The Killer Elite sees James Caan and Robert Duvall, together again after The Godfather. The pair play a team of high-tech spies who become enemies after Duvall gravely wounds Caan in a shootout. After a torturous recovery, Caan is finally ready to get back into action. With revenge uppermost on his mind, he learns that Duvall is head of a hit team stalking a Chinese national, and is eager to take on the assignment of protecting the man.
More reserved than the usual films from director Sam Peckinpah, and with a greater emphasis on character psychology, this inside-the-spy-life thriller still has more than its share of edge-of-your-seat action.
The Killer Elite was Sam Peckinpah’s eleventh film as a director, but only his third that was not a western. Before he began directing films, he was associated almost exclusively with western-oriented TV material, i.e Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, The Westerner. The Killer Elite was his first urban movie.
Michael Billington writing in the Illustrated London News called the movie “a mysterious, elliptical, visually triumphant film about personal survival in a world of mean-minded machination.”
Cast: James Caan, Robert Duvall, Arthur Hill, Gig Young, Mako, Bo Hopkins, Burt Young, Tom Clancy
Director: Sam Peckinpah
Producers: Martin Baum, Helmut Dantine, Joel Freeman
Director of Photography: Philip Lathrop
Editors: Garth Craven, Tony de Zarraga
Composer: Jerry Fielding
Screenwriters: Marc Norman, Stirling Silliphant
Production Designers: Ted Haworth, Edward Haworth
USA / United Artists / 122 minutes / 1975