A student (Dustin Hoffman) gets drawn into a web of intrigue involving his brother (Roy Scheider), a secret government agency, a stash of diamonds and a Nazi war criminal (Laurence Olivier). A hit in its day in spite of a flawed script, this thriller is still worth a look thanks to John Schlesinger’s taut direction, a number of exciting, bloody and wonderfully tasteless scenes (including the bizarre opening chase, Olivier’s famous dental torture of Hoffman and the one where the Nazi is spotted by Holocaust survivors) and memorable performances by the two leads, especially Olivier whose character is loosely based on Josef Mengele.
The YouTube clip shows a trailer.
1976-U.S. 125 min. Color. Produced by Robert Evans, Sidney Beckerman. Directed by John Schlesinger. Screenplay, Novel: William Goldman. Cast: Dustin Hoffman (Thomas “Babe” Levy), Laurence Olivier (Christian Szell), Roy Scheider (Doc), William Devane, Marthe Keller, Fritz Weaver.
Trivia: Al Pacino and Julie Christie were allegedly considered for parts.
Golden Globe: Best Supporting Actor (Olivier).
Quote: “Is it safe?” (Olivier’s repeated question to Hoffman while torturing him)
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