Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Luc Besson|
|Produced by||Luc Besson
|Written by||Luc Besson
|Music by||Éric Serra|
|Editing by||Sophie Schmit|
|Distributed by||Gaumont (France)
Island Pictures (USA)
|Running time||104 min.|
|Box office||€ 26,488,295|
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. There he integrates with the dwellers and befriends several colourful characters, some of which are living under the subway to avoid police arrest like him. While the gangster's henchmen look for his trail, Fred develops a romance with the gangster's young trophy wife Héléna (Adjani),who had invited Fred to the spoiled party, and is bored with her gilded-caged life.
Fred forms a pop band with some of his friends, like "The Drummer" (Reno) and Enrico The Bass Player (Serra), who compose the songs. While he is working on his project, Héléna's powerful husband pressures the police to find Fred. One of Fred's sidekicks, The Rollerskater, who had been targeted by the police from a long time, is captured by Commissioner Gesberg (Galabru). Another one, The Florist, robs a train carrying money alongside Fred, and then escapes.
At a performance in the subway with the newly formed band -which was possible because Fred paid off the actual performers of an announced concert, with money from the train robbery, and put his band in their place- Fred is searched by the police and a henchman of Héléna's husband. The henchman shoots Fred just when Héléna was about to reach and warn him of the approaching danger. The film ends with Héléna kneeling beside Fred, who is lying on his back, looking content and singing along to the band, who are playing and being applauded by the audience in the background. The ending is left ambiguous as to what actually happens in the growing love relation between Fred and Helena, and to whether he survives.
- Isabelle Adjani ... Héléna
- Christopher Lambert (as Christophe Lambert) ... Fred
- Richard Bohringer ... Le fleuriste/The Florist
- Michel Galabru ... Commissaire Gesbert/Commissioner Gesberg
- Jean-Hugues Anglade ... Le patineur/The Rollerskater
- Jean Bouise ... Le chef de station/The Station Master
- Jean-Pierre Bacri ... Insp. Batman
- Jean-Claude Lecas ... Robin
- Pierre-Ange Le Pogam ... Jean
- Jean Reno ... The Drummer
- Éric Serra ... Enrico (bassist)
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. Christopher Lambert won a César Award for best actor.
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".
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 was not available on CD until the RCA/BMG France reissue (UPC 766485280541) in 2003.
English language releases
The film was produced and released in two English-language variants. One uses English overdubbing, with both Lambert, Adjani and possibly Anglade performing their own English dialogue, has several Americanized script differences (e.g. a reference to "Custer at the Little Big Horn" instead of "Napoleon at Waterloo"), and a number of very loose translations from the original French dialogue. This has been by far the more common version in North America. The French-audio, English-subtitled version is identical to the French cinematic release, and has more accurate dialogue translations. Long unavailable except on rare alternative VHS copies, it was re-released on the 2001 reissue version of the U.S. (NTSC, Region 1) DVD (ISBN 076786557X [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK], UPC 043396063310), along with the English-dubbed audio track and a new Spanish subtitles option. It is also available on a 2009 region-free Blu-ray release. Earlier region 1 DVDs (1997, UPC 084296400973), the laserdisc (ca. 1988, UPC 086162606069) and almost all NTSC VHS copies (1986, UPC 086162696930, reissued as a shortened 98-minute cut with new cover art in 2001, UPC 043396063396) have only the dubbed version.
- French Cinema - Powrie & Reader
- Subway reviews, Rotten Tomatoes
- Review, Janet Maslin, The New York Times, November 6, 1985
- Larek, S. (6 September 2009). "Dans le metro: A UK Blu-ray review of Subway". DVD Outsider – Beyond the Mainstream. UK: DVD Outsider Ltd. Retrieved 17 June 2010.