» » Two-Minute Warning (1976)

Two-Minute Warning (1976) Online

Two-Minute Warning (1976) Online
Original Title :
Two-Minute Warning
Genre :
Movie / Action / Crime / Drama / Mystery / Thriller
Year :
Directror :
Larry Peerce
Cast :
Charlton Heston,John Cassavetes,Martin Balsam
Writer :
George LaFountaine,Edward Hume
Budget :
Type :
Time :
1h 55min
Rating :

A crazed sniper is set to kill spectators at an L.A. Coliseum football championship game and the police races against time to eliminate him.

Two-Minute Warning (1976) Online

A psychotic sniper plans a massive killing spree in a Los Angeles football stadium during a major championship game. The police, led by Captain Peter Holly and SWAT commander Sergeant Button, learn of the plot and rush to the scene.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Charlton Heston Charlton Heston - Capt. Peter Holly
John Cassavetes John Cassavetes - Sgt. Button
Martin Balsam Martin Balsam - Sam McKeever
Beau Bridges Beau Bridges - Mike Ramsay
Marilyn Hassett Marilyn Hassett - Lucy
David Janssen David Janssen - Steve
Jack Klugman Jack Klugman - Sandman
Gena Rowlands Gena Rowlands - Janet
Walter Pidgeon Walter Pidgeon - The Pickpocket
Brock Peters Brock Peters - Paul
David Groh David Groh - Al
Mitchell Ryan Mitchell Ryan - The Priest
Joe Kapp Joe Kapp - Charlie Tyler
Pamela Bellwood Pamela Bellwood - Peggy Ramsay
Jon Korkes Jon Korkes - Jeffrey

There was a later version released (to NBC television) that had footage not shown in theaters. In the original theatrical version, the sniper's motives were not known. In the later television version, it was revealed that the attack was done to cover an art robbery next door.

The movie was deemed too violent to show intact on broadcast television, so they re-wrote the story and added a heist element. The re-written material minimized both the main storyline and the subplots.

Actors who appeared in the film's television version who didn't appear in the cinema movie included Rossano Brazzi, Joanna Pettet, Paul Shenar, James Olson, and William Prince. Warren Miller reprised his role as "The Sniper" and Charlton Heston shot three short new scenes for the television version. Heston's hair is of a noticeably different color in these new scenes.

The film from Universal Pictures is considered part of the 1970s cycle of Hollywood Disaster Movies. A year later, Paramount Pictures released the similarly themed Black Sunday (1977) which instead of a sniper threat had a terrorist plot at the Super Bowl. The same 1977 year saw Universal also produce Rollercoaster (1977) with bomb caused accidents at amusement parks. Moreover, a line of dialogue in Two-Minute Warning (1976) referred to "Sudden Death" in the football game, Staigi mirtis (1995) also being the title of the Universal's similarly themed later 90s disaster movie where a terrorist plot threatens an ice-hockey match.

Susan Backlinie appears as a loyal Los Angeles fan who flashes her shirt at the cameras (seen briefly on a television monitor). A two page article in 'Saga' magazine from July 1976 reveals a deleted scene in which she flashes her breasts at the crowd. According to this article, her character was a call-girl named 'Miss Pear Tits'.

Andy Sidaris, as "TV Director", is essentially playing himself. He was a frequent director of ABC Sports, including the Superbowl, and is referred to by other characters as "Andy".

The American football match was between Baltimore and Los Angeles but neither team was given a mascot name. The name of the grand final game they were playing was called "Championship X".

Newspaper press advertisements for the re-worked television version of this movie featured a long text preamble that read: "In an action unprecedented in television history - a major motion picture has been re-filmed for its television presentation. The production has been enhanced with more than 40 minutes of new footage! We guarantee you'll thrill to the excitement and drama of this story of an arena full of fans terrorized to divert attention from a multi-million robbery!"

A marketing gimmick devised by Universal Pictures to promote the film, stated that patrons were not allowed to enter theaters showing the picture once the film's football game's "two-minute warning" had started.

Most of the movie was filmed at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum after the 1975 American football season had ended. Game footage seen in the picture was taken from a Pac-8 college football game between Stanford (4-3-1) and USC (7-1), where Stanford won 13-10. The game was played on November 8, 1975 at the Coliseum.

The production team actually contacted the National Football League about using the NFL and its team and uniforms as part of the film. NFL executives asked "What's the film about?" After they given a brief synopsis, they said that they would not bother reading the script because there was zero chance of the league ever lending any support to such a movie. Interestingly, a few years later the NFL did not object to the movie "Black Sunday" using real teams and game footage as part of its terrorism/bloodshed-set story.

The film's "Two-minute Warning" title is a sports term taken from the American Gridiron National Football League. A "two-minute warning" is made when there are only two minutes of game time left at the end of the second and fourth quarters of an American football match.

The film was made and released one year after the source novel of the same name by George LaFountaine had been first published in 1975.

The notorious re-edited and re-worked television version of this movie premiered on NBC in prime-time on February 6, 1979. This version was conceived during negotiations between Universal Pictures and NBC in 1978, because NBC refused to air a film centered around a homicidal sniper. The network-television version was cut and added around 40 minutes, introducing a 30-minute art-heist robbery plot and losing around half the length of the film's original plot. This version is the most often one shown on broadcast television in the U.S. The television version of the movie was released for the first time on home media in June of 2016. almost 40 years after its first TV broadcast.

The film's originally scheduled release date (according to an ad in "Variety") was July 30, 1976.

Publicity for this picture declared that there was one sniper, thirty-three exit gates and 91,000 people. In the film's source book, the stadium had 75,000 people.

Director Larry Peerce had his name removed from the television version of this movie. The director credited for this was Gene Palmer. Although Peerce's name remains in the credits of the alternate version ("A Larry Peerce-Edward S. Feldman Film"), Palmer is credited as director. Francesca Turner, who wrote the teleplay scenes and who obviously had no credit in the cinema version, was added as a co-screenwriter alongside of Edward Hume who now had a shared billing.

The movie was Oscar nominated for an Academy Award for Best Film Editing in 1977 but it lost out to Rokis (1976).

Universal spent an estimated 500,000 $ in December 1978 to shoot additional scenes for a television version of the movie.

Lead actor Charlton Heston later became the National Rifle Association's president.

The name of the sports stadium was the real-life Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The venue can be seen sporting Olympics Rings on its exterior wall adjacent to the arena's name. Los Angeles had unsuccessfully bid for the Olympic Games in 1976 which was the year the film was released; they were held in Montreal, Quebec. Los Angeles had hosted them in 1932, held them again in 1984, and had also unsuccessfully bid to host them in 1980. At the time the movie was made and released, Los Angeles had not yet been elected as the 1984 Olympics Host city as the vote did not occur until May 18, 1978. Four years prior to this sniper stadium disaster movie, the Palestinian terrorist group Black September held Israeli athletes hostage at the Munich 1972 Summer Olympic Games, this being the subject of the Academy Award winning documentary One Day in September (1999).

