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Charley Varrick (1973)

Walter Matthau , Joe Don Baker , Don Siegel  |  PG |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Walter Matthau, Joe Don Baker, Felicia Farr, Rudy Diaz, Marjorie Bennett
  • Directors: Don Siegel
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: June 1, 2010
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0003JANSW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,668 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Charley Varrick" on IMDb

Editorial Reviews

Charley Varrick is a small-time crook who outfoxes the Mob in this fast-paced offbeat thriller directed by Don Siegel. Academy Award winner Walter Matthau stars in a rare dramatic role, along with the powerful Joe Don Baker, as a tough Mafia hitman. Charley robs small banks with small payrolls. That keeps him out of trouble until he stumbles onto the Mob's secret stash. The chase is on as the Big Boys go after the "Last of the Independents." It's a heart-pounding ride that builds to a fiery airborne climax as Charley makes his last desperate run for the Mexican border and safety.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
182 of 200 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Thanks for nothing, Universal December 30, 2004
Charley Varrick is a great movie. Walter Matthau is excellent, and Don Siegel is a great director.

Why oh why did Universal decide to release this in a cropped version? This DVD is a 1.33:1 transfer of a film that was shot in 1.85:1.

When the same thing happened with Sydney Pollack's under-rated gem "Castle Keep", mavericks like Martin Scorsese lobbied to have a widescreen version of the film released on DVD, and they were triumphant. Hopefully that will happen with this equally-worthy film.
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70 of 77 people found the following review helpful
I totally subscribe to the views expressed by many reviewers. This is a travesty of a release. Charley Varrick is a superb film with a cult status only because it has never been adequately presented or marketed. I bought this in advance of its release on the bizarrely timed date at the end of december 2004 (Have the marketing department never heard of Christmas?) and I was thoroughly disappointed. The print looks like a bad 70's piece of television and the ratio is the same. This film was shot and screened in the cinemas as a panavision 1:85 or wider ratio. Who wants to look at something that doesn't reflect its true worth? Don't buy this even though it is a great film. Wait until someone wakes up and does a proper job!
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145 of 167 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A "fool screen" version? May it burn. January 5, 2005
By Mr Vess
I've waited a few years for "Varrick" to come out on DVD.

And now that it did come out, I will not buy it.

That is because I do not enjoy watching 60% of a film. When the studio halfwits realize that only brain damaged in-duh-viduals want to see the cut, blurred by panning-and-scanning full screen version, and when they decide to release "Varrick" in a proper, widescreen version instead - *then* I will purchase a copy. As for this one, I would not want it for free.
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58 of 66 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To Be Matted Or Not Be Matted January 9, 2005
So long as studios continue to release DVDs shot with wide-angled lenses in only a reformatted television aspect ratio, we should all protest as vociferously as possible. Unfortunately, it appears that the outcry over `Charley Varrick' as shown by numerous critiques on this site and elsewhere is misinformed and does not apply. At the Internet Movie Data Base site ([...] it is stated under the technical notes for `Charley Varrick' that the movie was filmed using the spherical lens system. This means that it was NOT filmed in a wide-angled lens format, but rather in the standard television aspect ratio of 1.33:1, which is what a spherical lens provides. For those who recall viewing it in a widescreen form in theaters or on cable shows like Bravo, this was because the movie was then `soft' matted into a 1.85:1 aspect following filming, by artificially masking the frame across the top and bottom, thus cutting off what was intended to be superfluous objects and views in those areas (note for example how the credits are centered to leave large spaces both above and below for the matting). When, as Universal does on the current DVD release, the movie is then declared `reformatted to fit the standard television screen,' what is meant is that the matting itself is not provided (unlike the laser disc release), and what the viewer is seeing is the original, spherical 35 mm print before it was masked. While one would perhaps feel more comfortable seeing it in its theatrically matted form, in reality nothing is lost in the DVD version as it would be if it was from a film shot with a wide-angle lens.

So please let us save our outcry for those films shot in the various wide-angle lens ratios that are then criminally released in the reformatted, 1.33:1 television aspect.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Respect the Film, Not the Format April 27, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
First let me say that I was as disappointed as anyone when this film finally made it to DVD in a full-screen format. I have pampered and treasured my VHS version for years, and I guess I will continue to do so. But, in a way, I shouldn't have been surprised by universal's decision to go the cheap route. This great film has never - and apparently will never - get the respect it deserves.

Charlie Varrick is an underappreciated gem that belongs at the very top of the list of the Director, Don Siegal's work. It is, in my opinion, a tighter film that Coogan's Bluff and a less sentimental film than Dirty Harry (I love both these Eastwood vehicles, however, so don't get me wrong). There is something very tough and realistic about Charlie Varrick, though, that makes this movie one of the best depictions of a professional criminal that can be found anywhere.

Charlie Varrick is a professional bank robber that has inadvertently stolen some mob money. Trouble follows in the form of Joe Don Baker, the enforcer sent to get the money back.

Baker is one of the reasons this film is so strong. This is one of his early rolls, made just about the same time that he starred in Walking Tall, which was the career-defining role for the actor. He is better used in this film, which really takes advantage of his sadistic grin and slit-eyed malevolence. Baker is all about power in this film, striding along Varrick's trail like Texas royalty in cowboy hat and boots, smashing the peasants that litter his path with distain as he stalks Verrick and the mob money. His enjoyment in causing pain is palpable, and he is the very last guy in the world you want looking for you.

Walther Matthau is the main show, though.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good film.
Good film, full of actions.
Published 5 days ago by Fernando V. Souza
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great movie, Matthau does a great job.
Published 8 days ago by squeeble
5.0 out of 5 stars Vastly underrated Matthau film. He picks his characters very ...
Vastly underrated Matthau film. He picks his characters very well. Imagine outfoxing the mob! And the powerful Joe Don Baker. Clever and entertaining strategies throughout. Read more
Published 15 days ago by emilyroseland
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Another great film. The wit, charm, courage displayed were fantastic.
Published 18 days ago by A. Nat Curtis
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
Published 21 days ago by Sam 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars well worth watching
Great story
Published 26 days ago by Michael A Cook
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a classic film with a lot of twists ...
This is a classic film with a lot of twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat. Hope it comes out in blu ray.
Published 26 days ago by James R.
5.0 out of 5 stars An Oldie but a goodie. This is one of ...
An Oldie but a goodie. This is one of those LITTLE MOVIE" "s that the star made. Not his/her most acclaimed, but one that is truly entertaining and indicative of the talent... Read more
Published 1 month ago by D. R. Tyler
4.0 out of 5 stars Walter Matthau in another very watchable film.
Walter Matthau was always an actor that I enjoyed watching. This film was one I had seen initially when released. I enjoyed the movie when first viewed and also the second viewing. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Carl A. Cruz
5.0 out of 5 stars Good caper movie
Really excellent copy. I always enjoyed this underrated movie.
Published 1 month ago by Roland S. Jefferson
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