Three Days of the Condor (1975) Poster

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Pollack Does Hitchcock
dane1129 April 2004
Three Days of the Condor is a classic spy thriller with a bit of a twist, it takes place inside the U.S.A. There are no flashy locales, no super-hero types, and no ultra-menacing bad guys who spew cheesy dialogue; instead, we have a common man (Robert Redford) battling for his life in an uncommon situation. This is similar to Alfred Hitchcock's North By Northwest in its theme and intensity and Sydney Pollack pulls it off to perfection.

Robert Redford stars as Joseph Turner a "reader" for the CIA who finds himself on the run after everyone in his office is assassinated. Pollack wisely allows us to share in Turner's horror and confusion upon finding his dead co-workers. We witness his scramble for protection and his shaky call to the CIA Headquarters, as he demands to be brought in. The wheels start turning and it seems that all will be resolved, safely and quickly, but things don't go as planned. After a shoot out in an alley, Turner is seen as a possible rogue agent sending him into greater peril. Now everyone is out to get him. Only through quick, imaginative thinking and survival instincts can Turner stay ahead of those who are out to kill him.

In a moment of desperate improvisation, Turner kidnaps Faye Dunaway to elude his pursuers. This turn allows us to have someone else view Redford's character for us and provide a different intensity, a sexual intensity, to the film. Again, this is somewhat reminiscent of Cary Grant meeting Eva Marie Saint on the train in North by Northwest. But this story has more of an edge to it and Dunaway's character has greater depth and purpose than we imagine possible. She acquiesces to her captor's demands as she tries to understand him and learns quickly to appreciate him and the situation he's in.

Through Dunaway's help, Redford is allowed to meet up with the man (Cliff Robertson) who he believes is pulling the strings inside the CIA. The story turns more cerebral as we learn why Turner's office was hit and who was behind it. Furthermore, we understand how truly alone Redford's character really is. The audience is kept guessing through to the very end as to whether or not Redford's character will survive.

This is one movie that provides action and excitement coupled with a strong plot and solid characters. Max Von Sydow is excellent as a Joubert, a sophisticated, calculating, even-keeled assassin who is only doing what he is paid to do. Redford shines as a man whose entire world is thrown into violent disarray forcing him to fight for his survival. His ability to project his thoughts and concerns through his actions and facial expressions holds the audience to him.

While this movie does not have the overwhelming paranoid feel to it that a movie like The Parallax View had, it is stylish, convincing, and an intriguing movie. Sydney Pollack doesn't fill the scenes with deep shadows and hard camera angles, as some would do. Instead, most of this story takes place in broad daylight, which actually increases the tension. There's no easy place to hide, no dark doorways to duck into, no characters stepping out of the fog when we least expect it. Like Hitchcock, Pollack knows that exposing his hero to the light of day is to abandon him to his pursuers. The audience is pulled in right along with the Redford's character and we can't let go until we know we're safe.
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One of Redford's Best, a 70s Suspense Classic!
cariart9 February 2004
A cold, rainy day in New York City...a small, cramped office building where a friendly, diverse group of CIA administrative types do employee, a young 'reader' (Robert Redford), is assigned to pick up sandwiches, and takes a short cut through back alleys to a local deli...a van pulls up in front of the building, a group of disguised, armed assassins disembark, enter...and brutally kill every person in the building, leaving just before the 'reader' returns, to face the carnage...

With this visually gripping sequence, the stage is set for one of the best suspense films of the 1970s, Sydney Pollack's classic THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR. In a novel twist of the Hitchcock 'Man Who Knew Too Much' theme, Redford's 'Joseph Turner' (code name 'Condor'), whose employment consists of reading novels and publications for any reference to the CIA, develops an 'imaginary' scenario of an agency 'inside' the agency, working independently, which his boss forwards to Washington for review. Unfortunately, the scenario is true, and Turner and his co-workers must be eliminated, to keep the secret intact. By sheer luck, Turner survives the 'hit', and the bookish 'admin type' must now run for his life, utilizing survival skills he didn't know he possessed, while trying to discover the reason for his 'death sentence'...

The tension never lets up in this grim, exciting tale, as Turner discovers he can trust no one, and barely survives assassination attempts, again and again. Forced to kidnap a young woman (Faye Dunaway, more vulnerable than usual) to aid him, it takes a death attempt to convince her to believe him, but Turner refuses to allow her to continue to risk her life protecting him, so, ultimately, it becomes a 'David and Goliath' struggle between Turner and the 'outlaw' CIA and it's hired assassins.

Featuring Max von Sydow as a sophisticated 'hit man', John Houseman as a mysterious CIA senior official, and Cliff Robertson as an agent with an agenda, THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR influenced a generation of similar-themed thrillers, including Mel Gibson's CONSPIRACY THEORY, and Will Smith's ENEMY OF THE STATE.

