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The Serpent (1973)

Le serpent (original title)
PG | | Thriller | November 1973 (USA)
3:09 | Clip

On Disc

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A soviet diplomat hatches a complicated plan to enable him to defect to the West.


Henri Verneuil


Pierre Nord (novel), Gilles Perrault | 1 more credit »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Yul Brynner ... Col. Alexei Vlassov
Henry Fonda ... Allan Davies
Dirk Bogarde ... Philip Boyle
Philippe Noiret ... Lucien Berthon
Michel Bouquet ... Tavel
Virna Lisi ... Mrs. Annabel Lee
Guy Tréjan ... Robert Deval
Elga Andersen ... Kate Cross
Marie Dubois ... Suzanne Walter
Nathalie Nerval Nathalie Nerval ... Tatiana Vlassov
André Falcon André Falcon ... French Diplomat
Robert Party Robert Party ... Debecourt
William Sabatier William Sabatier ... Mercadier - Foreign Affairs official
Robert Alda ... Polygraph interrogator
Paola Pitagora ... Jeannine Santelli


Vlassov (Yul Brynner) is a Soviet spy. In France, Vlassov defects. He is whisked to the U.S.A., where Allan Davies (Henry Fonda) takes over the case. After polygraph tests and cross-examinations, Vlassov names several Western European agents who are also spying for the Soviets. Davies wants to take the listed agents into custody; meanwhile, those on the list start dying under mysterious circumstances. Written by Ken Miller <wkmiller704@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


One of these men is working for the C.I.A.




PG | See all certifications »



France | Italy | West Germany


English | German | French

Release Date:

November 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Night Flight from Moscow See more »

Filming Locations:

France See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono | Mono (Westrex Recording System) (as Westrex 1135)


Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The date in which the most sophisticated and deadly spy network in the world advised the President of the United States to step outside all legal channels to preserve the security of the country was 15th October 1972. The date in which they thought they may have made an incredible mistake was 15th September 1973. See more »


Mrs. Annabel Lee: If you want to know about men's work, talk to his wife. And if you want to know about his wife, talk to his mistress. But when a man wants to make love, he doesn't talk about missiles. He makes love. And then he snores.
See more »


Referenced in Killer: Episode #1.2 (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

Enjoyable espionage thriller with a great international cast
23 November 2005 | by pitz42See all my reviews

Finally I was able to see the thriller The Serpent on DVD under a new but poor title NIGHT TRAIN FROM MOSCOW (why this has been changed I don't know).

Any film that has Yul Brynner, Henry Fonda & Dirk Bogarde has to be worth watching but this is rarely shown on TV so I was pleased to find the recent Pathfinder DVD release. The film is very much in the trend of your typical spy drama from the sixties (see The Spy who came in from the Cold and The Quiller Memorandum) despite being made in 1973.

Brynner is Vlassov a valuable KGB agent who defects on the condition he supplies the CIA with information regarding Double Agents operating in the West. Question: Is he telling the truth or is he himself another carefully placed spy? It's up to CIA head Henry Fonda with the help of British Intelligence Representative Dirk Bogarde to determine this.

Phillipe Noiret, Farley Granger, Robert Alda (father of Alan) and Virna Lisi provide the support in an intriguing thriller. Although some of the plot twists are predictable and there's a lengthy absence of the 3 main protagonists in the second act, the pace is just right as opposed to other Bond alternative spy dramas where slow pacing and no action result in boredom.

Surprising therefore that The Serpent isn't more widely known as it's a gem of a thriller with a good ending.

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