The Osterman Weekend

Critics Consensus

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44%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 16

38%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,174
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Movie Info

A man discovers that his best friends are actually spies -- or are they? -- in this thriller based on Robert Ludlum's best-selling novel. John Tanner (Rutger Hauer) is the host of a television news show who once a year spends a long weekend with three of his best friends from college, Bernard Osterman (Craig T. Nelson), Joseph Cardone (Chris Sarandon), and Richard Tremayne (Dennis Hopper). Tanner is approached by Lawrence Fassett (John Hurt), a CIA agent who has evidence proving that his three pals are actually agents working with the Soviet Union. With Tanner's reluctant approval, his house is wired with video surveillance equipment so that the CIA can monitor what Osterman, Cardone, and Tremayne say and do over their weekend together in hopes of putting the traitors behind bars. However, Tanner soon realizes that Fassett's agenda is not all that it appears to be. The Osterman Weekend was directed by Sam Peckinpah; it proved to be his last film, as he died a year after its release.

Cast

John Hurt
as Lawrence Fassett
Burt Lancaster
as Maxwell Danforth
Rutger Hauer
as John Tanner
Dennis Hopper
as Tremayne
Helen Shaver
as Virginia Tremayne
Cassie Yates
as Betty Cardone
Sandy McPeak
as Stennings
Christopher Starr
as Steve Tanner
Paul Taylor
as Honeymoon Couple
Anne Haney
as Honeymoon Couple
Jan Triska
as Mikalovich
Hansford Rowe
as Gen. Keever
Tim Thomerson
as Motorcycle Cop
Walter Kelley
as 1st Agent
Brick Tilley
as 2nd Agent
Eddy Donno
as 3rd Agent
Den Surles
as Assailant
Don Shafer
as Helicopter Agent
Irene Gorman Wright
as Executive Assistant
Gregory Joe Parr
as Helicopter Pilot
Buckley Norris
as Technician
Robert Kensinger
as Stage Manager
Janeen Davis
as Stage Manager
Marshall Ho'o
as Martial Arts Instructor
View All

Critic Reviews for The Osterman Weekend

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (7) | Rotten (9)

  • I don't demand that all movies make sense. I sometimes enjoy movies that make no sense whatsoever, if that's their intention. But a thriller is supposed to hold together in some sort of logical way, isn't it?

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • Some individual sequences -- including a car chase early in the film - have the lunatic humor that might have made the rest of the film bearable, though probably nothing would justify the film's final blood bath.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 2/5
  • The structure is a mess (the film was recut against Peckinpah's wishes), which ultimately makes it difficult to tell whether its oddly compelling qualities are the result of a coherent artistic strategy or the cynical carelessness of a director sidelined.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • It rattles along well enough as a thriler of the political paranoia variety.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    David Wood

    BBC.com
    Top Critic
  • The Osterman Weekend is a game of appearances and realities, a maddening chess game whose pieces change according to the hidden logic of the film. [Full Review in Spanish]

    Sep 6, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Sam Peckinpah's movie of the Robert Ludlum novel, The Osterman Weekend, must be the most incoherent, inexplicable, muddled film made this year.

    Feb 9, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Osterman Weekend

  • Feb 26, 2017
    The cast are great - particularly John Hurt - but they can't cover up an average story.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer
  • Sep 09, 2012
    Somewhat confusing espionage thriller from the old days of the cold war and director legend Sam Peckinpah's final film. While the cast is great and delivers, the plot is a tad uneven in the first half but does get better once the weekend starts. Then things decently exciting and some of the characters finally grow on you. Then the film also benefits from the uncertain loyalties and comes up with a surprise or two, like a pretty strong female character. The bloody showdown, even though using a bit too much slow motion is pure Peckinpah. Overall the film suffers from its own logic, that just doesn't seem to fit together, despite of a pretty entertaining second half.
    Jens S Super Reviewer
  • Jun 15, 2012
    Far from the old days of glory when this filmmaker could shock, unbalance or move us. You could tell he wasn't really into the story at all, though I can't blame him for that, in the everything seems so futile and silly. The only good points are the ensemble cast and some of Bloody Sam's trademark slow motion action scenes. Unintriguing, forgettable.
    Pierluigi P Super Reviewer
  • Sep 09, 2010
    Definitely falls under the category of one of the most under-appreciated and overlooked movies ever made. The film-making style alone is worthy of praise, Sam Peckinpah's early use of slow motion action sequences and sound is just so well done. Not to mention the flawless casting, Rutger Hauer has and always will be one of the greatest actors of all time. He makes any role feel incredibly human and at the same time captivating beyond belief. The story is so well played out, making for one of the best Soviet-Spy plots. There is one twist after another and even when you think you've figured it out it throws you another twist. All around this is just an incredible movie and definitely deserves more credit.
    Conner R Super Reviewer

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