6.6/10
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The Thirty-Nine Steps (1978)

PG | | Thriller | 2 May 1980 (USA)
The year is 1914 and Richard Hannay, Mining Engineer who is visiting Britain for a short time before returning to South Africa, is shocked when one of his neighbours, Colonel Scudder, ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Appleton
...
Lomas
...
Alex
...
Scudder
...
Sir Walter Bullivant
...
Bayliss
...
Marshall
...
Porton
...
David
...
Lord Rohan
Robert Flemyng ...
Magistrate
...
Harkness
Paul McDowell ...
McLean
...
Tillotson
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Storyline

The year is 1914 and Richard Hannay, Mining Engineer who is visiting Britain for a short time before returning to South Africa, is shocked when one of his neighbours, Colonel Scudder, bursts into his rooms one night and tells him a story that Prussian 'sleeper' agents are planning to pre-start World War I by murdering a visiting foreign minister. However, Scudder is murdered and Hannay is framed for the death by the 'sleepers'. Fleeing to Scotland Hannay attempts to clear his name and to stop the agents with the aid of Alex Mackenzie but not only is he is chased by Chief Supt Lomas for Scudder's death but by the agents who is headed by Appleton who has managed to hide himself in a high-placed position in the British Government... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Every second counts in the adventure of a lifetime! See more »

Genres:

Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

2 May 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The 39 Steps  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

| (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character of Sir Richard Hannay (played by Robert Powell), also appears in another John Buchan story which has been filmed, "The Three Hostages", which has been shot twice, for television on both occasions, as a series, The Three Hostages (1952), and as a tele-movie, The Three Hostages (1977), the latter of which was first broadcast just the year before this motion picture debuted. See more »

Goofs

The train that Hannay travels to Scotland is far too modern. The coaches were built by the LMS railway company which was formed in 1924 and the loco was built in after WW2. See more »

Quotes

Liberal Conference Audience Member: Why don't you stop asking questions and tell us something?
Hannay: Yes, I will tell you something. You're not awake! You wouldn't know if... if those two men who just walked in weren't German Sleeper Agents.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Last Horror Film (1982) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The closest version to the book
16 July 2004 | by (Manchester, England) – See all my reviews

While it may not be the best version of the film, it is certainly the best interpretation of Buchan's book.

I personally am not a great fan of Robert Powell, and it's this that may hinder this film, but I do believe he has caught the character of Richard Hannay, a cocksure South African mining engineer back in the 'old country' bored and ready to return when he meets a spy (Scudder) who is killed in his apartment.

The character of Scudder is excellently played by John Mills, and is a prefect recreation of the character in the book.

If you've not done so, read the book. There's no silly handcuffed love interest in it and is a fascinating read. Then, move onto "Greenmantle", and the rest of Buchan's books containing Hannay,


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