The Falcon and the Snowman - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Falcon and the Snowman Reviews

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June 8, 2017
A subtle study of moral (or the lack of) actions of two young men in the turmoil of 80's US. The performances is excellent.
April 26, 2017
Thrilling as hell, Sean Penn in what was definitely his first matured performance/role.
November 30, 2016
Let's just say its no Marathon Man. Penn has his moments but Hutton is a bore and not much happens in this average spy thriller.
½ November 2, 2015
What happens when amateurs want to play like professionals? Two guys want to make easy money as spies and end as traitors. Sean Penn well suited as the junkie asshole who speeds the end of the adventure.
½ October 18, 2014
Filme de espionagem baseado em factos verídicos é em geral consistente na história que pretende contar, mas revela sérias dificuldades em estimular qualquer preocupação com o que vai acontecer aos principais personagens. Os muitos momentos de overacting do Sean Penn, em modo fuinha, também não ajudam muito a um filme em que as duas horas de duração parecem quatro.
July 16, 2014
Very good movie starring a young Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn. I'd never heard of this one. I'm not sure if it has just been forgotten or what, but I was very surprised to find a great hidden gem of a movie here.

Timothy Hutton plays a young adult who works for a security firm that transmits and destroys government cables. He starts to find out that the US government is way more corrupt than anyone thought seeing how the CIA manipulates other countries economies and destroys peoples whole way of living. He gets his drug dealing friend played by Sean Penn to go down to Mexico and sell the cables to a Russian Embassy. The motivation for them doing this gets kind of fuzzy for them and they start to unravel emotionally.

Sean Penn looks very young in this although I'd say this was his first really good performance other than Bad Boys (1983). Timothy Hutton, who I know most as the main guy on that TV show Leverage, is also really good here. Both actors take the roles to a very high emotional level that really works. The plot lags behind their performances a bit, but it is by no means boring or anything like that.

Overall it is a really solid movie that is more relevant today than ever before. The US government is still manipulating other countries economies and are doing even more than that now.
½ August 24, 2013
While this movie is based on a true story, is well acted and looks nice, it was really overlong and boring.

You'd think a film about an American Government worker and his druggie friend selling United States secrets to the Russians would be somewhat interesting, but it really isn't. I think mostly cause they are never really in any kind of danger until the very end. You'd think someone would catch on who was doing this pretty quick, but no one does it seems.

Hutton is good here, and Penn in maybe his first role is decent, but his voice can be grating at times the higher his character gets.

Hutton has some kind of romance with Lori Singer, the hottie from Footloose, but that subplot is vastly underwritten and her character is wasted. Even more so is Penn's relationship with that blonde from the opening scene of Ghostbusters!

Movie sounded like a great idea, but I had to fight to stay awake to this one.
June 30, 2013
The almost unbelievable tale of two American alter boys who suddenly became commie spies. Solid performances by Hutton and Penn, and a nice trip down memory lange - I grew up in post-Nixon Florida.
½ June 25, 2013
Solid political bi-opic which just falls short of a thriller. The lack of a final moral statement allows the audience to draw its own conclusions as to whether these young men were selfless patriots, greedy criminals, sellouts, iealistic rubes, or a little of each. This film remains relevant in light of the wiki-leaks scandals.
½ June 23, 2013
Great early performance by Sean Penn, crazy true story where two young So Cal guys are selling intelligence to the Soviets in 1975.
June 21, 2013
Very interesting movie. Based on actual
events, this movie will keep you interested to the end. One of Sean Penns classic movies.
April 7, 2013
Well-acted and strange-but-true story of treasonous dummies.
March 2, 2013
"They came from two excellent families. They became the two most infamous political criminals...EVER."

"Winess treason at it's most destructive.."

