrew (TTC) station and Museum (TTC) station, and two of a class of older cars being retired by the TTC. The two cars were shipped by road to the scrapyard the day after filming ended, still disguised as New York cars.

The Toronto subway cars used for filming cannot operate singly, so a two-car set was used. A phony cab was built on the other end of H-1 car 5482 to simulate single car operation. The single car supposedly detached from the front of the train can be seen on several occasions to be part of a train of at least two cars. The most obvious cases are when rounding curves: once when first moving forward after being detached, and later when Anthony has just figured out the hijackers' plan.

Differences from the novel

Since the film was produced much later than the original, there are also additions to the film that did not exist in the original. For example, one of the characters sets up an IBM ThinkPad laptop computer, connected wirelessly to a motion detector that he places on the track. Later in the film, another character views the screen to see an approaching person, whom he confronts in the tunnel. The ransom demand in the remake was $5 million as opposed to $1 million in the original film and the novel.

Home media

In 2012, TGG Direct released the film on DVD in full frame in a two-pack that also included Runaway Train (1985).

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