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The Thirty-Nine Steps (1978)

 -  Thriller  -  2 May 1980 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 1,493 users  
Reviews: 39 user | 5 critic

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
Eric Porter ...
Lomas
...
Alex
...
Scudder
...
Sir Walter Bullivant
...
Bayliss
Donald Pickering ...
Marshall
...
Porton
...
David
Andrew Keir ...
Lord Rohan
Robert Flemyng ...
Magistrate
William Squire ...
Harkness
Paul McDowell ...
McLean
David Collings ...
Tillotson
Edit

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:

A game of terror begins. The only clues... Are the victims. See more »

Genres:

Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 May 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The 39 Steps  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

| (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The only big-screen cinema version of John Buchan's "The 39 Steps" novel which was not set in the same year that the movie was made and released (which was 1914) as was the case with the two earlier films, 1935's The 39 Steps (1935) and 1959's The 39 Steps (1959). 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 »

Connections

Edited into The Clock (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Ripping Yarn
19 March 2007 | by (Derry, Ireland) – See all my reviews

This is about as far removed from the Hitchcock version as you could imagine. For starters, instead of a beautiful female spy you get John Mills, (though his demise with a knife in his back in the arms of the hero in a public place might be taken as a tribute to "North by Northwest"; it's even got Hannay menaced by a plane on a lonely moor). It is, in fact, a reasonably faithful rendition of the book where Hitchcock's was a fanciful re-imagining, (and a good deal more fun), but it's no disgrace. Indeed as a Boy's Own Adventure it's thoroughly enjoyable; a Ripping Yarn in fact, with a splendid cast of British character actors, good use of locations and a spiffing climax involving Big Ben.

Robert Powell's Hannay is considerably more po-faced than Robert Donat's, (he's too stiff to be a proper action hero), and comes over as a bit of a boor. Still, you wish him well and are happy to perch close to the edge of your seat as he dodges both the police and the dastardly Huns as he attempts to clear his name. Love interest, for what it's worth, is provided by Karen Dotrice, and whose character is an amalgam of Peggy Ashcroft's and Madeline Carrol's, but this is a film in which soppy girls needn't bother us; the heroes and villains keep it ticking along nicely.


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