147 user 65 critic

Torn Curtain (1966)

Approved | | Thriller | 11 August 1966 (UK)
An American scientist publicly defects to East Germany as part of a cloak and dagger mission to find the solution for a formula resin before planning an escape back to the West.




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2 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Heinrich Gerhard (as Hansjoerg Felmy)
Günter Strack ...
Gisela Fischer ...
Carolyn Conwell ...
Arthur Gould-Porter ...
Freddy - the Bookseller
Gloria Govrin ...
Fräulein Mann


Professor Michael Armstrong is heading to Copenhagen to attend a physics conference accompanied by his assistant-fiancée Sarah Sherman. Once arrived however, Michael informs her that he may be staying for awhile and she should return home. She follows him and realizes he's actually heading to East Germany, behind the Iron Curtain. She follows him there and is shocked when he announces that he's defecting to the East after the US government canceled his research project. In fact, Michael is there to obtain information from a renowned East German scientist. Once the information is obtained, he and Sarah now have to make their way back to the West. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Suspense! Azione! Sorpresa! [Suspense! Action! Surprise!] See more »




Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

11 August 1966 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Cortina rasgada  »


Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$13,000,000, 31 December 1966
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


In a Norman Lloyd/Steve Smith 1996 Interview, Lloyd revealed that he was there during the break-up of the Alfred Hitchcock/Bernard Herrmann partnership. Lloyd said that there was great pressure on Hitchcock not to hire Bernard Herrmann. That pressure came from the front office at Universal, most notably from its music department. The reason given was that Herrmann couldn't write a hit song. Universal was talking about getting Henry Mancini, but Hitchcock decided to go with Herrmann, but because of the pressure he was getting from Universal he laid very specifically to Herrmann what he wanted in the score. Herrmann wrote the score after receiving this directive. When Hitchcock heard the score he said, in effect, "I don't want to hear another note. This is not what I asked for in the cable. This is a complete violation of my requests." He walked off the stage, had the orchestra dismissed, canceled the next day, and never heard another note of the score. Herrmann tried to get to see Hitchcock, but Hitchcock wouldn't see him--he felt that Herrmann had deliberately ignored his directive. Lloyd went on to say, "Hitch took the violation as a personal insult, because he had been so careful to lay out his instructions. Then you must also realize that he had hired Benny over the objections of the front office. So the whole situation contributed to Hitch's feeling that Benny had betrayed him." See more »


Or their shadow, anyway. On the road-level shot of Armstrong's taxi leaving the farm (Gromek's motorbike is visible on the left of the screen), just at the very bottom of the image can be seen the shadow of the camera (4:3 television version only). See more »


[first lines]
Professor Karl Manfred: Are they ever going to get the heating fixed?
Norwegian crewman: They are working at it, Professor. Perhaps some of you scientists would like to give us a helping hand!
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Referenced in American Dreams: No Satisfaction (2005) See more »


Torn Curtain Love Theme (End Title)
Written by John Addison
Performed by The Johnny Mann Singers
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Good, but not vintage Hitch!
31 August 2014 | by See all my reviews

"Torn Curtain" had the promise of being like "Notorious." Spies and counter spies, no one can be trusted, defections to the East German sector, Julie Andrews in a quandary,Paul Newman burdened with secrets etc. It is all intriguing, and the death of the policeman is one of he most graphic death scenes for Hitchcock, although Psycho's offering is one in a billion.

Andrews and Newman..what a couple! But they are so bland, and often act against each other. What's going on? Newman is more experienced and so he washes Julie Andrews off the screen. Yes, he might be doing that. However, her static nature, her talk, her ordering food in restaurants (and there are many sit-down scenes in this) in this film makes for more tension as we move along, and as it turns out. Hitchcock always knows what to do with not-so-hot actors..he turns it all around on you and them, in this case Miss Andrews.

There are notable scenes,in the theater for example, and a lot of strange rear projection shots and whole studio-origin scenes that become more obvious, especially in this lurid color film. What's going on? Hitchcock hated locations, but this had a big budget..he wants, I think, to make a film that is somewhat false, scenic, derivative even..in plot structural terms,an overestimation of Communism and its threat to our materialistic world. Look at Julie Andrew's hair and clothes..very expensive, very much like Marnie. It has an anti McCarthyism mood about it, a comic book flavor to it that justifies many otherwise awkward technical moments. Hitchcock loved playing games, and he loved comic book inventiveness..this film could be a MARVEL piece, and I think it is one. Hitchcock triumphs again. During the making of this, he told people that he was sad about it all, did not like Newman too much or Andrews, hated the color photography etc etc..all of this gossip to throw critics and viewers as well way off the track. And the soundtrack!!! Isn't it lush for this kind of drama?

See this film at 132 minutes, very long, and watch the antic disposition of a master at work. It is a very underrated film.

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