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Three Days of the Condor

Three Days of the Condor (stylized on the poster art as 3

Days of the Condor) is a 1975 American political thriller
lm directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Cli Robertson, and Max von
Sydow.[2] The screenplay by Lorenzo Semple Jr. and
David Rayel was adapted from the 1974 novel Six Days
of the Condor by James Grady.[2] Set mainly in New York
City and Washington, D.C., the lm is about a bookish
CIA researcher who comes back from lunch, discovers all
his co-workers shot dead, and tries to outwit those responsible until he gures out whom he can really trust. The
lm was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Film
Editing. Semple and Rayel received an Edgar Award
from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Motion
Picture Screenplay.[2]

Deciding that he cannot trust anyone within the CIA,

Turner begins to play a cat-and-mouse game with Higgins (Cli Robertson), deputy director of the CIAs New
York division. With the help of Hale, Turner abducts
Higgins, who reveals Jouberts identity.
Higgins discovers that the postman who attacked Turner
in Hales apartment had collaborated with Joubert on a
previous operation. That operations mastermind, however, is revealed to be Leonard Atwood (Addison Powell), the CIA Deputy Director of Operations and Higgins

Meanwhile, using material he found on the fake postmans

body, Turner learns where Joubert is staying, then uses his
skills as a former telephone lineman to trace a call Joubert
makes from his hotel room. He then nds the name and
address of the person Joubert called: Atwood. Turner
confronts Atwood at his home late at night and questions
him at gunpoint. Turner learns that the report he had led
1 Plot
had uncovered a secret plan to take over Middle Eastern
oil elds, setting in motion the deaths of all of his sections
Joe Turner (Robert Redford) is a CIA analyst, code name members.
Condor, who works in a clandestine oce in New York
Joubert surprises them, takes away Turners pistol, and
City. He reads books, newspapers, and magazines from
unexpectedly kills Atwood, as Atwoods superiors have
around the world, looking for hidden meanings and new
hired Joubert to kill Atwood, overriding Atwoods origiideas. As part of his duties, Turner les a report to CIA
nal contract for Joubert to kill Turner. Joubert suggests
headquarters on a low-quality thriller novel his oce has
that Turner leave the country, even become an assassin
been reading, pointing out strange plot elements therein,
himself since Turner had shown such resourcefulness in
and the unusual assortment of languages into which the
staying alive. Turner rejects the suggestions, but seems to
book has been translated.
take seriously Jouberts warning that the CIA will still try
On the day Turner expects a response to his report, while to kill him. Joubert even muses aloud on how Turners
Turner is out to lunch, a group of armed men, led by an killing would likely be carried out.
Alsatian contract killer later identied as Joubert (Max
Turner goes back to New York City and meets Higgins on
von Sydow), murders the many people in the oce. Rea busy street. Higgins defends the oil elds plan, claimturning to nd his coworkers bodies and realizing he is
ing that there will be a day in which oil shortages will
in danger, Turner calls the CIAs New York headquarcause a major economic crisis for the country, and that
ters, and is given instructions to meet some agents who
Americans will want the government to use any means
will take care of him. The meeting, however, is a trap,
necessary to obtain the oil. Turner says he has told the
and Turner escapes an attempt to kill him.
press a story (they are standing outside The New York
Needing a place to hide, Turner forces a woman, Kathy Times oce), but Higgins questions Turners assurances
Hale (Faye Dunaway), whom he sees randomly in a ski that the story will be printed. After a brief dialogue, an
shop, to take him to her apartment in Brooklyn Heights. anxious Turner walks away. The nal shot is a freeze
He holds her prisoner while he attempts to gure out what frame of Turner passing behind a Salvation Army band
is going on. Over time, Hale begins to trust Turner and singing Christmas carols, while looking over his shoulder
they become lovers. However, his hiding place is discov- toward the camera.
ered after Joubert spots him driving her car and notes the
license plate number. A hitmandisguised as a postman
with a parcel that requires a signatureshows up at the
apartment and a ght ensues, in which Turner kills the


Robert Redford as Joseph Turner
Faye Dunaway as Kathy Hale
Cli Robertson as J. Higgins
Max von Sydow as G. Joubert
John Houseman as Wabash

