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Spy Game (2001)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Thriller  |  21 November 2001 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 114,631 users   Metascore: 63/100
Reviews: 354 user | 139 critic | 29 from

Retiring CIA agent Nathan Muir recalls his training of Tom Bishop while working against agency politics to free him from his Chinese captors.



(story), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Todd Boyce ...
Robert Aiken
Vincent Vy Ngo
CIA Director Cy Wilson
Andrew Grainger ...
Henry Pollard
CIA Administrator
Tom Hodgkins ...
CIA Lobby Guard


CIA operative Nathan Muir (Redford) is on the brink of retirement when he finds out that his protege Tom Bishop (Pitt) has been arrested in China for espionage. No stranger to the machinations of the CIA's top echelon, Muir hones all his skills and irreverent manner in order to find a way to free Bishop. As he embarks on his mission to free Bishop, Muir recalls how he recruited and trained the young rookie, at that time a sergeant in Vietnam, their turbulent times together as operatives and the woman who threatened their friendship. Written by ck

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


"Poor is the pupil who does not surpass his teacher" (Leonardo Da Vinci) See more »


Action | Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some violence and brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:


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Release Date:

21 November 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Juego de espías  »

Box Office


$92,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,019,847 (UK) (23 November 2001)


$982,874 (Brazil) (9 August 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TV)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Tony Scott dedicated this film in memory of his mother. His brother Ridley Scott did the same with Black Hawk Down (2001). See more »


There is no 'Kaarachi' in India - Karachi is, in fact, the largest metropolis in the south of Pakistan, not India. See more »


Nathan Muir: Technology gets better everyday. That's fine. But most of the time all you need is a stick of gum, a pocket knife and a smile.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, many of the credits are each preceded by a jumble of letters flickering on the screen. This may be a reference to the opening credit sequence of one of Robert Redford's earlier spy movies, Sneakers (1992). See more »


References Black Hawk Down (2001) See more »


Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
Written by Jule Styne, Sammy Cahn
Performed by Dean Martin
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI-Capitol Music Special Markets
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

High quality Hollywood thriller
5 December 2001 | by (Portland, OR) – See all my reviews

Spy Game is everything we're not supposed to expect from a major Hollywood movie: engrossing, intelligent, well written, acted and directed. But that's just what it is and more, this is definitely the best thing I've seen since Memento. Although Pitt is really good and Redford plays himself as well as he has in years, I think the most credit should go to Tony Scott. In the hands of a lesser director this could have been something more like Mission Impossible. But Scott stays right on target, keeping us interested, developing the characters, and keeping the pacing nearly perfect. Scott also shows us that he's stayed with the times: he employs the full array of modern camera tricks like fast motion, reverse zooms and funky lenses but in a way that actually makes the film better instead of being an annoying distraction. The dialogue feels natural, all the actors do good work, no one tries to steal the show or be the star. The story is interesting and almost never lapses into the kind of hyper violence or sappy sentimentality one has come to associate with modern studio pictures. You get a feeling this is pretty close to how the CIA really operates, a place with fantastic technology at its disposal but who's ultimate effectiveness is determined by the fallible people who run the missions and take the chances. I really enjoyed this film, I hope it's a sign of things to come and not a rarity.

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