The Domino Principle (1977) Poster

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8/10
JFK Assassination??
dirtydealers24 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
People are being too hard on the film. Sometimes we should just sit back and enjoy the story without attempting to "review" it.

The whole thing comes together when Hackman decides not to pull the trigger but his target still goes down. Then the fun begins as everyone about him also "go down".

Just think JFK and all the people associated in any way with his assassination, who's lives ended abruptly and in questionable ways and you'll appreciate what is implied in this film.

I think it's an excellent interpretation of what may well have occurred. Though the EXACT story line my not have been followed (hindsight here after reading Jim Maars "Crossfire") but it's what is implied that is of interest.

I'd love to get a copy of it to view it again. In light of what is known today, The Domino Principle is right on.
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8/10
"When the man at the top panics, the dominoes start to fall!"
ShadeGrenade30 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
In the aftermath of Watergate, a number of conspiracy movies appeared, such as this one, written by the late Adam Kennedy ( based on his novel ).

Gene Hackman plays ex-Vietnam veteran 'Roy Tucker', a loser who has wound up in prison. He receives visits from Marvin Tagge ( Richard Widmark ), who claims to represent an organisation designed to assist the wrongly convicted. They offer him freedom, and despite distrusting Tagge he accepts. But he brings along a fellow cell mate by the name of Spiventa ( Mickey Rooney ). Exactly why is hard to see, as Spiventa is an irritating little man who drives Tucker mad with persistent talk of sex, not what you want to hear when you are behind bars.

Tagge's benefactors kill Spiventa before Tucker's astonished eyes. Reunited with wife Ellie ( Candice Bergen ), and given a new identity ( strangely, he does not attempt to change his appearance. Shaving off that cheesy moustache would have been a start ), he settles down, but finds there is a catch - Tagge wants Tucker to do no less than assassinate the President of the United States. He refuses, so Tagge has Ellie abducted...

I will leave the synopsis here, but I am sure you can guess the rest for yourself. The script has enough plot holes to make you want to read the book ( neat trick that! ). The people Tagge represents are never revealed. The allusions to J.F.K.'s killing are unmistakable. Despite the findings of The Warren Commission, the doubt as to whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone persists to this day.

This was Stanley Kramer's first movie in years, and while no turkey, it lacks the grip of say John Frankenheimer's 'The Manchurian Candidate' or Alan J.Pakula's 'The Parallax View'. Being a left-wing conspiracy movie, it tends to skirt around its subject matter instead of getting to grips with it. I prefer right-wing ones myself - they are funnier! 'Domino' has the look and feel of a made-for-T.V. movie, and boasts what must be the easiest prison escape in movie history not to mention an ending copped from the Michael Caine classic 'Get Carter'.

What makes it watchable are Gene Hackman and Richard Widmark. The latter, who sadly passed away earlier this year, is superb as the mysterious Tagge, who initially appears to be behind the operation until he too is ruthlessly eliminated, beginning a chain of deaths designed to remove all trace of evidence as one by one the perpetrators of this evil plot fall - just like dominoes. As Tucker, the innocent pawn, Hackman is marvellous. You have to wonder though why he chose to hide out in such an obvious place. In his shoes, I'd have fled to the other side of the world, anywhere to get away from these fanatics. Hackman's love scenes with Bergen slow the plot down, and it is almost a relief when she gets snatched. Presumably the producers thought so too, which explains why it opens with a bizarre prologue setting out the film's entire premise - voiced by British actor Patrick Allen - warning the audience that 'they' are out there, and that 'they' are out to get us. Comedian Les Dawson later spoofed this opening in his B.B.C. show 'The Dawson Watch'.

Mickey Rooney had earlier worked with Kramer on 'Its A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World'. His 'death' scene here resembles like an outtake from that picture, with the actor looking as though he has been stung by a wasp rather than shot dead.

Conspiracy movies used to be only made by the left, but now the right are getting in on the act too. Last year, 'Taking Liberties', an absurd concoction of lies and half-truths about Tony Blair's Government turned out to be Britain's answer to 'Reefer Madness'. At least, 'Domino' had lovely Candice Bergen. The best Chris Atkins' film could offer was Anne Widdecombe!