The Robert Redford film is the best of the crop, by far!
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wwebster10016 January 2007
I first saw this film back in 1976. The next time was in 2002. Both viewings had me captivated from start to finish even though, second time around, there were parts which I remembered from the first time. Robert Redford ("Condor") works for the CIA as a reader/researcher. His job, along with others, is look for new ideas or plots published in books or journals around the world in all languages. He turns up a well authored scheme in a journal printed in a variety of strange languages and reports to his superiors. Unfortunately, someone doesn't agree with his report and his colleagues turn up dead when he returns from lunch one day. Whoever is behind these killings hasn't finished yet as "Condor" was on the hit-list. The hide and seek game begins with "Condor" trying to stay one step ahead of his assassins. He resorts to kidnapping a beautiful woman (Faye Dunaway) who, possibly through the Stockholm Syndrome, eventually becomes his ally. The film has an unpredictable ending for all involved. There are many stories about the cloak and dagger world of the intelligence communities but few have a storyline which is believable. This is one of those few and it is as relevant today as it was back in '75. If you like films which depict the sinister and dark side of the CIA and provide plenty of suspense with the obligatory victimized female, this is the film for you. I guess the modern day version of this film is Borne Identity. What Robert Redford pulled off over 30 years ago, Matt Damon is doing today.
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Nice suspense thriller about spy world and an international conspiracy
ma-cortes22 May 2011
Good intrigue yarn about a CIA agent whose code name is Condor who is forced to flee for his life when his cover operation (called American Literature History Society) is blown and becomes into man-on-the-run . In the next seventy-two hours almost everyone he trusts will attempt to murder him ( by an organization undercover called Five Continents Import Inc. ). The bookish CIA information reader (Robert Redford) aware more than he should and he finds all of his co-workers cruelly killed. He must outwit those responsible until he figures out who he can really trust and he suddenly himself as hunted man , being only helped by a stranger woman (Faye Dunaway) .

This exciting mystery contains thrills , action , shootouts , suspense and is quite entertaining . Good performance from Robert Redford as bookish researcher working for US Intelligence office and Faye Dunaway as the innocent who Condor uses to avoid capture and shelter him . Excellent support cast as Cliff Robertson with special mention to veteran John Houseman and of course Max Von Sydow who expertly handles a vignette as cold murderer . Very good cinematography , well filmed in New York City and Washington D.C. by Owen Roizman- The exorcist- and atmospheric musical score by Dave Grusin. The motion picture is stunningly directed by the recently deceased Sydney Pollack . Sydney was an excellent director , producer and secondary actor with several hits on all kind of genres as ¨The Interpreter¨ , ¨The firm¨ , ¨Out of Africa¨ , ¨Tootsie¨, ¨Yakuza¨ and many others . Rating : Good , better than average and worthwhile watching . The flick will appeal to Robert Redford fans and thriller buffs .
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Pollack, Redford in top form together.
baronson6 June 2018
Perhaps its just me, but I think this film is underrated. 3 Days of the Condor is one of my all time favorite suspense thrillers and is both intellectually and vicariously plausible - from the first frame to the last. The action immediate and visceral, the characters subtle and direct, are succinctly performed and clearly understood. The dialog and exposition serve fascinating food for thought while the suspense unfolds revelations as the story thrusts deeper towards danger. A masterful Pollack/Redford conspiratorial thriller that is as smart as it is believable. Its as real as a narrative fiction can feel, in my personal film experience.
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2 hours of the condor
garywoodburn30 March 2006
Towards the end of this film - two of the main protagonists engage in a conversation that is so telling - it could have been written yesterday and not thirty years ago.

The West has long looked to the east and its oil fields as potential targets and this film just reinforces the fact that what we think of as a new war has in fact been a raging cold war for decades. It is not and never has been about freedom –it is now and always has been a war of economic necessity. Although this film is not as renowned as many of the other paranoid spy thrillers of the 70's such as the Conversation or the Parallax View it is still a very watchable and intriguing film.

Redford is well cast as a fish out of water having to adapt his talents from the page to real life. The central relationship between Dunaway and Redford doesn't work as well as it should. She is too keen to fall for his charms and were it not Redford but a more charmless man like Hackman for example I doubt it would have worked at all.

The film is not as complex as has suggested. It is neat and easy enough to follow. It has a beguiling character that is better for my money than harder hitting films like Parallax. Redfords fight in the middle of the film is copied in a many ways by the new Bourne movie fight scenes. Indeed the double talk spy will appeal to fans of this genre. Bourne today is the nearest thing to Condor in the movies.

