Charley Varrick

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83%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 12

82%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,143

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Movie Info

When small-time criminal Charley Varrick (Walter Matthau) leads a crew to rob a bank, things don't exactly go according to plan. Not only are there casualties, but also, he and his surviving cohort, Harman Sullivan (Andy Robinson), discover that they've snagged far more cash than they were expecting --and it's money that belongs to the mob. Hunted by both the police and a ruthless killer named Molly (Joe Don Baker), Charley and Harman may not live long enough to enjoy their small fortune.

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Critic Reviews for Charley Varrick

All Critics (12) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for Charley Varrick

  • May 23, 2012
    From a technical standpoint, "Charley Varrick" is pretty laughable. There are moments where the editing is so bad that you just have to wonder what was going on in the editing room. As well, the cinematography, shot composition, and lighting seem to have been given minor attention from director Don Siegel. Of course, being as "Charley Varrick" is one of those low-budget relics from the 1970s, one can't be so critical about the technicalities. There are elements about the film that are quite enjoyable, such as Walter Matthau's deadpan-like performance and Joe Don Baker's turn as an eccentric assassin. The script is riddled with holes and implausibilities, but all in all, it's a fun, if forgettable, action flick.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • May 07, 2012
    The early 1970s were a golden age for gritty American crime films. There must have been something in the water. For films such as The French Connection, The Getaway, & The Friends of Eddie Coyle all to have come out in one 3 year period seems nothing short of miraculous. Sure you can point to the waning idealism of the 1960s, coupled with the country being dragged through the mud of the Watergate scandal, as being a good source of inspiration for these films, but how they were all superbly crafted by these different filmmakers is pretty fascinating. Yet, whether the stars were perfectly aligned or not, you can add Don Siegel's "Charley Varrick" to the canon of great crime films from this period. Right from the brilliantly staged opening heist, director Don Siegel takes you on quite a ride. The film is smartly paced. Siegel builds the tension while showing the minute details of this way of life. He knows when to hold back and when to quickly unleash. Varrick is such an interesting character. He doesn't seem to love the thrill of the crime. In fact, he only seems to have stumbled into it because his previous career path of stunt piloting disintegrated. He is smart, rational, but in way over his head. Speaking of Watergate, there must have been something cathartic about watching a reasonably good American take a piece of the pie from a crime syndicate that in my opinion, eerily resembles the American government. Efficiently run, but unfortunately by unscrupulous men. Even if we know his fate is likely sealed from the start, one can imagine that the American people must have been especially thrilled to see their money fall into the right hands for a change. In Don Siegel's America there seems to be no honest living. The world is run on luck, both good and bad. Siegel must have had some good luck working in his favor because Varrick is a smart thriller that offers an interesting look into the early 1970s American mindset.
    Reid V Super Reviewer
  • Apr 12, 2010
    Fantastic thriller, and one of the finest and smartest plots ever committed to film.
    Tim S Super Reviewer
  • Feb 07, 2010
    Don Siegel's follow up to the legendary Dirty Harry finds the title character Charley Varrick (Walter Matthau) down on his luck to the point that he hatches a plan to rob a small town bank. Charley and his gang (featuring Harry alum Andrew "Scorpio" Robinson) pull off the robbery, though with some hitches. But there's a problem- the bank served as a Mafia money laundering operation and, of course, the mob is after Charley in the form of a sadistic hit man (Joe Don Baker) and the head of the bank (John "The Mayor" Vernon). One of the things about Siegel's films is that he loves to support the anti-hero. Dirty Harry, The Shootist, Escape From Alcatraz each contain a character that isn't the hero in the white hat, yet we sure as hell cheer for them. Charley is no different. He's a robber, a manipulator, and he's willing to sacrifice people to achieve his goals. We still cheer for the guy until the bitter end. Matthau is perfect as Charley, a sharp guy dumped into a situation beyond anything he could have imagined. He downplays the character in a cool and calm manner, even though there's a hint of being scared to death of what's out to get him. The remaining cast is also great, particularly Robinson as a dumb kid that's stereotyped in being the guns blazing proponent, never fully trusting Charley or anyone else for that matter. Joe Don Baker relishes his role as the cowboy hit man that slaps women around, then beds them as he rolls like a tornado toward his goal. And John Vernon is John Vernon, the greatest authority figure in 1970's cinema. Even though some of the plot devices get silly (and dull what would have been a perfect film) Charley Varrick is a thriller that doesn't feel like a thriller; a action piece that doesn't feel like an action piece. It's there to be consumed with no definable genre other than cops and robbers and goons and hoods. This is one of those great 1970's films that have been buried to posterity.
    Chris G Super Reviewer

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