Ted Danson plays a computer genius who gets involved in the theft of an important NASA computer, then thrust into the world of espionage with Christopher Lee.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Chenault
Paige Tannehill
Marcus Valorium
The Lady
Dr. Webster
Terry Lester ...
Jo McDonnell ...
Christine (as Yuliis Ruval)
Irena Ferris ...
Gary Dontzig ...
Vicky Perry ...
Chief (as John R. Hostetter)
William Wintersole ...


Ted Danson plays a computer genius who gets involved in the theft of an important NASA computer, then thrust into the world of espionage with Christopher Lee.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A mad genius must be stopped if the Earth is to survive! See more »


Action | Thriller | Drama


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Release Date:

19 September 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lethal Games  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Just before the car is taken away by magnet below helicopter, another helicopter is visible just off to the right. Few seconds later the second helicopter has vanished. See more »


References You Only Live Twice (1967) See more »

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User Reviews

ONCE UPON A SPY {TV} (Ivan Nagy, 1980) **1/2
1 September 2015 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

This continues the string of bad-to-middling pictures Christopher Lee lent his services to after he went the Hollywood route; while not terrible as such – at the very least, it reunited him with former Hammer scribe Jimmy Sangster – the end result is best described as terminally bland.

Rather than imitating the James Bond formula (though John Cacavas' score certainly throws several cues in that direction), the film seems like a belated addition to the myriad espionage TV series of the 1960s yet fully embracing the absurd obsession with technology that was redolent of the era in which it was made; interestingly, Lee's shrinking of a cumbersome computer to portable size can be seen as a prophetic indication of the extensive progress achieved in this particular field! He plays a reclusive tycoon, bound all the way through in a snazzy missile-carrying(!) wheelchair, whose everyman nemesis (Ted Danson) not only happens to be an old rival but ultimately contrives to hoist the older man with his own petard. Aiding the protagonist is a female secret agent (a relationship which, typically, starts off on the wrong foot and inevitably ends in romance) and, to further accentuate the feminist viewpoint, Eleanor Parker fills in for the Agency Head.

The film, then, is not unentertaining for what it is and, if anything, manages a nod to both Hitchcock (Danson is about to be eliminated when a crowd of tourists bursts upon the scene and he joins them on their way out towards safety) and the cult TV series THE PRISONER (hero and villain conduct a deadly board game utilizing human pieces).

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