And Von Sydow is as always untouchable. Worth a remake but I still have a very dear place in my big movie heart for well made 70s films like this.
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A classic spy thriller that still does the trick after so many years
philip_vanderveken11 July 2005
Sidney Pollack is a great admirer of Alfred Hitchcock, which he also proved with "The Interpreter". Apparently he loves suspenseful thrillers and I sure hope for him that his movies will age as well as those that Hitchcock made. And I guess they do. Even though it was made thirty years ago, "Three Days of the Condor" still hasn't lost any of its power. Sure, you could call it a typical product of the seventies, but even today this movie feels up-to-date and believable.

Turner works for the American Literary Historical Society, or at least so it seems. In reality he is a CIA researcher, with the code name Condor, who gets paid to read books, in which he has to find possible scenarios that could be used in intelligence work. When he returns to his office after he went out to get lunch, he finds all his colleagues dead and he doesn't know who shot them. He immediately calls a superior who sends his section chief to get him out of there. But when the man arrives, he immediately opens fire on Turner. In an act of pure desperation - he no longer knows who he can trust - Turner kidnaps a woman he has never seen before and forces her to hide him. He will stay in her house until he can find out what exactly is going on. But even there he isn't save. He is discovered and attacked in the woman's house, but is able to kill the man. Now he knows one thing for sure: the man too had a connection to the CIA, which means that someone in the CIA must be behind all this...

I guess the best thing about this movie is the fact that it doesn't give away all its information at once. At first Turner appears to be an ordinary guy who arrives late for work. Nothing special there. But because he gradually builds up tension by slightly releasing more information, the writer knows how to keep you focused and interested. I guess the best way to describe this movie is calling it a classic spy thriller without James Bond-like locations or bad guys and and no super hero who can beat all the bad guys with a blink of an eye. No, this is a normal man who was at the wrong place at the wrong time and who now has to face an unusual and life threatening situation. I guess that's where this movie gets its strength: you can easily identify with him, even though he is a spy.

And yes, the whole concept of the movie is very seventies: the paranoia towards the government, the insecurity of not knowing who your enemies or your friends are... all give it that typical feeling. but even today this movie hasn't lost any of its power or relevance. All in all this is a very good and stylish thriller that offers plenty of tension and some very nice acting. Especially Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway were very nice to watch, but the other actors did a fine job too. Thanks to the combination of the acting, a good story and some nice camera-work, Pollack has created a movie Hitchcock might have been proud of if he had done it. That's why I give this movie a 7.5/10.
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Terrific tension
perfectbond21 November 2003
This film was very effective in maintaining the tension not only of the Condor's life and death mission to discover the reasons for the massacre of his colleagues but also the relationship between him and Kathy. The cast is uniformly good though Redford obviously carries the film. Von Sydow is again great as the strictly professional assassin. The entire film had an aura of authenticity that had me entirely engrossed. Recommended, 8/10.
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Classic 70's Film
pixalstix16 July 2005
Loved this film. One of the best from the golden age of cinema (1970's). Robert Reford was as his peak. Faye Dunaway's best role since Thomas Crown Affair. Not to be missed for those fans of 70's cinema... Really touches on Big Brother and the threat that a secret government entity lived and breathed within the CIA. Robert Reford's character embodied the unsuspecting paranoia that characterized that time. A very non-Hollywood ending will surprise you. The cinematography was top-noch (Owen Roizman). Nothing has come close to this film. This film has intrigue, suspense, and above all a moral conscience. It presents the idea that what does our government do, and at what cost?
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As effective now as it was then, but only more so.
sol-kay23 September 2003
Warning: Spoilers
How many movies about events that were happening at the time that they were released stand the test of time, in this case almost 30 years after the movie was made. "Three Days of the Condor" wasn't a major blockbuster in 1975 and didn't win any Academy Awards the next spring, But if it were remade today it would hold up as good as any film about government secret covert policies and behind the scenes action as any movie about the same subject would now.

The movie "Three Days of the Condor" eerily as well as accurately predicts the very situation that the US has got itself into now,in 2003,in the oil-rich Middle and Near East some twenty eight years ago back in in 1975! Robert Redford, Joe Turner, works for the CIA and is doing his job like he's done it for years. He reads and interprets books, without the slightest suspicion of how he, as well as his co-workers, is looked upon when it comes to the real scheme of things to what his bosses think about what's going on in the world.

Turner takes his employment in the CIA, which is one that he obviously needed to get a very high government clearance, like most working people would;a 9 to 5 job with a months vacation and a good government pension waiting for him when he retires. One day when it, unknowing at the time to Turner, luckily comes his turn get lunch for his co-workers that he finds out that working for an outfit like the CIA is a lot more dangerous then him getting mugged or having his motor bike stolen on his way to work. From then on until the end of the movie and even beyond Turner is a marked man, not marked by the enemies of the US but by his CIA bosses themselves.

