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The Russia House (1990)

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An expatriate British publisher unexpectedly finds himself working for British intelligence to investigate people in Russia.

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Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Ned
...
Brady
...
Clive
...
Quinn
...
Walter
...
Wicklow
...
Dante
Mac McDonald ...
Bob
...
Niki Landau
...
Brock
...
Merrydew (as Ian McNiece)
...
Henziger
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Storyline

Three notebooks supposedly containing Russian military secrets are handed to a British publisher during a Russian book conference. The British secret service are naturally keen to learn if these notebooks are the genuine article. To this end, they enlist the help of the scruffy British publisher Barley Blair, who has plenty of experience with Russia and Russians. Barley, an unconventional character who doesn't respond well to authority, finds himself in a game more complex than he first thought when he digs into the origin of the notebooks. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From John Le Carre's Best-Selling Thriller See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

21 December 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John le Carré's The Russia House  »

Box Office

Gross:

$22,998,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During principal photography of this picture, the infamous symbol of the Cold War, the Berlin Wall, finally came down. John le Carré, author of this film's source novel, worked for British Intelligence's Mi5 & Mi6 during the 1950s and 1960s and worked in Berlin. Le Carré' was in Berlin when the Berlin Wall was being constructed. Le Carré drew on this real life experience when he wrote the novel of 'The Spy Who Came in from the Cold' which is set about a year after the Berlin Wall was built. See more »

Goofs

Near the end of the movie, at the American control center, when an assistant hands Ned a cup of coffee, he tips it enough that you can see the cup is empty. See more »

Quotes

Barley: Who are you, Dante? What do you do for a living?
Dante: I am a moral outcast.
Barley: Well it's always nice to meet a writer.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Shirtless: Hollywood's Sexiest Men (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

The Sheik Of Araby
Written by Ted Snyder (as T. Snyder), Francis Wheeler (as F. Wheeler) & Harry B. Smith (as H. B. Smith)
Published by Bienstock Publishing Co. & Filmtrax
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Last of the Cold War dramas? (Not for the easily distracted.)
16 May 2004 | by (Tasmania) – See all my reviews

The Russia House is a superior spy romance movie which falls short of being great. Additionally a couple of factors have been unkind to it over time.

Connery and Pfeiffer are excellant; the large cast are almost uniformly outstanding (except perhaps Roy Scheider, who I usually like, but who seems a bit over the top in his role here); the Moscow scenery and end of the Cold War feel are great, and the main characters are easy to like, if difficult to outright love. On the down side the writing assumes too much in expecting the audience to stay on top of the espionage jargon and intrigue, added to the non-linear plot. Let your attention wander and you'll lose your way. If it had been a little easier to follow, it would have left more room for dramatic tension, which was adequate but seldom riveting.

When I said that time has been unkind to The Russia House, I meant two things: firstly that the unfortunate timing of the movie's release, a year before the collapse of the Soviet Union, ensured that it would be dated almost immediately. More significantly, a growing portion of the film's potential audience didn't live through the late Soviet Era, and the nuances of concepts like Glasnost, and why Perestroika makes it hard for Pfeiffer to do her shoe-shopping aren't going to mean a thing to anyone much under 30.

But that's not the movie's fault. Russia House is still a quality, enjoyable drama with a great cast, even if it's somewhat ponderous and slow-moving, and complex. And oh yes - it has James Fox. A film like this without James Fox would have been like a table with three legs.

7 out of 10


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