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Family of Spies (1990)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama  |  4 February 1990 (USA)
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Fact based story of John A. Walker, Jr., a Navy Chief Warrant Officer with access to top secret cryptographic communications. As a result of mounting debts, he sold secrets to the Soviets ... See full summary »



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Title: Family of Spies (TV Movie 1990)

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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Barbara Walker
Laura Walker
Jerry A. Whitworth
Andrew Lowery ...
Michael L. Walker
Charles Stransky
Cynthia Walker (as Elena Stiteler)
Capt. Burnett
Arthur J. Walker
Capt. Lennox
Boris One
Cynthia Bain ...
Linda Rayfield
William Frankfather ...
Adm. Tully


Fact based story of John A. Walker, Jr., a Navy Chief Warrant Officer with access to top secret cryptographic communications. As a result of mounting debts, he sold secrets to the Soviets in 1967, a practice that he continued thereafter. He further sought to involve his four children into the espionage until his wife caught onto his activities. Written by John Sacksteder <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

4 February 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Círculo de espías  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The real 'John A. Walker, Jr.' died on 28 August 2014 at the age of 77 in federal prison in Butner, North Carolina, USA while serving a life sentence. See more »


At the beginning of the movie Walker is shown walking down the gangplank. As he approaches the Officer of the Deck the emblem on his cap is that of a Navy Warrant Officer. As he walks down the plank his hat emblem is that of a naval officer. When he gets into his MG the hat emblem is back to the Warrant officer emblem. See more »

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User Reviews

what an s.o.b.
8 January 2005 | by (London Canada) – See all my reviews

I can understand espionage when you're doing for your own country. I can understand it when you're doing for another country for ideological reasons (but still frown on it). but john walker did it out of unmitigated avarice. he wanted to live the high life of fancy apartments, a private plane, a boat and women. he did it for the money and only the money.

America maintained its upper hand in the spy business with most of the time superior technology, ie computers, satellite lenses, and other electronics. the russians maintained their position mostly by financing a huge payroll of traitors plus the advantage of freer movement in an open democratic society in the u.s.a. in the walker case it stretched to his military associates including his own children whom he encouraged to join the military and continue his spying.

the first time I heard about this area of spying was in a PBS documentary called 'spys secrets and submarines'. the safety of the entire population of north America was compromised by a dude by the name of ames who like walker, sold secrets for cash. the Americans had laid a listening device next to the cable the russians had put under the water going from moscow to their submarine base east of scandinavia. they were so confident they did not encrypt the transmissions. it provided a staggering wealth of intelligence until ames told them about it. lives of American agents were lost because of that betrayal. why ames and walker escaped execution is a mystery considering the American justice system routinely executes the poor and minorities for lesser offenses. the case of the rosenbergs comes to mind. every spy for the russians had a code name, but with the end of the cold war, break up of the soviet union and opening a previous classified documents, the truth came out that Ethel Rosenberg did NOT have a code name. the conclusion is that she was NOT a spy. yet she was executed and walker was not.

I found this video amongst the dreck at the discount bin at wal mart for 5 bucks. if you ever have a chance to pick it up do so. Powers Boothe did an excellent job of portraying the gradual slide of walker into full time spy. Lesley Ann Warren somewhat overacted but that could still be explained by the difficulty walker's wife found herself in finding out she was married to a spy for the russians. I was very fond of Ms Warren for a long time and liked that saucy slight lisp she has and those big eyes.

other players in this film have gone on to bigger things. for instance the chap who plays the brother also played the rear admiral in the TV series 'JAG'.

anyway, a very good portrayal of a true and very sad episode in American military intelligence.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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