Charley Varrick - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Charley Varrick Reviews

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Super Reviewer
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.
May 13, 2012
Entertaining movie, with the great Walter Matthau--Crops And Robbers!!
axadntpron
Super Reviewer
May 7, 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.
April 30, 2012
Decent little character-driven thriller from the early '70s with good performances from Matthau and Baker as the hunted and the hunter. Also fun if you like Stone-Age portrayals of women. Baker will remind some of Chigurh from NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, and one good line was swiped outright for PULP FICTION. If you like '70s pulp crime like NIGHT MOVES, LONG GOODBYE, CISCO PIKE, DIRTY HARRY, etc., check it out.
April 18, 2012
An off-beat heist flick featuring a rich lead performance from Walter Matthau, wonderfully cast against type as a hard-nosed bank robber, "Charley Varrick" is a forgotten gem of '70s crime cinema. A strong supporting cast, including Joe Don Baker as a mob enforcer and "Dirty Harry" stars Andrew Robinson and John Vernon, add to the enjoyment as well. Tarantino fans will notice at least one line of dialogue was cribbed by the director for "Pulp Fiction". Well worth seeking out, though the Universal DVD is a disgrace. Here's hoping the Criterion Collection will add it to their roster of underrated crime flicks like "The Friends of Eddie Coyle" and "The Hit" someday soon.
March 31, 2012
Fantastic thriller, and one of the finest and smartest plots ever committed to film.
½ March 17, 2012
Boring and too slow.
Super Reviewer
½ February 10, 2012
An intelligent, discreet and very entertaining thriller by the master of pulp and badass-ness Don Siegel. Great performances by Joe Don Baker as the hitman Molly, and Walter Matthau as the crop-duster/bank robber Charley Varrick.
February 1, 2012
A small-time crook (Charley Varrick) and his partner have just successfully robbed a small bank in New Mexico. Much to their surprise they discover that their payday from the heist is in the neighborhood of $750,000 dollars, way more than the modest payday Charlie was expecting. Charlie realizes they have stolen Mafia money which leads him on an adventure where he must outwit and stay ahead of both the cops and the mafia. Charliey Varrick is very much painted as a cunning professional, but also an old man. He wants nothing to do with the Mafia's money but it's not exactly something you can just return ot the mafia. Walter Matthau is really great in these types of role where his character is sorta old and tired and in this situation which he just wants to get out of. He almost personifies the every-day man in this gritty, down-to-earth heist-crime drama. All that being said, the viewer is never really given much indication into what Charley is thinking before he does it; which adds an interesting amount of intrigue to his journey. Jon Don Baker also stands out as Molly, a mob-hired killer, who is on the trail to get the money back. His broad shoulders and imposing presence coupled with his no-nonsense demeanor make him a character that demands your attention every time he is on the screen. This is a lean script that features a lot of great characters which are all developed well and possess their own wants and desires.
½ December 19, 2011
Criminally obscure and underrated. Finally got to see it in its proper aspect ratio.
December 3, 2011
really good pulpy heist movie. joe don baker is hilariously sadistic. 70s cliches abounds. this is totally fun. i'm sure i wouldn't have watched this on my own. thanks for the recommendation, ben!
Super Reviewer
½ December 2, 2011
A slick and pretty cool 70s heist / coup thriller featuring the always great Walter Matthau. I would not be surprised at all if this film is high on Tarantino's list of favourite films. It is pretty pulp, quirky and just downright fashionable. Yet, there are a few flaws in the film. The cast, apart from the lead is very weak and it lacks any interesting antagonist or sidekick characters and therefore, Matthau has to carry much of this himself, with his dead-pan humour and leftfield approach to acting, but that does cut it I think. A lot of the film's appeal for me, comes from the 70s style of filmmaking, the colours, the clothes, the locations, the nudity etc. Then again, I am not sure whether this is a sign of the film maker's merit or just the era and genre that I like in general. The films ends with so many twists, it could be a documentary on knot-making but throughout the film, despite hints of something deeper going on, there are not a lot of surprises and interesting things going on.

