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4.6 out of 5 stars78
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: DVDChange
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 4 March 2004
What an incredible film!
This starts off as a slow simple everyday scene in New York which after a chain of events builds into a plot involving ex-Nazi war criminals, diamond-smuggling, anti-Semitic feeling, and a fast-paced chase leading to its inevitable bloody climax!
The gripping storyline had me hooked from the outset.
Ex-Nazi Szell, played by Olivier, has come out of hiding in Brazil to retrieve his diamonds. Hoffman's brother, played by Roy Scheider (fresh from "Jaws" fame), works for the Secret Service tracking Szell who is believed to have stolen the diamonds. After a double-cross which he witnesses (don't want to give too much away here!) Hoffman's life is in danger and he desperately tries to avoid Szell and his henchmen's clutches...
The entire cast are on top form.
Dustin Hoffman plays a convincing student and went for days without sleep to prepare himself for certain scenes like the dental torture scene (hence the immortal line from Olivier "why don't you try acting, dear?" when Hoffman asked him for advice).
And although Olivier was battling with gout and cancer during the entire shoot, he comes up with one of the performances of his career, horribly convincing as the sadistic Nazi Szell.
Marthe Keller, the Swiss model whose film debut was in Marathon Man, also impressed, especially as she spoke virtually no English as filming began!
The pace of the film also puts you on the edge of your seat (you're never sure who to trust), and although things start off calmly, it builds and builds into a brutal film, with a handful of shockingly violent and unexpected scenes. The most famous dental torture scene has been described in detail, which really is squirm-inducing, certainly one of the most terrifying scenes in cinema history. It's more the allusion to violence rather than seeing everything in graphic detail that makes it so effective. You may not want to go to the dentist ever again...
Schlesinger plays out the scenes of Olivier's Szell at large on the New York City streets wonderfully well (the Big Apple never looked so threatening!), the bustle of the city almost concealing the horror of a war criminal at large.
This is still valid today, what with the constant fear of terrorists living in our midst.
The DVD transfer has only improved the film - colour, sound and picture quality are fantastic and have been digitally restored. Equally impressive are the special features on this DVD edition, with excellent commentary and an interesting documentary ""Going The Distance: Remembering Marathon Man" with interviews from most of the cast & crew (Marthe Keller looks even more attractive over 25 years later!)
To sum up this has to rank as one of the best, most powerful, dark and disturbing thrillers I've ever seen. Although it does look a little dated now, this DVD should definitely have a place in your collection. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 22 December 2014
"Is it safe?" ... "Is it safe?"

The Dustin Hoffman character doesn't know what the heck this dentist lunatic is on about. He is caught in some weird crossfire involving the CIA and the Nazi Szell (Laurence Olivier). Olivier, in an entirely convincing performance, practises sadistic dentistry for fun and profit. Nasty, nasty, nasty.

The tension ratchets.

But diamonds aren't necessarily forever - as the torturer will find out soon enough.

This film always seemed to be on late on a Saturday night. You had all Sunday to recover.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 4 June 2013
Let's review the blu-ray 1st off their are no special features on the disc which 1 reviewer mentioned.

Sound quality is 5.1 dts hd master audio the film is presented in 1.78;1 aspect ratio according to imdb the movies original aspect ratio is 1.85:1 so i don't know why that wasn't used for the blu-ray release.

Pq is a mixed bag as it is clearer than the dvd but has heavy grain and a soft picture so not a stunning hd picture but i think that is just the way marathon man was shot although i think the film deserves a 4k remaster.

The release deserved better overall if you are a fan of the movie i would reccomend the disc.

Also take note Warner Bros in the USA are releasing this film on blu ray in september so you might want to hold back and see if that release is any better to my knowledge warner bros titles are always region free.

Update i can confirm that the US region free warner disc uses the same master as this disc.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 22 March 2006
This is the same DVD as the 2002 release but with a card outer slip case and a six page booklet. Great movie but I'm not sure it's worth the extra money for two bits of card.
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on 4 October 2014
Not bad at all! Really gets You to squirm when the drilling begins! You have to admit it,You do not get many films like this today!
Hoffman is an excellent actor in this film,and he is one guy that that idiotic Nazi should never have crossed!
If You want something different,get this film-just hope Your dentist is not the same as the gut in the film!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 January 2015
Good quality 2nd hand DVD in a very good case, played well with no issues.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 15 November 2011

This is an excellent film which begins in a tranquil and unthreatening university library as the apparently naive, youthful, unsophisticated and enthusiastic Hoffman (a role he has played well since the graduate) is distracted by and attracted to a fellow student, played by Marthe Keller. From there, the plot thickens quickly into the secret service, ex-Nazi war criminals, diamond-smuggling, anti-Semitic feeling ... I am not giving any more away!

The stellar cast all play their various parts to perfection and "their various parts" involve a great many surprising characters. At times, it is difficult to know who to trust as Schlesinger, a master of the camera and cinematography twists the tale in this beautifully filmed thriller and, although there is some strong violence, much of it is impled rather than depicted, making it even more threatening. Laurence Olivier, who was unwell during the shoot, plays Szell to perfection - evil, brutal, amoral, vicious and devious. Hoffman's character responds throughout the film to severe and very surprising changes in his life ... Why waste time reading a review when you could be watching the film instead?

Recommended - just buy it.
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on 25 June 2015
Dustin Hoffman reunites with John Schlesinger in tight paced thriller about a runner who gets caught in an affair with former Nazis. The acting is brilliant Dustin Hoffman is likable Laurence Olivier is creepy and Roy Scheider only has a small role but still works. A classic film.
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on 13 May 2015
Quite dated now. But still very exciting.
Laurence Olivier plays a very nasty character and is very believable.
Roy Scheider is also good as Hoffmans older brother.
It does jump about a bit early on. But I did not think this detracted too much too the film.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 28 June 2001
Hoffman, Olivier and Scheider all give excellent performances in this fast action movie written for people with brains still employed. Proof that you can have a good narrative; cultural references (McCarthyism,Nazis in hiding)and drama without descending to the banal. Olivier goes slightly over the top as the Mengele character (the scene where his Nazi dentist tortures the young Jewish Hoffman with his drill will put you off dentistry for life). Hoffman is at his best reprising his "Graduate" character - the young Jewish New Yorker with angst. Excellent support from Scheider as his shady older brother.
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