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Release Date: December 20th, 2022 Movie Release Year: 1974

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

Four men armed with machine guns have taken a train full of hostages in the explosive thriller The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. Starring Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam, and Hector Elizondo this thriller quickens the pulse and keeps you on the edge of your seat with some timely humor to keep the show entertaining from frame one. Kino Lorber Studio Classics delivers this classic thriller to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with a fitting Dolby Vision upgrade, multiple audio options, and plenty of new and archival bonus features. Highly Recommended

Screen legends Walter Matthau (Charley Varrick, The Laughing Policeman) and Robert Shaw (Jaws, Force 10 from Navarone) team up with Martin Balsam (After the Fox) and Hector Elizondo (Valdez is Coming) to deliver a sure-fire entertainment that's gripping and exciting from beginning to end and is guaranteed to give you the ride of your life. A gang of armed professionals hijack a New York subway train somewhere outside the Pelham station threatening to kill one hostage per minute unless their demands are met. Forced to stall these unknown assailants until a ransom is delivered or a rescue is made, transit chief Lt. Garber (Matthau) must shrewdly outmaneuver one of the craftiest and cruelest villains (Shaw) in a battle of wits that will either end heroically or tragically. Featuring masterful direction by Joseph Sargent (White Lightning), gorgeous widescreen cinematography by Owen Roizman (The French Connection), a classic rousing score by David Shire (The Conversation) and top-notch editing by Jerry Greenberg (Apocalypse Now) and Robert Q. Lovett (Cotton Comes to Harlem).

• Brand New HDR/Dolby Vision Master – From a 4K Scan of the Original Camera Negative
• NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historians Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson
• Audio Commentary by Actor/Filmmaker Pat Healy and Film Programmer/Historian Jim Healy
• 5.1 Surround and Lossless 2.0 Audio
• Triple-Layered UHD100 Disc
• Optional English Subtitles
• Brand New 4K Master
• NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historians Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson
• Audio Commentary by Actor/Filmmaker Pat Healy and Film Programmer/Historian Jim Healy
• THE MAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE: Vintage Featurette from the Point of View of New York City Transit Policeman, Carmine Foresta, who appears in the Film as a Train Expediter (6:05)
• 12 MINUTES WITH MR. GREY: Interview with Actor Hector Elizondo
• CUTTING ON ACTION: Interview with Editor Gerald B. Greenberg
• THE SOUND OF THE CITY: Interview with Composer David Shire
• Trailers from Hell with Josh Olson
• Image and Poster Gallery
• Theatrical Trailer
• TV Spot
• 2 Radio Spots
• 5.1 Surround and Lossless 2.0 Audio
• Dual-Layered BD50 Disc
• Optional English Subtitles

Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray
Video Resolution/Codec:
Dolby Vision HDR / HDR10
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
English: DTS-HD MA 2.0
English SDH
Release Date:
December 20th, 2022

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


As one of my favorite films of all time, I can never get enough of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. The remake, The Taking of Pelham 123 on the other hand, once was enough. Joseph Sargent’s 1974 original is one of the rare adaptations that is actually better than the novel that spawned it. Sargent sets the stakes fast and early with our color-coded hijackers taking the train hostage. As they methodically set their plans into motion the authorities have to wait it out and guess what’s happening in the deep dark tunnels running under New York City. Once their demands are made, the clock is ticking and it’s mere moments before the bullets fly. The interplay between the cast and characters is pitch-perfect with Robert Shaw delivering one of the most menacing villains of the 1970s. Then you have Walter Matthau as the desperate police captain working his ass off to save everyone he can on that train, while also delivering some well-timed wisecracks to cut the tension. With Hector Elizondo as the menacing creep and a sinus-troubled Martin Balsam rounding out the colorful cast of characters, you have pitch-perfect entertainment from the first notes of David Shire's bombastically cool score to Matthau's final glance.