Former real-life Boston Patriots and Minnesota Vikings NFL quarterback Joe Kapp played a veteran NFL quarterback called Charlie Tyler.

Charlton Heston joked while doing promotional work for this movie, that it was a pleasant change to be doing a modern dress movie as you got to keep your costume. The majority of Heston's roles were in lavish costume dramas and historical epics.

Penultimate film of actor Walter Pidgeon, his last being two years later in 1978's Sextette (1977). Pidgeon's character in this film has no personal name and is only ever know as "The Pickpocket". Pidgeon actually once who co-starred in a film about pickpockets called Harry in Your Pocket (1973).

Actress Gena Rowlands and actor John Cassavetes were married but their characters in the movie were not love-interests.

The only non-Best Picture Oscar nominee that year to be nominated for Best Editing.

SWAT stands for "Special Weapons And Tactics".

The make and model of the gun that "The Sniper" had was a modified Remington 742 rifle fitted with a tele-scope and an extended 30-round magazine.

Capt. Holly compares Sgt. Button's SWAT team members to stormtroopers. This does not refer to the troops from Žvaigždžiu karai (1977) (which was released one year after this film) but the German soldiers from WW I.

Merv Griffin: The talk-show host as himself singing the American National Anthem at the football match.

The character known as "The Sniper" is finally revealed to be named Carl Cook in the theatrical version. His character is greatly expanded in the television version.

David Janssen described his experience using squibs to simulate gunshots: "You won't be burned if it's done properly. You'll feel the heat, though, and if you haven't had the experience before, it'll make you apprehensive, to say the least. Some actors have gone into a momentary state of shock."

In the original version, David Janssen's character is killed just as he comes back into the stadium. In the television version, he leaves the stadium just before the sniper starts shooting.

User reviews

Vital Beast

Vital Beast

A lone gunman has his sights set on a sell-out crowd at a championship football game. Captain Peter Holly leads the desperate fight to try and stop the maniac from picking people off at will. Perched high on top of of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the gunman has his pick of the targets, the Mayor-the President-or merely the innocent? Either way he has to be stopped before all hell breaks loose.

Much like Roller-coaster a year later, Two-Minute Warning is wrongly lumped in with the disaster movie genre that flooded the 1970s, and just like Roller-coaster, Two-Minute Warning is an excellently taut thriller. The build up is paced to precision, all characters are introduced to us to give us something to associate with should things go very wrong. As this is happening we get little POV snippets of our killer, accompanied by Charles Fox's harshly impacting music, the killer is never seen but we feel the dread, the impending sense of murder is a constant presence.

Once we are at the game and the authorities are aware that a sniper is on the roof, the film shifts up a gear and lays on the suspense thick and heavy. Captain Holly {Charlton Heston} is joined by the SWAT team, led by the cool and serious Sgt. Chris Button {John Cassavetes}, whilst stadium security manager Sam McKeever {Martin Balsam} prays that disaster can be averted. Then the final third of the picture is a ripper-heart pounding stuff, a final third that rewards the viewers patience for having invested in the film and its characters. Filling out the cast is Gena Rowlands, Jack Klugman {brilliant interplay with Mitch Ryan's priest}, Beau Bridges, Walter Pidgeon and David Jansen. Two-Minute Warning is a quality thriller that is sadly undervalued on the IMDb site, go on, give it a go and you might just be pleasantly surprised. 7.5/10

Footnote: I should point out that my thoughts are on the original unedited cut of this film, I have never seen the watered down TV cut and have no plans to ever do so.


Thrilling and entertaining disaster movie but full clichés and stereotypes with enjoyable performances from Charlton Heston and John Cassavetes . This catastrophe movie blends action , intrigue , disaster spectacle, suspense and emotional byplay . ¨Two-minute warning¨ was a successful film that grossed at box office . A psychotic sniper wielding a rifle with telescopic sight plans a massacre during a major championship game . The two protagonists , the police Captain Peter Holly (Charlton Heston) and SWAT commander Sergeant Button (John Cassavetes), learn of the plot and spend most of their time devising various ways for avoid to psychopath sniper carries out his aims : a massive killing spree in Los Angeles football stadium filled to capacity . As our heroes get stuck in the stadium before it blows up and when slaughter takes place they go into action ; as they pay tribute to policemen . There takes place a struggle between two forces , the cops and the sinister assassin and ultimately erupts when the crowd turns almost effortlessly and devours itself in a climax of panic .

Exciting film that contains noisy action , unsettling scenes , thrills , emotion and turns out to be pretty entertaining . This formula suspense movie belongs to catastrophe genre of the 70s , being the undisputed king , ¨The towering inferno¨ along with ¨Earthquake¨ , ¨Roller coaster¨ and many others ; this formula disaster movie was widely developed by Irwin Allen , previously winner of numerous Oscars for ¨Poseidon¨ until the failures as ¨Beyond Poseidon¨, ¨Swarm¨ and ¨When the time ran out¨ . ¨Two-minute warning¨ results to be an intriguing and suspenseful film , there was a later version released that had footage not shown in theaters , in the original theatrical version, the sniper's motives were not known. In the later television version, it was revealed that the attack was done to cover an art robbery next door . Filmed at the height of the disaster genre from the 7os , this entry in the spectacular series profits of a strong acting by starring trio Charlton Heston , John Cassavetes and Martin Balsam . Succeeds in combining various talented actors , an all star cast came together that tie for film's top casting honors ; furthermore a top-notch secondary casting such as Gina Rowlands, Beau Bridges , Jack Klugman , Marilyn Hasset , Pamela Bellwood , Mitch Ryan , Brock Peters, David Janssen and Walter Pidgeon as a pickpocket who formerly co-starred in 'Harry in Your Pocket' , a film about pickpocket s. This edgy , paranoid film was deemed too violent to show intact on broadcast television, so they re-wrote the story and added a heist element , the re-written material minimized both the main storyline and the subplots . Colorful and gripping photography in Panavision by Gerard Hirschfeld , including persistent high-angle shots , subjective camera-work and use of long lenses . Intriguing and atmospheric score by Charles Fox . This big-budgeted disaster movie was professionally though coldly directed by Larry Peerce , an usual TV movies director . Rating : Good and entertaining , it's a fairly watchable disaster movie.


A very bleak and cynical 70's all-star cast suspense thriller about a crazed motiveless sniper who for no rationale reason decides to blow away a bunch of spectators in a crowded stadium during a football game. It's up to ramrod police chief Charlton Heston, assisted by coldly efficient SWAT team commander John Cassavetes and antsy stadium manager Martin Balsam, to stop the mysterious lunatic before it's too late. Among the many folks in jeopardy are Beau Bridges as an unemployed dad who's trying to show his wife Pamela Bellwood and kids a good time, David Janssen and Gena Rowlands as a pair of middle-aged lovers, Jon Korkes as a pathetic jerk whose date with the lovely Marilyn Hassett goes disastrously awry, Mitchell Ryan as a gentle priest, Walter Pigeon as an elderly pickpocket, and Jack Klugman as a hapless compulsive gambler who's bet what little money he has left on the big game.

