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The Falcon and the Snowman

Catalog Number
VA 5073
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The Falcon and the Snowman (1985)

Additional Information

Additional Information
They were best friends from the best of families. Then they committed a crime against their country and became the two most wanted men in America.


John Schlesinger directed this fact-based drama - adapted from Robert Lindsay's bestseller of the same title -- about two Californians, friends since boyhood, who are caught selling government secrets to the Soviet Union. Christopher Boyce (Timothy Hutton) is an all-American boy, studying for the priesthood in a seminary. But Boyce decides to drop out of school, and with the help of his father (Pat Hingle), a FBI agent, he gets a job working for the CIA in a message-routing center. While reading the messages, Boyce is shocked to learn that the CIA is involved in fixing Australian elections. Watching the Watergate hearings on television, he feels an ever-mounting sense of outrage at the arrogance of the U.S. government and decides to do something about it. Deciding to supply the CIA messages to the Russians, he enlists his childhood friend Daulton Lee (Sean Penn) to help him. Lee is to deliver the CIA secrets to a Russian operative (David Suchet) at the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City. But Lee is an unreliable drug dealer, and his sloppy spy trail leads the two old friends into more trouble than they bargained for.

The Falcon and the Snowman is a 1985 film directed by John Schlesinger about two young American men, Christopher Boyce (played by Timothy Hutton) and Daulton Lee (played by Sean Penn), who sold U.S. security secrets to the Soviet Union. The film is based upon the 1979 book The Falcon and the Snowman: A True Story of Friendship and Espionage by Robert Lindsey, and features the song "This Is Not America", written and performed by David Bowie and the Pat Metheny Group.

The Falcon and The Snowman received generally positive notices upon release in 1985 and currently has 87% on Rotten Tomatoes. Film critic Roger Ebert gave it a perfect four-star rating, citing one of the many strengths as that "it succeeds, in an admirably matter-of-fact way, in showing us exactly how these two young men got in way over their heads. This is a movie about spies, but it is not a thriller in any routine sense of the word. It's just the meticulously observant record of how naiveté, inexperience, misplaced idealism and greed led to one of the most peculiar cases of treason in American history."

Release Date: January 25, 1985


Distrib: Orion Pictures

Boxoffice: $17,130,087 2014: $40,291,900

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