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Scorpio (1973)

Burt Lancaster , Alain Delon , Michael Winner  |  PG |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, Paul Scofield, John Colicos, Gayle Hunnicutt
  • Directors: Michael Winner
  • Writers: David W. Rintels, Gerald Wilson
  • Producers: Walter Mirisch
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: January 18, 2000
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000035P5Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,362 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Scorpio" on IMDb

Special Features

  • 8-Page Booklet

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Burt Lancaster (Field of Dreams), Alain Delon (Once a Thief) and Paul Scofield (King Lear) star in this masterful spy thriller filmed on location in Washington, Paris and Vienna.With its intense action, breathtaking suspense and fabulous supporting cast that includes John Colicos (The Postman Always Rings Twice) and Gayle Hunnicutt (Running Scared), Scorpio is a bold and powerful modern classic. Lancaster is Agent Cross, a C.I.A. operative with a shocking secret; Delon is Scorpio, a French assassin with a hard-earned reputation for always getting his man. Both are experts in their fieldbrave, intelligent, and lethal. And when they're thrust together by personal ambitions and political forces beyond their control, each man finds himself fighting for his life amidst the brutal realities of the Cold War.

The prime minister of Eritrea is assassinated by political opponents, setting off a chain of events with global repercussions in the intelligence community. Burt Lancaster plays Cross, a CIA operative who dates back to the agency's earliest days as the OSS. Scorpio (Alain Delon) is a protégé of Cross, and one of Cross's best friends in a netherworld where everyone's allegiances, personal and political, are in question. Higher-ups within the intelligence agency decide that Cross knows too much and is better off eliminated; at first, Scorpio refuses the job until the CIA frames him on a phony narcotics bust and coerces him into the assignment. The two men play a game of global cat-and-mouse as Cross consorts with his Russian counterparts--fellow aging dinosaurs in a young man's game. Cross's links with the Russians go back to the days of the Spanish Civil War and the time when Cross was given the ironic label of "premature anti-Fascist" by the House Unamerican Activities Committee. The incredibly convoluted plot is rife with double-crosses and reverse double-crosses, in an environment in which nothing is quite as it seems and no one is to be trusted. Director Michael Winner infuses enough energy and excitement into the film's many action segments to make Scorpio worthy of comparison to John Frankenheimer's best political thrillers. Winner also throws in several curveballs, such as the zither music during a meeting in a Vienna café (shades of The Third Man) and the preposterous device of disguising Lancaster as an African American priest. Though not quite a classic, Scorpio is still an underrated espionage thriller that was well attuned to the political cynicism of the time. Best line: "I want Cross, and I want him burned!" --Jerry Renshaw

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Masterpiece For The Spy Genre. February 25, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Burt Lancaster plays an aging CIA agent who's finally had enough of the spy life and wants to quit the business so he can spend more time with his family. But his trecherous Bosses don't want him to quit so they assign Alain Delon A.K.A SCORPIO to eliimate him. Fantastic script Delon's performance in the film is one of his best even if his english is sometimes off a bit. the highlight of the film is the chase sequence between Lancaster & Delon throughout the Streets and Alleyways Of Venice. It's a captivating spy film done with the right amount of action and suspense. Most Of Today's spy films don't even come to this masterpiece. And even if they could they would still fail. This film was a true gem for it's time and cannot and will not ever be replaced or duplicated.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Excellent espionage movie from the 70's with two great action stars from both sides of the Atlantic..Would recomemd it to all Delon's and Lancaster's fans..good DVD quality with excellent sound...
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a "must see" for Delon fans August 20, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Though the plot is somewhat muddled, locations change at a dizzying speed between Washington, Vienna, and Paris, has some improbable situations, and occasionally stilted dialogue, it's highly entertaining, and has an excellent cast, especially Alain Delon.
He's fabulous as "code name: Scorpio", conveying so much meaning with the subtlest of gestures. He's also superb in the action scenes, so lithe and fast, and seems to be doing all his own stunt work...and he certainly must be one of the most spectacularly gorgeous actors to have ever graced the screen.
To top it off, Scorpio has a sensitive side: He likes flowers, and most of all, cats...enough to make a woman's heart flutter !
Lancaster is very good as Cross, the spy who wants to get "out of the game", Paul Scofield is great as always as his Russian cohort, and Joanne Linville lovely as Cross' wife.
The cinematography (Robert Paytner) is exceptional, and Jerry Fielding's marvelous score is atmospheric and at times almost symphonic.
You may have to see it several times to make any sense of the plot, but this is a very watchable film, has a lot going for it in many ways, and it has to be Delon's finest English speaking performance, which is a good enough reason to make this one a keeper.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A melodramatic and threatening spy film! January 13, 2007
Retirement is not always possible for a spy, particularly an agent caught in the no-man's-land between the two superpowers... Cross (Burt Lancaster) is such a spy in Michael Winner's 'Scorpio.'