Surprisingly, 'The Domino Principle' was made by Sir Lew Grade, the legendary British television mogul behind 'The Saint', 'Jesus Of Nazareth' and 'The Muppet Show'. He worked with Adam Kennedy again in 1980 on 'Raise The Titanic!', whose failure was so great it sank Grade's ambitions of being the new Louis B.Meyer. Being somewhat open-minded, I would not rule out the possibility of a conspiracy.
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Reason for confusion
DrHemlock2 October 2004
Bad wigs and occasionally hokey dialogue aside, there's a reason why several reviewers found the plot confusing. As originally scripted and filmed, the movie was almost three hours long. Kramer was required to edit it down to 97 minutes. Big pieces of the plot were left on the cutting-room floor.

This is, unfortunately, a frequent occurrence. People in positions of power on films become enamored of every word and fight against making any cuts to the script. It may be one of the producers, writers or stars; it varies from picture to picture. Whoever it is, they have the juice to get their way, so it all gets shot.

When distributors subsequently refuse to accept an overly long film, scenes must be deleted. Had they been deleted earlier, during the writing process, the missing bits could have been covered in existing dialog, or plot points could have been reconceived in order to be shortened. Once the film is in the can, it's too late. Dropped scenes mean dropped connections between what came before and what comes after.

The result is a mess like this one. Who knows whether we would have liked it better had we seen the original cut? The wig would still be as bad and there would probably be more hokey lines of dialogue. But the story would have made more sense -- at least to the extent that conspiracy stories ever make sense.
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10/10
The perfect movie
tudvali230 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The greatest games of Kasparov or Fischer can be a mess for a total rookie. This is a great movie. There is no special agency involved in the plot. This is the clue! This is a PRIVATE plot, built as a PRIVATE enterprise. This is a self-destructive and a self organized plot. As a conclusion, the scenario described the perfect professional plot: private, self –organized, self-destructive, with no trace at the end. Anyone can be behind the plot: a smart "director" with some money. All can be done just by delegation. The "director" must be just trigger. If the normal viewer cannot see the essence of the plot in the explicit sequences of the movie, a real plot has fewer chances to be discovered. All the actors' performances are well done , with some special mention for Gene Hackman and Mickey Rooney.
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10/10
Not as bad as the rap it's taking here!
bux11 July 2002
OK, so there seem to be a lot of loose ends in this Black-Ops thriller, but hey, that's the way it is in real life...compartmentalized.

The fine cast acquits itself and the production values are good, if one has trouble following the story line, then perhaps fewer trips to the fridge and less yakking during the flick are in order...and frankly it did help to read Kennedy's novel prior to viewing.

It seems that during and shortly after the Watergate Adventures, Hollywood decided to crank out a series of "The-Government-is out-to-get-you flicks, "The Parralex View" and "Executive Action" serve as the best examples, but this one can hold it's own if you put the plot in the proper perspective...hell, even Hackman's character doesn't know all that is going on, so viewers should not feel left in the dark alone.

My main complaint is the lousy wig that Wardrobe forced on Candice...why?

The trick to this one is get your munchies and drinks BEFORE the movie rolls, and just keep repeating to yourself: "Salami, cheese, and pickles in a barrel."
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5/10
THE DOMINO PRINCIPLE (Stanley Kramer, 1977) **
Bunuel19764 August 2007
Kramer, first as a producer and then a director, had been at the forefront in dealing with important social themes in Hollywood (THE DEFIANT ONES [1958], ON THE BEACH [1959], INHERIT THE WIND [1960] and JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG [1961] were his best films); by the late 60s, however, his particular brand of investigative style went out-of-date. In its place – largely in the wake of the Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations – the Kafkaesque political thriller became fashionable; unsurprisingly, Kramer decided to try his hand at this as well – but the end result proved middling at best.

He certainly had his heart in the right place by choosing Gene Hackman, one of the finest actors of his generation, for the lead role – having already appeared in such superb pieces of alienation and paranoia as Francis Ford Coppola's THE CONVERSATION (1974) and Arthur Penn's NGHT MOVES (1975). His supporting cast looks impressive enough on paper, but they're given little to do: Candice Bergen (who's supposedly decorous here but is saddled with a highly unbecoming wig!), Richard Widmark (appropriately craggy in the role of a leading member of the secret organization), Mickey Rooney (amusingly cantankerous as Hackman's prison pal), Edward Albert (playing Widmark's young, ambitious and confrontational sidekick, thus making an interesting foil for the world-weary Hackman) and, in perhaps the least rewarding part of the lot, Eli Wallach (as Hackman's 'job' co-ordinator).

