The Getaway (1972)

9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great action adventure

Never was a huge fan of Ali McGraw

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Getaway

Studio:  First Artists

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Drama

Release Date(s):  December 13, 1972

MPAA Rating:  R


So I think what you’re trying to say is don’t scream?

Carter “Doc” McCoy (Steve McQueen) has just gotten paroled from prison with help from his wife Carol (Ali McGraw) who has promised Jack Benyon (Ben Johnson) that Doc will lead a bank robbery.  When the robbery goes wrong, Doc and Carol find themselves on the run with the police and jaded robber Rudy (Al Lettieri) in hot pursuit…getting to Mexico is the goal and the bullets are flying.

Directed by Sam Peckinpah, The Getaway is an action thriller based on Jim Tompson’s 1958 novel.  The movie was both a critical and financial success.

Sam Peckinpah always brings it with his films, and The Getaway is no exception.  The action is fast and surprisingly shocking (in classic 1972 PG style which would easily be R today).


I’m still not sure if Archie would choose Meathead over Rudy for his Little Girl

The story is fast and furious.  Once the bank robbery starts, the action doesn’t stop.  The movie could easily be simply a car chase movie, but it also turns into a shootout movie with a great standoff in the hotel.

Steve McQueen rightfully was dubbed the King of Cool.  In movies like The Getaway he just seems cool and collected.  He isn’t like a Harrison Ford or Arnold Schwarzenegger who rely on funny dialogue…McQueen is just McQueen.  Unfortunately, I’ve never been a fan of Ali McGraw (the original casting was Cybill Shepherd) who always seemed acting challenged…she and McQueen ended up getting married after this movie.  Jack Palance was wanted for Lettieri’s role and teaming him with All in the Family’s Sally Struthers is also fun.  The movie features Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens, and Jack Dodson, but also has a tiny cameo by James Garner but as a stunt driver in a VW Beetle during the bank heist scene (he was brought in stunt coordinator Carey Loftin).


The Getaway’s secret ending has McQueen slapping McGraw to death because she’s irritating…

The movie is edited masterfully.  It is kinetic and you can understand the action.  Part of the problem of many modern action films is the over-fast editing that takes away from the logic of the chase and shootout scenes.  Here, you understand what is happening and that is key to a good action film.

The Getaway is a good movie that has held up.  It is a lot darker than maybe expected and much more violent than any PG movie would be today.  Peckinpah was a great director, and many argue that this is his best work.  The book was also adapted 1994 by Roger Donaldson and starring Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger, but stick to this original adaptation.

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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.

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