Director Larry Peerce relates the tightly streamlined plot in a fiercely stark and unsentimental manner, artfully using subjective camera-work, long lenses, and high angle shots to stoke the gut-wrenching tension to a nerve-jangling fever pitch. The set-up of said suspense tends to be a bit laborious at times and the background exposition on the many secondary characters is likewise a tad extraneous (and even a bit tedious, too), but the final climactic eruption of raw violence and sheer pandemonium (the crowd explodes in a frenzied blind panic when the sniper starts shooting them) is both gripping and disturbing in comparable measure. But what really gives this film an extra unnerving edge is its bitter cynicism and surprisingly upfront amorality, especially when it comes to the frequently brutish tactics used by Cassavetes to nail the sniper. The scene where Cassavetes gives an innocent spectator a severe beat-down and doesn't even apologize to the poor guy after-wards is particularly unpleasant and upsetting. This guy is the iron lung of law enforcement who's portrayed with a wired intensity and seething psychosis by Cassevetes that's genuinely frightening to behold. Whether intended or not, it's this nice nihilistic blurring the line between the cops and the sniper which in turn makes "Two-Minute Warning" a distinctly 70's kind of gritty and absorbing dead serious thriller.


Like Black Sunday, which came out a year after this movie, "Two-Minute Warning" was billed as a disaster movie that used the "what if" basis of other genre examples of the '70s (and I'm including "Towering Inferno" and "Earthquake" along with the "mad bomber" movies like "Rollercoaster" and "Juggernaut"). "Black Sunday," "Two-Minute Warning" and "Rollercoaster" are really the three most believable now--the disasters are man-made and show us how vulnerable we really are (I, for one, am praying members of terrorists group don't watch the movie "Rollercoaster"). In Two-Minute Warning, a sniper with no apparent motive climbs to the top of an LA football stadium and starts shooting at the two-minute warning. It is possible the sniper had political assassination on his mind as the President was scheduled to come to the game. But it's never really explained, which bothered many critics including Roger Ebert. But after the events in the DC area in the fall of 2002 (which I lived through--I'll never forget having to pace back and forth quickly while pumping gas, to avoid being a target), snipers are never really understood--they're psychotic, plain and simple. "Targets," the early Peter Bogdonavich film, which Two-Minute Warning reminded me of, spent a good part of the movie explaining the alienation of its sniper. To a degree---you saw his family, his interaction with his wife, and saw what appeared to be his isolation. It's certainly not a justification for killing innocent motorists, but the film did show his face. "Two-Minute Warning" doesn't even show the face of the sniper until the end. The point of the filmmakers is clear: The sniper is unknown and deadly. This movie goes a little over-the-top in the gratuitous violence (unlike most other '70s disaster movies), but is absolutely suspenseful and the acting is very good (especially by John Cassavettes as the leader of the SWAT team). Gena Rowlands, Cassavettes' wife and muse, also appears as a spectator.


Two minute warning is A crime thriller-disaster film, laden with an all star cast with Charlton Heston as the head of the LA Police Department and John Cassavettes as the leader of the SWAT team, at a major-league football stadium (the LA Coliseum) filled with 91,000 fans during a championship game between Los Angeles and Baltimore, and an anonymous psychotic sniper with a high-powered hunting rifle perched on the top of the stadium's scoreboard. This cliffhanger brought suspense to film-goers and mass panic among the spectators as they stampeded in the film's finale. in light of recent events such as 'the Washington sniper ' this film proves that the incident is Not a far fetched after all!


The Seventies was the decade of the disaster film, but oddly enough Charlton Heston has never been credit for being King of the genre. We know Heston for his work in big budget spectacles like The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur, but he's probably appeared in more disaster films than any other player.

Think about it, Heston during the seventies starred in Earthquake, Grey Lady Down, Skyjacked, Airport 75 and this film Two Minute Warning. All of them with a cast of well known players put in harm's way of a terrible act.

In this case it's some psycho freak with a rifle with telescopic sight who decides he's going to take out a whole load of people at a championship football game at the Los Angeles Coliseum. As in all disaster films the guessing is as to who among the cast will survive until the end of the movie.

We're not sure what the freak's motivation is, we do know that as the film opens for target practice he shoots down one of a pair of bicyclers driving past his motel. On some level I really don't care. The time for societal soul searching stops when the bullets begin to fire. After that it's only one thing, get him.

Charlton Heston is the police captain at the precinct where the Coliseum is located and John Cassavetes is the SWAT commander assigned to kill or capture. By the way it is also shown earlier Cassavetes SWAT team actually taking a suspect alive, so it's not that they are just looking for an opportunity to use the weapons.

Among the crowd at the football game there are some performances I especially liked, one of them being Beau Bridges as a young father out with his family for the game who spots the sniper and tries to warn the already informed police. Also Mitchell Ryan and Jack Klugman have some nice scenes as a priest who happens to be sitting next to a gambling addict who literally has his life riding on the point spread.

Two Minute Warning is not the best or worst of the Seventies disaster films. The cast is competent enough, a bunch of real professionals without a sour note among them.

Terror is real, an evil unto itself without reason and Two Minute Warning dramatically drives that point home.


I just watched Two Minute Warning on DVD, and believe the film can be viewed from two different perspectives, either as a schlocky popcorn flick or as I prefer a stinging indictment of the American dream.

The film presents a collection of reflective ciphers of or chasing after: The American dream, set against a backdrop of an important Super bowl game which acts as thematic frame upon which to hang parallel characters. The sniper is a metaphorical cultural surgeon, as the film opens with him snuffing out a middle-aged cyclist, replete in synthetic modern tracksuit, the cyclist is of course still chasing after the American dream. An injury burnt ball-player with vivacious young and demanding girlfriend can be viewed as a dream casualty; initially hungry exploiter now almost exhaustively exploited for the purpose of entertainment to which American football occupies one of many sporting dream pinnacles.

Jack Klugman is desperately chasing his vision of the dream via high risk stakes gambling, with money which is not his own, putting his life at risk as he literally tries to get rich whilst almost dying, trying. Then we have David Jansen and his girlfriend who are entangled within a tired and respect-less relationship with Jansen more interested in running off to Las Vegas for some gambling after he proposes to his beleaguered girlfriend with what in all probability will be a quick and doomed marriage.

Archetypal young family guy: Beau Bridges heads the prototypical dysfunctional family that decades later would be fodder for: The Jerry Springer Show, as we witness father chastise his barely long haired youngest son for being wise when the kid rebukes his dad's imposing conservatism with "everyone can see" in response to being told that his hair is too long. Bridges later attempt at model citizenry by informing the police that there is a sniper in the coliseum backfires on him with the brave boys in blue attempting to cart him off somewhat ambiguously for further questioning, do the police believe he may be a suspect in cahoots with the sniper or are they just trying to stop a panic situation, too late, as by this point the dream culture cleansing has begun with Jansen's girlfriend arbitrarily spared a prolongation of their mutually unsatisfying relationship.

