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The Russia House (1990)

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An expatriate British publisher unexpectedly finds himself working for British intelligence to investigate people in Russia.

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Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Barley
... Katya
... Russell
... Ned
... Brady
... Clive
... Quinn
... Walter
... Wicklow
... Dante
... Bob
... Niki Landau
... Brock
... Merrydew (as Ian McNiece)
... Henziger
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Storyline

Three notebooks supposedly containing Russian military secrets are handed to a British publisher during a Russian book conference. The British secret service are naturally keen to learn if these notebooks are the genuine article. To this end, they enlist the help of the scruffy British publisher Barley Blair, who has plenty of experience with Russia and Russians. Barley, an unconventional character who doesn't respond well to authority, finds himself in a game more complex than he first thought when he digs into the origin of the notebooks. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He took a chance because he had nothing to lose, she took a chance because she had everything to gain. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

21 December 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John le Carré's The Russia House  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,435,650, 25 December 1990, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$22,998,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Second collaboration of Sean Connery and Klaus Maria Brandauer, who both had previously worked together on Never Say Never Again (1983). Ironically, Connery had just recently replaced Brandauer in The Hunt for Red October (1990), when production in Bavaria on Georg Elser - Einer aus Deutschland (1989), Brandauer's directing debut, had been delayed. James Fox also had a cameo in Never Say Never Again, in the role of 'M'. See more »

Goofs

When Barley first meets Katya, they're in the big square and he tells her that 3 years ago he was nearly arrested in the same place for suspicion of being a spy. Katya asks "were you?", and Barley replies "of course not" .. He then goes on to explain "a soldier and his girl friend..." followed by a short pause during which Katya smiled satisfactorily, but then Barley continues to explain "..asked me to take a photo of them."! Katya should have waited until Barley finished the whole sentence before smiling (laughing) with satisfaction. See more »

Quotes

Russell: Mr. Blair, we are buying a Picasso, ok? You don't mind an occasional metaphor now and then, do you?
Bartholomew "Barley" Scott Blair: Not at all.
Russell: Good. Some people don't like my metaphors; I don't know why, but... Anyway, everyone in this room is buying the same Picasso. It's very rare... medium rare... well done, what the fuck! The bottom line question is: did Picasso paint it? And you're the man who is selling it to us?
Bartholomew "Barley" Scott Blair: It is not my Picasso, Russell, it is not my Picasso. And I'm not saying it is a Picasso. And, furthermore, ...
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Connections

Referenced in Omnibus: Inside the Russia House (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

What Is This Thing Called Love?
Written by Cole Porter
Published by Warner/Chappell Music
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A surprisingly non-cynical Le Carre story
18 June 2004 | by See all my reviews

As a great admirer of John Le Carre, I watched this film with high expectations & although the story wasn't the usual Le Carre (such as 'The Spy Who Came In From The Cold'), I enjoyed it immensely. It is a combination of a good old-fashioned romance & a look at what happens when an ordinary man is brought into the world of espionage. Connery is very good as the boozy, world-weary publisher who considers personal relationships more important than Cold War one-upmanship. Michelle Pfeiffer, apart from being very pleasing to the eye as usual, was also pretty believable as the Russian trying to do the right thing. What's more, Klaus Maria Brandauer deserves an honourable mention as well. OK, the plot is complicated & sometimes hard to follow, as are most of Le Carre's works (& also, doubtless, the real world of espionage), but it is worth the effort. If you are seeking a simple good guy beats bad guy film, then don't watch this or any other realistic spy film. If, however, you want a story that manages to combine cynicism & romance, I recommend this one.


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