Carter “Doc” McCoy (Steve McQueen) is about as tough as they come. A criminal as unscrupulous as he is intelligent, Doc enters into an illegal bargain with his lawyer Jack Benyon (Ben Johnson) as a means of getting released early from his ten-year sentence in a maximum security Texas penitentiary.
Benyon, it so happens, is the head of a Mafia-like organisation in Texas and agrees to get McCoy out on the condition that he pulls off a bank robbery for him. Only after the deed is done does McCoy discover that Benyon’s brother is the chairman of the board at the target bank and that the heist was staged to cover up an embezzlement scheme.
Aided by two accomplices, McCoy makes the final preparations for the robbery. His wife Carol (real-life wife Ali MacGraw) will drive the getaway car. Little does he know that Carol agreed to let Benyon have his way with her as part of the deal to get her husband out of prison.
The three men pull off the robbery, but then quickly attempt to do away with each other, leaving one of the accomplices dead.
Doc and Carol manage to make their way to Benyon and plan on giving him his share of the loot. However, as Benyon insinuates to McCoy that Carol was also part of the booty he was entitled to, Carol snaps and blows the crooked attorney away.
The couple start on a race across Texas, dodging the authorities, Benyon’s bloodhounds, and the accomplice who is still alive.
This sordid band of bounty hunters gets closer and closer to Doc and Carol with each minute, and on numerous occasions, the couple rely on daredevil driving manoeuvres and split-second decision-making to escape the clutches of the police.
They finally make it to their destination, a hotel they believe to be safe in El Paso, just north of the Mexico border. Unfortunately, the ex-accomplice is already there, and Benyon’s henchmen arrive shortly afterwards.
In an extended action sequence, there is a frenetic exchange of shots between all the characters in the hotel rooms and along the corridors.
McCoy and his wife escape unscathed and, at gunpoint, convince an unpleasant-looking junk collector to drive them across the border in his beat-up truck. Once in Mexico, McCoy buys the vehicle from its owner and disappears into the Mexican sunset with wife and cash.
The Getaway was the first movie released by the newly established production company First Artists, a group founded that same year by Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman.
Carter ‘Doc’ McCoy
Carol Ainsley McCoy