The film looks good but is bogged down by a rather icky central romance and the deliberate obliqueness of its narrative (starting with the hokey credit sequence). The effectively ironic revelation, then, is unfortunately followed by a number of other less convincing (not to say unwarranted) plot twists in quick succession – the last of which even rips off GET CARTER (1971)!
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7/10
plot
kairingler11 July 2013
i thought that this was a very intriguing movie to say the least. Gene Hackman, Eli Wallach, Richard Widmark, Candace Bergen so you have a cavalcade of stars. our story follows a man in prison with no real hope of ever seeing the light of day until he is approached by a mysterious man claiming to work for a government organization, he tells our prisoner he can be let go out of prison,, free to walk, he must only do one thing.... kill the President. for some reason our main character brings along his cellmate who he really despises.. our bad guys quickly eliminate the loose end. our prisoner is given a new identity but really doesn't change his looks that much. he reluctantly agrees to go ahead and carry out the mysterious mans orders. here's where i will leave it so you can watch it and tell me what you think.
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10/10
my comments approve of the film.
johnvananders30 March 2001
i say the domino principle is an enormously underappreciated film.anyone who has taken the time to investigate our contemporary history of conspiracies;jfk, rfk, mlk,g.wallace and in fact numerous others can only draw the conclusion that the author of the domino principle really knew what he was talking about.roy tucker could be lee harvey oswald or james earl ray or sirhan sirhan or arthur bremer maybe even john hinkley or timothy mcveigh.to mention a few.the conspiracy scenario involving spies, big business and political assassinations is not really a fiction but an ominous part of our convoluted existential history.god help us,but the domino principle is more fact than fantasy.if this causes a little loss of sleep, maybe it should.don't take my word for it,investigate for yourselves.
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5/10
" Beware of the man in the Three piece suit offering you freedom "
thinker169119 June 2010
This is one of those films which stars a great movie actor, Gene Hackman. The premise is from the Adam Kennedy novel called " The Domino Princiiple. " Roy Tucker, (Gene Hackman) a Viet-Nam veteran who is serving time in prison for murder is visited by a strange, and apparently powerful man Richard Widmark) who offers to get him released if he will use his special abilities. Having nothing to lose, Tucker agrees, with a single condition, to have his wife Ellie (Candice Bergen) released as well. The organization grants his request and promises much more. After a few weeks, Tucker is given the secret assignment and he quickly realizes the job has no future for him or his wife. However, he also knows to fight the organization will not be easy. If you have already seen the earlier version called 'The Paralax View' you'll realize this is a less convincing version. Despite the fact, top notch director, Standly Kramer, Mickey Rooney, Edward Albert, Jay Novello and Eli Wallach, were all involved in this project, it fails to match the earlier movie with Warren Beatty. Still, with Hackman doing his best, it remains interesting. ***
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2/10
"We're being Manipulated! Programmed! and Brainwashed from birth!"
moonspinner553 August 2010
Heavy-handed action-melodrama from producer-director Stanley Kramer involves incarcerated war veteran Gene Hackman, doing 15 years for murder in San Quentin, who is freed from jail by the operatives of a mysterious organization; seems they need a hit-man to assassinate a national figure at his beach-side retreat, and are offering Hackman a second honeymoon with his wife in South America to complete the job. Globe-trotting pastiche of a number of hot topics from the 1970s has a good cast but no sting in the set-up; there's no suspense or sense of paranoia in this narrative, and some of the crass dialogue is downright vile--and for what purpose? The overstuffed plot culminates in a number of story twists, none of which seems credible. Hackman is assuredly skeptical and adept, holding some of this scattershot movie together, but Kramer eventually sinks it with his 'controversial' handling. The filmmaker proves to be all thumbs in the Kafkaesque arena. * from ****
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4/10
Really boring and pointless, what a waste of talent SKIP IT
goods11614 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
First, it takes a full half hour to get Hackman out of jail and to start doing the job. What a waste of time, we all know Hackman is getting out to do some job for his masters, why waste almost a third of the movie on these sequences. Then Hackman stays in a hotel and the story arc again goes nowhere, simply proving to us that Hackman is under close watch and anything he says or does is know by the masters. Again, another 20 minutes. Then more wasted time showing the reunion with his wife. All of this should have taken 10-15 minutes at most simply as a set-up for the real action, intrigue and plot twists. By the time the real action gets going, I was so bored that I just wanted the movie to end. Hackman is great as usual, and the other actors as well, but this is a dud of the first magnitude.
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3/10
On A Need To Know Basis
bkoganbing30 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Gene Hackman gets himself busted out of prison by a nameless government agency who want him for an assassination. It's a given of course that Hackman has the proficient skills for the job.