All in all, a solid b-movie for lovers of classic pulp and the 1970s, but as a film, it is kind of one-dimensional but a great outing for the amazing and loveable Walter Matthau.
½ August 3, 2011
Charley Varrick is a hidden gem from the 70s that has some clever plot turns that I enjoyed quite a bit.
½ June 17, 2011
Not many would have ever seen nor heard of it. One of my favourite 70s crime thrillers with matthau in serious role. Grrrreat!
June 15, 2011
Walter Matthau was so much more than a grumpy old man...
½ June 8, 2011
Oh what a clever thriller. Some really memorable scenes. Much better than equivalent material produced today.
March 27, 2011
Brilliant flick from 1973 and it certainly has got longevity. I just love the 70's soundtrack. Well played by especially Matthau and Joe Don Baker.
January 21, 2011
A movie so great the Tarrantino sampled some of its dialogue and used it in Pulp Fiction.
½ December 11, 2010
"He stole from the Mob, now he's running for his life."


"When he runs out of dumb luck he always has genius to fall back on!"




Good 70's Walter Matthau heist movie, directed by Don Siegel (who made a lot of the good Clint Eastwood films, including Dirty Harry and Escape From Alcatraz), also starring two Dirty Harry cast members; Andrew Robinson (the bad guy) and John Vernon (the mayor, better know as Dean Wormer in Animal House). Also features Joe Don Baker as a hitman and Norman Fell (Mr Roper on Three's Company) as a lawman.



Charley Varrick: I like your bed. You may find this hard to believe but I've never slept on a round bed.
Sybil Fort: Is that so?
Charley Varrick: What's the best way? North, south, east, or west?
Sybil Fort: That depends on what you had in mind.
Charley Varrick: What I had in mind was boxing the compass.

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Charley Varrick: It has to do with this bag of money I'd like to give back to you.
Maynard Boyle: So give it back. What's the problem?
Charley Varrick: The problem is the big gorilla in the maroon car who's trying to kill me.

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Molly: [when asked if he would like a prostitute] I don't sleep with whores... at least, not knowingly.

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Harman Sullivan: What's bothering you?
Charley Varrick: I don't know. Something smells bad.
Harman Sullivan: Charley, *you* smell bad. Now don't you run a game out on me or I'll hang you out to dry.
Charley Varrick: What's that kind of money doing in a Tres Cruces bank?
Harman Sullivan: Where should it be?
Charley Varrick: Bank that size figures to have maybe thirty, twenty thousand dollars in it.
Harman Sullivan: Listen Charley, just let me ask you one question. The money was *there*, right?
Charley Varrick: Yeah.
Harman Sullivan: Now its *here*, right?
Charley Varrick: Yeah.
Harman Sullivan: So what's the big deal?

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Charley Varrick: You know what dirty money is? That's the kind of money you can't declare on your income tax. Well, when certain people get that kind of money, what they do is send it out of the country to invest, and when it comes back, it's clean.
Harman Sullivan: So?
Charley Varrick: So maybe that little bank was a drop, a collection point. Maybe all this was on its way out of the country.
Harman Sullivan: Fantastic! We lucked out!
Charley Varrick: More like crapped out. It's ten-to-one this stuff belongs to the Mafia. This is gambling money skimmed off the top, whore money, dope money.
Harman Sullivan: What's the difference?
Charley Varrick: The difference is the Mafia kills you, no trial, no judge. They never stop looking for you, not 'til you're dead. I'd rather have ten F.B.I.s after me.

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Charley Varrick: Mafia money. All I wanted was a small take, in and out quick, no big deal.
Harman Sullivan: Well, don't you worry, Charley, cause if you don't want your share, I'll be more than happy to take it over for you.
Charley Varrick: I'm sure you would, Harmon.
Harman Sullivan: Well, what do you want to do, give it back?
Charley Varrick: I've been thinking about it.
Harman Sullivan: Charley Varrick. Well, I got some news for you, Charley. You haven't got the balls of a bull canary bird. And something else, I ain't giving back penny number one!