4 Reception
4.1 Box Oce
The lm earned $8,925,000 in theatrical rentals in North
America. [5]

4.2 Critical response

Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 86%

of 37 surveyed critics gave the lm a positive review,
and the average rating was 7.1/10; the sites consensus is:
Walter McGinn as Sam Barber
This post-Watergate thriller captures the paranoid tenor
Tina Chen as Janice Chon (One of the six CIA ana- of the times, thanks to Sydney Pollacks taut direction and
lysts that were killed)
excellent performances from Robert Redford and Faye
Michael Kane as S.W. Wicks
When rst released, the lm was reviewed positively by
Don McHenry as Dr. Ferdinand Lappe (One of the critic Vincent Canby, who wrote that the lm is no
six CIA analysts that were killed)
match for stories in your local newspaper, but it benets from good acting and directing.[7] Variety called it a
Jess Osuna as The Major
B movie that was given a big budget despite its lack of
Roger Ebert wrote, "Three Days of the ConDino Narizzano as Harold (One of the six CIA anador
thriller, tense and involving, and the
lysts that were killed)
scary thing, in these months after Watergate, is that its
Helen Stenborg as Mrs. Edwina Russell (One of the all too believable.[9]
six CIA analysts that were killed)
French philosopher Jean Baudrillard makes mention of

Addison Powell as Leonard Atwood

Patrick Gorman as Martin (One of the six CIA an- the lm as an example of a new genre of retro cinema in
his essay on history in the now inuential book, Simulacra
alysts that were killed)
and Simulation (1981):
Hansford Rowe as Jennings (One of the six CIA analysts that were killed)
In the 'real' as in cinema, there was history but there isn't any anymore. Today, the
Lee Steele as Ralph Heidegger (Was the 7th CIA anhistory that is 'given back' to us (precisely bealyst who called in sick, and was killed in his home)
cause it was taken from us) has no more of
a relation to a 'historical real' than neogura Carlin Glynn as Mae Barber
tion [sic] in painting does to the classical g Hank Garrett as The Mailman
uration of the real...All, but not only, those
historical lms whose very perfection is dis Arthur French as Messenger
quieting: Chinatown, Three Days of the Condor, Barry Lyndon, 1900, All the Presidents
Robert Phalen as Newberry
Men, etc. One has the impression of it being a question of perfect remakes, of extraordi Ed Setrakian as Customer
nary montages that emerge more from a com Russell Johnson as Intelligence Ocer
binatory [sic] culture (or McLuhanesque mosaic), of large photo-, kino-, historicosynthesis
Sal Schillizzi as Locksmith
[sic] machines, etc., rather than one of veritable lms.[10]


Some critics also described the lm as a piece of political propaganda, as it was released soon after the "Family
Jewels" scandal came to light in December 1974 which
3.1 Filming locations
exposed a variety of CIA misconduct. However, in an
Three Days of the Condor was lmed in various locations interview with Jump Cut, Pollack explained that the lm
in New York City, New Jersey, and Washington DC, in- was written solely to be a spy thriller and that production
cluding the World Trade Center, The Ansonia, Central on the lm was nearly over by the time the Family Jewels
Park, and the National Mall.[3][4]
revelations were made, so even if they had wanted to take

advantage of them, it was far too late in the lmmaking 6 Panning and scanning
process to do so. Despite both Pollack and Redford being
well-known political liberals, they were only interested in In 1997, The Association of Danish Film Directors, on
making the lm because an espionage thriller was a genre behalf of Pollack, sued Danmarks Radio, claiming that
neither of them had previously explored.[11]
their broadcasting the lm in a panned and scanned version violated his copyright. The case was unsuccessful,
as the rights were not owned by Pollack personally in the
I didn't want this picture to be judged; its
rst place. The case is believed to have been the rst lea movie. I intended it always as a movie. I
gal challenge to the practice of panning and scanning for
never had any pretensions about the picture
broadcast on the grounds that it compromises the artistic
and its making me very angry that I'm getintegrity of an original lm.[13]
ting pretensions stuck on me like tails on a donkey. If I wanted to be pretentious, I'd take the
CIA seal and advertise this movie and really
take advantage of the headlines. Central In7 Soundtrack
telligence Agency, United States of America,
Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway. And don't
All music by Dave Grusin, except where noted.
think it wasn't suggestedobviously, thats
what advertising people do. We really put our
1. Condor! (Theme from 3 Days of the Condor)" 3:35
foot downRedford and Ito absolutely stop
2. Yellow Panic 2:15

Awards and nominations


3. Flight of the Condor 2:25

4. We'll Bring You Home 2:24
5. Out to Lunch 2:00

Cartagena Film Festival: Golden India Catalina,

Best Actor, Max von Sydow; 1976.

