5.5/10
1,228
21 user 8 critic

Bullet to Beijing (1995)

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2:42 | Trailer

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A retired British spy 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."

Director:

George Mihalka

Writers:

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

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Cast

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
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Storyline

When long-time British agent Harry Palmer loses his job because the Cold War is over, he's promptly approached by a Russian bossman, Alex. 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. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Danger is their destination. See more »

Genres:

Action | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Country:

UK | Russia | Canada | USA

Language:

English

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

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Astralcolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

Early on, during a gunfight in an alley after the market scene the windscreen of a car is shot and shown in pieces. Afterwards they get in the car to escape and the windscreen has returned, intact. See more »

Quotes

Nick: [after being thrown off a train at high speed with Harry] "Can't we wait for a slow bit?" I can't believe you bloody said that!
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 '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 »

Connections

Follows Spy Story (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

The Return of Harry Palmer
6 April 2002 | by BilsteinSee all my reviews

I first broke into the Harry Palmer series when I thought Midnight in St. Petersburg sounded like a good film in the TV guide, and it had Michael Caine in it. Since then (realising there was more of it)I've become quite a fan of the series, not really minding if it was the vintage 60s or the modern 90s.

Bullet to Beijing was the fourth film out of the five that I've seen (I've yet to see the somewhat rare Billion Dollar Brain) and I thought it was a good film, certainly worthy of at least a 6.5 rating on IMDB. I know fans of the vintage 60s were somewhat opposed to this even being made, because it was obviously not going to be as good as The Ipcress File.

And it's not. The Ipcress File is still the best of Harry Palmer, but I thought this was the second best of the series. I found Funeral in Berlin to be mind-numbingly tedious, and Midnight in St. Petersburg didn't quite live up to this one.

First thing, I'm going to address a few issues regarding plot holes or continuity. Make no mistake, this is one of those films you'll probably have to watch twice or even three times to fully comprehend all that's going on. You have to concentrate on it, you can't watch it and talk on the phone at the same time. So most plot holes are probably down to something the viewer missed (I certainly thought that the first time I watched it).

This certainly isn't vintage Palmer, and I give it credit for not trying to be. Palmer is on the verge of retirement anyway, and so he's not going to be as quick or sharp as he once was (at least they didn't try and pretend he was still young!). Even so, he's still somewhat quick-witted and amusing, the milk in the tea joke being my favourite. He doesn't run from danger, something present in all the movies, even when he's being followed by the mafia, he's fairly daring once he's got away from them.

As for the film itself, it's very fast-moving and fluid. There are a LOT of twists and turns in the plot, but I like the fact that's it's all within the time limit of the train arriving in Beijing, who's going to make it there etc. The trouble with something like the Ipcress File was the amount of free time Palmer had, and so it would sometimes seemingly stand still, whereas the train journey here gave it an edge.

That's my humble opinion anyway, maybe I'm just uncultured. This certainly doesn't have the class of the 60s, but it makes up for it with the action, humour and plot-twists.

8.5/10

Incidentally, if you can get hold of it, there's a special edition DVD where Sue Lloyd has a slightly bigger role than a voice on the telephone.


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