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The Getaway
The Getaway
Actors: Steve McQueen, Ali MacGraw, Ben Johnson, Sally Struthers, Al Lettieri
Director: Sam Peckinpah
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Mystery & Suspense
PG     1997     2hr 2min

It's better than the 1994 remake starring Kim Basinger and husband Alec Baldwin, but this 1972 thriller relies too heavily on the low-key star power of Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw, and the stylish violence of director Sa...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Steve McQueen, Ali MacGraw, Ben Johnson, Sally Struthers, Al Lettieri
Director: Sam Peckinpah
Creators: Lucien Ballard, Robert L. Wolfe, David Foster, Gordon T. Dawson, Mitchell Brower, Jim Thompson, Walter Hill
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Crime, Steve McQueen, Sam Peckinpah, Indie & Art House, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 11/19/1997
Original Release Date: 12/13/1972
Theatrical Release Date: 12/13/1972
Release Year: 1997
Run Time: 2hr 2min
Screens: Color,Full Screen,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Movie Reviews

The definitive action film
Ryan McNabb | Ooltewah, TN USA | 11/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This film has it all, and I cannot understand those who say it hasn't aged well. It's a great bank robbery film. It's a great prison film. It's a great chase film. It's a great love story. It fires on all cylinders. The depth and complexity of the story and the performances are peerless. It's a sprawling tale over several days, with many important and complex characters, all of whom you feel you know with some depth. Even the small roles are standouts, including Ben Johnson as the crooked sherriff, and Dub Taylor in what should have been a throwaway piece playing a hotel clerk. The only weak spot for me over the years is Ali McGraw who, although beautiful and believable, seems to be playing it so minimalist that she becomes nearly transparent. But that's a small nit to pick - her by-play with McQueen is spot on. When I saw it for the first time the first thought that came into my mind was "these kids really look and act MARRIED..." which is a tough bit of business to play. Their violent love for one another is the undercurrent here, their desire to simply be left alone, to make it in life, to get away from their problems.

The artistry is in the details, in the small brush strokes - the way McQueen holds and uses his .45 automatic are perfect. He is definitely more than just another actor handed a pistol and said "Here, hold this..." Slim Pickens has a tiny gem of a role at the end and in a few brief sentences we learn volumes about his sweet, sad life, and cheer his good fortune for running into our heroes. The Sherriff's flunky sidekicks provide some honest humor, all big cowboy hats and beer guts crammed into a Cadillac convertible.

McQueen was such an artist, and this is a real masterpiece of his almost haiku way of acting. He's the master of the small gesture, the subtle glance, the deadpan line that just turns you cold inside. What a shame he left us so soon. The Getaway stands as a real testament to his genius."
"Don't get any blood on me...I hate blood."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 07/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Unpredictable, volatile, abrasive, and the only man Charlton Heston ever threaten on a set of a movie (Major Dundee)...I'm talking about `Bloody' Sam him or hate him, the man knew how to tell a story, one that could entertain not only the average film patron with loads of action and violence, but also the haughty, oft-times snobby film critics with his thoughtful and insightful characterizations...actually, I think these same, snobby critics actually got off secretly on being able to enjoy the more visceral elements of his films while still being able to tout them on a cerebral a guilty pleasure without the guilt. But that's not to say Peckinpah's films were always critically accepted...I know his film Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) took a beating, but I enjoyed the hell out of it, in all its glorious dirty, sweaty, dust-caked, fly-ridden seediness...based on a novel by Jim Thompson (The Grifters) and adapted for the screen by Walter Hill (The Warriors, 48 Hrs.), The Getaway (1972) stars Steve McQueen (The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape), the man many believe to be the penultimate in machismo and cool, on and off the screen. Co-starring with McQueen is the very beautiful Ali MacGraw (Love Story, Convoy), who became so enamored with her co-star she actually left her husband at the time, movie producer Robert Evans, to be with McQueen, and thus gave up the opportunity to star in several high profile films like Chinatown (1974) and The Great Gatsby (1974)...yes, the lure of the McQueen is a strong one...also appearing is Peckinpah favorite Ben Johnson (Major Dundee, The Wild Bunch, Junior Bonner), quintessential heavy Al Lettieri (The Godfather, Mr Majestyk), Sally Struthers (Five Easy Pieces), whose most recent work include the tearful pleas to feed the starving children (which would probably be a lot more effective if she wasn't so heavyset...there I said it), Slim Pickens (Blazing Saddles), Richard Bright (The Godfather), `Rub a Dub' Dub Taylor (The Wild Bunch), Jack `Howard Sprague' Dodson ("The Andy Griffith Show"), and Bo 'Knows' Hopkins (The Wild Bunch, White Lightning).

The film begins with scenes of a Texas prison, focusing on one inmate in particular, that of Carter 'Doc' McCoy (McQueen), who's in his fourth year a ten-year stretch for bank robbery. After being denied parole, Doc agrees to cut a deal with a politically powerful and corrupt individual named Jack Beynon (Johnson), who just happens to also be a member of the parole board (that's convenient). The deal involves, on being released from prison, that McCoy pull a bank job for Beynon, which he does, and while McCoy's meticulous planning nets the robbers a large amount of cash, things quickly fall apart as there's a couple of jokers in the deck (one of them being one of the men McCoy got saddled with by Beynon), and the double cross is in, but McCoy isn't going down without a struggle, and he's certainly not going back to the joint. Now McCoy and his wife Carol (MacGraw) must make their way to El Paso with the money, avoiding capture by the authorities (by this time McCoy's face is plastered all over the news), Beynon's trigger-happy goons, and one of the aforementioned jokers, all in a effort to make it safely across the border into Mexico.

