115 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive action film
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...
Published on November 22, 2004 by Ryan McNabb
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An action flick with a twist
Steve McQueen stars opposite his real-life wife Ali McGraw in this action thriller, directed by Sam Peckinpah. Peckinpah goes a little mild in this film, especially when compared to such other films of his as the Wild Bunch, but this movie is still pretty violent, and has a lot of action. Doc (McQueen) is a newly paroled prisoner who, in exchange for his freedom, agrees...
Published on September 20, 2003 by bixodoido
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115 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive action film,
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.
41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Don't get any blood on me...I hate blood.",
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 Peckinpah...love 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 level...like 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 want...to 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.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm having a bloody mary, please.,
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.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Getaway rocks on Blu Ray!,
This review is from: The Getaway (1972) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Written by Walter Hill, Directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Steve McQueen! A winning combination if ever there was one! With a supporting cast, including Ally MacGraw, Sally Struthers, Dub Taylor , Slim Pickens (in a great role) and Ben Johnson, this is one class A piece of classic entertainment !
What else do you need to know to decide whether or not you want to purchase this movie on Blu Ray?
How about some info on the transfer itself to help you out?
A very large step up from previous home video releases , The Getaway (1972) comes to Blu Ray in style. Easily one of the best 1970's Blu Ray transfers I have seen. For the most part it is a solid 4 out of five stars all the way on image quality. A few scenes are a bit soft looking, a couple of stock footage shots, notable a train going by, are grainy and lousy looking (a couple of seconds is all they last) and maybe 3 times there is a slightly fuzzy looking shot that lasts all of a few moments. Otherwise this transfer is sharp, clear and with vibrant Technicolor images and "Normal" color timing that lets everything look just as it should instead of today's "Make everything look Teal tinted" or worse. The colors look "right" to me and that is a huge plus. Presented on a BD50 disc with a decent average bit rate and a VC-1 encode, The Getaway is shown in it's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35 : 1 which helps complete the theatrical viewing experience. (bars on top and bottom of your screen)
Unfortunately the sound is presented in only Dolby Digital and not DTS HD Master Audio or Dolby Tru HD , but the MONO track remains faithful to the original and I never had a problem with it. Most films were NOT mixed in stereo back then and I can only guess the original separate "stems" of this movie , the dialogue, effects, foley and music were just not available to remix into even a stereo track, let alone a 5.1 remix. You won't miss what you have never heard to begin with and for a mono mix it is just fine. It never once detracted from my enjoyment of the film and with today's modern surround amps and center channels I am quite sure it pretty much sounds just as good if not better than it did in the theater if your system is a mid priced or better set-up.
A nice selection of Bonus Features (for those who are interested) round out this package. They include two sets of commentary tracks , an isolated score track featuring music from the original composer Jerry Fielding (Quincy Jones did the score you hear in the released version) plus the bank robbery scene with the alternate score intact and a 30 minute documentary. Not bad at all.
This film is a gold mine of entertainment for all Steve McQueen fans and action movie fans alike. There is a very good reason Steve McQueen is still to this day referred to as "The King of Cool" and The Getaway goes a long way towards showing us why. Highly Recommended with no hesitation!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good realistic action flik,
The Getaway is a good action movie that pairs Steve McQueen and director Sam Peckinpah for the first time. Bank robber Doc McCoy is released from prison with the help of a crooked politician with one catch. He must rob a bank and split what he takes with him. The bank heist goes wrong when one of McCoy's partners shoots a bank guard. Soon after, McCoy learns that his wife slept with the politician to get him out early from prison. From here on in it is a mad dash for Mexico with all the stolen money while the politician's henchmen and the police are in hot pursuit as well as another one of McCoy's partners. This is a very realistic movie that shows it like it is. The short introduction in prison, the bank heist, the chase through Texas, and the final shootout in a seedy hotel all have a very gritty feel to them that adds the sense of realism in the film. Also, the showdown in the hotel is very well put together. What a surprise, Sam Peckinpah doing a good action scene.
