I'm a sucker for movies with blimps and hot air balloons (from Jules Verne to James Bond). A movie where the Goodyear Blimp plays a major role is right up my alley. But that's not all. This is one of the most realistic political thrillers ever filmed. Each actor regardless of the size of role in this film simply blows away most of what passes for acting today. Frankenheimer's direction (style later copied on Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue) was perhaps ten to fifteen years ahead of its time, and the editing at times perhaps second only to Jaws and maybe a Hitchcock film or two (though it does slow down in the middle). This is a film where the obvious villain, played by a colorful Bruce Dern, is the central character driving the story, and Robert Shaw's underplayed hero somewhat of an antagonist getting in the way. Dern's character is not glorified (as many of that film era were such as in Bonnie and Clyde, The Sting, and Butch Cassidy). The camera is there so we may understand his character without romanticism or sympathy. We are left to make up our own mind about his villainy, and Dern's performance leaves little to question that he is a deranged lunatic. Perhaps this is why the film is not so known today. Vietnam vets returning home was a fairly new topic for films at the time (ironically "Coming Home" with Bruce Dern as a sympathetic vet was the first big film about this subject). The "crazed Viet Vet" became a stereotype and politically incorrect. It is too bad this film was lumped into that group, because it is as good as a thriller can get. Next to "Jaws," this is Shaw's best performance. This is a film that can be watched over and over because it is so complex. I recommend buying the film as opposed to renting it, so you can savor it like a good wine.