29 user 18 critic

Cloak & Dagger (1984)

A young boy and his imaginary friend end up on the run while in possession of a top-secret spy gadget.



(screen story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

3 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Christina Nigra ...
George MacCready
Eunice MacCready
Morris (as Bill Forsythe)
Marilyn Gardener
Airport Security Chief
Robert Curtin ...
William Marquez ...
Airport Security Guard #1
Wendell Wright ...
Airport Security Guard #2


11-year-old Davey, whose mother is dead and whose father doesn't spend nearly enough time with him. So the boy loses himself in video games--and even has an imaginary friend, a super-resourceful secret agent. When he accidentally comes into possession of a spy group's secret plans, and winds up on the run from them, he must learn to rely on himself and his imaginary pal to save his skin. But, in the end, Dad proves to be his real hero. Written by Anthony Pereyra {hypersonic91@yahoo.com}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It began as just another harmless game he played many times. Then top secret documents fell into his hands. And real bullets started flying. Now, he's being pursued by deadly enemies. And they're not playing around. But no one will believe his incredible story. In fact, there's only one person left that can save him... a legendary agent named Flack. And time is running out. See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

10 August 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El joven héroe  »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,862,025, 12 August 1984, Wide Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


First sole major Hollywood studio production scored by Australian music composer Brian May. See more »


The secret plans shown on the cartridge are at a very high resolution and include many "camera movements" such as zooms, pull-outs and pans. All of these were impossible to do on an Atari 5200. See more »


Davey Osborne: [into walkie-talkie] Jack Flack to Lady Ace. Come in, Lady Ace.
Kim Gardener: [into walkie-talkie] Yeah, Davey. What is it?
Davey Osborne: Come on, Kim. Play right.
Kim Gardener: Fine. Fine. Lady Ace to Jack Flack. Do you read me?
Davey Osborne: Loud and clear. I'll proceed to the building and you follow me in.
Kim Gardener: This is what I meant by "embarrassing".
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Hitchcock for kids
10 July 2007 | by See all my reviews

It's quite an experience watching a movie that you haven't seen since childhood. Your memories of the film are filtered through an innocent perspective you no longer possess, and as you watch the film again you're struck by how different it looks to you now, even as the memories flood back.

Some of my favorite films from childhood, like "The Neverending Story," have not stood up well as I've grown older. Others, I've found, have been enhanced by my adult perspective. "Cloak & Dagger" falls in the latter category. Interestingly, my overall opinion of the film has not changed. Back in 1984, I perceived it as a good but not great film. I still perceive it that way.

At age seven, I enjoyed how the movie blurred the line between fantasy and reality. That's one of the techniques that make for good children's movies, the recognition that a child's fantasy life can feel as real as anything else happening around him. And movies in which the child's fantasies literally come true seem like vindication to young viewers.

Henry Thomas of "E.T." fame plays a youngster mourning his mother's death by escaping into a fantasy world of adventure games. He has an imaginary friend called Jack Flack, a suave super-spy with a passing resemblance to the boy's father (Dabney Coleman, in a wonderful dual role). The father, a hardened Air Force pilot, loves his son but wants him to grow up, telling him that real heroes are those who put food on the table, not those who go around shooting people. That may seem a harsh thing to say to a child, but the boy does appear to be having psychological problems, unable to distinguish between fantasy and reality even though he's old enough to know the difference. So when he witnesses the actual murder of an FBI agent, who slips him a video game cartridge right before dying, the boy is the last person anyone will believe. He knows the murderers will be after him next, but how will he get his dad to believe him soon enough to stay home from work the next day?

What's nice about the film is the seamless way it combines the conventions of adult thrillers and children's adventures. The child as the murder witness whom no one will believe is a setup that would have made Hitchcock proud. I'm sure the filmmakers realized the connection, for there are many nods to Hitchcock, including a visual allusion to "Vertigo" as the murder victim plummets down a long stairway, and a plot that combines elements of "Rear Window" and "North by Northwest." Like the latter, the movie greatly exploits its locale. Viewers who have been to San Antonio will recognize many of the places, including the River Walk, the setting for a unique chase scene.

Then there is the MacGuffin of the "Cloak & Dagger" cartridge itself, a special copy containing information important to the bad guys (whom the kid perceives to be spies, but who may simply be mobsters). The Atari game looks quite primitive today, and the scenes in which the boy calls upon his geek friend (William Forsythe) to crack the code will probably not impress those who take interest in computer espionage. But that hardly matters. The filmmakers understand, as Hitchcock did, that the MacGuffin is there only to move the plot along, and is not independently important.

As the boy evades the villains, Jack Flack keeps appearing and giving him kernels of advice. Although we realize that Flack won't say anything the boy doesn't already know, he helps the boy keep his calm and use his ingenuity to defeat some dangerous men, while gradually learning he doesn't need an imaginary friend. This isn't like "Home Alone" where the villains are portrayed as cartoon idiots. The movie takes its relatively uncomplicated plot seriously and manages to make some sense, without feeling manufactured. While it doesn't pretend to be realistic, it does grow out of the basic truth that adults don't take kids as seriously as they should.

The movie also confirms, once again, that Henry Thomas was one of the best child actors of all time. A lesser actor could have easily sunk this movie, as indeed Christina Nigra, playing the girl next door, almost does. She is cute, but can't act to save her life. Thomas never feels like he's acting, and as a result we almost can believe in the absurd events even when we watch the movie as adults, long having set aside our own childhood fantasies.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 29 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page