Released at a time when disclosures about CIA and FBI abuses were receiving wider acceptance, 'Scorpio' might have become a controversial success, but was forestalled by Costa-Gavras' more factual 'State of Siege.'

A melodramatic and threatening spy film, 'Scorpio' had two rival protagonists: Cross, an experienced CIA agent being hunted by his former colleagues, and a former French paratroop officer, Jean Laurier (Alain Delon), now a 'CIA contract button man,' a professional assassin, code-name Scorpio...

Irritated by the Frenchman's independence, the CIA chief McLeod (John Colicos) has had heroin planted in his bedroom to make the hired killer more pliable... Threatened with a drug arrest, Scorpio has no choice but to accept the assignment to kill Cross, although McLeod sugars the pill with promises of a fat bonus and Cross' job as the CIA's man in the Middle East...

Although told that Cross has been a double-agent working for the "opposition," Scorpio remains doubtful... In the meantime, by a series of clever tricks and tactics, Cross has not only managed to evade the CIA men following him, but has arrived in the favorite city for cinematic intrigue, Vienna, Austria...

The most part of the film's action and some of its best sequences take place in the country on the Danube River where the mystery surrounding Cross deepens... In a nighttime rendezvous on a deserted street, Cross is met by a Viennese worker who is whistling, perhaps as a signal or out of habit, the "lnternationale.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Want Cross Burned June 10, 2009
In this minor masterpiece of Spy Cinema, Burt Lancaster plays Cross, an aging CIA Agent who wants "out of the game," but his superiors think he knows too much and may be ready to flip sides. The CIA dispatches Alain Delon, a.k.a. Scorpio, to take him out. What they don't count on is Scorpio's grudging respect for Cross, and the fact that an aging old boy network of spies are growing indifferent to the new, suited and computerized agencies they now report to.

In particular, the great Paul Scofield plays KGB agent Zharkov and Vladek Sheybal plays Holocaust survivor Max Zemetkin, who undercut their roles with an understanding of what all were fighting for during World War II. They are all disillusioned that their jobs are no longer about their countries or their peoples, but as Cross puts it a game where the "object is not to win, but not to lose." Scorpio feels the same, but as a paid assassin whom the CIA frames after he refuses to hit Cross, now finds himself conflicted between the force of duty and his loyalty to one of the few men in the world of espionage he trusts.

Filled with twists, turns, crosses and double crosses, "Scorpio" is both a high powered action film and a talky, intellectual political thriller. The International cast and locations play wonderfully in a movie that, if it were made today, would feature more violence, a cuter spy and dumber dialogue. While not as good a watch as Three Days of the Condor or a reading of The Spy Who Came In from the Cold, "Scorpio" is in their class.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars U can't imagine how I enjoyed and pair groups too
I saw this movie almost 25 to 30 years ago in Africa , where I came from exactly during Cold War , it's was really an exciting movie , after all the famous actors Burt Lancaster... Read more
Published 17 days ago by Ahmed
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great movie
Published 2 months ago by michael j. stefan
3.0 out of 5 stars 1970s Spy Noir.
Burt Lancaster is Cross, a mature, experienced CIA agent who cut his teeth in the Spanish Civil War. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Peter S. Bradley
5.0 out of 5 stars Scorpio
This was a great movie with Alain Delon and Burt Lancaster, and it was a nice surprise that it was very enjoyable to watch.
Published 7 months ago by sonia
4.0 out of 5 stars Still great
It's been many years since I viewed Scorpio. What with the current interest in "spy" agencies, I wondered if it was still pertinent. It certainly is.
Published 9 months ago by Rodger
4.0 out of 5 stars Scorpio
Great Story and Burt Lancaster never looked better,Story reminds me of what goes on today in the CIA. Great cast that includes Paul Scofield. Really good story.
Published 10 months ago by Herman Hall
4.0 out of 5 stars "Cross" & Double Cross
Alain Delon is Scorpio, a contract assassin for the CIA. Burt Lancaster is Cross, his CIA handler. When both Cross and Scorpio return from a mission, the CIA wants to know why... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Michael Napientek
4.0 out of 5 stars Spy Movie.
While not a great spy movie it is a very entertaining one that I can watch more than once.The movie has good locations where it was shot and seeing the lovely Gayle Hunnicutt in it... Read more
Published 18 months ago by squirrel man
1.0 out of 5 stars pointles, bad acting, and boring
My title says it all, i almost fell sleep a couple of times..The actors, burt lancaster, and alain delon, don`t save this senseless film,
Published on October 11, 2011 by geronimo
4.0 out of 5 stars An underated spy thriller with action and thought!
A cold war thriller with an emphasis on genuinely motivated suspense and action. Burt Lancaster, Paul Scofield, and John Collicos, along with J.D. Read more
Published on July 13, 2011 by Gregory Johnson
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