The enclosed and insulated television crew, media spinning the ball-game with their customary brand of all-American labelling; as we are all too aware of today, their egos quietened as the carnage unfolds; reality crashing through their subjectively controlled and packaged, vicarious version of reality. An unsuspecting long haired teenager who has clambered up, out of the designated seating area makes himself a target of the now twitchy, prior hung-ho, swat boys who heavy handedly remove him from his perch, upon suspicion of what may be contained within his rucksack, triggering fear that he may be the snipers accomplice; supplicate topical paranoia. Long-haired young men do not fit the profile as signed up card carrying pursuers of the American dream.

Assorted ill reflections upon the dream pop up through-out the picture. Robert Ginty (who would later play a similar kind of Exterminator) as the happy-go-lucky yet avaricious novelty hat seller who fleeces cash-strapped Bridges, embarrassingly obligated to fulfil expectations of the dream when his youngest son announces that his father has no money; plays out the father to son baton handing of the dream, be who you want, have what you want, when you want it.

The lone alcoholic proffering his poison for the solicitation of Jansen's eager to facilitate lady-friend, her eye on her dream, garments of wealth and prosperity, coverting her true longing. The respectable looking Walter Pidgeon failing to pickpocket the film's singular paid up ball-game viewer to be held in esteem by the filmmakers, that of a doctor beguiled by a female onlooker acting as chaperon to an insecure male counterpart who wishes not to be seen in public without requisite female date, trappings of his American dream. During the ensuing human crush we witness said doctor saving the life of his new found lady fan; clinging to life from a stairwell of white concrete.

The sniper's supposed target, that of the man who sits atop the American dream, never arrives. When the bullets begin raining down on this most veneer thin picture of national conservative pride the true spirit of American humanity bulldozes through in an everyman for himself helter-skelter stampede; as a supposedly civilised gathering reverts back to the days of the rush for land the gold rush the oil rush the arms rush the space rush the global greed rush of collapse.

Little wonder why this film bombed on its theatrical release, striking a deep resonant chord within the American psyche. Witness today American's on IMDb's discussion boards label up the film with outraged impotent cries of "Utter Crap" The picture of themselves reflected back through this now time-capsule piece of effective culture and ideal mirroring.

What of Charlton Heston I hear you say, well he represents moderate conservatism, committed by a sense of duty, but willing to provide the trigger happy swat'ers their neccessitation for existence of pumping lead kicks' as a final solution. The larger than life Heston is surrounded by this carnival of human frailty.


As a fan of suspense, I definitely have rated this film as a classic edge-of-your seat cliffhanger. It contained all of the elements of a real-life thriller. The actual mounting of the suspense itself up until the end is the most rewarding effect this film possesses. As frightening and terrifying as the climax was, it nevertheless demonstrated how the actions of one individual can cause a catastrophe to unfold.


I thought that a movie with Charlton Heston can't be bad. Apparently it can. For two reasons. 1) You barely see him in the movie. 2) Most of the movie is filler.

It's mostly the later that makes two-minute warning a below average action movie. You spend your time learning a few details about some of the visitors. Most of them (and some cops as well) are surprisingly charmless. Maybe that's part of the problem. However, you don't feel any sympathy for them. And you don't care about what happens to them. In fact, I was rather relieved when they finally died because, whenever they started acting like jerks I thought to myself "oh god, kill them already!".

Which is not going to happen until the end. Then the movie actually takes up some pace. The sniper gets hit quite a few times but that doesn't stop him from shooting more. While others die with a single shot. And what a shot! They look like they got hit by a balloon filled with red color. I've seen better effects, even in movies as old as this.

Altogether two-minute warning has no suspense, hardly any action for most of the parts and the ending can't make up for the rest. So that's 4 out of 10 from me. My recommendation: Skip this one.


The sheer atmosphere of this film tells the tale right off the bat. First off all, we see the sniper shoot a man riding a bike for no reason. This is to show us that this man is really nothing but a psychopath, and we have no choice but to hate him for the remainder of the film.

Charleton Heston, Hollywood's most conservative actor (my kind of guy!) decides to try to take the sniper out when he sneaks into a football game and spend the majority of the film looking at people through his rifle scope. With the help of John Cassavettes and his team of SWAT supermen, the cops try to figure some gameplan to stop the sniper before he opens fire on the crowd.

The film itself is uneven, (don't even try to watch the tv version) but you will be cheering for the good guys when the two minute warning is called. By the way, for the reviewer who dissed this movie two reviews ahead of me, quit reading to far into things! The sniper is a cold blooded killer; from when we see him shoot the bicyclist we know he has a compeupance in store for him. I don't want to feel sorry for him!

Anyway, this is a decent movie to watch on a slow day. By the way, for all the people who thought that slasher movies invented first person perspective camera work of seeing what the killer sees, obviously they never saw this movie. I think this was the first time in Hollywood the camera tried to show such a perspective.


A determined sniper is discovered by a TV crew in a scoreboard tower at a football game and how will police deal with the situation. The placement of S.W.A.T. sharpshooters on the light towers to take out the gunman would be the logical response since sneaking up on the guy might provoke him to shoot into the crowd.

I find this film to be a bit slow as stock characters are introduced and placed at the game. Once the sniper takes his position and becomes a threat, this film turns exciting, gritty and violent as shots are exchanged.

The fact that the shooter is faceless adds to the scariness of the situation. Who is this guy and what is his major malfunction?

The recent events in the Washington D.C. area add an air of reality to the movie. Previously no one would have believed that people were capable of such an ugly crime.

"Two-Minute Warning", aside from the formula melodrama, is a creepy thriller that might be a little too real now.


This is truly amazing. A review I wrote for this movie back in 1999 as a response to the ravings of "Nick Potter" who headlined his "Putrid Propaganda" and loaded it with uncalled for invective aimed at Charlton Heston because of that reviewers left-wing perspective, was deleted because someone filed an abuse report. And yet the one I replied to is still there all these years later, which should tell you something about the peculiar standards of this place. I am submitting it again since I think people should see for themselves that what I wrote back then as a normal response to a left-wing extremist's injection of his personal hatred of Charlton Heston into his review, was not the one that merited an abuse report.

ORIGINAL 1999 Review.

The previous reviewer completely misses the point. The reason why the sniper in "Two Minute Warning" isn't given any lines or isn't shown to have humanity is because what this man is doing is a crazy, psychotic act with no rational purpose to it, and that is what makes him a more terrifying threat (I can't begin to imagine how watered down the threat would seem if I ever saw the alternate version that made him part of a rational plot) and makes the story suspenseful. Only those with a visceral hatred of Charlton Heston because of his off-camera politics would try to read anything else into that (it is amusing that Heston has to suffer this from so many liberal reviewers while Hollywood liberals like Paul Newman never have to worry about conservatives reading between the lines of every film they're in).

