The Man Who Never Was (1956)

Approved  |   |  War, Drama  |  9 May 1956 (France)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 3,012 users  
Reviews: 56 user | 8 critic

True story of a British attempt to trick the enemy into weakening Sicily's defenses before the 1943 attack, using a dead man with faked papers.



(book) (as The Hon. Ewen Montagu C.B.E. D.L. Q.C.) , (screenplay)
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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lt. Cmdr. Ewen Montagu
Lucy Sherwood
Robert Flemyng ...
Lt. George Acres
Josephine Griffin ...
Patrick O'Reilly
Laurence Naismith ...
Adm. Cross
Geoffrey Keen ...
Gen. Nye
Moultrie Kelsall ...
The Father
Taxi Driver
Gen. Coburn
Allan Cuthbertson ...
Joan Hickson ...
Terence Longdon ...
Larry (as Terence Longden)
Gibb McLaughlin ...
Club Porter


British Intelligence during World War II is trying to get the German High Command to shift it's forces away from Italy prior to the invasion. To create the illusion of a plan for England to invade Greece a dead body is to be procured, allowed to be found with secret papers on him by Spanish authorities who will send the papers on to the Germans, or that's the plan. First they have to find a body that will look drowned, and create an identity for him that will pass the examination of the German agent who is sure to check him out. Based on a true story. Written by John Vogel <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The most fiendish plot ever conceived! The most amazing "human being" ever created! The most diabolical phantom-- See more »


War | Drama


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Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

9 May 1956 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Der Mann, den es nie gab  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System) (magnetic prints)| (optical prints)


Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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Did You Know?


Stephen Boyd was cast at short notice as the German spy after the original choice, Kieron Moore, dropped out. See more »


In the scene where Montagu receives a telephone call from Gen. Nye summoning him to 10 Downing Street, there is a calendar in the background that reads Friday, April 12. In 1943, when this movie takes place, April 12 fell on a Monday. See more »


Adm. Cross: [Montagu has just informed him of the secret plan to use a freshly dead body as if it were a live person to fool the Nazis] It's the most outrageous, disgusting, preposterous, not to say barbaric idea I've ever heard, but work out full details and get back to me in the morning!
Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu: Thank you, sir!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Military security and respect for a solemn promise have made it necessary to disguise the identity of some of the characters in this film; but in all other essentials this is the true story of "Major William Martin" See more »


Referenced in Back to the Beach (1987) See more »


Bless 'em All
Written by Fred Godfrey (1917)
Revised lyrics by Jimmy Hughes and Frank Lake (1940)
Additional lyrics by Al Stillman (1941)
Sung by the patrons of pub
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User Reviews

Interesting spy drama
20 November 2000 | by (Eatontown, NJ, USA) – See all my reviews

Based on "Operation Mincemeat" during World War II, this film is an excellent example of a spy movie that is interesting without being gimmicky or melodramatic. An excellent cast is headed by the redoubtable Clifton Webb.

The elaborate plot to trick Nazis by using a corpse masquerading as a dead Royal Marine officer is amazing in its detail. The film is all the more astonishing because it is based on the actual ruse to deceive the enemy into thinking that the invasion of Italy would take place in a location other than where it actually happened. A good film for espionage lovers.

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