Puppet on a Chain (1971)

PG  |   |  Action, Crime, Thriller  |  5 November 1971 (Ireland)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 5.9/10 from 615 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 16 critic

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), 2 more credits »
0Check in
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: GP Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

In a vein similar to Bond movies, a British agent Philip Calvert is on a mission to determine the whereabouts of a ship that disappeared near the coast of Scotland.

Director: Etienne Périer
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Jack Hawkins, Robert Morley
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Following the death of his family in an aeroplane crash, a man plots an elaborate revenge scheme on those responsible. By setting himself up as a criminal, he plans to get close to a ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Tuchner
Stars: Barry Newman, Suzy Kendall, John Vernon
Bear Island (1979)
Action | Adventure | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

On the remote Norwegian Bear Island, used as a submarine base by the Germans during WW2, U.N. scientist Larsen sends a distress signal using an emergency NATO frequency and is received by scientific vessel Morning Rose.

Director: Don Sharp
Stars: Donald Sutherland, Vanessa Redgrave, Richard Widmark
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Born to twin sisters on the same day in London, France and Margaret are more like brother and sister than cousins. The close relationship between the cousins is suspended when Margaret is ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Ellis Miller
Stars: Hywel Bennett, Leigh Taylor-Young, Jane Asher
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.2/10 X  

The South African businessman David Swansey is delivering illegal German helicopters to Rhodesia. That makes the patriot Gideon Marunga an angry man.

Director: James Fargo
Stars: Richard Harris, Richard Roundtree, Joan Collins
Certificate: M Action | Adventure | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Allied agents stage a daring raid on a castle where the Nazis are holding an American General prisoner... but that's not all that's really going on.

Director: Brian G. Hutton
Stars: Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, Mary Ure
The Satan Bug (1965)
Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A germ warfare lab has had an accident. The first theory is that one of the nasty germs has gotten free and killed several scientists. The big fear is that a more virulent strain, named The... See full summary »

Director: John Sturges
Stars: George Maharis, Richard Basehart, Anne Francis
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.1/10 X  

An adventurer (Hamilton) decides to go in search of the lost city in the Amazon jungle. A motley crew of other people with reasons of their own decide to join him for the wealth of the lost... See full summary »

Director: Steve Carver
Stars: Michael Dudikoff, Donald Pleasence, Robert Vaughn
Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

American Neil Bowman is traveling through France when he meets British photographer Lila. They are hired by French land owner Duc de Croyter to escort a Hungarian scientist to New York. But... See full summary »

Director: Geoffrey Reeve
Stars: David Birney, Charlotte Rampling, Michael Lonsdale
Adventure | History | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Vienna, 1956. After Soviet tanks crush the Hungarian uprising, soldier-of-fortune Mike Reynolds is hired to help a threatened Hungarian scientist (Prof. Jansci) escape from Budapest. He and... See full summary »

Directors: Phil Karlson, Richard Widmark
Stars: Richard Widmark, Sonja Ziemann, Charles Regnier
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Aboard the cargo vessel converted into a luxury cruise ship SS Campari somewhere in the Caribbean is lying in port due to a succession of delays. Chief Officer Johnny Carter, who has to put... See full summary »

Directors: Ashley Lazarus, Freddie Francis
Stars: Richard Harris, Ann Turkel, Gordon Jackson
The Way to Dusty Death (TV Movie 1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.1/10 X  
Director: Geoffrey Reeve
Stars: Linda Hamilton, Simon MacCorkindale, Uwe Ochsenknecht


Complete credited cast:
Paul Sherman
Colonel De Graaf
Patrick Allen ...
Inspector Van Gelder
Vladek Sheybal ...
Ania Marson ...
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


The blazing break-up of a narcotics ring that will have you hanging on the edge of your seat! See more »


Action | Crime | Thriller


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

5 November 1971 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

Alistair Maclean's Puppet on a Chain  »

Box Office


SEK 1,400,299 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The music for the film was composed and and arranged by Piero Piccioni. It was conducted by Harry Rabinowitz and performed by The London Sinfonia. It was recorded on the Shepperton Studio Scoring Stage in September 1970. See more »


At one point during the Amsterdam boat chase, the white boat hits a bridge and sustains fairly severe damage to the prow (which is acknowledged in the sound effects). In the next shot, the boat is unblemished again. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Top-notch drug smuggling thriller on par with the French Connection movies
16 March 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Don't you just love it when you stumble across an unknown movie and discover it to be an instant favourite? That's the case with PUPPET ON A CHAIN, a virtually forgotten Alistair MacLean drug smuggling thriller that turns out to be one of the most entertaining of '70s thrillers. With shades of Bond and a wonderful setting in the atmospheric city of Amsterdam, this is up there with the best of genre a la the two FRENCH CONNECTION movies.

Sven-Bertil Taube is the solid lead, playing an American agent dispatched to the Netherlands to break up a drug-smuggling ring. Once there he finds himself pursued by an assassin while investigating some shady business ventures that may well be the front for heroin smuggling on a grand scale. The story is fine, but it's the action that makes this a class act: there's a speedboat chase to rival the ones in LIVE AND LET DIE and AMSTERDAMNED alongside plenty of other great suspense and action sequences.

Director Don Sharp, famous from his work for Hammer Studios, contributes to the action and stunts, in particular helping shoot the aforementioned speedboat chase which is the definite highlight and might be the best thing Sharp ever did. Elsewhere, a decent cast of character actors has been assembled, with unique-looking faces filling the cast list. The only thing this film needs now is a decent Blu-ray release...

0 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Amazing boat chase blur81
Discuss Puppet on a Chain (1971) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: