Robert Redford is Joe Turner, an innocent researcher for the US Central Intelligence Agency in New York, who goes out to buy sandwiches for the office (which is disguised as the American Literary Historical Society) and returns to find everybody shot to death.
Turner (codenamed “Condor”) has no idea what’s going on other than the fact that he’s being followed and it takes every ounce of his ingenuity to stay alive.
The enemy is none other than another branch of the CIA who’ve hired assassins in a remarkably incompetent example of bungling. And there’s a fail-safe which prevents the killers being called off.
Turner’s survival depends on his conscience, principles and personal values.
The concluding moments – ambiguous, pessimistic, and hinting at futility – give the film a real sting in its tail.
Faye Dunaway is terrific as Kathy Hale – the girl he intimidates into sheltering (and sleeping with) him. Max Von Sydow, John Houseman and Addison Powell co-star.
Max von Sydow