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Puppet on a Chain (1971)

Following a triple professional hit a U.S. agent arrives in Amsterdam to investigate a heroin smuggling ring. He finds a city rife with drugs and a police force unable or unwilling to do ... See full summary »



(screenplay) (as Alistair Maclean), (additional material) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Paul Sherman
Colonel De Graaf
Patrick Allen ...
Inspector Van Gelder
Astrid Lemay
Penny Casdagli ...
Peter Hutchins ...
The Assassin
Drewe Henley ...
Jimmy Duclos
Henny Orri ...
Herta (as Henni Orri)
Stewart F. Lane ...
George Lemay (as Stewart Lane)
Mark Malicz ...
Michael Mellinger ...
Hotel Manager


Following a triple professional hit a U.S. agent arrives in Amsterdam to investigate a heroin smuggling ring. He finds a city rife with drugs and a police force unable or unwilling to do much about it. With his incognito female fellow agent the American is soon stirring things up. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It will keep you hanging on the edge of your seat! See more »


Action | Thriller


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

5 November 1971 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

Alistair Maclean's Puppet on a Chain  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Back-to-back consecutive spy movie for cinematographer Jack Hildyard whose previous picture he had lensed had been the Alfred Hitchcock espionage film Topaz (1969). See more »


In a stunt shot during a fight on a dockside, as one crook is thrown into the water, one of the recovery diver's bright yellow air tanks is visible just below the water surface. See more »

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User Reviews

Waste of a great Alistair MacLean book.
22 October 2002 | by (North Hemis) – See all my reviews

Soulless, silly international co-production boasts picture postcard cinematography in Amsterdam and other locales but is too generic and clichéd otherwise to drum up much excitement. The nominal hero is as stiff and expressionless as a Ken doll, and the vaunted boat chase -- staple of the trailer and TV commercials of the time -- is technically well-executed but out of place in what was supposed to be an adaptation of MacLean's dark, complex tale of drug smuggling, murder and espionage.

This is one of those many cases where producers obtained rights to a valuable property and then jettisoned 90% of what made it memorable or effective; particularly inexplicable in this case, as MacLean is listed as one of the screenwriters! A good (or bad) example of those infamous multi-national 'tax shelter' film productions of the 60's/early 70's.


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