[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/marathon_man.jpg]]
->''"Is it safe?"''

A 1976 political thriller film directed by John Schlesinger, based on the 1974 novel by Creator/WilliamGoldman.

Creator/DustinHoffman plays Thomas "Babe" Levy, a history graduate student and aspiring marathon runner. Babe seeks to follow in the footsteps of his father, a historian who committed suicide after being unjustly targeted by UsefulNotes/JosephMcCarthy. He receives a visit from his brother Henry (Roy Scheider), who, unbeknownst to Babe, is a government agent assigned to manage the fugitive Nazi Christian Szell (Creator/LaurenceOlivier). Babe soon becomes entangled in events, and must fight to save himself from Szell and his allies.

A very surrealistic sequel to the novel, ''Brothers'', was published several years later.

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!!''Marathon Man'' provides examples of:
* TheAllegedCar: Dr. Szell's brother has trouble getting his old car to move at a green light. This leads to road rage, which leads to his death, which leads to Dr. Szell coming to New York....
* AlmostDeadGuy: A partial example, in that he can't manage to tell Babe anything, but everyone assumes he has.
* BaldOfEvil: [[DepravedDentist Guess]].
* BelatedHappyEnding: In ''Brothers'', it turns out [[spoiler: Scylla is still alive. He gets to reunite with Babe... if only for a moment]].
* BilingualBonus: The car chase scene in the beginning, with brilliant insults in German and Yiddish being exchanged.
* BookEnds: In the first and last shots of Babe, he's running by the Central Park Reservoir.
* CassandraTruth: [[spoiler:The old Jewish lady who recognizes Szell. Everybody in the area hearing her yell, "It's Szell!" thinks she's senile.]]
* CatchPhrase: "Is it safe?" for Dr. Szell.
* ChekhovsSkill: Guess what.
* ColdBloodedTorture: Dr. Szell famously exploits his knowledge of dentistry to do this to Babe.
* DepravedDentist: Szell is one of the most famous examples.
%% * DisposableWoman
%% * TheDogBitesBack
* EvenEvilHasStandards: One of Szell's henchmen turns his head away, terrified, when Szell tortures Babe with his dental instruments.
* FalseReassurance: Szell's ToThePain speech starts with him reassuring Babe that he won't be drilling into a cavity...because that's a dying nerve, and live, freshly cut nerves are infinitely more sensitive.
* FatalFlaw: Szell's greed and paranoia. [[spoiler:When Babe throws his diamonds in the reservoir, he ends up tumbling down the stairs after them, eventually impaling himself.]]
* FauxAffablyEvil: Szell is downright fatherly with Babe... in between torture sessions.
* GoryDiscretionShot: [[spoiler:When Szell drills into Babe's teeth.]]
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Film only; [[spoiler:Szell falls down a staircase while chasing after the briefcase of diamonds and impales himself on his own blade]].
* HopeSpot: [[spoiler:One of Szell's former victims catches up to him, only to meet his retractable blade]].
%% * ImagineSpot
* ImproperlyParanoid: Both film and novel make it clear that Szell's paranoia is out of control and he expects thieves and treachery at every turn. Babe suffers a lot because this paranoia makes it impossible for him (and thus, his minions) to believe that [[spoiler:Henry wasn't able to provide Babe with any information as he died, instead pitifully drowning in his own blood in Levy's living room]] and thus keep interrogating him for a possible DyingClue.
* InterrogatedForNothing: Babe gives every possible answer, several times, during his torture, but Szell is never satisfied.
* IronicEcho: "It's not safe."
* JewsLoveToArgue: A grouchy Jewish-American motorist engages in road rage with Szell's brother, which resulted in their deaths.
* KilledMidSentence: [[spoiler:Poor Doc]]
* MadDoctor: Szell. The man was a Mengele-type torturer back when he worked for the Nazis and age hasn't done his sanity any favors.
* MementoMacGuffin: The gun Babe's father used to shoot himself.
%% * TheMole: More than one.
* NaziGrandpa: Doctor Szell is kindly toward children who visit his dentist's office. He's less kindly to people who are in his care when he wants information from them.
* NeverTrustATitle: From the title, you might be expecting an inspirational sports film like ''Film/ChariotsOfFire'' . The marathon aspect barely factors into the movie, though, which is an espionage thriller from start to finish.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Szell is loosely based on Josef Mengele. Funny considering that Creator/LaurenceOlivier played a Nazi Hunter determined to catch Mengele in ''Film/TheBoysFromBrazil''.
* NothingUpMySleeve: Szell has a retractable blade up his sleeve.
* OhCrap: The {{Reveal}} that [[spoiler:Janeway is TheMole]] and Babe's escape has failed.
* RealityEnsues: [[spoiler:Even if lucky enough to not die immediately, Doc still gets a sucking chest wound from Szell's retractable blade and spends his last moments with Babe gurgling out blood, so he cannot provide him with any important information. Much of the ensuing drama for Babe happens because his attempts to point this out are met with rampant paranoia.]]
* PrecisionFStrike: "I couldn't give a fuck about your [[spoiler:Stab!]]"
%% * SceneryPorn
* ScrewTheMoneyIHaveRules: Babe is offered a hefty amount of money by Szell during their final confrontation
* SeanConneryIsAboutToShootYou: Dustin Hoffman is on [[http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ZBY09ECFL.jpg this poster]].
* SignatureLine: "Is it safe?" The novel even makes it clear that it's Szell's MadnessMantra.
* StrappedToAnOperatingTable: Try "Strapped to a Dentist's Chair and having your teeth drilled in without any painkillers for information".
* SuddenlySexuality: Toyed with. In the novel, there are early hints that [[spoiler: Scylla is dating Janeway]], and it later turns out that they are. No big deal is ever made of this. In the sequel ''Brothers'', [[spoiler: Scylla suddenly sleeps with a random woman, and only kisses a man while undercover during a spy mission]].
* TheToothHurts: Indeed it does.
* ThisIsADrill: The dental kind.
%% * ThwartedEscape
* TokenEvilTeammate: Melendez, the burglar Babe lets ransack his place in exchange for helping him with Szell's men.
* TookALevelInBadass: Babe at the end, managing to kill various enemy agents and gives Szell a pretty tortuous KarmicDeath.
* ToThePain: "So, I'll just drill into a healthy tooth until I reach the pulp. That is unless, of course, you can tell me that it's safe."
** [[spoiler:"I'll let you keep as many as you can swallow."]]
%% * UngratefulBastard: [[TooDumbToLive Janeway]].
* WhiteHairBlackHeart: Szell's [[IronicNickname nickname]] is "The White Angel" because of his hair.
* YouWouldntShootMe: [[spoiler:Szell says this to Babe when the latter refuses to pull the trigger. Babe responds by chucking what's left of the diamond stash into the reservoir.]]
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