That said, "Two Minute Warning" ultimately is flawed because it does have a less than stellar script when it comes to the supporting characters, not very interesting performances from a largely TV cast (Jack Klugman, David Janssen) and also the sense of realism is hurt by the fact that the NFL didn't give permission to use the names of real football teams thus creating too much of a sense of artificialness with people just rooting for a generic "Baltimore" and "Los Angeles". "Black Sunday" works a lot better in that regard because it made sure to get permission from the NFL and do actual filming during the Super Bowl.


This is a mostly overlooked film which is actually full of some great suspense and tension. The film has a few flaws, but overall it can be recommended as a great little diversion and a chance to "spot the star" and see who makes it out alive. It almost falls into the disaster category, but would probably rather be thought of as a thriller. The plot is simple. A mysterious, virtually unseen sniper perches himself above the scoreboard of Los Angeles Memorial Colosseum and readies himself to open fire on a 90,000 person crowd. Heston (wearing the worst tie in the history of film) and Cassavetes attempt to prevent a massacre as the football game approaches the "two minute warning". The most major flaw in the film is that, due to the refusal of the NFL to allow their names to be used, the game is referred to as the Championship rather than the Super Bowl and the teams are generic. If a viewer can get past this oddity, the bulk of the film is enjoyable. Sports fan may find it distracting. It helps that authentic commentators Howard Cosell and Don Meredith appear. There's a large cast of '70's stars and almost stars. Most don't get very much time to establish any meaningful characterization, but that's often the case in these types of films and one reason why so many known personalities were cast. It's intriguing to see the father of improvisational cinema (Cassavetes) butting up to the king of 70's action epics (Heston.) Their styles and characters clash somewhat. Bridges and Bellwood are an average couple (with two kids) who are feeling the bite of those '70's demons, inflation and unemployment. Janssen and Rowlands play a bickering pair whose relationship reaches it's pinnacle right as the sniper decides to have some fun. Sticky-fingered Pigeon chose the big day to pick as many pockets as possible. Balsam is the concerned manager of the arena. Klugman hams mercilessly as a desperate gambler with a lot riding on the score of the game. "The Other Side of the Mountain" 's Hassett discovers "the other side of the escalator" when the crowd erupts. Bridges has one memorable moment when he is racing to get to his family and is confronted by hoards of panicking people. The film is not a particularly optimistic one. The fact that the sniper is coldly displayed and unexplained only adds to the eeriness of the film. His eventual attacks are surprisingly vivid. The police in this film come off as highly arrogant and ineffectual for the most part. There's a startling brutality and sinister air in some of their scenes. The cynicism continues as we see fleeing people acting downright barbaric to each other. In the aftermath of the WTC attacks, nothing was ever reported that would suggest such selfishness. Maybe it was a 70's viewpoint. It's hard to believe that the downbeat musical score is by the man who wrote the TV themes for "Love, American Style", "The Love Boat" and "Wonder Woman"! DO NOT, under any circumstances, sit through the bastardized TV version which is a deadly recut of the film with new cast and scenes. It is tremendously awful.


Hollywood was responsible for making a series of excellent disaster and thriller films throughout the 1970s, and TWO-MINUTE WARNING is such a film. It's superficially similar to ROLLERCOASTER and BLACK SUNDAY but different enough to work; it's a real slow-burner of a movie that builds up and up to a climax which is one of the most electrifying I've ever seen put on a film. For the majority of the running time the viewer engages in a fun game of Russian Roulette with a seasoned cast including the likes of David Janssen, Walter Pidgeon, Beau Bridges, and even Mitchell Ryan (of DARK SHADOWS fame). Jack Klugman shines as a small-time gambler while Charlton Heston does the usual hard-man persona that he did so well and John Cassavetes pops up as a SWAT member. The film's direction is excellent, introducing the antagonist in the first scene in some HALLOWEEN-style POV shots and keeping the suspense simmering along perfectly. The last twenty minutes offers incredible violence, edge-of-the-seat shocks, and some perfectly captured chaos that made this into an instant favourite.


**SPOILERS** The movie "Two Minute warning" is by far one of the best disaster movies to come out out of the disaster-ridden Hollywood studios of the 1970's. It's also one of the most restrained in its holding back the impending disaster, a deranged sniper opening fire in a packed sports stadium, for almost the entire length of the film!

We get glimpse of the sniper whom we only see from the neck down until he's spotted by a camera from the Goodyear Blimp that's broadcasting the championship football game between L.A and Baltimore at the packed, with over 90,000 in attendance, Los Angles Colosseum. It's then that both the L.A police and a SWAT team are called in to surgically, with as little violence as possible, take him out in order to avoid a mass panic at the stadium.

In charge of the LAPD detail sent to stop the sniper is Capt. Peter Holly, Charlton Heston, who despite his being in law enforcement is very reluctant to have his men use violence to take the sniper out. The SWAT team squad leader Sgt. Chris Button, John Cassavetes, is more then willing to use all the fire power available to him to put an end to the snipers plans. It's that reason that creates tension between the two to the point where the sniper is given a free hand, because of Capt. Holly and Sgt. Button squabbling, to get his shots off that in effect ends up killing scores of people, by being shot or being stampeded, by the time the film is over.

What makes "Two Minute Warning" a superior disaster movie is not really the explosive action that happens when the sniper opens fire on the crowd, as well as members of Sgt. Button's SWAT team, but the nerve wracking and nail biting tension that slowly builds up to it. What the audience gets to see is just how difficult it is to subdue, or take out, a determined homicidal, as well a suicidal, maniac when he gets himself into a secure bunker-like position to open fire in a crowded sports stadium! Where in taking him out with deadly force can cause far more damage to the unsuspecting and innocent people in attendance there then even the damage that he could do! We see that in the body count were those killed-in the wild stampede- during the pandemonium a the L.A Colosseum far outnumbered those who were shot to death by the sniper!

P.S The film "Two Minute Warning" was re-edited, for TV, with some 30 minutes inserted into it about the real reason for the sniper's insane actions. In that he was part of a hold-up team, who's job was to distract attention, who were robbing a jewelry store just outside the Los Angles Colosseum. It's as if those responsible for this alternative ending had to give the sniper a reason-like he really needed one-for his actions to make the movie believable to the TV audience. It never occurred to them that a person dead set to murder possibly hundreds of innocent people needs any reasons at all to do it! Besides what, in its original release, the movie made him out to be: A mindless and deranged homicidal lunatic!


A sniper is spotted perched atop the scoreboard at a super bowl-type NFL event giving police captain Heston and his allies headaches as they attempt to covertly subdue him without risking a massacre of the fans below, oblivious to the impending danger.

This is a real sleeper - slow to boil, but when the temperature starts to rise, the tension is palpable and the whole film lifts a notch in all dimensions, from the heart-pounding race to neutralise the threat (SWAT style), to the incidental characterisations deepening (Janssen, Rowlands and Bridges in particular have some strong dramatic scenes).