A hypnotizing true tale of thorough intensity, a tale aIbout treason at it's most revealing. The Falcon And The Snowman is an utterly absorbing film that, really keeps you glued to your seat throughout. An endlessly remarkable film that highlights the true story of two men and their treasonous schemes to sell very revealing, abeit, lucrative government intelligence documents to the Russian KGB. A film that really has not aged too well at all, yet it is truly effective in delivering and spectacularly and thoroughly engaging storyline. Director John Schlesinger (Yanks, Marathon Man) teamed up with acclaimed and profound screenwriter Steve Zaillian to bring us this extremely tense and astonishingly suspenseful true story back to life for all to see on the big screen with cerebral precision and minimal flaw throughout. The Falcon And The Snowman is no doubt as effective and realistic as it gets when delivering a factual account. Viewers can undoubtedly count on eye popping and amped up action sequences, a pulse pounding and adrenaline inducing storyline as well as the facts, pure and simple delivered for you right in front of your very eyes. An intelligent, snappy, witty, entertaining and solid outing from Schlesinger and company. One of the very best espionage thrillers that you will ever see.
Sean Penn and Timothy Hutton Co star and each bring their own unique traits to each scene. These two are great at what they do.
December 19, 2012
Good acting but a bit slow. Shows how easy it is go down the slippery slide from defiance with some dishonesty to being a full-blown traitor by thinking you are cleverer than those with whom you are dealing.
December 7, 2012
Will have to raid a dvd store!
½ October 27, 2012
Based on a true story of a disillusioned young American who sells satellite secrets to the Soviets. Good takeaway here is to think hard before trusting childhood friends who are drug dealers. Liked both Penn and Hutton in this. Had never heard of this film prior to watching, probably deserves to be better known.
½ September 11, 2012
Exciting and intriguing premise, but nothing interesting or compelling ever really happens
½ August 11, 2012
We were altar boys together

Christopher Boyce and Daulton Lee were best friends growing up. Daulton was a trouble maker and Chris was a solid student who earns a job in the CIA. Once Chris works in a division to obtain secrets, he works with Daulton to sell the secrets to the Soviets. Things get real deep real fast and Chris and Daulton will have to work flawlessly to keep their heads above water.

"There's a lot easier ways to make a living."

John Schlesinger, director of Pacific Heights, Midnight Cowboy, Sunday Bloody Sunday, The Day of the Locust, Marathon Man, and Honky Tonk Freeway, delivers The Falcon and the Snowman. The storyline for this picture is very good. The primary plot, character development, script, and acting is all outstanding. The cast delivers wonderful performances and includes Sean Penn, Timothy Hutton, Pat Hingle, and Joyce Van Patten.

"They don't need you anymore and they don't want you anymore."

I was looking for Sean Penn movies to DVR and this was the highest rated one airing that I had not seen. This is a very good movie and Penn delivers his role perfectly. I loved the two primary characters and felt they played off each other perfectly. This is definitely a must see movie that may be worth adding to your DVD collection.

"Want a margarita?"

Grade: A-
July 15, 2012
And This Is Why Drug Dealers Aren't Good Spies

I am generally more inclined to be merciful on films that don't seem to have high aspirations. This movie isn't trying to be Great Art. Okay, it's relying on star power, which it only sort of has. Still, this movie was made in the sweet spot between [i]Fast Times at Ridgemont High[/i] and [i]Shanghai Surprise[/i], so there's that. But anyway, it's not trying as hard to be exciting as a lot of movies I've seen, and it manages to be pretty good at being exactly what it's trying to be. Now, of course, I tend to be inclined to give these same movies less credit when they succeed, simply because they have reduced ambitions, but still. I found this movie a bit boring, but I never really thought it was all that bad, because it wasn't doing anything exciting and experimental which got on my nerves instead. It's not exactly a taut espionage thriller, either, but it tells the story it has simply and well enough. It's a little sad that the movie doesn't even mention in passing how crazy the story later got, though I suppose that would be a bit much for the story we have.