6. Goodbye for Kathy (Love Theme from 3 Days of

the Condor)" (2:16

David di Donatello Awards: Special David, Sydney

Pollack, for the direction; 1976.

7. I've Got You Where I Want You 3:12

(Grusin/Bahler; sung by Jim Gilstrap)

Edgar Allan Poe Awards: Edgar; Best Motion Picture, Lorenzo Semple Jr. David Rayel; 1976.

8. Flashback to Terror 2:24

Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards: KCFCC

Award; Best Supporting Actor, Max von Sydow;
Motion Picture Sound Editors: Golden Reel Award;
Best Sound Editing - Sound Eects; 1976.
Academy Awards: Oscar; Best Film Editing,
Fredric Steinkamp and Don Guidice; 1976.
Cartagena Film Festival: Golden India Catalina;
Best Film, Sydney Pollack; 1976.
Golden Globe Awards: Golden Globe; Best Motion
Picture Actress - Drama, Faye Dunaway; 1976.
Grammy Awards: Grammy; Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television
Special, Dave Grusin; 1977.
AFIs 100 Years...100 Thrills; 2001[12]

9. Sing Along with the C.I.A. 1:34

10. Spies of a Feather, Flocking Together (Love
Theme from 3 Days of the Condor 1:55
11. Silver Bells 2:37 (Livingstone / Evans; Vocal:
Marti McCall)
12. Medley: a) Condor! (Theme) / b) I've Got You
Where I Want You 1:57

8 Cultural impact
Jouberts musings on how Turner would be killed are
reprised almost word-for-word in "The Junk Mail",
episode #905 from Seinfeld. The speech is recast
as a warning from Newman to Kramer about how
the U.S. Postal Service will retaliate for Kramers
refusal to receive his mail.
In Out of Sight, Jack Foley (George Clooney) and
Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez) discuss the lms love
subplot, or dubious subplot, according to Sisco.



In March 2015, Skydance Productions announced that it

is planning to remake Three Days of the Condor as a television series.[14]


12 External links
Three Days of the Condor at the Internet Movie
Three Days of the Condor at AllMovie
Three Days of the Condor lm trailer on YouTube


See also

Conspiracy thriller
Techno thriller



[1] Three Days of the Condor. The Numbers. Retrieved

January 22, 2012.
[2] Three Days of the Condor (1975)". The New York Times.
Retrieved February 8, 2014.
[3] Three Days of the Condor. On the Set of New York.
Retrieved May 3, 2013.
[4] Sydney Pollack (director) (1999). Three Days of the Condor (DVD). Los Angeles: Paramount.
[5] All-time Film Rental Champs, Variety, 7 January 1976
p 44
[6] "Three Days of the Condor (1975)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 1, 2014.
[7] Canby, Vincent (September 25, 1975). Three Days of
the Condor (1975)". The New York Times. Retrieved
February 29, 2008.
[8] Review: 'Three Days of the Condor'". Variety. 1975.
Retrieved February 8, 2014.
[9] Ebert, Roger (1975). Three Days of the Condor.
Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
[10] Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulation. Trans.
Sheila Faria Glaser. University of Michigan Press, 1994,
p. 45. French original, Simulacres et Simulation, published
by ditions Galile in 1981.
[11] McGilligan, Patrick (1976). Hollywood uncovers the
CIA. Jump Cut (1011). Retrieved December 24, 2013.
[12] AFIs 100 Years...100 Thrills Nominees
[13] Morton Jacobsen, 'Copyright on Trial in Denmark', Image
Technology, vol. 79, no. 5 (May 1997), pp. 16-20, and
no. 6 (June 1997), pp. 22-24.
[14] Skydance Productions Developing 'Three Days of the
Condor' Remake for TV (Exclusive)". The Hollywood
Reporter. 11 March 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2015.


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