"Three Days of the Condor" is a true "Man without a Country" movie when Turner as well as those that he worked with, who were loyal to their country and the agency that employed them, were deemed expendable because of a slight case of paranoia from a top administrator in the agency.

The CIA outfit that Turner was in were checking out a book, that seemed to be some kind of secret blueprint, written in a number of unlikely and foreign languages about a Western-type country plotting to, and taking over, an or a number of oil-rich Middle-East nations! This is exactly what's happening in Iraq today!

I doubt that A movie like "Three Days of the Condor" would be made today given the climate of the September 11, 2001 attacks and the "War on Terrorism" in both Afghanistan & Iraq that quickly followed. But back in 1975 when we here in the USA were living in a more peaceful and secure time and with the Frank Church Commission investigating in public the accesses of the US intelligence agencies it could.

I especially liked the cast of Cliff Robertson, Higgens, Max Von Saydo, Jobert, and Faye Dunaway, Kathy, besides of course Robert Redford's Joe Turner. I liked the contrast between Higgens and Jobert in the fact that Higgens was a career man working for the government and Jobert was a contract killer only working for whoever paid him. Even though Jobert should have been the heavy in the film he was by far more sympathetic because what he did was only a job, and that all it was, to him and his encounter with Turner towards the end of the movie, who's job it was for him to kill, wasn't that threatening and not at all as personal as Turners scenes with Higgens were.

Higgens always came across as a con-man who would shoot you, or have someone shoot you, in the back as soon as you turned around. This contrast goes to show you that a person who hires a killer to kill someone is far more guilty then the one that does the killing himself. Charles Manson didn't kill anyone, he had others do the killing for him, but he's more responsible for those murders back in 1969 then the ones that did the killings themselves.

Faye Dunaway as Kathy was great as the innocent bystander who's life was turned upside down, by all these events that she had no knowledge or control of. She showed fear and outrage at first and then later realizing that Turner was telling the truth and that she ,like him, had no choice in the matter because she "knew too much" but to risk her life, what else could she do. Kathy ended up helping him because helping Turner or not she was also targeted like he was so she might as well do what was right.

I'm surprised that I didn't read or hear anyone talk about, not all these years after "Three Days of the Condor" was released, the fact that a good part of the movie as shot in and around the ill-faded World Trade Center in NYC. In fact I think that "Three Days of the Condor" was the first major motion picture that was filmed there. The WTC was opened to the public in 1974 and the movie was made in late 1974 and early 1975. Even more ironic about the film is that Higgens, who was undoubtedly the villain in it, had his CIA offices located in of all places, you guessed it, the World Trade Center.
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"You play games. I told them a story."
Hey_Sweden29 July 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Robert Redford is just right as Joe Turner, a "reader" for a government intelligence office whose job is to pore over books and articles, and report any information to his superiors that could be seen as relevant. While out one day, getting lunch for his co-workers, he escapes a violent fate, because the rest of them are being assassinated. He must take it on the lam, trying to figure out if he can trust ANYBODY (his employers make being shady their stock in trade). He improvises by abducting an innocent young photographer, Kathy Hale (Faye Dunaway), and forcing her to help him. She's scared, but does start sympathizing with him and willingly becoming a part of his schemes.

Adapting the novel "Six Days of the Condor" by James Grady, screenwriters Lorenzo Semple, Jr. & David Rayfiel and director Sydney Pollack make this an intriguing and involved tale of paranoia and suspicion. It hinges on intelligent dialogue and situations, rather than revolving around action set pieces. We're not ten steps ahead of our protagonist, and discover layers to the story along with him. We are also able to share in his desperation and paranoia, given the relaxed pace of the film, and feel relief when he escapes a few life-and-death situations. The relationship between Joe Turner and Kathy Hale also adds a level of humanity as he comes to truly appreciate everything that she does for him, and she respects his sincerity and honesty.

Joe Turner is one of those "average Joe" type lead characters that are easier to relate to than, say, a Schwarzenegger or Stallone type superhero. We do admire him for his smarts and survival instincts, but find him believable as well because it's clear that he's in over his head. Redfords' performance is throughly credible, and even when the character is given to some righteous indignation, he doesn't make this quality as abrasive as it might have been, coming from a lesser actor. Dunaway is equally as impressive, with Cliff Robertson scoring as a smug, self-confident CIA bigwig. John Houseman is typically solid in a special guest appearance as one of Robertsons' peers. But Max von Sydow is the true MVP of the production, offering charisma and screen presence as the assassin / mercenary who never worries about the reasons why someone might want a "job" done. The confrontations and scenes between Redford & Robertson, and Redford & von Sydow, are among the best in the picture.

Commendably, the filmmakers keep you hanging until the end, and uncertain as to whether Joes' problems will be solved. One thing's for sure: you know this guy will have to be looking over his shoulder a lot from now on.

