Spy Game

November 21st, 2001


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Retiring CIA agent Nathan Muir recalls his training of Tom Bishop while working against agency politics to free him from his Chinese captors.

Release Year: 2001

Rating: 6.9/10 (61,987 voted)

Critic's Score: 63/100

Director: Tony Scott

Stars: Robert Redford, Brad Pitt, Catherine McCormack

CIA operative Nathan Muir (Redford) is on the brink of retirement when he finds out that his protege Tom Bishop (Pitt) has been arrested in China for espionage. No stranger to the machinations of the CIA's top echelon, Muir hones all his skills and irreverent manner in order to find a way to free Bishop. As he embarks on his mission to free Bishop, Muir recalls how he recruited and trained the young rookie, at that time a sergeant in Vietnam, their turbulent times together as operatives and the woman who threatened their friendship.

Writers: Michael Frost Beckner, Michael Frost Beckner

Robert Redford - Nathan D. Muir
Brad Pitt - Tom Bishop
Catherine McCormack - Elizabeth Hadley
Stephen Dillane - Charles Harker
Larry Bryggman - Troy Folger
Marianne Jean-Baptiste - Gladys Jennip
Matthew Marsh - Dr. William Byars
Todd Boyce - Robert Aiken
Michael Paul Chan - Vincent Vy Ngo
Garrick Hagon - CIA Director Cy Wilson
Andrew Grainger - Andrew Unger
Bill Buell - Fred Kappler
Colin Stinton - Henry Pollard
Ted Maynard - CIA Administrator
Tom Hodgkins - CIA Lobby Guard

Taglines: "Poor is the pupil who does not surpass his teacher" (Leonardo Da Vinci)


Official Website: Universal |

Release Date: 21 November 2001

Filming Locations: Beirut, Lebanon

Box Office Details

Budget: $92,000,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: $21,689,125 (USA) (25 November 2001) (2770 Screens)

Gross: $143,049,560 (Worldwide) (2002)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | Turkey: (TV version)

Did You Know?

The building identified as the US Embassy in Hong Kong is actually the headquarters of HSBC - the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.

Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): Muir, after having Bishop elicit a piece of information, tells Bishop he gave out 4 facts about himself (Bishop) for one dubious piece of information: "You're straight, you're engaged, tomorrow is your girl's birthday, and you have no taste in women's fashion... What if she was an asset: You told her four lies that now have to be true." But Bishop *is* straight. He only told 3 lies.

Nathan Muir: See that building across the way?
Tom Bishop: Yeah.
Nathan Muir: Do you know anyone there?
Tom Bishop: No.
Nathan Muir: In five minutes I want to see you on the balcony.
Tom Bishop: What do...
Nathan Muir: Five minutes.
Tom Bishop: Can't we discuss it over coffee?
Nathan Muir: You just lost ten seconds.

User Review

In response to the negative reviews

Rating: 10/10

I can't believe some of the nonsense I've read here. People are complaining that Redford looked too old in the flashback scenes -- for one, I thought he looked believable. Secondly, Hollywood hasn't cloned Redford in a vat yet so we'll just have to live with scenes like this. So get over it. Others complain that the movie is somehow BORING, which blows my mind, considering it's non-stop, fast paced action and dialogue. If you're attention span is too short for this movie I'm sure you'll enjoy crap like "XXX". Others complain about messy plot logic (how did a CIA operative get into a Chinese prison? Huuu duhh, I dunno! It's a popcorn flick you morons! It's not a 900 page novel or a documentary). The plot takes a few leaps here and there, but a Snake Eyes or Face/Off this film is not. I read complaints about the 'arty', flashy 'MTV' style editing and filming techniques -- I actually thought the movie was filmed and edited superbly and the contemporary, TV-commercial style actually complemented the film. It's crisp, tight, taut and entertaining. You get the feeling this is a high-quality production, whereas with something like "Mission Impossible 2" the same type of style is implemented but it comes off feeling cheap. Not here, not with this movie. As with Enemy of the State, it works. I have a feeling some of the people that thought it was boring simply couldn't follow what was going on. The plot does make sense if you have the attention span to keep up.