The Falcon and the Snowman (1985)

falcon and the snowman poster 1985 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Interesting story, characters

Could have played up '70s

Movie Info

Movie Name:   The Falcon and the Snowman

Studio:   Hemdale Film Corporation

Genre(s):   Drama

Release Date(s):   January 25, 1985

MPAA Rating:   R

falcon and the snowman timothy hutton bird

Dude…even I can see you a spy!

Christopher Boyce (Timothy Hutton) is a disillusioned American.  When he sees what the United States has been doing in other foreign countries, he decides to do something…he enlists his friend Andrew Daulton Lee (Sean Penn) to help sell secrets to the Russian through a contact in Mexico.  As Andrew and Christopher begin to get more and more involved, they find that they are becoming trapped and their actions could have consequences.

Directed by John Schlesinger, The Falcon and the Snowman is an adaptation of the 1979 book The Falcon and the Snowman:  A True Story of Friendship and Espionage by Robert Lindsey.  The portrayal of the characters in the film led to controversy leading to production delays and the film was released to mostly positive reviews.

falcon and the snowman andrew daulton lee senn penn

Uncle Rico says Daulton is stylin’

I never saw The Falcon and the Snowman.  I can remember it being big and I remember the VHS cover to the film, but it never made it into my viewing pile.  Watching The Falcon and the Snowman in the 2010s with growing tension between Russia and the United States and the rise of cyberleaks, it is interesting to reexamine the film.

Some complained that Boyce and Lee were portrayed as antiheroes in the film which I don’t necessarily agree with.  Their nonchalant approach to espionage doesn’t show them as the most intelligent people, but it also shows a system of problems with how easily Boyce was able to steal classified information…it was played up as intense spy, but bottom line no one seemed to be paying much attention since they were doing it so poorly at points.

Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn were a good combo for this film.  Hutton plays the straight man to Penn’s erratic Daulton (Penn’s performance reminds me a lot of just playing Owen Wilson with a more high pitched voice).  While Boyce was the “mastermind”, and Daulton was almost his patsy, Daulton’s previous actions seemed to factor in more…which also shows some problems with the justice system since stealing confidential documents for sale seems worse than the actual sale (at least as it is portrayed in the movie).

falcon and the snowman timothy hutton sean penn russian spies ending

Well…this could have turned out better

The movie doesn’t utilize its ’70s setting as well as it could.  It looks a lot like an ’80s movie and I imagine that if it had been made today, the style and look of the film would be sleeker, dirtier, and more of a ’70s feel (which it is kind of missing).  Now, the low tech nature of the crime would also be pushed up.

The Falcon and the Snowman is a oddly topical film now.  The characters would probably be considered terrorists today, and with their blatant attempts to profiteer from classified information, it could be argued that they are.  The movie doesn’t do enough to build up the “why” of the characters, but the fact that the “why” is so underdeveloped, it is a bit scarier…if a guy like this could be doing it, who else is?

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response