5.8/10
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22 user 3 critic

The Amateur (1981)

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A researcher for the CIA who convinces his superiors to send him to the eastern bloc in order to avenge the murder of his wife by enemy agents discovers a web of deception underneath his ... See full summary »

Director:

Charles Jarrott

Writers:

Robert Littell (novel), Robert Littell (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Savage ... Charles Heller
Christopher Plummer ... Professor Lakos
Marthe Keller ... Elisabeth
Arthur Hill ... Brewer
Nicholas Campbell ... Schraeger
George Coe ... Rutledge
John Marley ... Molton
Jan Rubes ... Kaplan
Ed Lauter ... Anderson
Miguel Fernandes ... Botaro
Jan Tríska ... Rodzenko
Graham Jarvis ... Porter
Jacques Godin ... Argus
Chapelle Jaffe ... Gretchen
Lynne Griffin ... Sarah
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Storyline

A researcher for the CIA who convinces his superiors to send him to the eastern bloc in order to avenge the murder of his wife by enemy agents discovers a web of deception underneath his wife's death. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

At 29, Charles Heller was a mathematician without equal. At the CIA, he was a computer expert without peer. But when terrorists murdered the most important woman in his life, he became an assassin without experience. To avenge her death, the CIA trained him, briefed him, armed him, and then...they abandoned him. The first 11 minutes will absolutely shock you. The last 11 minutes will rivet you to your seat. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 February 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

L'homme de Prague See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

CAD 10,600,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$6,892,098
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

This was the second consecutive espionage movie appearance for actress Marthe Keller whose previous film had been The Formula (1980). It was also the second consecutive spy movie for cinematographer John Coquillon whose previous film had been Final Assignment (1980). See more »

Quotes

Kaplan: I lost my first wife, my first family. Two beautiful little girls. In the war, in the camps. I thought for a long time the loss would kill me but, I survived.
Charles Heller: How?
Kaplan: By creating a ritual to keep me alive. To survive the death of people close to you, you need a ritual. A ritual for revenge is what I made. I thought about it and planned it every waking moment. When I got out I spent three years tracking down the doctor who sent them to the camps.
Charles Heller: Did you fing him?
Kaplan: I found him, yes.
Charles Heller: What did... what...
[...]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A story with just too many coincidences, but superb settings !!!
13 May 2008 | by VanheesBenoitSee all my reviews

A leftist terror group erupts into the US Consulate in München, and takes a number of hostages, including Americans. The hardboiled team demands the immediate release of a number of fellow terrorist, otherwise the US hostages will be shot dead at a rate of one per hour. A "post Münich '72" discussion takes place between German and US spokesmen to determine what to do. As the terrorists' demands aren't met within the imposed deadline, one of the hostages gets executed in cold blood. The young woman who got shot dead was the girlfriend of a CIA computer specialist. But at the same time -strange coincidence- , the killer too is working for the CIA, and has infiltrated the terrorist cell. The boyfriend of the executed girl -although an "egghead" or CIA bureaucrat- wants to avenge her death by killing systematically all the members of the cell. He learns that they are hiding in Easter Europe. As the CIA doesn't seem to be inclined to help him, he uses some arm twisting techniques to force the Director of Central Intelligence to change his stance...

The film certainly isn't bad, but at the same time I couldn't call it fantastic either. Therefor, the story is built on just too much coincidences and unlikely events. Also, the idea of the non-experienced CIA man managing to do unlikely things, exactly because he's no trained and therefor predictable field agent has been treated in a much more convincing way in "Three Days of the Condor".

Christopher Plummer was doing a relatively nice job as Professor Lakos, but on the whole, I found the actors too neither sensational, neither incredibly bad. Same thing for the OST. That is -to me at least- the weak point of the movie: it is in almost all its aspects "just average", nothing more, nothing less.

The strongest side of the movie is the excellent choice of locations. The chosen Austrian landscapes, and a few Skoda's here and really give the impression the movie has been shot somewhere in Eastern Europe.


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