Nobody tells him anything though, he's given as the audience is given bits and pieces of information. That's supposed to be suspenseful, instead it's annoying and boring.

Hackman goes through with the mission, but the getaway is messed up and the guy at the top of this mysterious entity orders everybody dead to cover it up. So everyone in the cast dies and at the end you don't really care.

One of the other reviewers pointed out that the film was originally twice as long, almost three hours and got chopped down quite a bit. Maybe something really was lost in the translation, but I tend to think it was a mercy act on the audience.

A very talented cast that had people like Richard Widmark, Candice Bergen, Mickey Rooney, Eli Wallach, and Edward Albert is so thoroughly wasted here it's a crime.

And we never do find out just what federal agency was doing all this, the FBI, the CIA, the DEA or even the IRS.
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1/10
Absurd and then dull
Marco_Trevisiol23 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
There are really two sections of this film. Firstly there's the laughable prologue to the film which is so hysterical and cornball that it would almost feel appropriate that the 'The Simpsons' Troy McClure should be doing the narration.

Then the rest of the film begins (starting off with a title song which really doesn't fit in with the rest of the film) which, while technically OK, is killed by a vague, inconsistent and unconvincing plot and not just uninteresting characters, but characters that make no sense.

This is especially so with Mickey Rooney's Spiventa, who was supposedly in on the plot and part of the 'organisation' the whole time yet what would have happened had Hackman made the seemingly arbitrary decision to take him along when breaking out? In that case he would've been a totally superfluous and unnecessary character, which in the end he still is.

The overall problem of the film is that it's totally unwilling to put any detail on who or what is behind this conspiracy. It's as if the filmmakers didn't have the courage to imply that a particular section of society would be capable of creating such an organisation and instead settled on the hope that a lack of explanation would suffice and the audience would form their own conclusions.

Put simply, the film fails on all levels.
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Doomed from the first narrative domino
philosopherjack22 June 2018
Warning: Spoilers
In its two unsubtle references to Franz Kafka, Stanley Kramer's The Domino Principle seemingly means to impress on us the immensity of what its protagonist finds himself within - a network of such reach and influence and connection that any attempt at defiance or assertion of free will is doomed to failure. But the effect, if anything, would be instead to point out the relative artistic blandness of Kramer's film; how the character's dilemma largely fails to illuminate anything meaningful about power and connection, or about our own natures, at least not in the way it intends to. Gene Hackman plays Tucker, languishing in prison with at least fifteen years left on his murder sentence; the unnamed organization, fronted by Richard Widmark's Tagge, offers him freedom, a well-funded new identity, and a resurrected relationship with his wife (Candice Bergen), all in return for unspecified services to be performed later (given that the movie starts off by flashing the term "Assassination" on the screen in several languages, the services will be obvious to the viewer at least). It might seem like a simple narrative weakness that of all the available stooges in all the country's prisons, the organization chose in Tucker just about the most contrary, uncooperative subject imaginable. On the other hand, that points to the most intriguing sub-textual question - if these guys (they're mostly although not exclusively guys) are so powerful, shouldn't their control on things be tighter, removing the need for such expensive, drawn-out convolutions? In this sense the movie resonates against incomprehensible contemporary theories of the "deep state" and the like, which mainly serve as rather plaintive assertions of (if not disguised wishes for) dark underlying order, even as all the evidence only suggests we're being dragged into increasing global chaos and erosion. Kramer's direction is perhaps a little more fluid than his sticky reputation suggests, leaving aside the thumping quasi-sermon at the start, but given such fanciful underpinnings it's all doomed from the first narrative domino.
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3/10
A boring game...
JasparLamarCrabb12 February 2006
Stanley Kramer directs an action thriller and leaves out two key things: action and thrills. THE DOMINO PRINCIPLE features Gene Hackman as a convict sprung from prison in order to perform some mysterious task. Richard Widmark, Edward Albert, and Eli Wallach are his operatives --- they presumably work for the government, but that, like most of the movie's plot line, is never made clear. Hackman asks a lot of questions that NEVER get answered so the film goes absolutely nowhere. While it strives to be like NIGHT MOVES and THE PARALLAX VIEW, THE DOMINO PRINCIPLE mixes up ambiguity and mystery with confusion and boredom. The film is extremely well photographed but even that works against it. Kramer's direction is devoid of any style. It's a very sunny movie! The acting is fine with Hackman proving he's pretty much incapable of being bad. Widmark and Wallach are suitably nasty and Albert is well cast as Widmark's cruel lackey. Even the usually obnoxious Mickey Rooney is pretty good as Hackman's sidekick. One oddity however is the casting of Candice Bergen as Hackman's wife. We're told she's done time in prison and she seems to be trying to put on some sort of southern twang. Kramer's idea of making her appear to be trailer trash is to have her wear an ugly brown wig. It's a role better suited for the likes of Valerie Perrine or Susan Tyrell.
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The expendables
dbdumonteil9 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
With hindsight, "Mandchurian Candidate " was one of the most important movies of the sixties .It was made before the assassination of Kennedy and its screenplay seems stronger than ever.