Heston is very restrained, and well supported by the sly Cassavetes, an assured SWAT leader, Balsam as the stadium manager, Klugman as a hopeless gambler, Mitch Ryan as a priest, Janssen and Rowlands as a rocky couple, and even Walter Pidgeon in a virtually mute role as a pick-pocket. Film buffs might also enjoy seeing Robert Ginty, Carmen Argenziano, Harry Northup, Forrest Wood, JA Preston and sexy Brooke Mills in bit parts (among others).

Director Peerce's plotting is deceptive; it's a shrewd build-up, just a smattering of clichés and the occasional nonsense, but it can all be forgiven with a climax you won't soon forget. Don't let the sometimes soporific first half deter you from persevering, it's an unorthodox approach, but you'll be rewarded.


An exciting final two minutes to be sure. Unfortunately you must sit through nearly two hours of absolute boredom to get there. A crazed sniper perches atop the time clock at the LA Coliseum during a football game. He scopes out various audience members while cop Charlton Heston and SWAT commander John Cassavetes figure out what to do. There's zero suspense until the film's final moments when gunfire begins. The stars populating the under-developed story lines include Jack Klugman, David Janssen, Beau Bridges and Walter Pidgeon. Director Larry Peerce shows little flair for suspense despite having directed the dynamite NYC transit thriller THE INCIDENT ten years prior. Heston grits his teeth, barks "damn" and "bastard" a few times while Cassavettes looks bored senseless. Gena Rowlands, Marilyn Hassett and Martin Balsam are in it too and there are lots of ariel shots from the Good Year blimp.


An all-star cast led by Charlton Heston with likes of John Cassavetes, Martin Balsam, Beau Bridges, Mitchell Ryan and Jack Klugman feature in this well directed, but thinly written semi-disaster fare that never goes beyond its one-dimensional framework. Its central focus follows that of an unknown sniper planning a massacre at a championship football game at the Los Angeles Coliseum, as the coming and going personal dramas of certain people at the game intertwine. Slow to get going and rather one-note in its dramas never being as interesting as it should have been, but it opens up when the SWAT team enters and the sniper finally let's loose for a thrilling final third. As the joy and excitement of the match transforms into confusion and anxiety, where the stadium turns into a shooting pallor. I've read some people complaining about a lack of a motivation for the killer, but really one wasn't needed and the ambiguous nature only made its frenetic climax more effective. For most part it's a waiting game preying upon the inevitable build-up, even though the authorities know about the sniper they don't want to start a panic of hysteria. So it's a scary idea, exploitatively handled and director Larry Peerce creates a large scale look giving it an intense scope. The performances are stalwart, but no one really makes much of an impression.

"Lets not get too nervous about it. "


A tightly plotted group jeopardy picture featuring a mad sniper at a packed Los Angeles football stadium. This features Charlton Heston as the cop in charge and a fantastic supporting cameo from John Cassavetes as Sergeant Chris Button who leads the S.W.A.T team tasked with taking down the gunman. Also notable for use of grainy TV footage imagery of the gunman being transmitted from the Blimp covering the football game which was eerily reminiscent at the time (76) of the infamous TV coverage of the Munich Olympics hostage situation. Fantastic climax and the scenes of crowd panic at the end are brilliantly and believably executed - reminding the viewer that mass casualties in such a situation would just as likely be caused by the crowd's panicked reaction to being attacked rather than the attack itself. An overlooked gem.


There can be a lot of bad said about 'Two Minute Warning' but you have to give it a lot of kudos for it's style and it's very surreal tone which speaks more loudly than ever to us now than it probably did thirty years ago. This film could be classified in a number of genres but ultimately it fits into a very distinct classification of films that were enormously popular in the seventies and that is the disaster film. Although a very different type of situation it still follows the close recipe for the disaster film by showing several different characters and their lives before, during and after the cataclysmic event which in this case is a rogue sniper. The problem that many have with this film and I do understand where they are coming from is that these characters don't have a lot of depth despite the various stars and talent in the film. The makers of the film use far too many characters instead of focusing on one or two of them to make an impact. The story fortunately focuses more on the police and their actions in taking out this sniper. I have read that there is an alternative version of this film that involves some sort of robbery that explains the sniper but I think that entire idea would ruin this film because part of the intensity and surreal nature is that we don't know why this sniper is doing this or even if there is a reason...it's an act of random violence.

Charlton Heston sort of leads the cast as Captain Peter Holly. He doesn't seem to be his larger than life, screen capturing, loud self in this role. It feels back seat even when he does come onto the scene. His performance is not nearly what Heston is capable of but he does up the ante of the cast for sure. Beau Bridges is the unemployed Dad who is one of the only spectators to discover what is going on. Bridges is an outstanding actor and he still stands out in this role given the little he has to work with. John Cassavetes is the head strong leader of the SWAT team sent in to remove the sniper. Given better writing his character could have really been good but they don't give him a lot either. David Janssen is one of the more interesting characters and he does a good job as the grouchy, sarcastic business man and he's one of the only characters you actually become attached to. Jack Klugman also gives a pretty decent performance given the sub par character development. Gena Rowlands, Brock Peters, David Groh, Mitch Ryan, and Martin Balsam all play different characters with different problems and things going on around them and they are all terrific actors but the script doesn't give them anything to work with unfortunately.

Despite the lack of character development the film really does still hold it's own with a lot of suspense and a great build up the actual disaster. The story itself is well written and would have done better without focusing on any of the characters in the crowd and just focused on the sniper and the team trying to stop him. I don't think any suspension of belief is required to believe he could perch himself up there during a championship football game because it happens...it happens every day. Regardless of the issues with the film it still makes for a great suspense film and a good Sunday Afternoon classic. It has it's moments and still widens your eyes to see something horrible like this happen. 7/10


Plot: A psycho with a big ass rifle places himself over the scoreboard at a big football game. It's Capt. Peter Holly's job to get him down from there.

I can't understand why this movie got such a poor grade here at IMDB? Who could ever say that Charlton Heston wasn't the coolest guy on the face of the earth. And take my word for it I'm not one of those hollywood suckers I like independent films and all that but this movie really shows this the mega superstar that is Charlton Heston in his golden years. But it isn't just Mr Heston who makes this movie great, the story is thrilling all the way through as you await the snipers first shot and the crowds reaction. An intelligent movie about the power of one insane man. Ps Look out for Walter Pidgeon ( the aged pick pocket ) know from such roles as Dr Morbius in the scifi classic Forbidden Planet and as Capt. Alan Thorndike in Fritz Lang's masterpiece Man Hunt. DS


"Two-Minute Warning" is one of those films that has a great premise--91,000 people gathered at the L.A. Coliseum are terrorized by an anonymous sniper during a championship football game--that is undone by one of the stupidest, most incompetent scripts in the history of motion pictures. Add to that the fact that the filmmakers spared every expense possible in telling the story, and you have a cheap, cheesy film that has to rank as one of the most disappointing films of the 1970's.