Eight out of 10.
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Simmer against the the beginnings of a new kind of CIA genre
secondtake18 December 2009
Three Days of the Condor (1975)

This is looking more and more like a period piece, dated and curious like one of those great Cold War films looks today (Failsafe or Seven Days in May). And yet it also feels like the beginnings of spy/counterspy films that are going on today, way beyond the pizazz of the early Bond films of the 1960s, and presaging the dozens since, including recent ones like the Bourne films or Syriana. It plays straight up as a suspense film, one where an almost innocent man is caught up in something huge and perplexing and awful, and we all identify with the individual against the powers of evil. Robert Redford plays the role of Joe Turner well, with the usual Redford stiffness, but believably--he reads books, after all--and sympathetically.

Putting yourself back to 1975 you have to remember that everyone was talking about, and reacting to, Watergate, and a U.S. president who had to resign from office because of it. Watergate, more than anything, started the current public roar (blossoming on the internet) about government conspiracy. Three Days of the Condor makes the government, and the CIA in particular, an almost unassailable and invisible force of spying and mistrust. Turner, by circumstance at first and then by admirable determination, fights back. He's clever as much as he is worried. He falls in love. He feels isolated but never gives up. He has close calls, and lucky escapes, and unlikely friends. He thinks of other people first.

In other words, he's a hero against the machine, and if the movie is sometimes slow, it creates a nice pace for the end, which is beautifully thought out. Director Sydney Pollack is hampered by a screenplay that alternates between awkward (Faye Dunaway's scenes) and brilliant (Redford's anti-spy character has a conversation with a hit man played by Max Von Sydow that shines), but he patches it together with an editing job that was nominated for an Oscar. And the cinematography by Owen Roizman is really nice (he shot a dozen great films from the French Connection to the Exorcist to Network). Condor is not just an entertainment, which is a saving grace, but it does also, slowly and beautifully, entertain.
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A lesson in what to do with filmmaking.
whatservesmymind10 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Being someone who wants to tell his stories for a living this movie was a revelation. I saw it when I was not quite 18. Over ten years ago.

I came across it on one of the movie channels. It opens so quietly. Just everyday life going on. A guy late for work. Coming in by bike and in the rain no less. His workplace is comprised of superiors he wont conform to please and those he works alongside that apprciate that quality in him. He has the air of a man that knows who he is. Gently he sets the tone for his corner of the world and those around him are much the better for it.

He goes out for lunch and returns to find everyone in his office cut down like they were nothing. Even though we saw it happening. We still feel his horror at returning to find his sanctuary torn asunder.

When he finds his feet again he calls in and in a panic tells his superiors. Everyone's dead! When they try to run him through the usual protocols he reponds. I'm not a field agent I just read books! He doesn't go charging off for revenge like so many action heroes. This guy just wants out. He's seen his world demolished and he just wants to survive the day. He's panicked and alone. But when his saviours turn out to be, if not in league with the devil at least working the same side of the street. He has to fend for himself. Having run out of options and with nowhere to turn this CIA reader realizes if there's any saving to be done he'll have to do it himself. And as John Houseman's Big Guy at the CIA asks Cliff Robertson's Director Higgins "how is he doing this" Higgins replies "He reads. He reads... everything" Houseman nods knowingly. The message here? Knowledge is power. And while these men have their offices and expense accounts Joseph Turner is a man who knows things. He borrows some equipment from the back of a Telephone repairman's truck and taps a telephone line in a NY city Hotel. Another character we might think this an unlikely skill to just happen to come in handy but it's been established. The guy is brilliant and has a job reading and analyzing books all day every day five days a week. He isn't everyman. He's just the hero any one of us COULD be. He is believable which makes all that he achieves all the more impressive.

The moments of tension between Turner and Joubert the Assassin are beautifully done. From the initial scene where the hit on his office goes down we know that this hitman knows he is standing next to the only one of his targets that is still running free. Joseph it seems

has a sense of it. As you watch the scene play out as they move between floors. You feel trapped there with them. Joubert is like a force of nature. He harbours no personal motives and so it's difficult to harbour any against him.

As to whether Joseph knows it was he that personally killed the people at his office. Its unsure. But I feel like at the final interaction between them one thing is clear. Turner is at least at that moment unable to switch gears from the natural gratitude he must feel at being saved by this man and however coincidentally aided by his actions. He feels safe enough to talk comfortable with him.

I could write pages more but time escapes me.
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The Definitive Political Thriller
chron18 November 2000
This had everything a political thriller should have - excellent acting by Redford and Dunaway and a well-written internally-consistent plot. Robert Redford plays a CIA agent who read books - that's all, just read books. He gets involved with a CIA plot when all of his coworkers are assassinated.