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Charley Varrick: We're gonna have to keep pretty quiet for a while.
Harman Sullivan: Is that so?
Charley Varrick: That's right. Best way to get nailed is to start tossing that stuff around.
Harman Sullivan: And what's your idea of a while?
Charley Varrick: Three years. Maybe four.
Harman Sullivan: Are you telling me that I can't spend none of this money for three, four years?
Charley Varrick: Right, right, that's what I'm telling you. And you better lay off that juice, too. That's another way to get nailed, me along with you.
Harman Sullivan: Any more instructions?
Charley Varrick: No.
Harman Sullivan: Nothing more you wanna hang onto me?
Charley Varrick: Not right now.
Harman Sullivan: Then I got something I wanna hang onto you, jimmy dick! I've been waiting all my life to make a score like this, and now that it's here, I ain't waiting no more. I mean, I'm gonna wail. And I'm talking about chicks, cars, clothes, a box at the races, and beefsteak three times a day, and no washed up, chicken-shit son-of-a-bitch had better try stop me!

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Jana: [Molly arrives at the whore house] These are the goodies. He says his name is Sally
Molly: Molly.
Jana: [the prostitues laugh] Sally, Molly, if you got a bell, honey, we'll find a way to ring it.
Molly: I didn't travel six hundred miles for the amusement of morons. Is that clear, ladies?
Taxi driver: Now just a darn minute there.
Molly: You just keep throwing your feathers, mister, before I put you in the hospital.
Taxi driver: Yes, sir.

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Maynard Boyle: Why am I being denied access to my own premises?
Mr. Garfinkle: Well, it's a matter of priority. You see, first and foremost, this is a murder investigation.
Maynard Boyle: Well, my business is purely financial.
Mr. Garfinkle: Well, you're very lucky so far, Mr. Boyle. All we have found missing is about thirteen hundred dollars.
Maynard Boyle: Well, if you're a nice fella, nice things happen to you.

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Maynard Boyle: You know something, Harold? I never thought I'd be willing to change places with a cow.
Harold Young: A cow?
Maynard Boyle: Those things out there. They are cows, aren't they?
Harold Young: I don't understand the thrust of your comment.
Maynard Boyle: Take a look at them out there. I mean, they got it knocked. What's the worst thing in the world that could possibly happen to them? A short circuit in the electric milker. Compared to what I'm facing, that's child's play.

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Maynard Boyle: It's our mafia friends who won't understand. They're gonna wonder why you led them straight to the vault with the money in it, instead of the empty vault in the rear. And frankly, Harold, why did you do that?
Harold Young: Do you know what would have happened if I'd taken those people to an empty vault?
Maynard Boyle: Number one, the money would have been saved, number two there'd be no question of an inside job.
Harold Young: Inside job?
Maynard Boyle: That's the way their diseased minds work. A bank gets it, bang, they look for a double-cross.
Harold Young: Why couldn't it be just a coincidence?
Maynard Boyle: Because they don't believe in coincidence!

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Maynard Boyle: You need a rest, Harold. A long trip to someplace quiet. Another name, another country.
Harold Young: I can't start my life over again now.
Maynard Boyle: You don't have much choice, Harold. They're gonna try to make you tell where the money is. You know what kind of people they are. They're gonna strip you naked and go to work on you with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch.

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Molly: [reads Charley's business card] "Charley Varrick, last of the independents." I like that. Has a ring of finality.

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Molly: [Molly beats Harmon] Sooner or later, you're gonna tell me everything you know. So why not save yourself a great deal of pain, tell me now.

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Molly: [Molly has just punched out an argumentative black man... ] I allow very few men to speak to me in that tone. Few caucasians. And no nigras at all.
September 11, 2010
The last of the independents!!!
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