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The Whistle Blower (1986)

PG | | Thriller | 10 July 1987 (USA)
A war veteran tries to investigate the murder of his son who was working as a Russian translator for the British intelligence service during the Cold War. He meets a web of deception and paranoia that seems to be impenetrable.

Director:

Simon Langton

Writers:

Julian Bond (screenplay), John Hale (novel)
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Caine ... Frank Jones
James Fox ... Lord
Nigel Havers ... Bob Jones
John Gielgud ... Sir Adrian Chapple
Felicity Dean ... Cynthia Goodburn
Barry Foster ... Charles Greig
Gordon Jackson ... Bruce
Kenneth Colley ... Bill Pickett
David Langton ... Government Minister
Dinah Stabb Dinah Stabb ... Rose
James Simmons ... Mark
Katherine Reeve Katherine Reeve ... Tiffany Goodburn
Bill Wallis Bill Wallis ... Ramsay Dodgson
Trevor Cooper ... Inspector Bourne
Peter Miles Peter Miles ... Stephen Kedge
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Storyline

Twenty-eight-year-old idealist Bob Jones is contemplating leaving his position as a Russian translator at Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) as those at the top have issued a new whistle blowing policy, encouraging employees to report any suspicious behavior, in light of the highly publicized case of Ramsay Dodgson, a Soviet spy who was working undetected in the organization for ten years before being caught. Bob does not like the idea of being at the mercy of work colleagues, most, like Dodgson, who he did and does not know. In private, he confides to his father, widowed businessman and retired Navy officer Frank Jones, that part of his want to leave the job, which also entails eavesdropping on private conversations between Soviet officials on a multitude of everyday topics, is that he believes the British, and by association Americans, are just as corrupt as the Russians in how they infiltrate institutions most of the public see as commonplace, this belief to which ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Within the Secret World of Governmental Cover Ups, Will the one man who dares to tell the truth survive? See more »

Genres:

Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Michael Caine was Alfred Hitchcock's first choice to play the killer in his film 'Frenzy' (1972), a role Caine declined and that was eventually played by Barry Foster. 'The Whistle Blower' marks the only time both Caine and Foster shared the screen in any film. See more »

Goofs

In the final confession letter, the USSR is referred to as the "United States of Soviet Russia", rather than the more accurate translation of the "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics". See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Miss Donald: The only way we'll know when and at what targets a nuclear button will be pressed is by electronic espionage. That's what makes it so appalling that Dodgson, a self-confessed and convicted Soviet agent, was able to hold a position of trust here for ten years. It must not happen again. Each of you, not only section heads, but each and every one of you, has simply got to report oddities of behaviour among your colleagues, strange events or anything else that strikes you as out of the...
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Soundtracks

It's A Long Way To Tipperary
Written by Jack Judge and Harry Williams (uncredited)
[Played by marching band at Remembrance Day Parade]
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User Reviews

 
Required viewing for all readers of the Guardian newspaper!
3 May 2006 | by dgrahamwatsonSee all my reviews

I'm surprised that this movie has not got more attention on the IMDb, of course it's dated which might be the problem. Another problem is that the film print comes across as dreary and dull, I don't know if it was a deliberate attempt by the film makers to do this but it just makes it harder to watch. It's not a young cast, on the contrary it's an old looking cast, although a fine collection of British character actors (some who are no longer with us) of a bygone age. In addition unless you are interested in British political culture, history and the antics of the cold war you will find this hard going even if you are a Michael Caine fan .There is a lot of dialog and the story line is a little confusing at times.

However, in the light of recent events, Britain always going along with the USA, the Butler report on Britains reason for war in Iraq and the apparent suicide of UN weapons inspector David Kelly a critic and skeptic of the US and Britains claim of Iraqi WMD programs, as well as recent accusations that Harold Wilsons Govt in the 1970's was to be overthrown in favor of a military government either at the bequest of the US or at least with their blessing;I thought that it might have aroused more interest.

This movie was released in 1986 ironically at the time when the cold war was winding down but the fictional events depicted in this film were surly inspired by the Anthony Blunt scandal, the Jeffrey Prime case at GCHQ ( a British intelligence listening post), as well as the Thatcher government banning trade union activity at GCHQ on the grounds of national security. The film depicts skepticism about Britains so called independent nuclear deterrent which totally relied on US authorization, the inequities in the so called "special relationship" and CIA/MI6 meddling in British politics. Also, bugging, internal spying on British citizens, lack of intelligence service oversight, secrecy and lastly hypocrisy or double standard when dealing with moles and traitors. All in all a Guardian readers 'wet dream'.

The conventional thinking was that all Soviet sympathizers and potential traitors were from the working class. Well the problem was they were not. Many top members of the British establishment working in the civil service and the intelligence services who had access to sensitive information loathed the USA and that the Suez fiasco back in 1956 was a turning point for many of them. Although It has to be said that many British double agents and soviet moles were not just motivated by that but were recruited as far back as the 1930's. Many students from in the "Oxbridge" University systems who were Britains best and brightest destined for great things were motivated by their hatred of the Nazi/fascism passed secrets onto the USSR during WWW II and well into the cold war. Suez may have vindicated their beliefs.

The movie implies that the if you were from the respected establishment or of a certain class of person the 'official secrets act' did not apply to you. You would be spared the indignity of a public trial and the humiliation of exposure, however it was a two edged sword because it cut both ways. It would also cause too many red faces at the top as well as creating difficulties in the 'special relationship'. They would leave you alone to continue with all the perks provided you kept quiet and cooperated with the powers that be. On the other hand lower down the food chain you were not so fortunate. Not only were you likely to be prosecuted through the normal channels but if you were really unlucky you might end up being a victim of a CIA death squad who quietly knock off suspected whistle blowers and possible troublemakers rather than go through a costly and public trial.

As for the film itself there is good cast all round and many of the characters are very believable in their respective roles. Frank Jones (Michael Caine) is not fobbed off by an sweetheart investigation into his sons death which concludes suicide. While conducting his own investigation, he discovers irregularities and soon suspects a cover up, but worse that his own countries security services might be involved in his sons death after all. Jones a lifetime committed patriot and former navy man he is shocked to learn of the lengths that the British establishment go to protect one of their own despite their treachery at the expense of less mortals! I highly recommend this movie, check it out!


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

10 July 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Whistle Blower See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$30,035, 12 July 1987

Gross USA:

$1,500,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,500,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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