23 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 »



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





Cast overview, first billed only:
... Charles Heller
... Professor Lakos
... Elisabeth
... Brewer
... Schraeger
... Rutledge
... Molton
... Kaplan
... Anderson
... Botaro
... Rodzenko
... Porter
... Argus
... Gretchen
... Sarah


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


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 »


Crime | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

12 February 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

L'homme de Prague  »


Box Office


CAD 10,600,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film's writer is Robert Littell who is a journalist and novelist who specializes in espionage novels that frequently are set around the spy world of the CIA and the former Soviet Union. He wrote the screenplay for this movie then wrote the novel of the same name after-wards. The book has a slightly different title, it being "The Amateur: A Novel of Revenge (1981)". This film was his first film & TV credit. See more »


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

About Revenge
21 October 2006 | by See all my reviews

This movie explores revenge, why, the morality, the effects, so it is somewhat deeper than your usual simple blood revenge flic.

The movie starts out portraying the CIA as a bunch of boy scouts. I said to myself "Get real". However, as the layers of the onion peel off, a much darker picture emerges. I won't spoil the surprises.

The movie has a very relaxed pace by modern standards.

Nicholas Campbell plays a terrorist. You only get to see him for brief glimpses. His astounding good looks are distracting. It is hard to whip up fear or hate for someone so startlingly handsome.

The movie keeps you guessing who is behind the relentless legions out to kill our naive hero. His endless narrow escapes from a variety of enemies severely stretch credulity. After all, before this began, he had never even held a gun.

I really enjoyed the setting, Prague, including the beautiful warm cozy interiors. Exotic settings are a third of my enjoyment from the genre.

Much of the dialog is not in English. There are no subtitles. This is an artistic device, since the hero has only shaky knowledge of languages other than English. It makes you see things from his point of view.

The scene where the hero dispatches the female terrorist is shocking, even by today's gruesome standards, with much the effect the piano wire assassination had way back in From Russia With Love.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
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