High-Def Digest's previous Blu-ray Reviews of  The Taking of Pelham One Two Three 

Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
pulls into the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray station with a new two-disc release from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. The 4K is pressed on a BD-100 disc with the 1080p version pulling a Region A BD-50 disc. Both discs are housed in a two-disc case with identical slipcover artwork. In a change from past KLSC releases, the 4K disc loads to an animated main menu with standard navigation options whereas the 1080p disc is a static-image menu - but both offer that badass David Shire score.

Video Review


After two decent enough Blu-ray releases that shared the same transfer, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three picks up a new 2160p 2.35:1 Dolby Vision transfer sourced from a new scan of the camera negative for its first UHD offering. Quick comparisons to the past Blu-rays that shared nearly identical transfers, one will see that this one is a stop of two darker with a little more green in some cases, but the overall results are much more satisfactory. Detail clarity and film grain are much better resolved this go around. Grain is still present but maintains a more cinematic presence. Facial features, clothing textures, and production design also pick up some notable improvements. There’s a lot of tweed going around and for past discs, there could be some banding or aliasing with those textures and that’s no longer an issue here. Those mustaches look great! 

With Dolby Vision employed, the HDR grade keeps things natural accenting those deep dark shadows that could skew more brown than black. The whites are clean and crisp. It’s the 70s so there are a lot of browns and dark reds and yellows but there’s enough pop to let Matthau’s yellow tie look more true yellow than the bright almost neon it appeared on the old Blu-rays. Skin tones also look healthier this go around where the past discs could look too pinked. For a film that mostly takes place in a dark New York subway, this isn’t exactly a show-stopper demo-worthy example for the format, but this is still a great-looking transfer for a title that’s needed a little love. The speckling issues of past releases are largely resolved and some of the frame judder seen during the opening credits and through other sequences in the film has been fixed as well.

Audio Review


Rolling with a pair of audio options, fans can pick between the solid new DTS-HD MA 5.1 or the just as impressive DTS-HD MA 2.0 track. The new 5.1 track holds up nicely adding more dimension to the mix - especially in the subway tunnels. The echoing in the tight tunnels as voices or gunfire bounce around the walls engages the surround channels for a welcome immersive quality. The busy and bustling command center is alive with activity staging the soundscape with plenty of atmosphere. Dialog is clean and clear without issue and levels are spot on, but with that David Shire score you’re going to want to pop it up nice and loud! The 2.0 track sounds the same as the past discs, I didn’t notice any differences there and it’s still a solid track. Usually, the 2.0 mix would be my preferred option but this new 5.1 track is solid stuff and I really enjoyed it with my receiver's DTS Neural:X function employed. 

Special Features


As for the bonus features package, KLSC brings over all of their past offerings from the 2016 disc with a new and very informative and entertaining Audio Commentary featuring Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson. This is a very cool commentary as the pair offer up a lot of appreciation and analysis of the film as well as some interesting production trivia. As for the rest of the extras, if you haven’t gone through them they're well worth the journey. 

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc

  • NEW Audio Commentary featuring film historians Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson
  • Audio Commentary featuring Pat Healy and Kim Healy 

Blu-ray Disc

  • NEW Audio Commentary featuring film historians Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson
  • Audio Commentary featuring Pat Healy and Kim Healy 
  • The Making of Pelham One Two Three
  • 12 Minutes with Mr. Grey - Interview with Hector Elizondo
  • Cutting On Action - Interview with Gerald B Greenberg
  • The Sound of the City - Interview with David Shire
  • Trailers From Hell with Josh Olson
  • Image and Poster Gallery
  • Radio Spots
  • TV Spot
  • Trailer
  • KLSC Trailer Gallery

For pure entertainment value, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three remains one of my all-time favorite films. From the tight direction and editing to the crackling script to the fantastic cast, it’s the perfect way to spend 100 minutes of your time. Nearly fifty years after it exploded onto theater screens, Joseph Sargent’s stylish thriller picks up its first 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release with largely impressive results. Add multiple audio options and an excellent slate of bonus features to the ransom demands and you have a great disc for the collection. Highly Recommended.