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Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway and Cliff Robertson star in this political paranoia thriller about a low-level CIA operative who is plunged into a deadly cat-and-mouse game with his double-dealing employers.
Part of a mini-wave of Hollywood political paranoia thrillers in the 1970s (that also included Alan J. Pakula's All the President's Men and The Parallax View, Roman Polanski's Chinatown and William Richert's Winter Kills), Three Days of the Condor pits a mild-mannered Everyman — or as Everyman as he can be, given that he's played by Robert Redford — against a sinister government conspiracy. The bookish Joe Turner (Redford), code name Condor, works for the American Literary Historical Society, which is actually a low-level front organization for the CIA. Turner is a "reader," poring over anything and everything that's published, and postulating scenarios that could be applied to intelligence work. When Turner steps out for lunch and returns to find all his colleagues have been murdered, he doesn't know where to turn or who to trust. Impulsively kidnapping a stranger, Kathy Hale (Faye Dunaway), Turner uses her apartment as a temporary hideout as he plays a dangerous cat-and-mouse game with a villainous CIA official (Cliff Robertson) and a smooth, deadly French assassin (Max von Sydow).