A 1976 Thriller
. It's the day of the national football championship in Los Angeles and various people are descending on the city, including an unnamed sniper
who has staked out the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as his hunting ground. It's up to police captain Peter Holly (Charlton Heston
) and SWAT team sergeant Chris Button (John Cassavetes
) to bring the killer down before he starts a panic in a stadium loaded with more than 90,000 fans.
The film includes an All-Star Cast
and a sinister tone throughout, thanks to it being one of the few R-rated disaster movies. The movie is also notorious for having an alternate TV-version that adds 40 minutes of footage including a new subplot that shows the events at the stadium are meant to cover up an art heist taking place across the street. This version cuts out most of the deaths and edits the storylines from the theatrical version.
This film provides examples of:
- Bittersweet Ending: The sniper is killed by the police, but dozens of fans, police officers and stadium workers are dead or injured. The forlorn look on Martin Balsam's face as he sits in the now empty stadium says it all.
- Cold Sniper: So very, very cold. In his first scene, the sniper shoots a random bicyclist for target practice so the viewer knows he means business.
- Expy: Unlike Black Sunday, this film couldn't get NFL approval and had to use fake football teams and a championship football game that's the Super Bowl in everything but name only.
- Murderer P.O.V.: Used so much it would put a Slasher Movie to shame. Almost every scene starring the sniper uses first-person perspective.
- Re Cut: The TV version adds a major subplot that shows the events at the stadium are to cover up a robbery at an art gallery. The sniper's face is clearly seen throughout in this version, as opposed to the theatrical version where almost all of his scenes are first person perspective or quick cuts where you don't get a clear view of him. Also, he intentionally misses his targets. Director Larry Peerce disowned this version of the movie.
- Sniper Duel: The sniper trades some shots with the SWAT sharpshooters.
- Sniper Rifle: Holly goes into great detail describing the sniper's weapon, including pointing out it has a custom-made extended magazine.
- Take Me Out At The Ballgame: The sniper targets the fans at a football stadium.
- Technology Marches On: Try sneaking a sniper rifle into the Super Bowl today.