The Secret Life of Ian Fleming (1990)

TV Movie  |  Unrated  |   |  Adventure, Biography, War  |  5 March 1990 (USA)
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The Secret Life of Ian Fleming follows the exciting life of a dashing young Ian Fleming, the mastermind behind the highly successful James Bond books and movies. As a womanizer and a ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Reuters Editor
Fiona Fullerton ...
Miss Delaney
Arkie Whiteley ...
Daphne (as Tara McGowran)
Ingrid Held ...
Geoffrey Chater ...


The Secret Life of Ian Fleming follows the exciting life of a dashing young Ian Fleming, the mastermind behind the highly successful James Bond books and movies. As a womanizer and a hopeless romantic Fleming got himself expelled from Eton and other prestigious public schools before his mother, fed up, sent to work for Reuters,the news bureau. Whilst covering a show-trial of British engineers in Soviet Moscow, Fleming pulled his first Bond-like escapade, almost losing his life in the process. This caught the interest of Britain's dormant yet watchful military intelligence, later to become the highly acclaimed S.O.E. After Fleming's recruitment into His Majesty's Service, his exploits become increasingly fantastic. It is difficult to believe that this is not fiction! The Secret Life of Ian Fleming goes to prove, once again, the truth certainly is stranger than fiction. One Vodka Martini, shaken not stirred! Written by Ras Jarborg <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Beautiful women. dangerous espionage, exotic adventures. See more »


Unrated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

5 March 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Spymaker: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Despite what is shown in the film, Ian Fleming did not lead troops in the field. He worked as an assistant to Admiral Godfrey of Naval Intelligence. He was involved in planning operations and was noted for outlandish schemes. He was in charge of the intelligence commando outfit 30 Assault Unit, but did not take part in their actual missions. See more »


Ian Fleming: Didn't you get my memo?
Admiral Godfrey: You send me a hundred memos a week!
See more »


Followed by Three Decades of James Bond 007 (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

The very model of a super spy
4 October 1999 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

The impact of James Bond, 007, on 20th century popular culture is such that we deserve to know something of his creator. The details of the character and the situations into which he is thrust suggest that it would be beyond anyone's imagination to conjure up in a vacuum. Clearly Bond must have been based on a model, and this film leaves us in doubt that Fleming's own life forms at least part of the myth.

The film is of course a hokey collection of picaresque adventures that strain the credulity of the 90's viewer (unlike the 60's spectator who was only too ready to accept the then-novel portrayal of romance and derring-do of our nations' finest), but it is strangely satisfying in at least giving us some insight into the shadowy world of the spy and his typical background.

The choice of Jason Connery as the eponymous hero was certainly an exercise in the bleeding obvious, and transparently the casting decision of a cynical producer seeking a large audience of the curious; but Connery was arguably the perfect actor for the role. No doubt his looks owe more to the young Bond than the young Fleming, but he makes a plausible philandering wastrel from the British upper classes, the victim of a well-connected domineering mother struggling to find something useful for him to do that might engage his attention long enough for him to become respectable and self-sufficient. Unlike so many of that breed whose very existence repulses the less favoured, his larrikin spirit is engaging and sympathetic and we cannot help ourselves from wishing him well.

A good supporting cast, with Patricia Hodge as his mother and Kristin Scott-Thomas as Leda St Gabriel, the initially cool and eventually hot colleague and love interest help to suspend the disbelief - and there are OK performances by David Warner as his boss, presumably the model for 'M'; and Julian Firth's college chum Quincey leaves us in no doubt that he was the basis for the eccentric inventor 'Q' of the Bond films.

If there is a grain of truth in the events portrayed we have an insight into the genesis of the 007 phenomenon, and while we are spared the interminable periods of inactivity and boredom that probably are the lot of the average 'spy', we have a sense of the influences that make it possible for some to dare to take on the enemy alone.

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