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The Getaway
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Getaway More at IMDbPro »

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86 out of 90 people found the following review useful:

Hypnotic, violent classic

Author: narmkids from London
2 October 2002

Was wondering why they don't make films like this anymore. Then it dawned on me. It has ambiguous morals and doesn't particularly ask for or seek redemption. The hero is a killer and bank robber, he says little and therefore you should have to work hard to empathize with him. But it comes easy because everyone else around Doc McCoy is ten times worse than he is. And Doc is played by Steve McQueen. A magnificent brooding presence who's character doesn't stop to question his actions, because if he did he'd die or get arrested. And this is where it is so much better than a contemporary film of the same vein. It's not made with actors who are scared that their image might be tarnished or misunderstood, it is not made by film-makers who are scared they might upset someone, it is not made by people who particularly need to be loved. So what you get is a story that rings true, a piece of fiction that at no time stops to apologize for itself. It grabs you, says this is what I am, and if you're hooked then great. If not go and watch Bambi or something.

A bona fide classic piece of storytelling.

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47 out of 59 people found the following review useful:

Who needs Baldwin/Basinger when you've got McQueen/McGraw??

10/10
Author: chaz-18 from kansas
1 January 1999

Steve McQueen was one of the most naturally talented actors to come along, and this movie, along with 'The Sand Pebbles', is one of my favorite McQueen movies. Ali McGraw is excellent (much better here, as compared to that sappy role she had in 'Love Story') as his on-screen wife, a team which is used to rob a bank but is double crossed by the insiders who stand to profit from the robbery. Sally Struthers even turns in a credible performance as someone exhibiting what will later be coined as the "Stockholm Syndrome", and the late Al Lettieri is great as one of their pursuers.

A far better movie than the 1994 remake.

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37 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

This movie is a true masterpiece

10/10
Author: pzanardo (pzanardo@math.unipd.it) from Padova, Italy
17 December 2001

I consider "The getaway" a true masterpiece, on the same level of Sam Peckinpah's major achievements (save "The wild bunch", of course). I learn from IMDb comments that the final cut of the movie was made by other people (McQueen ?!) than the director. Moreover the plot is much unfaithful to the original novel... Well... anyway the result is excellent.

Doc (Steve McQueen) is a tough, laconic guy, Carol (Ali McGraw) a tough, laconic woman. In some sense, they mostly speak just for technical reasons: "Take the money-bag", "Don't scratch your wound"... If they've nothing to say, they keep quiet. They seem shy to express their reciprocal feelings, even unable to say "I love you". Doc cannot accept what Carol has done, although just to help him out of jail. They both silently suffer for this, with some explosions of violence by Doc, and a ready gritty reply by Carol. But the audience well understand from their body-language how much they love each other. I think that McQueen and McGraw made a superb job in their difficult roles. Strangely enough, their performances, as well as their lines, received much criticism. I fear that people didn't like their job since they are too used to the current way of acting: hysterical, screaming, awfully clown-like. With lines that are just floods of stupid, pointless, annoying chats. A not welcome legacy of the style created by Tarantino, Oliver Stone and imitators. Nothing could be more far-away from Peckinpah's artistic taste.

The story of the movie is linear, but not trivial. The cinematography and montage are outstanding. The pace is somewhat slow, partially due to the great care paid to details. But when it's the time of action, nobody can compete with Peckinpah's grand style.

In every movie of his, Peckinpah shows his genius with some astonishing, stark new cinematic ideas. In "The getaway" we find the paramount representation of the "power of the shot-gun". Doc's shot-gun bullets destroy police-cars, devastate a whole hotel, demolish an elevator, knock down a door slaughtering the thug hidden behind... the recoil of the weapon lifts Doc's shoulder... Who remembers that this stuff, nowadays almost a cliche in action-movies, was introduced in "The getaway"? It's worth noting that an early imitator of Peckinpah's "shot-gun scenes" was Steven Spielberg in "Sugarland express".

Some words on the sub-plot concerned with the hateful Rudy (Al Lettieri) and the cretinous Fran (Sally Struthers). This part of the film is deliberately disagreeable, up to an almost unbearable point. As usual, Peckinpah doesn't miss his chance to be hated by the feminists, with his design of Fran. A damned idiot, nymphomaniac just for stupidity. At the end, when Doc hits her (a punch straight on her prating, whimpering mouth!) the director nearly provokes a standing ovation by the audience (men and women, as well). If that's not cinematic genius, what else is it? And, speaking of imitators, how much Tarantino's characters owe to Rudy and Fran?

Perhaps "The getaway" could have been even better without extraneous interference. Nonetheless, it is a fantastic film, a must-see.

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32 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Have a RIB, Harold!

Author: SnacksForAll from San Diego, CA
5 September 2003

The Getaway has the very important "Three S's" which are so crucial to any film: Style, Substance, and Steve McQueen.

This film, right behind PAPILLON, is definitely my favorite McQueen vehicle -- it's a big, BIG film (which makes sense, it takes place in Texas), has an epic feel, yet at the same time is very gritty and very honest in its approach to storytelling. The simplistic yet larger-than-life style of THE GETAWAY makes this flick a great watch on a Saturday Night.

Oh, and you can't go wrong with Steve McQueen. At his side is *THE* girl-next-door type, the ultra-likable Ali MacGraw. Their chemistry is very obvious (which would make a lot of sense, the two had an on-set affair which was followed by a five year marriage), and it carries the film. The score, composed by Quincy Jones, hits all the right notes in all the right spots, and is definitely pivotal in giving THE GETAWAY its "feel." The supporting cast couldn't be better-suited to their roles. The bad guys are really bad, and quite despicable. Despite the sinister villains, this early 70s gem has a sense of humor. At times the more "innocent" characters are mocked by the situations they find themselves in, much to your amusement or disgust (I, for one, found laugh-out-loud moments all the way through). By the very nature of a McQueen film, the characters are all "approachable," and down to earth in their own strange way. In a nutshell, a simplistically epic film that finds the time to not take itself so seriously.

While THE GETAWAY may not be the best to bring out at a movie get-together due to its slightly slow pacing and early 70s narrative (which, unfortunately, due to the breakneck music-video pacing of most "modern" films, tends to turn off anyone with a less-than-sufficient attention span), it is definitely worth a purchase, and something that you will be proud to say that you've seen.

Long Live McQueen, and Have a RIB, Harold!

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36 out of 49 people found the following review useful:

Well-Crafted Heist Flick!

8/10
Author: shepardjessica from sparks, nevada
10 August 2004

Not one of S. Peckinpah's masterworks but one hell of a crime thriller. Steve McQueen is perfect as the cool, professional Doc and although Ali MacGraw (Steve's next wife) is breezily gorgeous she doesn't have the chops to make her character (Carol) too believable. Al Lettieri is creepier than he was in THE GODFATHER and Richard Bright (THE GODFATHER as well) has a nice bit as a small-timer. Ben Johnson has credibility as does Dub Taylor later. Throw in authentic Western icon Slim Pickens and you have a nice Southwest crime drama.

A 7 out of 10. Best performance = Steve McQueen. He's very good with weapons and cars as he earlier proved. THE WILD BUNCH and STRAW DOGS are Peckinpah's masterpieces, but this is well worth a trip to the movies! Junior Bonner (a totally different type of sensibility) is also a fine film.

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21 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Bloody, exciting, and amazing on all accounts

9/10
Author: J Biz from United States
20 July 2005

Steve McQueen, the number one bad ass of his time (aside from Clint Eastwood of course). So what's wrong with rooting for the bad guy? This movie seems almost flawless with its excellently executed car chases, it's suspenseful and exciting shoot-outs, and its riveting emotional sequences. Both McGraw and McQueen make this movie well worth the experience. While it is a violent movie (especially for the year it was released!) its moments of comic relief and even serenity make this movie worthy of any moral person's eyes.

Without spoiling the movie, just imagine Bonnie and Clyde with the greatest action/adventure experience ever. And to think it was over a measley $500,000... Of course, they were being chased for $750,000.

9/10 for an adventure close to perfection.

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28 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

The Butler Did It

8/10
Author: Theo Robertson from Isle Of Bute, Scotland
21 October 2003

I`ve never been a fan of the heist genre since they always play out in an entirely formulaic way of having a plan , carrying out the plan and having a double cross at the end . THE GETAWAY is not all that different structure wise but what sets it apart from most movies in the genre is that it`s superbly directed by Sam Peckinpah . From the opening of Doc McCoy suffering hard prison time and having erotic musings about his wife ( Can`t say I blame him either ) you just know this is going to be a great film .

Once again Peckinpah uses his unique cross cutting in slo mo between scenes but that`s not the only reason this is a great thriller , it`s also down to the cast . Okay maybe McQueen and McGraw don`t make an entirely convincing on screen couple but compare this to the husband and wife of STRAW DOGS . The one problem Peckinpah seems to have had in his movies is casting convincing on screen couples , is it any coincidence that his best movies like THE WILD BUNCH and CROSS OF IRON have been mainly female free ? Peckinpah also casts Ben Johnson and Bo Hopkins on a regular basis and they both appear here , Johnson plays an oily creep while Hopkins appears very briefly . Without doubt the best casting choice is the late Al Lettieri as Rudy Butler . Lettieri is the sort of actor who exudes menace just by breathing , he doesn`t have to say anything to make you tremble in your boots , he just has to look at you and you know it`s not going to be your day . Who`d be a vet after seeing this movie .

If you`ve seen this classic thriller please don`t watch the 1990s remake because it`s utter crap . If you want to see Al Lettieri at his very best check out MR MAJESTYCK where he slaughters hundreds of defenceless watermelons

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23 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

A gritty action flick!

10/10
Author: jv-5 from Los Angeles, CA
5 February 1999

What more can be said of a movie directed by Sam Peckinpah? Blood...guts...guns...bad guys...pretty dames...a love story...piles and piles of cash. Yes sir, "The Getaway" is a fantastic action movie. And it's got the best film star of them all -- Steve McQueen. Don't get me wrong. This film isn't just a lot of shooting and killing. It's got a story. And it's got characters. (Two things you don't get much of these days.) So don't bother renting that tepid remake they did a few years ago...see the original and the best!

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Sam Peckinpah's Best Violence Ballet

9/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
22 September 2007

Steve McQueen and Sam Peckinpah teamed to do two straight films, probably some of the best work in both of their careers. But the difference in a nice character study like Junior Bonner and a tough crime drama like The Getaway shows the versatility of both these remarkable men. The Getaway seems to take its inspiration from John Huston's classic, The Asphalt Jungle.

McQueen is a career criminal whose parole has once again been denied in the ten year stretch he's doing. Wife Ali McGraw submits to parole board chief Ben Johnson's sexual advances to spring McQueen.

But the corrupt Johnson isn't just about sexual harassment. He wants McQueen to rob a bank that his brother is a director, to cover a nice case of embezzlement. He even recruits another pair of criminals, Bo Hopkins and Al Lettieri as part of the gang.

Of course the plan goes wrong as a bank guard is killed and then Hopkins is killed in a double-cross by Lettieri who then fails to do the same to McQueen and McGraw. After that it's a three way race to the border between Johnson's men, Lettieri, and McQueen.

Al Lettieri is a talent that was lost to us way too soon. He played some of the best villains in the early seventies and this one is one of them. He kidnaps veterinarian Jack Dodson and his slut of a wife Sally Struthers. Soon she's more than willing to go and be his girl. Struthers has a great part, so far from being Gloria Bunker Stivic on All in the Family.

My favorite Sam Peckinpah moment in all of his films is that climax at Dub Taylor's flea bag hotel where all the forces meet and shoot up the place. It's Peckinpah's best violence ballet in all of his films, I never tire of seeing it.

The whole film was shot in Texas and I'm not sure how residents of Texas might like this picture of their state. It seems to be one very violent place and a very corrupt one as well.

But I like The Getaway very much, it's my favorite Sam Peckinpah film next to Ride the High Country.

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Exciting McQueen/MacGraw action movie with violent Peckinpah direction

8/10
Author: sapblatt from Peabody, MA, USA
13 December 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This 1972 action crime movie begins with Steve McQueen (Carter `Doc' McCoy) passing time in prison. The fact that the time is slowly destroying him is creatively directed by Sam Peckinpah with lots of repetitive machine images and stop-action photography. McQueen's inner turmoil is exacerbated by losing a chess match with a fellow inmate and by his destruction of an intricate bridge model he spent a great deal of time building. The plot thickens when McCoy tells his wife to contact the local political boss and tell him that he is for sale and will do anything to get paroled.

McQueen gets out and the action is on from this point forward. The bank robbery is screwed up and the leads to the long crazy getaway. McCoy's force partner Rudy, played by Al Lettieri (`Mr. Magestyk,' `The Godfather') has always played the consummate bad guy, and he does not disappoint here. In `The Getaway' Rudy kills the third partner, tries to kill McCoy at the meeting spot and then kidnaps a veterinarian and his wife (Sally Struthers and eventually makes her his girlfriend and her husband, who cannot takes it hangs himself.

Like in most Peckinpah films it is the style and the violence that sticks out. There are memorable fisticuff scenes as well has the required explosions and gunshot scenes. Ones that stand out include the all too realistic slaps to the face to Ali MacGraw after Doc learns that he had been set up by her and the incredible beating of a thief played by Richard Bright (`The Panic in Needle Park' and `The Godfather' who unknowingly steals the bank robbery money in a con game in a train station and is eventually caught by McCoy. Also of note are a series of diversionary explosions that are set off right after the bank robbery and an incredible shotgun destruction of a police car. The grand finale in an El Paso hotel is not to be missed. As rough and violent as all of this is it is important to note a quieter more sympathetic side of McCoy that is played my Steve McQueen. On a few occasions he makes it clear to people in his path that if they do what he says, when he says it they will be left alone and therefore survive. Much like in Peckinpah's earlier film, `The Wild Bunch' there is an honor among thieves, or a code of ethics that is important for the protagonist(s) to uphold.

Another aspect of this morality is played off in a sarcastic and ironic manner in the last seen. A trash collector played by Slim Pickens (`Dr. Strangelove,' `Blazing Saddles') is willingly kidnapped to assist McQueen and MacGraw cross the border into Mexico. Even though he has a good idea of the kinds of life the criminals are leading Pickens is very happy to hear that the couple is married and he feels that society is falling apart due to a lack of morals. In light of the excessive violence that occurs in this film it is funny that Peckinpah's film comments that all would be morally OK if young people just stick to the traditions of marriage.

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