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Telefon (1977)

PG  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  16 December 1977 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 3,794 users  
Reviews: 36 user | 30 critic

A Russian officer is sent to USA to try and stop sleeper agents who will mindlessly attack government entities when they hear certain coded words.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicolai Dalchimsky
Dorothy Putterman
Alan Badel ...
Colonel Malchenko
Patrick Magee ...
General Strelsky
Marie Wills
Frank Marth ...
Harley Sandburg
Helen Page Camp ...
Emma Stark
Doug Stark
Mrs. Hassler
Ed Bakey ...
Carl Hassler
Harry Bascom
Iggie Wolfington ...
Father Stuart Diller
Hank Brandt ...
William Enders


The KGB is looking for one of their people, a man named Dalchimsky because he has stolen something important but, unfortunately, he manages to get through the border. Later in the U.S. some seemingly ordinary people after receiving a phone call go out and destroy key American military installations. Back in the U.S.S.R. General Strelsky and Colonel Malchenko send for Grigori Borzov, a KGB agent who has been to the U.S. on missions before. They inform him that after the U-2 incident in fear of the possibility that a war with the U.S. will occur; they were part of an operation called TELEFON that involved recruiting young agents and then brainwashing them into believing that they are Americans. They would assume the identity of an American who died a long time ago and who would be their age now. They would be situated in a city that is near or where a key U.S. military installation is located. They were also programmed to destroy upon receiving the command phrase. They have been ... Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Your next phone call may be your last! See more »


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

16 December 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Телефон  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Scenes set in Houston, Texas, USA were actually filmed in Great Falls, Montana, USA (landscape exteriors) and on the studio back-lot (interiors). See more »


No foreign cars were allowed to be used by KGB officials back in 1970s. Instead of filmed Mercedes Pullman KGB general should've been driven in ZIL or Volga. See more »


Grigori Borzov: Being paranoid doesn't mean we're not being followed.
See more »


Referenced in Loose Cannons (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

The Ultimate Détente Film
16 March 2001 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

If you look at the history of American Cold War films, you see they often, but not always reflect the current state of Western-Soviet relations. Many of the B-movies of the 1950's reflected the anti-communist paranoia that existed stateside; and that decades's Invasion of the Body Snatchers (also directed by Don Siegel) brilliantly parodied McCarthyism. Now we find ourselves in the late 1970's. Gone are Stalin and Kruschev - now we have Breznev and Nixon/Ford and Jimmy Carter and a gradual policy of rapprochement and cooling of tensions. In this film, neo-Stalinists are purged by the pro-Détente Soviet leadership. One such old guard agent, played by Donald Pleasance (who is always in fine form with these 'oily' character representations) decides to unleash an old Soviet conspiracy hatched by leaders in the 50's and unknown to most of the current Soviet brass. I am not going to rehash the entire plot, but let it suffice to say that we have a top Soviet Army General (played by Charles Bronson who mercifully does not even attempt a Russian accent) working together with American double agent Lee Remick, to battle forces more sinister than the current leadership of either the US or the USSR. This truly is the movie that best reflects the détente political philosophy in vogue at this time.

21 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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