Steve McQueen stars as bank robber Doc McCoy and is very good. Like many of his movies, he doesn't have to act much, he just has to be cool, and he doesn't disappoint here. Ali McGraw plays Doc's wife Carol. Many people think she is a bad actress, but I don't think she is that bad in this role. Ben Johnson stars as the crooked politician with alterior motives, and is his usual good self. The Getaway also stars Al Lettieri as McCoy's partner in hot pursuit, Bo Hopkins, Sally Struthers, Peckinpah regular Dub Taylor, and in a small but very good role as a down on his luck cowboy, Slim Pickens. The DVD offers widescreen and fullscreen presentation, a theatrical trailer, behind the scenes info, and Reel Recommendations. The Getaway is a very good movie with an excellent cast and good storyline. It is too bad McQueen and Peckinpah did not work together more often since The Getaway and Junior Bonner were such good films. Fans of McQueen will enjoy this gritty action movie. Go check out The Getaway!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars STEVE MCQUEEN's GREAT GETAWAY!!!,
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.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars McQueen back in action,
Just checked out Warner's upcoming duo of Steve McQueen classics on HD-DVD -- "Bullitt" and "The Getaway." This is big news in guysville: Hand us a Steve McQueen action flick in a trick new video format and life is very, very good.
It's hard to watch the old DVDs after seeing the high-def, but as with most older films processed for HD, there are a few issues.
These movies come from a dicey period for film stock, especially "The Getaway," so they don't have the punch, pop and clarity of, say, older Technicolor titles like "Mutiny on the Bounty." Skin tones tend to be ruddy, contrasts are jacked up and some detail is lost to the darker bias. On "The Getaway," the audio sounds over processed, like when the amp goes to 11 -- I almost prefer the DVD version's sonics. The HD "Bullitt" audio nails it, though -- warm, realistic voices, great environmental detail, big bangs.
These are quibbles because an A-B comparison is no contest at all. The old DVDs look flat and lifeless compared with the HD-DVDs. And they were decent DVDs, special editions from just a year ago. (Both of these high-def discs port over the extras from the latest DVDs. "Bullitt" has an additional extra about editing for 1080p HD. "Getaway" add several more bonus features about the movie.)
Now that the studios have run through a lot of the easy-sell titles, we can expect more and more cool HD titles like these.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pulp Fiction at its most authentic,
I'm not so familiar with Sam Peckinpah's career as I have only seen this and The Osterman Weekend (which I hated) but you can tell from his style that he has certainly influenced a lot of modern day directors. The perfect widescreen photography, quick editing (but not a blur, I should add) and dramatic use of slow-motion give the action in The Getaway an authentic edge. And all done on a low-budget too.
Adapted from a Jim Thompson novel by Walter Hill (his macho characteristics are all in there), the story has newly-freed jailbird Carter McCoy forced into a bank robbery by crime boss Jack Benyon. He's also forced to work with rank amateur Frank and psychotic renegade Rudy. You can tell that this dost not bode well.
Rudy goes haywire, killing everyone in sight but is soon put out of action by McCoy, who then legs it across country with his cheating wife (the lovely Ali McGraw) and a bag full of simoleons. Down, but not out, Rudy follows him, as well as several associates of the recently deceased Jack Benyon, not to mention loads of cops.
The film is basically one action scene after the other but it doesn't pretend to be anything other than tough-guy entertainment. I find it bizarre that this film is rated PG in America and the exact same version is rated 18 in the UK. But the blood effects in the film are pretty damn fake so it does take it out of reality a little bit. Plus there are no (audible) F-words and the nudity is minimum and quick.
I saw the 1994 remake first and while it's passable it's not really as rustic and straight-forward as this. It was quite a pointless film and virtually identical, shot-for-shot. Everything that The Getaway has to offer is done best in this one. Unpretenious fun indeed.
