John Schlesinger directed this gripping, entertaining 1977 thriller that centers on graduate student Dustin Hoffman. Hoffman plays a sullen and cowardly loner haunted by the suicide of his father, a suspected communist. He is drawn into a murky web of international intrigue when his brother, CIA agent Doc Levy, played by Roy Scheider, is murdered by a former Nazi (Laurence Olivier) who has come to the United States to reclaim a valuable stash of diamonds. Babe (Hoffman) must confront his fears of the past as he runs for his life and tries to avenge his brother’s death at the same time. Featuring a classic torture sequence and a terrific cast that includes William Devane and Marthe Keller, this film written by William Goldman stands as a great entertainment and as one of the seminal films of the 1970s. —Robert Lane
Schlesinger was born in London into a middle class Jewish family, the son of Winifred Henrietta (née Regensburg) and Bernard Edward Schlesinger, a physician. After Uppingham School and graduating from Balliol College, Oxford, he worked as an actor.
One of his earliest films, the British Transport Films’ documentary Terminus (1960), gained a Venice Film Festival Gold Lion and a British Academy Award. His first two fiction movies, A Kind of Loving (1962) and Billy Liar (1963) were set in the North of England. A Kind of Loving won the Golden Bear award at the 12th Berlin International Film Festival in 1962.
His third Darling (1965) described tartly the modern urban way of life in London and was one of the first films about ‘swinging London’. Schlesinger’s next movie was Far From the Madding Crowd (1967), an adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s popular novel. Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy (1969) was internationally acclaimed… read more
3 1/2 out of 5 stars. Worth watching for John Schlesinger's direction and Conrad Hall's cinematography alone. Marathon Man is one of those great paranoid 70s thrillers that won't ever be seen again. Despite the story noticeably crumbling at a few points, I was legitimately creeped and/or freaked out at a few points. I really wish I saw this sooner.
A masterful paranoid thriller that, as trite as it may sound, they just don't make like they used to. Beautiful composition and camerawork are a plus, as well.