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Scorpio

3.7 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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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.

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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

Special Features

  • 8-Page Booklet

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 31, 2006
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000035P5Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,640 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Scorpio" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gus Mauro on 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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Format: DVD
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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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
As a big Burt Lancaster fan, I have seen this movie before-but I remember it being better than it is. Watching now as an older man, I found it convoluted and boring. Not much is believable, and Winner lets the movie bog down in several scenes. The cars running through the narrow streets of Paris could only happen if a movie set blocked off traffic and cleared the streets-so it was another preposterous action scene. The idiots who make up Hollywood love to portray the CIA as a cesspool of rogue agents, but it's not. It wasn't long before I stopped caring about anyone in this movie.
One nice touch about watching today-I can pause the action and look up everybody on IMDB and see what they have done and it they are even alive.
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Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
To most 40 year old works of art/commentary/entertainment, the lumbering distance of time is not kind. So it goes with Scorpio. Some other reviewers have called this a masterpiece. This is not a masterpiece. Not to be flippant, but Michael Winner did not direct masterpieces. That being said, his most "important" film, Death Wish, while a potent time piece of Vietnam-era Middle-Aged/Middle Class Urban Vengeance is relevant as a cathartic fantasy against the bustling untoward Hippie Scoundrels of the City Night. It spawned sequels, which it is famous for, and imitators, which certainly enhances its significance....Then there is the excellence that is Charles Bronson. A movie star, who by and large over a long career stayed in his lane and stayed in it quite well. Burt Lancaster, better actor, bigger movie star, more diverse artist, is the best part of Scorpio, along with a couple of chase sequences. Oh, and some European locations too.

Scorpio is not a masterpiece because the story is lousy. Old spy wants out. The Agency wants him silenced. Send in the protege. Why cant Scorpio retire and live with is wife in suburban D.C.? Or take a private sector job as an analyst or consultant? Or move to Michigan and live out the Golden Years hunting and reading on the porch? Don't know. The Agency has it out for him. He's smarter than the Agency, and the Protege. Go figure.

The direction is basic. The acting is passable, even Alain Delon, who is cool as usual, low key, perhaps even too low key for a hunting master-spy; though next to Lancaster, underplaying is usually wise, unless he's going at it with Kirk Douglas...Paul Scofield was nice to see, though his accent is lousy, as a Soviet rival, fellow spy.
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