How incompetent is it? How about this for a setup: on Super Bowl Sunday (or Championship X as its referred to in the film), a sniper guns down a bicyclist from a nearby hotel, then escapes to the Coliseum, where he hides out in the belltower for the game to start, and evidently to start shooting. How does he get in? He simply breaks open a couple of locks, feeds the guard dogs some hamburger and climbs the ladder into the tower. There is no security, no police, no media, nobody around except one maintenance man the morning of the biggest football game of the year. Now, I was 13 in 1976 and I can tell you security was a concern even then. There is simply no possible way anyone could enter a facility that easily on such an important day.

Then there's the flimsy cast of characters: Charlton Heston as the police chief, John Cassavetes the SWAT leader, Martin Balsam the coliseum manager, Beau Bridges a father of two bratty boys, Pamela Bellwood as his wife, Marilyn Hassett as a college coed, David Janssen a car salesman and Gena Rowlands his girlfriend, Jack Klugman a sleazy gambler, Walter Pidgeon a sleazy pickpocket, and David Groh as a doctor who hits on the coed. There is no need to describe the characters any more because that is all there is to any of their personalities. These stereotypical cardboard cutouts are so one-dimensional they resemble nothing more than ducks in a shooting gallery, which in effect is all they are anyway.

And how about the ridiculous plot? When the sniper is finally seen and the police called, the wheels really start to turn, with the main conflict between the straight-laced captain and the flaky SWAT leader. The SWAT leader wants to put sharpshooters in the light towers without 91,000 people (or the sniper) noticing. The captain's plan? Evacuate the coliseum without the sniper noticing. They finally agree to man the light towers but to wait until the two-minute warning until any action is taken. Why? Because the sniper obviously wants to wait to see who wins the game before opening fire!

Honestly, the movie goes downhill from there. I can suspend disbelief up to a point. But this is the type of flick where a man can be shot and left dangling behind a thousand people and no one notices for five minutes. Or that the nosy father can see the sniper (he's evidently the only one in the stadium with eyes) and go to alert the police, but tell his wife and kids to stay in their seats (in the line of fire) so he can find them later. Or that the maintenance man can be knocked off a forty-foot ladder in full view of the crowd and not be seen by anyone but the policemen. Or that-- Well, you get the idea.

Then there's the annoying fact that the filmmakers were obviously too cheap to pay the NFL for use of their football uniforms and the Super Bowl logo, so we have the dubiously named "Championship X" between Los Angeles and Baltimore, but not the Rams and the Colts, as they were known back then. (Since 1977's "Black Sunday," which was also set partially at the Super Bowl, actually used the name "Super Bowl" and real teams, I have to believe money and not the NFL were behind the decision not to use the name.) And instead of paying for a top-notch recording star to sing the National Anthem, here we get Merv Griffin(!) warbling the anthem in one of the most laughable scenes in modern movie history.

And let's not even discuss the acting; suffice it to say that a lot of talented actors are wasted in roles that they took obviously to pay the bills until something better came along. And the direction is just pitiful. Can I nominate Larry Peerce (whose filmography includes such classic stinkers as "A Separate Peace," "The Sporting Club," "Why Would I Lie," and "Wired," the John Belushi biopic that ruined the careers of everybody involved) as second worst director of all time, right behind Ed Wood? In two hours he establishes no mood, no style, no urgency and no suspense whatsoever. And the miserable script by Ed Hume deserves placement alongside Eric Roth's "The Concorde--Airport '79" as the single worst piece of film writing of all time.

Incidentally, when NBC bought broadcasting rights to "Two Minute Warning," it must have been sight unseen because by the time they cut the violence and profanity out, only about 80 of 115 minutes remained, so they reshot the film, adding an hour of new footage in which the sniper went from an anonymous threat to a decoy for a jewelry heist next door, which simply made things even more ludicrous. After it's initial three-hour showing, the film was cut back to two hours with most of the new footage left intact, but only about 30 original minutes left, mostly with Chuck Heston and Cassavetes as the only original cast members left with any screen time. However, all of the names were left in the opening credits, even though Hassett and Pidgeon were completely cut out of the film and the other supporting characters reduced to cameos. Which should serve as a further indicator of how bad this film really is.

So, consider yourself warned and proceed at your own risk. And let's depart with this classic exchange of dialog: Coed (to doctor): Are you a doctor? Doctor (surprised): Yes, I am. How did you know? Coed: Dirty shoes. Nice, clean hands. Only a doctor would have hands that clean. Or another: Coed: I hate football. Doctor: I do, too. Coed: Well, then why did you come? Doctor: To meet you! Coed giggles uncontrollably. Viewer runs screaming from room. * (out of *****)


"Two Minute Warning" is one of the most incompetent films I have ever seen. It does almost nothing to be realistic and believable.

As you probably know, "Two Minute Warning" is about a sniper who is perched atop the scoreboard at a championship football game in Los Angeles. What you may not know, however, is how awful the scenario is handled. Hmmm...Where do I begin?

Perhaps I should give a condensed version of the problems with this film. If I were to be more detailed, this would take all day. First, the President of the United States is possibly going to show up at halftime. That alone should have the security at the football field to be of the highest order. It's not though. Second, this movie contains one of the most ridiculous pieces of dialogue of any movie made in the past century. Charlton Heston plays Police Captain Peter Holly. How does he think the situation should be handled? He thinks they should try and sneak the 91,000 people out of the LA Coliseum without the mad gunman noticing. I am not kidding!!! Really...I'm not! Eventually, after a LONG time, the LA SWAT team makes its way to the game. You would think that a couple of highly trained police snipers could take the mad gunman out with a shot or two, right? Well, you would be wrong! There is actually a scene where the SWAT team member has his sniper scope trained on the gunman. What happens? The gunman sets up his gun, picks out a target in the crowd, aims and shoots the football fan. The SWAT team member never even attempts to shoot the sniper. Why? I have no idea whatsoever.

This movie continues in this inane fashion. It attempts to make some sort of statement at the end but falls flat. One of the sloppiest and insulting movies ever made.


