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The Thirty-Nine Steps (1978)

PG | | Crime, History, Mystery | 2 May 1980 (USA)
In March 1914, a mining engineer named Richard Hannay tries to prevent Prussian agents from executing a political assassination designed to trigger World War I.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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A contemporary setting of John Buchan's classic novel - Engineer Richard Hannay finds himself caught up with analyst Kate Maybury, as they race against the clock to save the country from the Thirty Nine Steps.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Appleton
...
Lomas
...
Alex
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Scudder
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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:

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


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  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
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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

Final produced screenplay for a cinema movie [to date, June 2014] of writer Michael Robson. See more »

Goofs

The newspaper in which Scudder learns of the murder of Lord Harkness is dated Saturday, March 4, 1914. March 4 that year was a Wednesday. See more »

Quotes

Hannay: I thought he was a harmless lunatic!
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Connections

Referenced in Shanghai Knights (2003) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Stylish and exciting
5 February 2000 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The best-known film version of John Buchan's famous novel was made by Alfred Hitchcock in 1935 but, although an excellent film in his typically playful style, it actually had little to do with the book. Ralph Thomas's 1959 remake was a dull affair. Don Sharp does a much better job.

The film reverts to the book's Edwardian setting and opens with a striking scene beside the fog-shrouded Thames, which reminds one of Sharp's work for Hammer Films. Robert Powell is an agile and likeable hero, supported by a strong cast and the climax, cleverly borrowed from the Will Hay classic "My Learned Friend", has Hannay attempting (literally) to turn back time.

It was reported that, when this film premiered at a West London cinema, the audience burst into spontaneous applause at the end!


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