While not my favorite Peckinpah film (I've always been partial to The Wild Bunch), The Getaway is still an excellent film with strong themes and just an all around entertaining story, assisted by superior cast. One thing I've noticed about Peckinpah is his ability to relate important aspects of story through visual means, carefully crafted shots and sequences, and make it look easy. A perfect example in this movie is the opening sequences with McQueen's character in prison. We learn much about him, and feel a sense of the frustration and oppressive nature of his incarceration on his mental well-being to where desperation finally pushes him to the point of doing something he would normally wouldn't in that of working for Beynon. Of course, this wouldn't have worked as well with out McQueen playing the role, as his presence is the strong point throughout the film. I've heard some comment of MacGraw's acting abilities (or lack of), but I think this was just a case of having to share the screen with McQueen, and who could complete with that? Not many...I think she did really well, avoiding some over dramatic pitfalls others would have succumbed to in the role...and then there's supporting cast and the sense they were truly hand picked for their roles, providing, complex, distinctive, and believable characters. I've also heard complaints about how the story drags at certain points, and the action sequences uneven and too short, but I'd disagree. I thought the strength was in the quiet moments before the storm, the pacing intentional, to allow for the audience to develop an understanding of the characters and see them not as two-dimensional constructs but living, breathing individuals willing to do what they have in order to get what they me, the action sequences, while certainly a draw for me to this film, were a part of a much larger piece. There were a couple of really interesting aspects about this movie for me, one being that while Peckinpah's trademark usage of slow motions shots during the violent sequences is present, it seemed a little toned down from some of his other films, but that wasn't a bad thing. The 2nd aspect was the sort of upbeat ending, which was a real departure given that many of Peckinpah's films are permeated with fatalistic characters draw down inevitable paths of self-destruction. Some scenes to watch for...Steve McQueen going to town with a shotgun...oh yeah, kiss that squad car good-bye (quite a few cars were killed in the making of this film)...Steve McQueen slugging Sally Struthers in the mouth...hey, you can't have a Peckinpah film without a little misogyny, and while I would never advocate the use of violence against a woman, I doubt there'd be few who wouldn't agree that her highly annoying (and fairly sleazy) character was somewhat deserving...all in all this is a great film (much better than the 1994 Kim Bassinger/Alec Baldwin remake, in my opinion), with an exceptional script, acting, and direction, one that entertained me throughout, and reaffirms my belief of the possibilities of the cinema when in the hands of people who know (or knew) what they're doing...

The picture, presented in widescreen anamorphic (2.40:1), enhanced for 16 X 9 televisions, looks sharp and clean, and the Dolby Digital 1.0 audio comes through very well. The `Deluxe Edition', which is the one I have, has a few extra features in that of a commentary track with producer Nick Redman, and Peckinpah biographers/historians Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons, and David Weddle. Also included is an original theatrical trailer, along with a `virtual' audio commentary track with Sam Peckinpah, Steve McQueen, and Ali MacGraw that consists of 1972 audio interview material from the three, spliced together and played over the film.

Humberto Martinez | FLORIDA | 04/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"THE HD DVD transfer for the 1972 version of The Getaway is excellent. Very sharp and color saturated. The soundtrack could have been improved beyond the 2 channel by adding some surround effects which are few to none. Some friends have reported some sound synchronization issues in chapter 13 when played in the second generation TOSHIBA HD players. Hopefully this will be corrected with the firmware update already available from TOSHIBA.
By the way, the aspect ratio for this film is 2.35:1 and NOT 1.85:1 as advertised.
Overall, a very good enjoyable addition to the HD collection."
I'm having a bloody mary, please.
Paul J. Moade | Jacksonville, FL United States | 09/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Sorry, I couldn't resist the title.

Most people think Bullett is Steve McQueen's best. I think The Getaway is much better. Well, no accounting for tastes, is there?

The Getaway is a gritty, realistic view of 'Doc' McCoy (Steve McQueen) as a professional bank robber. Released early from prison by virtue (or lack thereof) his wife, Carol (Ali McGraw), Doc immediately plans another hold up as part of the conditions of his release. During the course of events he meets several unsavory charactors who seem intent on his destruction. The highlight of the film is a shoot out in a southwestern hotel with machinegun toting gangsters and a vengeful Rudy (former bank job partner and all around not-nice guy). Steve is trying to make his getaway using a 12 guage as the door. The movie is directed by Sam Peckinpah -- need I say more?

The movie is low key, as Steve tends to be, but packs a punch in its realism. This could actually happen, one thinks. Several small plots underlie the main one of a getaway into Mexico w/ the stolen money. Steve turns in a outstanding performance as the anti-hero and has you cheering each time he eludes his pursuers once again.

Certainly a good evenings entertainment and well worth the investment if you collect movies (if you don't, just rent it from the local Blockbuster). This might be a bit violent for younger kids, but teens should take to it just fine.

--Highly Recommended--