Telefon ()

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


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Cast verified as complete

Major Grigori Borzov
Nicolai Dalchimsky
Dorothy Putterman
Colonel Malchenko
General Strelsky
Marie Wills
Harley Sandburg
Helen Page Camp ...
Emma Stark
Doug Stark
Mrs. Hassler
Ed Bakey ...
Carl Hassler
Harry Bascom
Iggie Wolfington ...
Father Stuart Diller
Hank Brandt ...
William Enders
Gas Station Attendant
Doctor (as Regis J. Cordic)
Carmen Zapata ...
Carl Byrd ...
Navy Lieutenant
Highway Patrolman #1
Mrs. Maloney
Lieutenant Alexandrov
Dalchimsky's Mother
John Hambrick ...
TV Newsman
Henry Alfaro ...
TV Reporter Henry Alfaro
Glenda Wina ...
TV Anchor Woman
Appliance Store Clerk (as Jim Nolan)
Hotel Desk Clerk
Maitre D'
Lew Brown ...
Petty Officer
Peter Weiss ...
Radar Operator
Highway Patrolman #2
Alex Sharp ...
Martin Callender
Margaret Hall Baron ...
Airport Clerk
Sean Moloney ...
Hot Rod Kid
Ville-Veikko Salminen ...
Russian Steward
Teppo Heiskanen ...
Hockey Player #1
Mika Levio ...
Hockey Player #2
Marlene Hazlett ...
Tourist Family
Thomas M. Runyon ...
Tourist Family
Claudia Butler ...
Tourist Family
Philippe Butler ...
Tourist Family
Stephanie Ann Rydall ...
Mrs. Wills' Child
Mrs. Wills' Child
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dale Alvarez ...
Man on Street (uncredited)
Soviet Military Officer (uncredited)
Fountain Kid (uncredited)
Anthony Garibaldi ...
Hotel lobby guest (uncredited)
Dennis McMullen ...
FBI Agent (uncredited)

Directed by

Don Siegel

Written by

Peter Hyams ... (screenplay) &
Stirling Silliphant ... (screenplay)
Walter Wager ... (based upon the novel by)
Robert Frost ... (excerpts from poem)

Produced by

James B. Harris ... producer

Music by

Lalo Schifrin

Cinematography by

Michael C. Butler ... director of photography (as Michael Butler)

Film Editing by

Douglas Stewart

Editorial Department

Hal G. Davis ... assistant film editor

Casting By

Pam Polifroni
Doris Sabbagh ... (as Sabba)

Production Design by

Ted Haworth

Art Direction by

William F. O'Brien

Set Decoration by

Robert R. Benton ... (as Robert Benton)

Costume Design by

Luster Bayless ... (costumes: men)
Edna Taylor ... (costumes: women)

Makeup Department

Del Acevedo ... makeup artist
Jean Burt Reilly ... hair stylist
Phil Rhodes ... makeup artist (as Philip Rhodes)

Production Management

Bernard Hanson ... unit production manager
Jim Henderling ... unit production manager
Louis A. Stroller ... unit production manager
Maurice Vaccarino ... unit production manager

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Luigi Alfano ... assistant director
Alan Brimfeld ... second assistant director
David Hamburger ... assistant director
Stephen Lim ... second assistant director

Art Department

Bill Dietz ... property master
Kurt V. Hulett ... set dresser (uncredited)

Sound Department

Michael J. Kohut ... sound
William L. McCaughey ... sound (as William McCaughey)
Al Overton ... sound (as Alfred J. Overton)
John Riordan ... sound effects editor (as John P. Riordan)
Aaron Rochin ... sound

Special Effects by

Joe Day ... special effects coordinator


Paul Baxley ... stunt coordinator

Camera and Electrical Department

Gino Barragy ... key grip
Kenny Bell ... still photographer
Dick Colean ... camera operator
John Fleckenstein ... camera operator
Robert L. Guthrie ... assistant camera (as Bob Guthrie)
Michael A. Jones ... gaffer (as Michael Jones)
Frank Tureen ... assistant camera
Doug Byers ... electrician (uncredited)
Alan Martin ... gaffer (uncredited)
Gary Stark ... electrian (uncredited)

Costume and Wardrobe Department

Jane Robinson ... costumes: Ms. Remick

Location Management

Marty Eli Schwartz ... location manager

Music Department

Harry V. Lojewski ... music supervisor
Joe Tuley ... music editor
Robert Bain ... musician: guitar (uncredited)
Ray Brown ... musician: bass (uncredited)
Dennis Budimir ... musician: guitar (uncredited)
Larry Bunker ... musician: percussion (uncredited)
Richard Hazard ... orchestrator (uncredited)
Willard Jones ... music copyist (uncredited)
Milton Kestenbaum ... musician: bass (uncredited)
Michael Lang ... musician: keyboards (uncredited)
Virginia Majewski ... musician: viola (uncredited)
Lincoln Mayorga ... musician: keyboards (uncredited)
Richard Nash ... musician: trombone (uncredited)
Emil Richards ... musician: percussion (uncredited)
Lalo Schifrin ... conductor (uncredited) / orchestrator (uncredited)
Bud Shank ... musician: woodwinds (uncredited)

Other crew

Ernest Anderson ... unit publicist
Åke Lindman ... Finnish liaison (as Ake Lindman)
Betsy Norton ... script supervisor
Dorothy Ringer ... assistant to producer
Carol Rydall ... associate to Don Siegel
Douglas Dean III ... production assistant (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

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Special Effects


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Plot Summary

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 fortunate that they have never had to send them on their missions. But they believe that Dalchimsky stole the book that lists all the TELEFON agents and is now sending them out on their suicide missions. It also seems that the current KGB Chairman is unaware of TELEFON so Strelsky and Malchenko want Borzov to go to America and find Dalchimsky before he starts World War 3. Borzov, who is endowed with a photographic memory, memorizes the second TELEFON book and goes to America and is aided by Barbara. Written by

Plot Keywords
Taglines They'll do anything to stop Telefon. The operation that can trigger 51 human time bombs. See more »
Parents Guide Add content advisory for parents »

Additional Details

Also Known As
  • Un espion de trop (France)
  • Teléfono (Spain)
  • Telefone (Brazil)
  • Телефон (Bulgaria, Bulgarian title)
  • O Telefone (Brazil)
  • See more »
  • 102 min
Aspect Ratio
Sound Mix
Filming Locations

Box Office

Budget $7,000,000 (estimated)

Did You Know?

Trivia The name of the poem used as the code spoken over the telephone to activate sleepers was 'Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening' by Robert Frost. This poem was originally published in 1923 in his collection titled 'New Hampshire'. The exact lines from the poem heard in the movie each time were: "The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep." See more »
Goofs Generals and officers in Soviet army didn't have black trousers and green ties as part of their official uniform. In fact black ties and khaki trousers were the only colors available for use. See more »
Movie Connections Featured in 42nd Street Forever, Volume 3: Exploitation Explosion (2008). See more »
Soundtracks The Yellow Rose of Texas See more »
Quotes Nicolai Dalchimsky: The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, but I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep. Remember. Miles to go before I sleep.
See more »

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