Cloak & Dagger (1984) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • 11-year-old Davey, whose mother is dead and whose father doesn't spend nearly enough time with him. So the boy loses himself in video games--and even has an imaginary friend, a super-resourceful secret agent. When he accidentally comes into possession of a spy group's secret plans, and winds up on the run from them, he must learn to rely on himself and his imaginary pal to save his skin. But, in the end, Dad proves to be his real hero.

  • In San Antonio, Texas, preteen Davey Osborne and his adolescent friend Kim Gardener, with the cooperation of their software engineer friend Morris, immerse themselves into the world of Cloak & Dagger, a video game, they pretending to be the lead characters in the game, American super spy Jack Flack and his trusty sidekick Lady Ace. Davey takes the role playing a bit more seriously, where in real life he truly does believe he is being guided by Jack. He does so to overcome what he sees as his own recently widowed father, Air Force Staff Sergeant Hal Osborne, not being there for him, while in reality Hal is trying to manage their home life as best he can under their new circumstances. Davey even sees Jack in the image of his father. Hal, who is aware of Davey's obsession with Jack Flack, also sees it as a coping mechanism for his grief. In the process of one of Davey and Kim's mock secret missions, Davey witnesses a murder of who says in his dying breaths is an FBI agent who hands Davey a cartridge tape of a Cloak & Dagger game. The authorities believe Davey is just a boy with an overactive imagination crying wolf when the dead body is not to be found where Davey says, while Hal again believes it is Davey playing too many video games. But Davey knows the killers know he can identify them. So Davey and Kim have to elude the murderers while figuring out why they killed the agent, which has something to do with deciphering the mystery of the game cassette. Davey, as usual looks to Jack for guidance, but will a non-existent spy help them for real when it comes to their own life or death?

  • 11-year-old Davey, whose mother is dead and whose father is preoccupied with his own problems, has retreated into a world of video games and an imaginary hero-pal, the swashbuckling superspy Jack Flack. When an FBI agent about to be murdered slips him a video cartridge containing top-secret data, Davey is suddenly plunged into the intrigue and danger of real-life espionage. No adult believes his story, so he must run a gauntlet of violence and villainy aided only by a younger girl and the encouragement of "Jack Flack" at his side. How long can a comic-book role model guide him through this encounter with reality?

  • A young boy, with a penchant for spy thrillers and video games, finds himself in the middle of real espionage when he's relentlessly pursued by spies after he comes into possession of a video game cartridge containing top-secret government info.

  • A young boy and his imaginary friend end up on the run while in possession of a top-secret spy gadget.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Davey Osborne (Henry Thomas) is an 11-year-old who lives in San Antonio with his father, Hal Osborne (Dabney Coleman). His mother has recently died, leaving just him and his father, a military air traffic controller who has problems relating to his child. Davey is a lonely child and is still grieving over his mother, so he immerses himself in the fantasy world of Cloak & Dagger, an espionage game which exists in both role playing and video forms. Davey has one friend, Kim, (Christina Nigra) a girl who lives nearby with her single mother. Davey is interested in the world of espionage and his hero is the character Jack Flack from the game. He wants to live an action-packed life like Jack Flack and he carries around a water pistol as his "gun" and a softball as his "grenade". Davey spends much of his free time playing Cloak & Dagger and spinning elaborate fantasies involving Jack Flack, an imaginary friend who takes the form of a more dashing version of his father (the role of Flack is also played by Coleman).

    One day Davey's friend Morris (William Forsythe), who owns a video game shop in the local mall, sends Davey and Kim on an errand, where Davey witnesses a murder. Right before the victim dies, he gives Davey a Cloak & Dagger video-game cartridge and says that the cartridge contains important military secrets, that he must get it to the FBI. Davey seeks help from the authorities but they simply believe him to be engaging in fantasy play.

    Murderous spies, led by the malevolent Dr. Rice (Michael Murphy), chase Davey relentlessly as he flees across the city. The action moves from Davey's house, to a series of tour boats, to the Alamo. Along the way Davey manages to continually evade his pursuers with the aid and advice of the imaginary Jack Flack. However, along the way Davey's relationship with Flack becomes more strained as his own sense of morality and concern for his friend Kim collide with Flack's harsh methods and cavalier attitude. This comes to a head when Davey is cornered by Rice along the River Walk.

    During the fight, Jack Flack urges Davey to set up the two spies into the "Crossfire Gambit", causing one to kill the other. Jack convinces Davey to pick up the gun of the dead spy, but rather than shoot Rice, Davey panics and runs away down a dead-end path. Rice arrives and corners Davey. Assuming the gun Davey holds is the same red ink-filled water pistol from earlier, Rice taunts him by threatening to shoot both his kneecaps and stomach and allowing him to die in agony. When Davey proves unable to shoot first, Jack Flack tries to get Rice's attention. Standing in front of a blank wall (and holding his Agent-X bulletproof beret in front of him for protection), Jack dares Rice to shoot him. Davey looks to Jack, warning him not to do anything, and Rice instinctively turns and fires a burst at the wall, thinking "Jack" is a hidden ally. An enraged Davey fires his pistol, killing Rice and causing him to fall dead into the river.

    Realizing that Jack had tricked him into shooting the spy, Davey throws away the pistol, pulls the miniature of Jack Flack out of his pocket and, with a shout of "I don't want to play anymore!" breaks the miniature in two, stomping it into the concrete. Jack Flack tells Davey his father behaved the same way at his age, growing tired of playing "Cowboys and Indians". As he speaks, blood begins to pour from the bullet holes that now riddle his body, and Jack abruptly collapses. While expressing regret about the rule, "...leaving when they stop believing," Jack confesses Davey was always his favorite playmate. Distracting Davey by asking for a smoke, Jack fades away into nothing. When Davey calls to Jack, saying he can't do it alone, Jack's voice reassures him that he always could, and tells him to go save Kim.

    Earlier in a scene at the Alamo, Davey had been befriended by a kind elderly couple. Seemingly the only adults to believe him, or at least the only ones who are willing to humor his adventures, the couple turn out to be enforcers working for the spies. Davey manages to escape their clutches, but without the game cartridge, and he chases the couple to the airport where they are attempting to flee the country. At the airport, Davey forces the couple's hand by pretending that they are his parents and that they are abandoning him. When security attempts to intervene, Davey tells the guard the proof is the game cartridge he knows they have. Cornered, the couple kidnaps Davey at gunpoint and commandeers a plane, unaware that Davey has brought with him a bomb which the spies had meant to use to kill Kim. Unwilling to listen to Davey about the bomb, the couple requests a pilot. Meanwhile, Hal has arrived at the airport with Kim's mother, and after hearing about the hostage situation, he volunteers to be the pilot. As the plane moves to the runway, Davey tries to summon Jack for help; his father hears him and identifies himself as "Jack Flack" and calls Davey to the cockpit. When the female enforcer shows up to bring him, she discovers the bomb and panics, calling for her husband. As the two enforcers try to disable the bomb, Davey and his father manage to escape safely from the cockpit; the plane travels a short distance before exploding, killing the enforcers and incinerating the cartridge. The film ends with the two reunited and Davey insisting he no longer needs Jack Flack because he has his father.

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