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The Helicopter Spies (1968)

Approved | | Action, Drama, Thriller | 2 January 1968 (Japan)
An African village is nearly exterminated by a deadly weapon - The Thermal Prism. Napoleon and Ilya must find it first before it can be used again for the conquest of the world.



, (developer: The Man From U.N.C.L.E.)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Napoleon Solo (archive footage)
Illya Kuryakin (archive footage)
Annie (archive footage)
Luther Sebastian (archive footage)
Azalea (archive footage)
Alexander Waverly (archive footage)
Dr. Parviz Kharmusi (archive footage)
Third-Way Priest (archive footage)
Laurie Sebastian (archive footage)
The Aksoy Brothers (archive footage)
Carl (archive footage)
White Hunter (archive footage)
Mom (archive footage)
Ship's Captain (archive footage)
Barbara Moore ...
Lisa Rogers (archive footage)


U.N.C.L.E. agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin are sent to retrieve Dr. Kharmusi's latest invention, a death-ray called the thermal prism. In order to break into Dr. Kharmusi's secure vault, U.N.C.L.E. seeks out notorious safe cracker Luther Sebastian who is a fugitive from justice hiding in a country without extradition treaties. In exchange for an international pardon, Luther Sebastian agrees to help U.N.C.L.E. retrieve the thermal prism. Secretly, Luther Sebastian has ambitions of his own regarding the new weapon. He's part of a mystical and religious group called the Third Way, that seeks world-domination and whose members and disciples wear platinum white hair. Solo makes his way to Dr. Kharmusi's fortress, Illya Kuryakin and Luther Sebastian are dropped by parachute into the area and sneak into the fortified compound at night. After a series of unforeseen incidents, crosses, double-crosses and unexpected revelations, the U.N.C.L.E. team leaves with the thermal prism while ... Written by nufs68

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New excitement ! Newest U.N.C.L.E. thriller !


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

2 January 1968 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Die unverbesserlichen Drei  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Aside from Luther Sebastian, all the members of the Third Way, from its high priest to its henchmen and female entertainers, sports a platinum blonde hair. See more »


There is an airport shot titled on screen as being Tehran, Iran, however dominating the shot is a Lockheed Electra aircraft of TEAL (Tasman Empire Airways Limited), a New Zealand airline and forerunner to Air NZ. That airline never flew further west from NZ than Australia and would never have tried flying thousands of miles to the Middle East using such a relatively short range turboprop aircraft. See more »


Spun-off from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964) See more »

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User Reviews

One of the best UNCLE movies
30 November 2001 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

UNCLE enlist safe cracker Luther Sebastian to steal a thermal prison from Dr Karmusi in exchange for immunity from all his crimes. However he himself steals the weapon and plans to use it to allow his brothers in the Cult of the Third Way to rule the world. UNCLE agents Solo and Kuryakin pursue Sebastian, closely followed by Annie whose partner was framed by Sebastian for a crime he didn't commit.

After the mess of The Karate Killers this was a refreshing return to the spoof tradition of the UNCLE series. The plot is as ever, very unlikely and farfetched. But it's all done with a great deal of fun and doesn't take itself too seriously. The story is actually quite clever in some places, with a few nice twists to it but more than anything else, it is told with tongue in cheek throughout. This is much better than the Karate Killers which took itself far too seriously and lost all sense of fun.

This has a great sense of fun around it that comes from several places. Firstly both McCallum and Vaughn seem to be enjoying themselves again and bring a lot more energy to the film. Secondly the TV series influence is back - with the theme music back in place throughout. Thirdly the villains are back on top form, previously Hebert Lom was terrible playing it straight. Here Bradford Dillman plays Sebastian really camp and gets plenty of good lines and even his henchmen have some too. For example Sebastian saying "my wife doesn't understand me" or a henchman telling his mom "someday I'll take you away from here", "but I like it here" only to dejectedly say "I know, I know". Or Solo being praised for his good work only to told "you'll have to ride in the back of the truck with the others - I can't show favouritism".

This feeling of fun helps the film immensely and it's really enjoyable to watch. Other nice touches include the Cult's hideout having a service door and the old man who hasn't spoken for 20 years (played by a silent John Carradine!). The rest of the cast are all good. Vaughn and McCallum have equal roles by this stage and enjoy themselves in familiar roles. Dillman is fantastic as Sebastian - following Jack Palance's example of a good UNCLE villain. The women are a pretty non-descript bunch, all pretty blondes etc with no real characters. The best role/s of the film are taken by H.M. Wynant as the 4 circus brothers who help Annie hunt Sebastian down.

One of the best of the UNCLE series - the rule is keep it fun, don't try to be a serious spy movie. Oh - and have a camp bad guy! However why do the vast majority of UNCLE titles have to be meaningless? The film is called the helicopter spies because it opens with Solo and Kuryakin landing a helicopter in a village.

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