The HD DVD sports a brilliant 2.4:1 1080p transfer with Dolby Digital Plus Mono sound and loads of cool extras including an alternate music track featuring Jerry Fielding's rejected score.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An action flick with a twist,
Steve McQueen stars opposite his real-life wife Ali McGraw in this action thriller, directed by Sam Peckinpah. Peckinpah goes a little mild in this film, especially when compared to such other films of his as the Wild Bunch, but this movie is still pretty violent, and has a lot of action. Doc (McQueen) is a newly paroled prisoner who, in exchange for his freedom, agrees to do a job for the man (Ben Johnson) who helped him get parole. What Doc doesn't know is that his wife (McGraw) also had to sleep with this man to gain her husband's freedom. The result, when Doc finds out, is that he and his wife spend most of the movie squabbling about their relationship while they try to get safely to the Mexican border.
Basically, the plot of the movie revolves around the bank robbery gone wrong. There is more here, though, and this is what saves the movie from being just another dull action flick. The relationship between Doc and his wife is very compelling, and developed interestingly as the movie progresses.
The movie is well directed, and Steve McQueen is great as always. Still, this isn't one of the best movies of the era, and cannot even really be considered a classic of the period. Despite this fact, however, The Getaway is a good movie, and worth seeing.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love and betrayal, greed and violence.,
This film has many layers.
It is one of the best action movies ever made. It is full of graphic beatings, intimidation, sexual sadism, shootings, fires and car crashes. The Texas prison guards and police look real and mean business. The criminals look and act like real criminals - seedy, ignorant, brutal, and callous. When Beynon (whose name in pronounced "Benyan" throughout the movie) is found dead his brother orders his henchmen not to waste time burying the body, saying "dump it down a dry well, if you can find one." McQueen handles the 12 gauge shotgun and .45 Government Model pistol adroitly as befits an ex-Marine and the shoot-outs are very believable. The wounds look real, the dead people look dead. In reality, two people could not survive such a series of violent encounters unscathed, but it's a movie, so they do. Such is the magic of film that we believe it all happens just as we see it.
It's a portrait of life in a certain time and place, Texas in the early 1970's. The background scenes are very unselfconscious and natural - the accents, the heat, the mesquite, and barbecue, the open and friendly manner of Texans. The extras seem to have been there all along, living their lives; the camera just happens to catch them as they respond to the whirlwind of violence that rolls into town with McQueen and MacGraw.
It's the story of a strong sexual relationship between two very attractive people. It is not surprising that Steve and Ali became sexually involved off the screen and eventually married. The chemistry is obvious and clearly communicated, even though the standards of the time did not require the sexual explicitness that we have become accustomed to these days.
It is an exceptionally well made film. Every frame hold one's interest. In fact, Peckinpah's mastery of the visual aspect of film is such that each PART of each frame holds one's interest.
The plot is intriguing. How is "Doc" going to get out of prison, and how is he going to rob the bank, and who is going to betray whom, and how? And how are he and "Carol" going to finally get to Mexico? Only the ending has a false ring. "Doc" and "Carol" are ruthless criminals in spite of their good looks and classy clothes, but we prefer to think they are misunderstood lovers, and we want true love to win out in the end, so we accept this ending. But as others have pointed out this is not how the book ended, and it is not consistent with the overall tone of the movie.
"The Getaway" is a powerful portrayal of the criminal mind as it acts out its ruthless greed and selfishness. But two amoral people like "Doc" and "Carol" could in the end never have really trusted each other. Thompson's story makes this clear, while Peckinpah's film muddies these waters in order to provide an acceptable "Hollywood" ending.
This review is based on the VHS version.
Update Oct. 20, 2007:
I have just seen the DVD version for the first time. Visually it is a significant improvement over the VHS version. The music is more coherent, less sappy. The critical commentary track provides some very interesting insights into the acting and Peckinpah's film technique. The "virtual" commentary by Peckinpah, MacGraw, and McQueen reveals all three to be fairly inarticulate and lacking in insight - Ali gushes on and on about what a great actor McQueen is, when what she really means is how much in love with him she is.
It's still a great film, even better on DVD.
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