I like this movie on several levels. The thing that stands out is that Redford isn't an "action hero". He stays ahead of the game - just barely - by using his intelligence. This make for a much more interesting movie than the simple-minded shoot 'em up of the current action heros.
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Excellent movie - High level of acting performances
norakecer29 July 2010
Great film -Robert Redford has a way of drawing in the audience and Faye Dunaway is more vulnerable than ever, her best role since Thomas Crown. No vulgarity in the love scene just a great sensuality. Both stars have shown an outstanding performance ! Top-notch screenplay - 70's films are definitely the best ones in terms of storytelling and screenplays. Sidney Pollack does also a great job as a director and delivers an efficient thriller that you can watch over and over again.I agree with some reviewers who think that it is one of the Redford's best. The supporting cast is also excellent. Maybe the directors nowadays should watch more often 70's films to be more inspired.
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They don't make movies like this anymore!
Rodrigo_Amaro3 April 2011
I look back at films like "Three Days of Condor" with a nice twinkle in the eyes due to the fact that Hollywood and even world cinema don't make films like this anymore. Where's the excitement in seeing an ordinary guy fighting against the odds facing powerful and dangerous people behind him without being a James Bond or a Jason Bourne type? Where did the intelligent and high standard plots go? And who said that a suspense film must have a haunting score or fast action scenes? Sydney Pollack made a wonderful thriller, with delightful dramatic scenes and an interesting plot that new directors of our recent times would be ashamed of what they're doing with plenty of money but no good script in hands.

And you gotta love when Robert Redford plays someone related to spies and intelligence services, after all he gave us notable and memorable performances not only in this but also in "Sneakers" and "Spy Game", outstanding spy thrillers. Here, he plays a bookish CIA researcher named Joseph Turner, codename 'The Condor', involved in a mysterious and dangerous incident after the murder of all his colleagues. The strange fact is that they only deliver messages to the headquarters, under secret memos, nothing harmful but for some reason the only member of this team who survived is followed by a sinister man (the great Max von Sydow), and also by some of his bosses at CIA (one of them played by Cliff Robertson). Trying to figure out what happened and who is trying to kill him, Turner takes a hostage (Faye Dunaway) that might help him out and also might be a next victim of these people.

Intelligent without being complicated or fuzzy, breathtaking without making the audience feel dizzy with some innovating shaky camera, "Three Days of Condor" might look dated or not much demanding in terms of surprise, but it certainly it's a serious and thrilling experience, with lots of action and effective and well balanced dramatic moments between Dunaway and Redford, and it has many things that lack in today's movies: it makes us feel good and it makes us really scared for the sake of these characters, we can relate to them and to their dangerous moments fighting the bad guys.

The performances are brilliant most notably the villain played by Max von Sydow, working with an efficiency in such a sinister and dark character that gets our attention from the first moment he's on the screen to the very last (and surprising!) scene. My favorite part with him was when he explained why he does what he does, explaining in very reasonable terms for his line of work as sort of a high class mercenary.

Sydney Pollack makes of "Three Days of Condor" a rare great thriller that still can make our hearts beat fast, with enormous qualities in terms of acting, screenplay, direction, cinematography, editing and music, and he only would made a similar interesting work in the also thrilling "The Firm". No wonder that David Rayfiel wrote both films and they were both amazing. We need more of those now! 10/10
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" You think that not getting caught, is the same as telling the truth? "
thinker169111 January 2009
Every now and then a film emerges which illuminates our government and all it's secret covert operations. Sometimes, government official are very embarrassed with just how close the movies are to their real life escapades. In this story a small group of government researchers are working at their daily humdrum jobs, when without notice, an assassin enters their building and murders them. Did I say all? Well unfortunately for the assassin, one employee Joseph Turner (Robert Redford) was literally 'out to lunch.' When he returns and finds everyone murdered, he keeps his cool and with a logical approach, must discover the who and why, his entire team was eliminated. It's a real-life cat-and-mouse game which if not played correctly, will end with the last member of the team code name Condor, dead with the outside world never knowing why. As Condor seeks those who ordered the murders and cover-up, he also discovers a professional killer is after him. Further, his immediate superiors do not want his coming in from the cold, they would prefer him dead. Condor learns quickly not to trust anyone and therefore takes steps to stay away from making 'predictable' mistakes. With the superior cast of Cliff Robertson as Higgins, John Houseman as Mr. Wabash, the international star, Max Von Sydow as Joubert and Faye Dunaway as Kathy. this film easily generates enough platitudes to support it as a Classic. ****
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Entertaining...Fun.....But An Insult To One's Intelligence
ccthemovieman-126 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Let me emphasize that I really enjoy watching this film. It has first-rate suspense and is definitely entertaining. I have seen it multiple times and will continue to watch it.

Having said that, I have to admit I laugh when I see people writing about how "intelligent" this movie is.

