Capricorn One (1978)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller  |   Run Time - 127 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom, United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG
  • AllMovie Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

Share on

Review by Donald Guarisco

This agreeable high-concept effort is one of Peter Hyams' most accomplished films. The script's conspiracy-theory premise requires a major suspension of disbelief, but Hyams makes it worthwhile for those willing to make that leap with some inspired work behind the camera. The script is peppered with plenty of rapid-fire dialogue worthy of a Howard Hawks comedy (the exchanges between Elliott Gould and Karen Black are particularly memorable) and Hyams applies plenty of style and pizzazz to the film's action set pieces, especially the memorable "dogfight" finale. The thrills Hyams generates are bolstered by plenty of noteworthy assistance behind the camera, the most notable contributions being Bill Butler's sharp widescreen cinematography and Jerry Goldsmith's rousing, militaristic score. However, the glue that holds the film together is the tight ensemble work of its gifted cast: Elliott Gould effectively utilizes his off-kilter charm to flesh out a stock "intrepid reporter" role, James Brolin is appropriately stoic as the bravest of the astronaut trio, and Hal Holbrook is quietly effective as a government figure with a hidden agenda. There are also plenty of great cameos, the best being Telly Savalas' scene-stealing work as an easily annoyed aviator. In the end, Capricorn One is a lightweight but likable affair which provides plenty of fun for thriller fans.