Christopher Boyce (Timothy Hutton) and Andrew Daulton Lee (Sean Penn) were children of privilege. They grew up together in one of the tonier neighbourhoods in Southern California. They were altar boys together. Christopher has just dropped out of the seminary and is kind of at loose ends, except for his interest in falconry. Daulton is a drug dealer with a cocaine habit to match. Christopher's father, Charlie (Pat Hingle), gets him a job working for defense contractor RTX (really TRW). Christopher goes to work in the "black vault," where all sorts of secret information is kept and where the teletype machines broadcast even more. And indeed, every once in a while, wires get crossed, and RTX gets messages intended for the CIA. It is there that he discovers that the CIA is working to oust the Prime Minister of Australia. Christopher does a little research and is properly horrified by the whole thing. He decides that the best thing to do is to get Daulton to go down to Mexico and start selling information to the Soviets in the person of embassy staffer Alex (David Suchet). Mysteriously enough, things start to unravel, not least because Daulton isn't Mr. Reliability.

Mind you, all of this is based on a true story. In fact, finding out what happened later makes Christopher a considerably less sympathetic character. The movie mentions that Christopher got forty years and Daulton got life; this is generally agreed to be because of Daulton's prior criminal record. This despite the fact that he never would have gotten into espionage without Christopher. How could he? But of interest is the fact that Christopher is the one who later escaped from prison and went on an actual crime spree. Bank robbing, in fact. It's believed that his intention was to raise the money to escape to the Soviet Union, though he was arrested in Port Angeles, Washington. They moved Daulton (who upon his release became Sean Penn's personal assistant, believe it or not) to a different prison because of it. As it is in this movie, though, Christopher got into the whole thing over ideals. He didn't like what the US government was doing and thought this was the way to balance accounts. Daulton was in it for the money.

I am unclear as to why David Suchet was cast. Because, let's face it, he is not convincingly Russian. I admit, I was waiting for him to shift into a prissy Belgian accent and grow ridiculous moustaches, but even leaving the Poirot thing aside, I just wasn't buying it. He also kind of comes across like the only adult in the whole piece. I don't just mean that Christopher and Daulton are mostly just spoiled kids. I mean that, when Christopher starts work in the black vault, Gene (Dorian Harewood) mixes him a margarita in the shredder. He goes to a strip club with his coworkers, including Laurie (Mady Kaplan). I know it would have been hard for Daulton's parents to turn him in when he came home for New Year's (they specify that he missed Christmas by a week), but by not doing it, they were actually harboring a fugitive. And how did he repay them? He let his younger brother (Chris Makepeace) get out of the car midway through the high speed chase with the cops. Alex seems to be the only responsible person out there, and I was waiting for him to start solving crimes.

The film makes a couple of brief stabs at giving us some character development, but really, this is one place where Daulton is a better character than Christopher. His motivations are clear. He's in it for the money, the same reason he probably got into drug dealing. Christopher is shown watching the Watergate hearings, and he does a bit of research on the political situation in Australia. So okay, he's trying. And they show that Daulton is reading a whole bunch of books about espionage--which combine with the drugs to make him paranoid, not better at what he's doing. And, yes, sneaking into the Soviet embassy in Mexico is probably the easiest way to get information to the Soviets, especially when you're coming to them with it. On the other hand, this means that they are doing their illegal activities [i]in Mexico[/i], where they have ways of getting information out of people that are not going to happen in the United States. In general--and avoiding all conversation about terror suspects if I can--the US cops are less inclined toward beating people with telephone books, you know?
½ June 25, 2012
Some people are confused with their reviews of this film. This is a true story. It's not meant to be Mission Impossible. Real spies can be boring at times because they are really just exchanging information for cash until they get caught. What should be most interesting about this film is that the Government was sending classified information to the wrong locations, that an average guy took highly classified information out of the country and delivered it to Russians at an embassy and instantly became a spy not having any idea what he was doing. All of this during the height of the cold-war no less. He didn't eventually get caught because the Government caught on to his plan. The Government "got lucky" that his choice in partner was so incompetent that he lead them to him. It really is an amazing TRUE story that you should be disturbed by because of the ease to which it took place. How many other spies were and are out there that have never been caught? Read up on Christopher Boyce if you get a chance, even after getting arrested and tossed in prison he managed to escape and even tried to learn how to fly a plane so he could get to the Soviet Union. None of that is captured in this film.
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