Intelligent? Yeah, right.

Let's see. A man goes out to lunch and comes back to discover (after walking into an open front door that previously shuts and locks automatically) that all his co-workers have been murdered. Shortly afterward, he is shot at by a professional killer, who, conveniently, misses! OK. Now on the run, our hero (Robert Redford) kidnaps a woman at random in broad daylight and forces her at gunpoint back to her apartment. (Nobody sees any of this.) About two hours later, the woman is making love to the man and is instantly in love with him!!

It gets better. The man - a professional reader, a bookworm, instantly turns into James Bond and the woman is instantly transformed from a lonely, shrinking violet into an international spy, boldly breaking into the CIA and talking tough to an agent. Wow, yes, that sure sounds plausible to me! Together they fight a renegade CIA wing until he convinces her to leave town and then he finishes up, surviving the whole affair. All that from a mousy guy who just reads books for a living. Wow.

Well, I''ll repeat one thing, for the readers here who forgot my opening paragraph and think I am panning the film. I am not. I like the movie. it's entertaining. It's fun to watch, and that's the name of the game........but if you think this is "intelligent" storytelling, well, I have this swampland in New Jersey I'd like to sell you that......
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Still fresh after thirty five years
Tweekums18 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This thriller from 1975 has maintained its freshness; sure the technology is old fashioned but the story is still gripping without relying on non-stop action, explosions and shaky camera work one would expect today. Robert Redford plays a CIA employee who returns from lunch to find his entire section has been killed; why is a mystery, they aren't investigating anything serious; they just analyse books. Realising he is in danger he leaves the scene and phones his superior from a phone box; he is given instructions about how to come in safely but when he follows them he is ambushed. He manages to escape but now he realises that he can't trust anybody inside the CIA. He makes his escape by kidnapping a woman and eventually persuading her that he is actually one of the good guys and that he needs her help. In order to survive he must find out just what it was that his section discovered that was so serious that people would kill to keep secret.

It was refreshing to watch a thriller that didn't rely on constant action; in fact the tensest scenes often involved just two people talking where there was a feeling that something could happen at any moment. Robert Redford did a good job as man on the run Joseph Turner and Max von Sydow was particularly menacing as the soft spoken assassin. Director Sydney Pollack kept things tense throughout without things getting melodramatic. I liked how the viewer is kept unsure about who if anybody within the CIA can be trusted without making everybody out to be monsters… and when we do learn the motive it feels just as topical as it was back in the seventies.
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The best thriller I've ever seen
BenGW121 September 2001
10 out of 10. And it took about 5 seconds to decide on that. This is simply a brilliant film. It's so smart, it doesn't feel like it has to explain everything that happens over and over again. And the story here is so deep and well-structured that it's possible to find several alternate movies inside the main one that could all work almost as well as the final product.

There might not be perfect films, but THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR is as close to perfect as any film of the modern era.
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One day a limousine will drive up and a friend will be inside....
theowinthrop24 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This is possibly the only first rate spy thriller, whose most classic set of dialog lines (spoken by Max Von Sydow) became the basis of a very funny moment in a "Seinfeld" Episode.

Originally published as SIX DAYS OF THE CONDOR, the film title took a reduction of days to three. Robert Redford is working in what we would call a CIA "think tank" in Manhattan in an old brownstone. He reads there, and makes reports of what he reads. It is a pleasant enough job. One day he goes to work, not realizing that he and his fellow workers are all being watched and counted as they enter the building. They start working, but Redford goes out a back door to get some coffee. Soon the men outside come in, and shoot down all the people in the building. They note that Redford is not there, and that the back door is not locked, so they realize he stepped out. But time is of the essence, as the NYC police may be on the scene soon. So they leave before Redford returns.

The film then follows what happens to Redford. He is horrified at the murder of all his colleagues, and tries to get some guidance from his contact (Cliff Robertson) but soon he is beginning to wonder if Robertson is really being so very helpful. He seems hesitant to assist Redford in figuring who committed this set of killings. And one attempt at a safe surrender ends in the murder of a close friend.

The film is dated in one ironic manner - the meetings of Robertson and his C.I.A. boss (John Houseman, at his most cynical weary) are in the agency offices in the World Trade Center. But we see slowly what is at the base of this. There appears to be a rogue C.I.A. group acting here, and for patriotic motives (in their own eyes). Von Sydow is a freelance assassin used by the C.I.A., who has been involved in the massacre.

Redford, realizing he can't trust Robertson or the latter's bosses, becomes his own protector, hiding out in Brooklyn Heights at the apartment of Faye Dunaway, and using a stolen port - o - phone used by telephone workers to telephone Robertson without being traceable. We follow the rest of this splendid thriller as Redford slowly finds out who did the dirty work, why, and gets his own back at the Agency.

