Three Days of the Condor
"His code name is Condor. In the next 24 hours, everyone he trusts will try to kill him." As the ads ominously announced, a low-level spook confronts the unfathomable in Sydney Pollack's 1975 political thriller, adapted from the James Grady novel Six Days of the Condor. CIA researcher Joe Turner (Robert Redford) returns from lunch to find the entire staff of his small New York office assassinated. When he meets his boss (Cliff Robertson) at another location to tell him what happened, someone tries to shoot Turner as well. On the run from the cops and his agency, a desperate Turner resorts to holing up with innocent civilian Kathy (Faye Dunaway), who becomes his only ally. Joe decides to save himself the only way possible -- by going to The New York Times. But will it work? One of a cycle of conspiracy films from the 1970s that also included The Parallax View (1974) and Redford's All the President's Men (1976), Three Days of the Condor pits a working everyman (albeit a CIA everyman) against a far-reaching conspiracy, as it also criticizes the CIA during a period of increasing publicity about federal wrongdoing, from the Pentagon Papers through Watergate and other congressional investigations. The challenge of negotiating New York City, shot on location, becomes one more sign of the forces that Joe must face. With its timely subject matter, taut suspense, and sympathetic Redford hero, Three Days of the Condor became a substantial hit. Balancing the conspiracy cycle's pessimism with a margin of attenuated hope, Three Days of the Condor suggests that one man can still discover the truth, but whether it helps him remains to be seen.