Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Luc Besson|
|Produced by||Luc Besson|
|Written by||Luc Besson|
|Music by||Éric Serra|
|Edited by||Sophie Schmit|
|Distributed by||Gaumont (France)|
Island Pictures (US)
|Box office||$22.3 million|
Having stolen some compromising documents from a powerful and successful entrepreneur/gangster at a party, a man known as Fred (Lambert) escapes from the police and takes refuge in the underground world of the Paris Métro stations and tunnels. There he joins the dwellers and befriends several colourful characters, including others who are living under the subway to avoid police arrest. While the gangster's henchmen try to find Fred, he develops a romance with the gangster's young trophy wife, Héléna (Adjani). She had originally invited Fred to the party featured at the opening of the film, and is bored with her gilded-caged life.
Fred forms a pop band with some of his friends, such as "The Drummer" (Reno) and Enrico (Serra), who compose the songs. While Fred is working on this project, Héléna's powerful husband pressures the police to find the fugitive. One of Fred's sidekicks, The Rollerskater, who has been wanted by the police for a long time, is captured by Commissioner Gesberg (Galabru). Fred and his friend The Florist rob a train carrying money; The Florist escapes, leaving Fred with the loot.
Fred uses money from the robbery to pay off a chamber-music ensemble scheduled to perform in the subway station. His new band replaces them but, at their performance, Fred is searched for by both the police and a henchman of Héléna's husband. The henchman shoots Fred while Héléna is running towards him to warn him of the danger. The film ends with Héléna kneeling beside Fred, who is lying on his back, looking content and singing along with the band. They are playing and being applauded by the audience in the background.
- Isabelle Adjani as Héléna
- Christopher Lambert (as Christophe Lambert) as Fred
- Richard Bohringer as The Florist
- Michel Galabru as Commissioner Gesberg
- Jean-Hugues Anglade as The Roller
- Jean Bouise as The Station Master
- Jean-Pierre Bacri as Inspector Batman
- Jean-Claude Lecas as Robin
- Pierre-Ange Le Pogam as Jean
- Jean Reno as The Drummer
- Éric Serra as Enrico (bassist)
- Arthur Simms as Paul (singer)
Subway was filmed partially on location in the Paris Métro and Paris RER, and partially on sets that were designed by Alexandre Trauner. The opening car chase scene is said to pay homage to the 1971 film The French Connection, and the film's ending is based loosely on the ending of the 1960 film Breathless.
Éric Serra's score and other musical pieces from the soundtrack, such as Fred's band's song, "It's Only Mystery" (also written by Serra), were released on vinyl and cassette in 1985. The soundtrack sold over 100,000 copies in France. The soundtrack was released on CD in 1996.
Subway was the third-most popular French film in France in 1986, after Trois Hommes et un Couffin and Les Specialistes. It attracted 2,920,588 cinemagoers. The film grossed $390,659 at the box office in the United States.
The film holds an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on seven reviews. Janet Maslin of The New York Times praised the film's "highly energetic visual style" and "the sheer fun of staging domestic scenes, musical interludes and roller-skate chases in the underground" but added that "[the] characters and situations [are] so thin that they might as well be afterthoughts".
Subway was nominated for the Foreign Language Film award at the 40th British Academy Film Awards. The film was nominated for 13 César Awards in 1986, winning 3: Best Actor (Christopher Lambert), Best Production Design (Alexander Trauner) and Best Sound.
The film was released on DVD in the United States in November 2001. The DVD presents the film in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and contains both an English-dubbed version as well as the original French version with English subtitles. Aaron Beierle of DVD Talk gave the DVD 3 out of 5 stars for video quality, and 2½ stars for audio quality. Jason Bovberg of DVD Talk gave the film 3 stars for both video and audio quality. Both reviewers gave the film only a ½ star for its extra features, noting only cast and crew biographies plus trailers for three of Besson's other films were included on the disc. As well as having no special features, standard versions of the DVD only contain the English-dubbed version; this has significant dialogue differences from the French original, though both Lambert and Adjani performed their own English.
Both the UK and French versions of the Blu-ray were released in September 2009. Both only contained the film in its original French audio, though with optional English subtitles. Blu-ray.com awarded both 3½ out of 5 stars for both audio and video quality.
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