IMDb > The Riddle of the Sands (1979)

The Riddle of the Sands (1979) More at IMDbPro »


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Up 17% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Tony Maylam (screenplay) and
John Bailey (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for The Riddle of the Sands on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1979 (UK) See more »
In these shifting sands, men can disappear without a trace . . . and their secrets with them. See more »
In the early years of the 20th Century, two British yachtsmen (Michael York and Simon MacCorkindale)... See more » | Add synopsis »
Simon MacCorkindale obituary
 (From The Guardian - TV News. 17 October 2010, 10:26 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Not a bad effort See more (33 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Michael York ... Carruthers

Jenny Agutter ... Clara

Simon MacCorkindale ... Davies
Alan Badel ... Dollmann
Jürgen Andersen ... Von Brüning (as Jurgen Andersen)

Michael Sheard ... Böhme
Hans Meyer ... Grimm
Wolf Kahler ... Kaiser, Wilhelm II
Olga Lowe ... Frau Dollmann
Ronald Markham ... Withers

Directed by
Tony Maylam 
Writing credits
Tony Maylam (screenplay) and
John Bailey (screenplay)

Erskine Childers (novel)

Produced by
Drummond Challis .... producer
Original Music by
Howard Blake 
Cinematography by
Christopher Challis (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Peter Hollywood 
Production Design by
Hazel Peiser 
Costume Design by
Jane Hamilton 
Makeup Department
Kathy Ducker .... makeup artist
Mike Lockey .... hairdressing
Jeanne Richmond .... supervising make-up
Production Management
Aivar Kaulins .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Peter Kohn .... second assistant director
Hugh O'Donnell .... third assistant director
Neil Vine-Miller .... first assistant director (as Neill Vine-Miller)
Wilfried Depeweg .... third assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Terry Barrett .... property master
Len Day .... construction manager
Keith Liddiard .... art director: (Germany )
Robin Peyton .... set dresser (as Rob Peyton)
Terry Pritchard .... art director: (Holland )
Sound Department
Ken Barker .... dubbing mixer
Alan Bell .... dubbing editor
Rene Borisewitz .... sound mixer
Taffy Haines .... sound assistant
Colin Wood .... boom operator
John Hayward .... sound re-recording mixer (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Harry Wiesenhaan .... special effects (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Mike Bulley .... clapper loader
Mike Evans .... second unit assistant
Dennis Fraser .... camera grip
John Palmer .... camera operator
Barrie Payne .... stills photographer
Tony Strachan .... camera focus
Glen Thorn .... chief electrician
Arthur Wooster .... special scenic photography
Editorial Department
James Marsh .... first assistant editor
Music Department
Howard Blake .... conductor
Other crew
Charles Cannon .... production accountant
Splinters Deason .... continuity
Brian Doyle .... unit publicist
Susan Kane .... production assistant
Julia Robinson .... production assistant
Michael York .... production associate

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies
  • Airstrip One Company, The  soundtrack album (2001) (uncredited)
  • Beaufort Air-Sea Equipment  the producers wish to thank: for their assistance in the making of this motion picture (as Beaufort Air-Sea Equipment Ltd.)
  • Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment  dollies (uncredited)
  • HPR  general publicity
  • Henri-Lloyd  the producers wish to thank: for their assistance in the making of this motion picture (as Henri-Lloyd Ltd.)
  • People of Enkhuizen, The  the producers wish to thank: for their assistance in the making of this motion picture (as the people of Enkhuizen)
  • People of Greetsiel, The  the producers wish to thank: for their assistance in the making of this motion picture (as the people of Greetsiel)
  • Romika  the producers wish to thank: for their assistance in the making of this motion picture (as Romika {UK} Ltd.)

Additional Details

Also Known As:
102 min | Germany:98 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

First dramatic theatrical feature film of director Tony Maylam.See more »
Continuity: When Clara visits just after the attempted ramming she is wearing a hat and coat. When she leaves and rows away she is just wearing a dress without the coat and hat.See more »
Movie Connections:
Version of The Riddle of the Sands (1987) (TV)See more »


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17 out of 18 people found the following review useful.
Not a bad effort, 5 March 2005
Author: andy-782 from London, England

If you've read the book you'll realise that it couldn't be made into a 90 minute or so film. Bits have to be cut and some scenes adapted so that the film contains a flowing understandable narrative. Often this is not particularly successful. Riddle of the Sands suffers to some extent in this way. Nevertheless this is a pretty good attempt at transferring the book to film. Michael Yorke and Simon McCorkindale are right for the parts they play. Neither are my favourite actors but I don't think many others would have portrayed the characters, warts and all, as realistically. The supporting cast are where the real strength of the film lies. Hans Meyer as Grimm is wonderfully sinister, as indeed is Michael Sheard as Boehme. Alan Badel was one of the best actors ever and his portrayal of Dollman is flawless. Jenny Agutter as Clara also shines. The music by Howard Blake deserves mention because the soundtrack is so important when setting the mood and, besides, the recurrent theme is a very nice piece of music. This is a slow-paced film but is nonetheless a powerful and well told story. If you want fast action and explosions everywhere give it a miss and head for some standard Hollywood identikit action film. If you want a well made story set in beautiful surroundings with good understated performances and a decent soundtrack try and hunt down a copy of the video or catch it on one of its rare TV showings.

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