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The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973)

A black man plays Uncle Tom in order to gain access to CIA training, then uses that knowledge to plot a new American Revolution.

Director:

Ivan Dixon

Writers:

Sam Greenlee (screenplay), Melvin Clay (screenplay) (as Mel Clay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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An African American is hired by the CIA in the late 1960s to train for a high-level mission.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lawrence Cook Lawrence Cook ... Dan Freeman
Janet League Janet League ... Joy
Paula Kelly ... Dahomey Queen
J.A. Preston ... Dawson
Paul Butler Paul Butler ... Do-Daddy Dean
Don Blakely ... Stud Davis
David Lemieux ... Pretty Willie
Byron Morrow ... General
Jack Aaron Jack Aaron ... Carstairs
Joseph Mascolo ... Senator Hennington
Elaine Aiken ... Mrs. Hennington
Beverly Gill Beverly Gill ... Willa
Bob Hill Bob Hill ... Calhoun
Martin Golar Martin Golar ... Perkins
Jeff Hamilton Jeff Hamilton ... Policeman
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Storyline

In order to improve his standing with Black voters, a White Senator starts a campaign for the CIA to recruit Black agents. However, all are graded on a curve and doomed to fail, save for a soft-spoken veteran named Dan Freeman. After grueling training in guerrilla warfare, clandestine operations and unarmed combat, he is assigned a meager job as the CIA's token Black employee. After five years of racist and stereotyped treatment by his superiors, he quietly resigns to return to his native Chicago to work for a social services agency...by day. By night, he trains a street gang to be the vanguard in an upcoming race war, using all that the CIA has taught him... Written by Baroque

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Their first mistake was letting him in. Their biggest mistake was letting him out! See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Crime

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 December 1981 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Agentti iski takaisin See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Bokari See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Sam Greenlee, the outdoor scenes filmed in Chicago were shot without permits. See more »

Quotes

Dan Freeman: [confronting members of the Cobras street gang] Shut up... and listen! The big-time, bad-ass Cobras. Pumpin' away at the Pigs from the rooftops during the riots last summer? Oh, yeah! I know what ya's into. With .22 rifles and pistols did about as much damage as a mosquito to a elephant's ass! What did you expect to hit from that range, with those weapons at night? You might as well as *thrown* the damned pieces at the Pigs! You *really* wanna mess with Whitey? I can show you how. *I* can show ...
See more »

Connections

Spoofs Gone with the Wind (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

A Vastly underrated and under-viewed Black Film !
22 May 2002 | by tmpjSee all my reviews

I have seen this film on several occasions ( though not lately), have spoken to its author , and have known several of its cast members, the most notable of which would be Lawrence Cook and Paula Kelly. For a time the film was withdrawn from circulation, though it was briefly brought back in a limited release in the late 1980s. It was made on a shoestring budget. The subject matter was so controversial that the then Mayor of Chicago would not allow it to be filmed in the city, which is where Greenlee had sought to film it. Gary, Indiana had to be the stage, instead. Despite the obvious budget ( and therefore technical) limitations--not to mention the dearth of then well known names--the film is highly effective. Many a movie patron who sat through it went home feeling somewhat--perhaps considerably--less secure about himself and the world around him. I loved the film.


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