Many movies were influenced by Frankenheimer's masterpiece ,mainly in the seventies when the political movies were trendy;two movie mostly influenced by it were the excellent "parallax view" (AJ Pakula) and the rather good "Domino Principle " which came a little too late for its own good.

Like "Parallax" ,"Domino" is almost abstract:we never know who is killing who ,who pulls the strings .Tagge (Widmark ) seems to know more than the other "conspirators" .Reser (Wallach) is a general (a maffia one?).Spinventa (Rooney )is an apparent victim (one of the plot holes concerns his character:how could they be so sure Tucker (Hackman) would demand his escape ?).Everybody seems to be manipulated ,even Ellie (Bergen).When the movie is over,you won't know anything about why it happened.
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1/10
An incomprehensible mess
chez-328 January 1999
"The Domino Principle" is, without question, one of the worst thrillers ever made. Hardly any sense can be made of the convoluted plot and by the halfway point you'll want to throw your arms up in frustration and scream "I give up!!!"

How Gene Hackman and director Stanley Kramer ever got involved in this mess must only be summed up by their paychecks.

I hope they spent their money well.
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1/10
Muddling Through
GMJames21 June 2002
What did producer/director Stanley Kramer see in Adam Kennedy's novel and Kennedy's very puzzling screenplay? Were there a few pieces left out on purpose? And what about Gene Hackman, Richard Widmark, Edward Albert, Eli Wallach and Mickey Rooney? What did they see in this very muddled story?

And why did Candice Bergen, who gave a horrible performance, accept such a thankless role?

The Domino Principle wants to be on the same footing as The Parallax View or The Manchurian Candidate and misses the mark by a very wide margin. A major misfire by Stanley Kramer.
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10/10
I'ts amazing how many people don't like this
lvcambot-22 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I finally saw the whole darn thing. (what I could see on pay cable) Totally blown away.. BTW.

BTW.. YES "They" WOULD just walk out of prison. Just like that. Or "Die" in a fake way. Done every day.. even today.

I liked how the Hackman Character Killed one of the Bad guys for THEM killing his friend. (cause he called him on the phone when they said not to) Easy to miss it.. That was in the first hotel BTW.

Micky Rooney as his protector/handler in prison. Yea I buy that.

What IS IT was you reviewers. Stanly Crammer was a real good filmmaker. He must have known or bumped into these "Types" while as a film guy in Hollywood. There is at least ONE Company Film office in Hollywood that everybody knows about. That's where you go to get co-operation for your pro-America film (sometimes). Think "Rambo III" I think. The one when Rambo went to Afghanistan. It was a totally company made film for the masses.. (made to pump up support for Afghanistan and fill the draft rolls) Lets not talk about the latest Transformer movie OK? So yea.. Run down the film because it might not be "Gone with the wind".. But as for Content. I think he Nails the subject totally.

Who are they? ????? The ones with the most power and money I guess.

The guys who use the awesome power of THREE.

GENE
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3/10
Excuses aside this is still a very bad film .....
merklekranz28 July 2019
Want to waste some time and some brain cells? That's the side effect of watching this very bad film. Gene Hackman is his usual commanding self. Candice Bergen is totally out of her element, and this miscasting could easily have earned her a "Golden Turkey" award. The plot edited down to 100 minutes is vague, confusing, and nothing but a time waster. With the supporting cast including Eli Wallach and Richard Widmark, you would reasonably expect more for them to work with. Unfortunately that is not the case. The entire movie is a "so what". You won't give a damn about what you are seeing on the screen, because nothing, and I mean nothing is explained. What you are left with is a pretty location, boring beyond belief, crappy film. - MERK
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7/10
Try to watch the original
MartinMaras2 October 2018
This movie is great. The cast is absolutely fantastic. It's in the fairway of "Three days of condor" or "Twilight's Last Gleaming" although the suspense doesn´t come that close. Anyway, this one will give you a lot of thinking about conspiracy, the dirty game of politics and the world of the secret services.

