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A Russian officer is sent to USA to try and stop sleeper agents who will mindlessly attack government entities when they hear certain coded words.

Director:

Don Siegel

Writers:

Peter Hyams (screenplay), Stirling Silliphant (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Bronson ... Major Grigori Borzov
Lee Remick ... Barbara
Donald Pleasence ... Nicolai Dalchimsky
Tyne Daly ... Dorothy Putterman
Alan Badel ... Colonel Malchenko
Patrick Magee ... General Strelsky
Sheree North ... Marie Wills
Frank Marth ... Harley Sandburg
Helen Page Camp Helen Page Camp ... Emma Stark
Roy Jenson ... Doug Stark
Jacqueline Scott ... Mrs. Hassler
Ed Bakey Ed Bakey ... Carl Hassler
John Mitchum ... Harry Bascom
Iggie Wolfington Iggie Wolfington ... Father Stuart Diller
Hank Brandt Hank Brandt ... William Enders
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Storyline

The KGB is looking for one of their people, a man named Dalchimsky because he has stolen something important but, unfortunately, he manages to get through the border. Later in the U.S. some seemingly ordinary people after receiving a phone call go out and destroy key American military installations. Back in the U.S.S.R. General Strelsky and Colonel Malchenko send for Grigori Borzov, a KGB agent who has been to the U.S. on missions before. They inform him that after the U-2 incident in fear of the possibility that a war with the U.S. will occur; they were part of an operation called TELEFON that involved recruiting young agents and then brainwashing them into believing that they are Americans. They would assume the identity of an American who died a long time ago and who would be their age now. They would be situated in a city that is near or where a key U.S. military installation is located. They were also programmed to destroy upon receiving the command phrase. They have been ... Written by <rcs0411@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Your next phone call may be your last! See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 December 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Telefone See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
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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

The film was part of a cycle of 1970s conspiracy movies. These included: Executive Action (1973), Klute (1971), Chinatown (1974), Cutter's Way (1981), Telefon (1977), Winter Kills (1979), The Conversation (1974), The Parallax View (1974), Three Days of the Condor (1975), The Domino Principle (1977), Good Guys Wear Black (1978), Twilight's Last Gleaming (1977), Hangar 18 (1980), Capricorn One (1977), and All the President's Men (1976). Blow Out (1981) would follow in the early 1980s. See more »

Goofs

No foreign cars were allowed to be used by KGB officials back in 1970s. Instead of filmed Mercedes Pullman KGB general should've been driven in ZIL or Volga. See more »

Quotes

Grigori Borzov: I think you are a very capable person and I value you very much. So far, we've made a good team. But, you know, you talk too much.
Barbara: If, I mean when, we get Dalchimski I suppose you'll be going home. You going home to anyone, I mean, do you have a wife?
Grigori Borzov: No.
Barbara: Lucky girl.
Grigori Borzov: [chuckles]
Barbara: I know, I talk too much.
See more »

Connections

References The Manchurian Candidate (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

The Yellow Rose of Texas
(uncredited)
Traditional American folk melody
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Miles to go before I sleep
9 July 2006 | by krorieSee all my reviews

This excellent spy thriller directed by action master Don Siegel unfortunately has a drab, aloof title that causes many to skip it for a more exciting-sounding tag. Even Charles Bronson fans, and they are legion, often ignore this little gem for others of the genre. Not only a dilly of a suspense story filled with some of Hollywood's best actors at the time, "Telefon" also contains humor and many tongue-in-cheek lines. The Robert Frost poem, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," utilized to trigger the drug-induced hypnotized Soviet agents to finish their mission becomes a pun for KGB agent Maj. Grigori Borzov (Bronson)when ready to give alluring Barbara (Lee Remick) a tumble in the hay. Borzov looks KGB agent Barbara lustfully in the eyes and emphatically affirms, "Miles to go before we sleep."

Though many consider the story fanciful, it is not as far fetched as some of the actual schemes concocted by overly zealous CIA and KGB officials during the Cold War, especially at the time of the eyeball to eyeball confrontation between the Soviets and the Americans during the days of U-2, the Bay of Pigs, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. The fifty KGB agents trained at the time of the U-2 Incident to replace recently deceased Americans with similar profiles, to take out key installation sites when receiving the oral code, lines from the Robert Frost poem, are put on what seems to be permanent hold until one KGB trainer goes berserk and reopens the can of worms over a decade later, when many of the installations have been closed, converted, or moved. Enter agents Borzov and his supposed helper, Barbara, to stop the madman, Nicolai Dalchimsky, played with his usual nefariousness by Donald Pleasence. Borzov uncovers a method to his madness and the fun begins. But what is to become of Borzov once Dalchimsky is removed? There's plenty of spills and thrills along the way with the seasoned actors given intelligent and often humorous lines by writer Peter Hyams whose script is based on the novel by Walter Wager.

Though no one in the cast falters, even in the bit parts, Tyne Daly steals the show as Dorothy Putterman (oh, how the name fits), a computer nerd in those glorious DOS days of old before the world heard of Bill Gates. Not only does Daly get some of the best lines in the movie, she delivers them with élan. She also reminds the viewer to be careful what is said to a computer, because they are very sensitive little fellers.


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