The Taking of Pelham 123
The Taking of Pelham 123
is a 2009 action/thriller film about the hijack of a New York City subway train by terrorists who demand for ten million dollars. A man calling himself "Ryder", along with three other heavily armed men Bashkim, Emri, and former train operator Phil Ramos, take Pelham 123, a New York City Subway 6 train that had departed from Pelham Bay Park Station at 1:23 p.m, uncoupling the front car from the rest of the train and taking the passengers hostage. MTA employee Walter Garber, a former assistant chief transportation officer, is working the Rail Control Center as a train dispatcher and receives the ransom call from Ryder, who demands $10 million in cash be paid within 60 minutes, and warns that for every minute past the deadline they force Ryder to wait, he will execute a hostage. Bashkim kills a plainclothes Transit Police officer attempting to arrest him. He and Ramos then allow all the people not in the front car to be released except for motorman Jerry Pollard. Garber reluctantly negotiates with Ryder and develops a rapport, while Ramos and Emri set up a wi-fi booster apparatus to enable Ryder internet access in the tunnel on his laptop computer. He uses it to watch the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunge nearly 1,000 points during the next hour in response to the taking. The booster also reconnects one of the passenger's laptop after it was casually knocked to the floor by the hijackers; its webcam facing the car's interior. The link reestablishes the passenger's videochat to his girlfriend's desktop, which she then gives to a local television station, allowing the authorities to use it as a live feed. It also allows the people at RCC to see what's going on, they see Ramos and Ryder later on. The Mayor agrees to pay Ryder's ransom demand and orders cash from the Federal Reserve to be rushed to Vanderbilt Ave and 42nd Street to be delivered. Lieutenant Camonetti of the NYPD Emergency Service Unit, also known as the Hostage Negotiation Team, enters RCC to take over negotiations and Garber is ordered by his boss to leave the premises. The change infuriates Ryder, who shoots and kills the train's operator to force Camonetti to bring Garber back. Camonetti learns Garber is being investigated for allegedly accepting a $35,000 bribe to recommend a Japanese car manufacturer for the next subway car contract, thus his demotion to train dispatching. He becomes suspicious and asks Garber to consent to a search of his home. Ryder also discovers the allegations through online news reports and forces Garber to confess by threatening to kill a passenger. Garber explains he took the bribe to pay his kids' tuition. The vehicle transport delivering the money is involved in a car accident and fails to arrive within the deadline. Garber tries to bluff and tells Ryder that the tunnel was the only thing separating him from the money, unaware that Ryder could see the outside of Grand Central Terminal via his laptop. For lying, Ryder kills a former US Army Air-Assault Soldier when he intervenes to protect a woman whom Ryder had targeted next for execution. A gunfight then erupts when a NYPD sniper accidentally fires his gun and kills Ramos. Garber is flown to Grand Central Terminal, the closest station to the takers' location, when Ryder demands he personally deliver the ransom. Garber accepts a concealed pistol from a police officer and drops off the money. Ryder brings him aboard and orders him to operate the train to the next station where he and the hijackers exit the train during a brief railroad switch stop. To ensure that the police follow the train (and go to a wrong place), Ryder uses a special mechanism to lock the driving lever in the full-speed position, bypassing the dead-man's switch. Per Ryder's demands, the signals have been set to green and the train speeds ahead towards Coney Island. Garber manages to separate himself from the takers at a railway crossing and then follows them as they escape to the emergency exit inside The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Ryder parts ways with Bashkim and Emri, who are later shot dead via suicide by cop after being surrounded by police. The runaway train's automatic brake is tripped by an unaltered red signal one station from Coney Island and it comes to a halt safely. Police learn Ryder is not on board. Ryder hails a taxi with Garber, who gets a truck, in close pursuit. The NYPD then discover that Ryder is Dennis Ford, a former manager of a private equity firm who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for investment fraud. Ryder checks his laptop and finds that his $2 million investment in derivatives has amassed him a $307 million profit. Ryder leaves the cab on the Manhattan Bridge amid traffic and takes the bridge's pedestrian walkway but Garber catches up to him. As Garber holds Ryder at gunpoint, Ryder gives him a 10 second ultimatum to kill him. As he reaches the final seconds of the countdown, Ryder pulls out his gun and Garber shoots. With his dying breath, Ryder calls Garber his hero as NYPD officers arrive on scene. Afterward, the mayor thanks Garber for saving the hostages, and hints the city will support him in the bribery investigation. Garber is later seen coming home with groceries, including a half-gallon of milk he promised his wife he'd bring home during an earlier phone call.
The Taking of Pelham 123

Directed by

Tony Scott

Produced by

Tony Scott
Todd Black
Jason Blumenthal
Steve Tisch


Denzel Washington
John Travolta
Luis Guzmán
Victor Gojcaj
James Gandolfini
John Turturro

Music by

Harry Gregson-Williams

Editing by

Chris Lebenzon


Relativity Media
Scott Free Productions
Escape Artists

Distributed by

Columbia Pictures

Release Date

June 12, 2009

Running time

106 minutes