But here is my advice: please don't watch the german version. I don't have a clue why they cut it for at least 20 minutes. The running time of 80 minutes ist not comprehensible. Sometimes it is even ridiculous, for example when Hackman wears a different shirt from one scene to another and you don't even realize that he has changed places. You can imagine what the consequences for the plot and the suspense are... Totally crackbrained!
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6/10
A solid slice of 1970s political paranoia and pessimism
gridoon201910 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Not one of the classics of its subgenre (the political paranoia thriller), but still a solid film with a superb Hackman, a top-notch supporting cast (Richard Widmark exudes oily authority with just a smile), good cinematography, and plot twists (not all of them plausible). The scene where Hackman observes from a plane a bomb being planted inside Widmark's car is terrific. A very 1970s film - right down to its pessimistic ending. **1/2 out of 4.
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5/10
Stupid title – a few great scenes – a brilliant Rooney
manuel-pestalozzi7 January 2008
First I bought The Butterfly Effect, now The Domino Principle. In both movies the title makes a promise which is not kept in the least. The metaphor signifying that one falling stone brings all the others down has nothing to do with the story. The main character is rather a pawn in a game of chess, with no will of its own and part of an unknown scheme concocted by the player. Unfortunately the viewers do not learn much about the scheme either and everything simmers down to blind anti-government paranoia.

The acting is better than the story, and there are a few great helicopter scenes. This is possibly the last time Richard Widmark used his insane Tommy Udo laughter in a movie. Eli Wallach has not enough screen time to be more than reliable. One of the reasons to watch this is Mickey Rooney. His performance is a sheer delight. He plays Gene Hackman's sidekick in prison and steals every scene he's in. What a great character actor this former child star became!

For the opening credits of this movie they seem to have used several childhood photos of Gene Hackman, apart from a number of dominoes.
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Could have been worse, but not very good
Wizard-83 November 2012
"The Domino Principle" has all but been forgotten today. Seeing it, it becomes clear why it hasn't become a cult movie to any degree. I will admit that it's not a terrible movie; in fact, it has some positive attributes. Gene Hackman is, as usual, solid. And Candice Bergen, who has been criticized many times for her bad performances in this time of her life, actually gives a decent performance. The movie also starts off fairly well, with quite a bit of mystery that slowly unpeels. But the movie ultimately unfolds TOO slowly. It takes forever for Hackman to get out of prison, and takes much longer for Hackman to understand what the mysterious organization wants from him. And we never really learn who the target is, and why he is targeted! I never would have guessed a famous filmmaker like Stanley Kramer was behind this movie, not just for its unusually slow pace but also for the fact that aside from some bad language and some violence, the movie feels exactly like a made-for-TV effort.
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4/10
Who Shot the Plot?
wes-connors28 December 2010
Vietnam veteran Gene Hackman (as Roy Tucker) is serving time in San Quentin for murder. Then, mysterious dark-suited Richard Widmark (as Tagge) arrives to spring Mr. Hackman from prison in return for his assassinating somebody very important. Hackman insists foul-mouthed cell-mate Mickey Rooney (as Oscar Spiventa) should also be released. On the outside, Hackman is eventually reunited with wigged-out wife Candice Bergen (as Eleanor "Ellie" Tucker). Handsome young Edward Albert (as Ross Pine) is part of the plan. Ever reliable Eli Wallach (as Tom "General" Reser) helps arranges stuff.

Very disappointing, "The Domino Principle" isn't what you're expecting from a Gene Hackman movie directed by Stanley Kramer. It seems to have suffered from re-writes during filming and/or extensive cutting. The opening monologue turns out to be pointless, along with much of what follows. It's impossible to determine what was intended.

The supporting cast must have been wondering what happened. Mr. Rooney ponders sexual exploits amusingly. "Instead of getting her period every 28 days, she had periods that lasted 28 days," is how Rooney describes one disinterested female; it's one of his cleaner observations. As we watch the plot unravel before our very eyes, Mr. Widmark sums it up as, "The bigger the stink, the more there is to cover up." Mr. Albert offers a good, albeit underdeveloped, characterization. In a noteworthy final appearance, watch for veteran Jay Novello as an immigration official who wants to see Hackman's passport.

**** The Domino Principle (3/23/77) Stanley Kramer ~ Gene Hackman, Candice Bergen, Edward Albert, Mickey Rooney
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