The Ipcress File

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"The spy story of the century."
  • Passed
  • 1965
  • 1 hr 49 min
  • 7.2  (17,432)
  • 66

The Ipcress File is a British spy thriller film that was released in 1965. It starred Michael Caine in the lead role of Harry Palmer, an intelligence agent who is tasked with investigating a series of kidnappings of top British scientists. The film was directed by Sidney J. Furie and produced by Harry Saltzman, who had previously produced the popular James Bond series.

The film is based on the 1962 novel of the same name by Len Deighton. The screenplay was written by Bill Canaway and James Doran, who updated the story to reflect the changing political climate of the mid-1960s. The film was known for its gritty and realistic depiction of the world of espionage, which was a departure from the more glamorous portrayal of spies in films like the James Bond series.

The story revolves around Harry Palmer, a low-level intelligence agent who is pulled into a high-stakes investigation when a number of top British scientists are kidnapped. Palmer is a reluctant hero, sarcastic and streetwise, who ends up uncovering a complex conspiracy involving international espionage and brainwashing techniques.

Michael Caine gives a nuanced and captivating performance as Harry Palmer, imbuing his character with a sense of dry wit and intelligence. Nigel Green also gives an impressive performance as Palmer's boss, Colonel Ross. Guy Doleman rounds out the cast as Major Dalby, a rival intelligence agent who doesn't trust Palmer and is working against him.

The film is notable for its stylish direction, with creative camera angles and a kinetic energy that keeps the audience engaged. Furie makes excellent use of lighting, shadow, and composition to create a moody and atmospheric tone. The film was shot on location in London, which adds to the gritty realism of the story.

One of the most memorable elements of the film is its soundtrack. The score by John Barry is a catchy and infectious blend of jazzy percussion and brass that perfectly captures the cool and sophisticated vibe of the film. The main theme, "A Man Alone," has become iconic and is instantly recognizable to fans of the genre.

The Ipcress File is a smart and engaging spy thriller that stands the test of time. Its realistic portrayal of espionage and its nuanced characters set it apart from other spy films of the era. Michael Caine's performance as Harry Palmer is a standout, and the film's stylish direction and memorable soundtrack make it a classic of the genre.

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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 49 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (17,432)
  • Metascore