The Parallax View


The Parallax View

Critics Consensus

The Parallax View blends deft direction from Alan J. Pakula and a charismatic Warren Beatty performance to create a paranoid political thriller that stands with the genre's best.



Total Count: 28


Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,158
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Movie Info

In this film, based on a novel by Loren Singer, Warren Beatty plays a Seattle TV reporter who is approached by a terrified woman. She had been an eyewitness to a political assassination several years earlier; since that time, all the other witnesses have died mysteriously. Beatty insists on investigating.


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Critic Reviews for The Parallax View

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (26) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for The Parallax View

  • May 06, 2017
    It's silly in the way most of the paranoid conspiracy thrillers from the 70s are and yet it's not without genuine suspense. The opening sequence and the climax are both damn near perfectly executed.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 15, 2014
    Always technically brilliant and oftentimes thrilling, ace paranoid thriller The Parallex View isn't the best '70s conspiracy tale but its slick presentation ranks it near the top of the genre nonetheless. In a day and age when the U.S. outsources some of it's intelligence operations, a story about a corporation that recruits, trains, and "uses" political assassins doesn't sound too off base. In fact, this View seems almost prescient. If only more of Parallex dated as well. In a post-9/11 world, it's hard to buy the main character, over-his-head reporter Joseph Frady, boarding a plane from the Tarmac at the last minute and - like the 20th Century Limited - paying once they've taken flight. Also, the then landmark hypnotic film-within-a-film orientation sequence lasts too long for modern Still, the concept and thrills hold up even when some of the twist and fisticuffs come across ham fisted. Thanks to a screen icon at the top of his game and a director just hitting his stride, however, the View is always magnificent. In this R-rated conspiracy thriller, an ambitious reporter (Warren Beatty) uncovers a vast conspiracy involving a multinational corporation behind every event in the worlds headlines while investigating a senator's assassination. Stuck between Klute and All the President's Men in director Alan J. Pakula's 'Paranoia Trilogy,' The Parallex View didn't fare as well come awards time (Jane Fonda bagged an Oscar for her performance in the former and he himself won Best Director for the latter) but the film is every bit as stylish. Framing modern marvels (Seattle's Space Needle! Pong!) and backwater dives with the same eye, Pakula presents a sprawling puzzler that never feels too far reaching for its hyper realistic, cynical post-Watergate grasp. Long takes allow the ambitious script some room to breathe. In hiring cinematographer Gordon Willis, however, he spun a golden straw man story into cinematic gold...almost, at least. The lived-in newspaper offices, wood paneled taverns, and spare motel rooms all get bathed in low light by a shadowy canopy that brilliantly heightens the worrisome tension. And then, there's Warren Beatty. At this point in his career, he has already proven himself time (Splendor in the Grass) and time (Bonnie and Clyde) and time again (McCabe and Mrs. Miller), he had already proven himself a top shelf actor with a gift for making anti-heroes sympathetic, but here, he hit a new low. Playing a recovering alcoholic reporter who wings his investigative application, this superstar daringly makes for an awesome political pawn. 3 Yays of the Condor
    Jeff B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 01, 2012
    Old fashioned and not very convincing today, this conspiracy political thriller in the vein of All the President's Men and The Three Days of Condor still has some gripping moments. The airplane bomb sequence is full of suspence and the watrefall scene is a wonderful set-piece. The cinematography has some nice subtle camera movements and some good -but too obvious- shots that try to capture the paranoia feeling (such as shots of glistering glass-made buildings of Parallax corporation) but it shows its age; especially its color and the television-reportage sensibility can be seen today for the rhetoric devise that it is. The paranoid psychology of America of the times shines through this short-lived genre of conspiracy thrillers that were a reaction to the uneasiness that individuals were feeling in the midst of a political system that seemed greater than them; the political scandals seemed to be the tip of the iceberg of a whole mechanism that normal citizens had no access. The messages are always pessimistic and give a sense of disillusionment with politics. But these films never amount to a serious political statement; at their best however they give an echo of Kafka without the existential connotations. There is a certain charm in them but not any real depth despite their pretentions for the contrary.
    George M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 29, 2011
    "The Parallax View" is a tight, suspenseful, enthralling, concisely-plotted and overwhelmingly eerie and downbeat political thriller, and it's the best of its kind. It's a solid effort from Alan J. Pakula, who practically made a career out of these kinds of films. His taut, sustained direction coupled with Gordon Willis' remarkable shot composition and impeccable framing and a script that captures the paranoia of the Watergate era makes it an engrossing, realistic experience chock full of unforgettable and infinitely-imitated scenes. Few films succeed at evoking an atmosphere as tense as "The Parallax View" does.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer

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