Retired British spy Harry Palmer (Sir Michael Caine) is called back into service by his government to help prevent North Korea from getting its hands on a deadly virus called "The Red Death".


George Mihalka


Harry Alan Towers (screenplay) (as Peter Welbeck), Len Deighton (characters)
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Anatoly Kulbitsky Anatoly Kulbitsky ... Prof. Kulbitsky
Shaughan Seymour Shaughan Seymour ... Carruthers
Michael Caine ... Harry Palmer
Corinna Richards Corinna Richards ... Policewoman
Tamara Timofeeva ... Elderly Woman
Jason Connery ... Nick
Anatoliy Shvederskiy ... Doctor (as Anatoly Shvedersky)
Helena Michell Helena Michell ... Henrietta
Juliette Benson Juliette Benson ... Juliette
Patrick Allen ... Col. Wilson
Sue Lloyd ... Jean
Annika Bullus Annika Bullus ... Girl in Savoy Bar
Chris Tulloch Chris Tulloch ... Attendant
Mia Sara ... Natasha
Michael Gambon ... Alex


When long-time British Agent Harry Palmer (Sir Michael Caine) loses his job because the Cold War is over, he's promptly approached by Russian bossman Alex (Sir Michael Gambon). In St. Petersburg, Alex tells Harry of his plan for Russia's future, which is threatened because a deadly biochemical weapon called the "Red Death" has been stolen from him. He'll pay Harry handsomely to retrieve it. An ex-spy friend tips Harry off that it's being sent to Beijing by train, aboard which we begin to learn whose side everyone's really on.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Ipcress File's Harry Palmer is back.... and the Cold War is heating up again! See more »


Action | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, nudity and language | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Although this movie is sometimes referred to as "Len Deighton's Bullet to Beijing", Deighton had no involvement in the production and, this movie was not based on one of his novels. See more »


During the chase with the Chechens in St. Petersburg, the two cars, Palmer's and the Chechens, are shown rounding a corner. The Chechens' car has a smashed right headlight, then an intact right headlight in the next cut, and finally runs over some trash cans in the following cut, inflicting the damage seen two cuts prior. See more »


Harry Palmer: [about to be thrown off a train at high speed] You said you weren't a cruel man, Colonel. Can't we wait for a slow bit?
See more »

Alternate Versions

The version that aired on The Movie Channel in 1997 was cut from 122 to 101 minutes. Among the scenes cut was Sue Lloyd's onscreen appearance. This version was released on VHS and DVD. In 2001, the full version was released on DVD as a "special edition". See more »


Follows Billion Dollar Brain (1967) See more »


Go West
Written by Henri Belolo, Jacques Morali and Victor Willis
Performed by The Village People
See more »

User Reviews

Loved it!
10 August 2004 | by rps-2See all my reviews

This was my kind of spy movie...really bad bad guys...really sexy chases...boat chases...mysterious trains crossing hostile borders and the worst gang of lousy shots you ever saw. They manage to dispatch any number of car windows but not very many people. But then it's hard to make a two hour movie if everybody dies in the first confrontation. Michael Caine is, well, Michael Caine. The plot is quite silly but that adds to its appeal. And there are great scenes in London, St. Petersberg and Siberia. The film captures the disorganized chaos of daily life in Russia and the devil may care attitudes of most Russians. (I've flown domestic routes on Aeroflot a couple of times. Believe me, the hilarious sequence in the movie of the flight to Irkutsk is not that much of an exaggeration.) It's probably more of a spoof than a spy thriller. But it's a damned good movie!

15 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 24 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.



UK | Russia | Canada | USA



Release Date:

16 August 1997 (Poland) See more »

Also Known As:

Len Deighton's Bullet to Beijing See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed