The early life and career of Vito Corleone in 1920s New York is portrayed while his son, Michael, expands and tightens his grip on his crime syndicate stretching from Lake Tahoe, Nevada to pre-revolution 1958 Cuba.
Charley Varrick and his friends rob a small town bank. Expecting a small sum to divide amongst themselves, they are surprised to discover a very LARGE amount of money. Quickly figuring out that the money belongs to the MOB, they must now come up with a plan to throw the MOB off their trail. Written by
Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>
Stuntman Craig R. Baxley plays a character named van Sickle which appears to be a tribute to longtime stuntman Dale van Sickle. See more »
In an exterior shot, Molly is seen entering a Chinese restaurant from across the street. But in the reverse shot of him entering restaurant, there's suddenly a red panel behind him, blocking the view of whatever was across the street. See more »
It's such a shame they can't make gritty down-and-dirty movies like they did in the 1970s anymore. And CHARLEY VARRICK is a fine specimen of the exciting, brutal, honest approach to movies in that decade.
We've become so accustomed to seeing Walter Matthau in comedies like GRUMPY OLD MEN that at first you'd wonder if he could pull his part off as Varrick convincingly (well, he also played a crook in KING CREOLE and a detective in THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE, TWO THREE, for openers). It turns out that Matthau is very good here, playing a small-time bank robber, a common-man type who's latest take unexpectedly winds up being laundered Mafia loot! Now he has to outsmart the mobsters as well as their sadistic hit-man and the police, all of whom are hot on his trail.
Everyone in this film is out for all he/she can get. I have to take a moment to acknowledge Joe Don Baker in particular. As the punchy, no-nonsense, wisecracking hit-man he provides many fun moments and is a real standout. He's perfectly cast, but then so really is most everyone (Woodrow Parfrey, Sheree North, Andy Robinson and John Vernon - the dean from NATIONAL LAMPOON'S ANIMAL HOUSE). Don Siegel keeps us interested throughout, and one nice scene in particular struck me when Parfrey and Vernon are having a discussion near the cow field. Their dialogue and acting is done practically in one long take that keeps us focused just by the sheer talents of the actors being allowed to do their thing. I wonder if this is a lost art with the now ever-moving MTV camera styles and edits of the 21st Century? I should mention I also enjoyed the unpredictable climax.
They just don't make movies like this anymore - unless you count the great Quentin Tarantino, who undoubtedly likes this film himself and seems to have borrowed some of it for his own work (there's even a line from VARRICK that was reheated for PULP FICTION).
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