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The Parallax View (1974)

 -  Thriller  -  14 June 1974 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 8,843 users  
Reviews: 119 user | 56 critic

An ambitious reporter gets in way-over-his-head trouble while investigating a senator's assassination which leads to a vast conspiracy involving a multinational corporation behind every event in the worlds headlines.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lee Carter
Austin Tucker
Walter McGinn ...
Jack Younger
Bill Rintels
Kelly Thordsen ...
Sheriff L.D. Wicker
Chuck Waters ...
Thomas Richard Linder
Deputy Red
William Joyce ...
Senator Charles Carroll (as Bill Joyce)
Betty Murray ...
Mrs. Charles Carroll (as Bettie Johnson)
Bill McKinney ...
Parallax Assassin
Chrissy - Frady's Girl (as JoAnne Harris)
Ted Gehring ...
Schecter - Hotel Clerk
Lee Pulford ...
Shirley - Salmontail Bar Girl
Doria Cook-Nelson ...
Gale from Salmontail (as Doria Cook)


Joe Frady is a determined reporter who often needs to defend his work from colleagues. After the assassination of a prominent U.S. senator, Frady begins to notice that reporters present during the assassination are dying mysteriously. After getting more involved in the case, Frady begins to realize that the assassination was part of a conspiracy somehow involving the Parallax Corporation, an enigmatic training institute. He then decides to enroll for the Parallax training himself to discover the truth. Written by Philip Brubaker <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


There is no conspiracy. Just twelve people dead. See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 June 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Parallax View  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the opening sequence at the Space Needle, a news cameraman is holding a TV camera with a KOMO 4 logo on it. KOMO 4 is an actual Seattle news channel, whose broadcasting center is located just across the street from the Space Needle. See more »


The score in the "Pong" game between the scientist and the monkey. See more »


Deputy Red: [Frady's just ordered milk at a bar.] Can I buy you a drink, miss? You know there for a moment, I thought you were a man. But you aren't are you?
Joseph Frady: No, I'm a girl.
Deputy Red: Why don't you go right over there and tell those people that? Real loud.
[grabs Frady's jacket.]
Joseph Frady: Don't touch me unless you love me.
See more »


References Mighty Thor (1966) See more »


Buttons and Bows
Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Paranoia in Natural Light
24 February 2011 | by (Cincinnati, OH, United States) – See all my reviews

I don't know how to start this review of the second installment in Alan J. Pakula's virtuoso Paranoia Trilogy. I guess I'll start at the beginning. The brooding realism of the beginning is arranged with a keen sense of the vertical. The camera divulges Seattle's Space Needle tower behind a totem pole, where an assassination goes down amidst Independence Day pomp. A committee of officials, constrained by the frame, proclaims the lack of evidence of a wider conspiracy, yet these are Watergate times, and Alan J. Pakula marshals his investigation as a compulsory act of "irresponsible speculation." Gordon Willis' cinematography twists the menacing from the everyday with unreserved harshness: Overwhelming architecture, the bomb warning scrawled on a napkin, one character's last cup of coffee. All of the decade's political misgivings and introspection is concentrated into the merciless culmination, with Yankee Doodle trumpeting in the bare hall while unpleasant transactions imbue the catwalks above, a country awakening to methodical obscurity and transparency alike.

What happens to our muck-raking protagonist splinters the movie's straightforward standards and leaves the final 40 minutes or so as the most transcendent, impressionistic illustration of paranoia, not as a psychosomatic condition but more like the belief in it as an idea, that I've ever seen. The first half of Pakula's anamorphically shot impressionistic thriller is about paranoia, the second is paranoia. The movie is not that suspenseful. A lot of times, Beatty's escape from danger seems remarkably effortless, and his way of being recruited by the Parallax Corporation is less an obstacle than a convenient turning of the page to the recruitment itself. The movie is not about suspense. It's about mood and atmosphere. And when something malevolent happens, the suspense is diffused in favor of creeping through this dark, kitchen-sink world governed by power, fear and indoctrination.

Another thing at which Pakula excels, and at which he reached an indelible peak in All the President's Men, is demonstrated consistently throughout The Parallax View. People talk so very quietly in his movies. And if you think about it, if you're this scared all the time, there's no reason to talk any louder than that. And when Paula Prentiss, an estranged fellow journalist of Beatty's who believes someone is trying to kill her, does raise her voice early on in a scene she makes terrifying with a brilliant performance, it's not only rage and fear, our ears are racked with a profound desperation to escape from a silence that's turned lethal. Later, someone else will talk to Beatty, and he will say, "Who are you?" He will be so tranquil and tenderly quiet when he says it.

The evolution is realized through what I sincerely consider to be one of the very central sequences in American cinema in the 1970s, Pakula's virtuoso showpiece of Kuleshov-style perception, the indoctrination slideshow, a celestial event of imagery and keywords shot through the viewer's brains. I could describe further, but the account would be dull and futile. It's simply a conquest of film language in a way that confounds textual explanation. Beholden in no insignificant portion to the Soviet montage theory, in which solitary snippets of imagery are given implication due to the images flanking it, this is shown to us from a character's precise point-of-view. We've become him, and are undergoing exactly what he is.

Pakula shoots on location to capture a careful texture of the outside world's danger much of the time. And he has a strong feeling for the bizarre, as in a scene where a character on a golf cart is shot in a vast banquet hall, and the cart strays, knocks over tables, until police cars arrive on the vestibule floor. There's also an endeavor to enforce the glare of modern American architecture throughout as a monumental backdrop, steel and glass edifices that look somehow…oppressive.

The conclusion has a relentless common sense to it. Sans spoilers, I can merely say that it both insinuates how an establishment might get away with murder, and how the "unassisted loner" hypothesis of assassination has a convincing tidiness about it.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Recent Posts
2nd Parallex Test duderunner
Didn't like this. Am I missing something? slippy3
Paying for tickets on the plane dcavalli
Was he himself brainwashed in to attempting the assasinaton? Mc_chives
When did Parallax discover Frady? TaShiGaFonz
Movies as good as this have all but disappeared. hondadriver1973
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