Oh yeah, SEINFELD. Remember the episode where Cosmo Kramer tried to start a movement to get people to drop all use of the U.S. Post Office. His pal Newman, realizing what Kramer is bucking, tries to warn him, while driving a postal truck (Kramer is standing in the street), that one day a friendly face will offer him a ride in a postal truck. "Do not take that offer!" warns Newman. But a moment later, Newman sees that two of the "Postal police" have seen him and Kramer together, and Newman tries to get Kramer into the truck. Unfortunately for both, Kramer has learned not to trust such offers. So both are caught. Kramer is then intimidated by a smooth as silk Postmaster General (a splendid Wilford Brimley - whose golf game was just spoiled by all this). As a crestfallen Kramer leaves, he sees Newman brought in for his "punishment" tied up with a bucket over his head. "Tell my story to the world!", the postman squeals. A perfect comic salute to a first rate thriller.
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Classic Paranoia ( That Still Stand's Out )From Sydney Pollack,
greene51527 July 2006
Robert Redford, Stars As Joe Turner(The 'Condor' Of The Title, Turner work's for the 'American Literary Society'Which actually is a front for the CIA(Central Intellegiance Agency) Turner is a 'Reader' his plum job is to look at various publication's be it paperback novel's and even comic book's to look for any type of details's that could of been leaked out,

Turner come's across a strange correspondence, about a certain plot in which catapult's turner in to a deadly conspiracy that see's turner,Become the only survivor in a bloody massacre, that see's all of his co-worker's brutally gunned down(in the film's key scene it's Redford's turn to buy lunch down town, upon his departure a group of 'Mailmen' led by the mysterious Joubert(Max Von Sydow,wipe out the entire staff, When Redford return's to the murder scene, he panic's and 'Call's in' to his superior's who attempt to silence him at all cost's,

Outnumbered and no where to run, he kidnaps at gunpoint the beautiful Kathy Hale, played by Faye Dunaway, who play's a new's reporter, who Redford beckon's to help him evade and unravel the mysterious and massive conspiracy, Cliff Robertson, Also star's as Redford's Gruff superior,

Three Days of the Condor (1975) Has aged perfectly, all though some of the 'Computer's' featured in the opening are undeniably 'prehistoric' by today's hi tech standard's! Three Days of the Condor (1975) Still stand's out as one of the great film's of the 70's, Be sure to watch it in it's True WIDESCREEN aspect ratio of 2.35:1 As it certainly capture's the almost visceral feel of paranoia,
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Great, Great, Great!
zsenorsock12 September 2001
This is one of Senor Sock's favorite movies ever. A taunt suspense thriller starring Robert Redford as a low level CIA agent. He works as a reader of foreign novels and publications when suddenly his world is turned upside down and he is embroiled in a web of suspense and intrigue.

Excellent direction and a great script. Faye Dunaway has never looked better!
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Cloak And Dagger Stuff
sddavis639 November 2010
"Three Days of the Condor" certainly manages to give a pretty good depiction of cloak and dagger intelligence activity. Robert Redford played Joe Turner, a CIA analyst who finds himself in a desperate situation when he returns to the office from lunch and discovers all of his co-workers murdered and realizes that he must surely be the next target. The movie follows Turner as he tries to put together the pieces and figure out exactly what's happening.

Redford's performance was all right, but in all honesty this wasn't the strongest performance of his career. I frankly thought he was overshadowed by Faye Dunaway, who played Kathy - a woman Turner kidnaps as part of his desperate attempt to escape those out to get him, and with whom he eventually develops a connection - emotionally and sexually. Unfortunately, neither character was particularly believable. Turner - self-described as no spy but rather simply as a guy who reads books, nevertheless seemed to come across as a pretty accomplished cloak and dagger type. The relatively quick development of the relationship between Turner and Kathy detracted from the latter character's credibility, as did her apparently quick and easy entrance into Turner's activity.

This isn't especially an action movie - although it has action moments. It's more of a behind the scenes look at the intelligence community and its ways. It has some mildly effective twists, and a resolution to the mystery of why Turner's colleagues were killed, although the movie ended on a bit of an open ended note, with a great deal of uncertainty about what Turner's ultimate fate would be.
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Great Film
callmealiar230 November 2006
The Three Days of Condor was a very entertaining movie. Robert Redford has a way of drawing in the audience. he performs the role very well in this film. I love the lack of special effects because it makes the movie rely on plot and acting. This is a quality movie, unlike a lot of new action and spy films that substitute good acting directing and plot for big sets, budgets and special effects. The government corruption theme is very well scripted. The way the story unfolds is complex and interesting.

Overall the movie is a little less Hollywood and a little more real life. At times it reminds you of The Day Of The Jackel. A little slower and calmer but all the sweeter.
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