The "Two Minute Warning" (** out of ****) qualifies as a thoroughly pedestrian police potboiler about a mad sniper who holes up behind the scoreboard at the Los Angeles Coliseum during a championship football game, crunches on a candy bar and patiently bides his time until the title climax. Arguably, the best part of this contrived clunker is the last 30 minutes. Director Larry Peerce, who went on the helm more television shows than movies, spends the first 90 minutes introducing us to the sniper as a random shooter ensconced in a high-rise hotel that kills a college professor (Tommy J. Huff) on a bicycle. Afterward, Peerce alternates between point-of-view shots from the sniper's perspective and a motley cross-section of the sniper's potential targets as they file into the stands to watch the game. Unfortunately, most of these characters aren't sympathetic. First, Stu Sandman ("Odd Couple" TV star Jack Klugman) plays an obnoxious gambler down on his luck who needs for his team to win or the mob will kill him. Earlier, they dangled him by his heels from the balcony of their hotel room. Second, Beau Bridges is a snotty, out-of-work father with two bratty kids and a long-suffering wife. David Janssen of the TV classic "The Fugitive" is cast as Steve, an arrogant, out-of-town car dealer who cannot stand his clingy girlfriend Janet (Gena Rowlands of "Gloria") who wants to marry him. Former MGM leading man Walter Pigeon plays a pickpocket who has a field day putting his paws into other people's pockets. Of all the potential targets, we learn the least about Pigeon's generically named 'Pickpocket.' Of all the targets, the most interesting is a trio of fans: Lucy (Marilyn Hassett—she starred in Larry Peerce's "My Side of the Mountain" made before the "Two Minute Warning" and "My Side of the Mountain, Pt 2," made after the "Two Minute Warning" and later married Peerce); Jeffrey (Jon Korkes) who appears to be her nominal date after her roommate stood him up, and Al (David Groh of TV's "Rhonda") the curly-haired guy who sits on the other side of them and attracts Lucy's attention.

The chief problem with the "Two Minute Warning" is the lack of characterization. Charlton Heston's police captain is a non-entity, and John Cassavetes is just a nudge or two away from being just as one-dimensional. Cassavetes gets the best dialogue in a concluding commentary about how the media will treat the sniper. This movie would have been a lot better if they had given the heroes and the villain some kind of personality.

Around 53 minutes into the action, the Goodyear blimp spots the sniper, and Captain Peter Holly (Charlton Heston) finally gets off his butt and eyeballs the problem. When a disgruntled stadium employee (Brook Peters of "Ace High") tries to enter the bunker-like station behind the electronic scoreboard, the killer strikes him with the butt of his automatic weapon and sends him falling to his death 60 feet below. Now, Capt. Holly calls in the S.W.A.T. team headed up by Sergeant Button (John Cassavetes of "The Dirty Dozen"). Holly wants to wait until the last minute to take out the sniper, while Button complains that the longer that they wait the worst the situation will become.

Others here in this comment section have already commented on the irony of future NRA President Charlton Heston clamoring for restraint, while liberal-minded actor Cassavetes plays a trigger-happy cop.

Once the shooting starts, the "Two Minute Warning" turns into a mini-disaster epic as the crowd of between 90 and 100-thousand fans panic and scramble for the exits. Of course, our heroes ice the sniper but learn little more than his name. Talk about an interesting trivia question: what was the sniper's name? The "Two Minute Warning" lost money and later he was re-edited by nervous television executives who felt the theatrical version did itself in because of its murderous sniper character. Gee, guess none of those guys ever saw Peter Bogdanovich's "Targets" (1968) or Don Siegel's "Dirty Harry" (1971). Mind you, sniper movies go back at least as far as the 1952 Edward Dmytryk movie "The Sniper." Peerce generates moderate suspense, but you won't be sitting on the edge of your seat. Instead, you'll be juggling your remote control trying to decide whether to fast-forward. Oh, yeah, the sniper's name is Carl Cook, and he is a transient. Our heroes never learn his motives.

Incidentally, soft-core porn director Andy Sidaris plays the TV sports director, and his assistant is none other than future sports movie director Ron Shelton. Another major complaint is with the game itself. It's hard to keep the teams straight, especially because they are fictional teams and their uniforms bear no markings. About the only use for this movie is as a time capsule. Nobody who pull off what the sniper did in the opening scenes, especially with his jacket that was modified to conceal the various components of his rifle. A better version of this movie appeared a year later in 1977 with a terrorist attack on the Super Bowl in director John Frankenheimer's "Black Sunday."


In more ways than one, "Two-Minute Warning" is very reminiscent to that other 70's movie "Rollercoaster". They're both quite obscure in spite of the famous names involved, they both qualify as paranoid disaster movies and they both could and should have done more with their potentially brilliant basic plot outlines. I use the terms paranoid thriller and disaster movie to describe these films because they are mixtures of both. In paranoid thrillers a psychopath usually selects random innocent targets to agonize and in disaster movies large masses of people suddenly find themselves trapped or in great inescapable danger. "Two- Minute Warning" is a nearly perfect amalgam, with its premise of a lone sniper – whose motivations and even his face remain unknown throughout the film – hiding in the scoreboard tower of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum during the football championship finale; when the stadium is at its full 91.000 maximum capacity. His motivations may be unknown, but the stone cold and brutal opening sequence, in which the shooter target- practices against an innocent man on a bicycle already manifested that he's merciless and extremely dangerous. When a TV-camera spots the sniper in his hideout, a large-scaled police operation unfolds behinds the scenes of the ongoing football game, with police Captain Peter Holly (Charlton Heston) preferring to wait and SWAT commander Burton (John Cassavetes) insisting on prompt action.

Overall, I would say that the suggestive power and ideas behind "Two- Minute Warning" are far more disturbing and nightmarish than the actual execution. But perhaps it's also better this way, because the actuality of the subject could still cause large-scaled mass hysteria even nowadays. Strictly talking in terms of cinematic value, "Two-Minute Warning" nevertheless benefices from a very powerful first half hour and an astonishingly tense climax. Apart from the aforementioned target practice sequence, the opening contains many more sequences that literally ooze with suspense. For example the scenes in which the sniper observes the crowd through the telescopic lens of his rifle, and occasionally stops to zoom in on a potential victim, are literally nerve-wrecking. The POV camera angle increases the intensity and this sniper just happens to be crazy enough to shoot anyone, and thus the level of tension remains quite high. The finale, last 15 to 20 minutes or so, are sheer disaster movie genius, with devastating images of chaotic escaping attempts and unsettling footage of people getting overrun on their turbulent journey to the emergency exits. These massively staged sequences obviously aren't pleasant to look at, but you simply have to admire any film that mobilized such large crowds of people. The middle section is slightly overlong and drags in places, as it particularly focuses on the police interactions and the slightly more detailed introduction of a handful of football fans in the stadium. The script focuses on certain people, like a bickering elderly couple, a family of four, a man with huge gambling debts and a woman openly flirting with the man in the seat next to her, but we don't really get to know them. These short interludes might have worked very effectively in the novel ("Two-Minute Warning" adapted from a novel by George La Fontaine Sr.) but in a film they merely just serve to fill up some time. The violence, like the impact of the rifle shots, is quite harsh and shocking. The acting performances are decent but certainly not outstanding, with routine roles for disaster movie veteran Charlton Heston ("Earthquake", "Skyjacked"…), Martin Balsam ("Psycho"), Beau Bridges, David Janssen and Jack Klugman. Recommended, in a double- feature with the aforementioned "Rollercoaster" perhaps, but for genuine disaster movies check out "The Towering Inferno" and "The Poseidon Adventure" and for genuine paranoid thrillers check out the first "Dirty Harry" (also with a sniper).