7.1/10
143,325
393 user 96 critic

Spy Game (2001)

Retiring CIA agent Nathan Muir recalls his training of Tom Bishop while working against agency politics to free him from his Chinese captors.

Director:

Tony Scott

Writers:

Michael Frost Beckner (story), Michael Frost Beckner (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
2,984 ( 107)
3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Redford ... Nathan Muir
Brad Pitt ... Tom Bishop
Catherine McCormack ... Elizabeth Hadley
Stephen Dillane ... Charles Harker
Larry Bryggman ... Troy Folger
Marianne Jean-Baptiste ... Gladys Jennip
Matthew Marsh ... Dr. Byars
Todd Boyce ... Robert Aiken
Michael Paul Chan ... Vincent Vy Ngo
Garrick Hagon ... Cy Wilson
Andrew Grainger Andrew Grainger ... Andrew Unger
Bill Buell ... Fred Kappler
Colin Stinton ... Henry Pollard
Ted Maynard Ted Maynard ... CIA Administrator
Tom Hodgkins Tom Hodgkins ... CIA Lobby Guard
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Storyline

CIA operative Nathan Muir (Redford) is on the brink of retirement when he finds out that his protege Tom Bishop (Pitt) has been arrested in China for espionage. No stranger to the machinations of the CIA's top echelon, Muir hones all his skills and irreverent manner in order to find a way to free Bishop. As he embarks on his mission to free Bishop, Muir recalls how he recruited and trained the young rookie, at that time a sergeant in Vietnam, their turbulent times together as operatives and the woman who threatened their friendship. Written by ck

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's not how you play the game. It's how the game plays you. See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some violence and brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The filmmakers call this a companion piece to Robert Redford's Three Days of the Condor (1975). See more »

Goofs

In the beginning of the movie Muir is traveling eastbound over the TR bridge into Washington D.C. If he were going to Langley he would be traveling west bound on I-66 and onto the GW parkway coming from Maryland. See more »

Quotes

Tom Bishop: She's just someone I used to get to the camp.
Nathan Muir: She gonna be of any more use to us?
Tom Bishop: Not to us.
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Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, many of the credits are each preceded by a jumble of letters flickering on the screen. This may be a reference to the opening credit sequence of one of Robert Redford's earlier spy movies, Sneakers (1992). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Das Kommando (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Rocky Mountain Way
Written by Rocke Grace, Kenny Passarelli (as Ken Passarelli), Joe Vitale (as Joey Vitale), Joe Walsh
Performed by Joe Walsh
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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User Reviews

Spy Game: Robert Redford, Brad Pitt, Catherine McCormack, Stephen Dillane. High paced, boy's own Amercian spies out to save the world and maybe each other. 3 Flys Out of 5
27 January 2002 | by Steve-176See all my reviews

You can rely on Robert Redford and Brad Pitt for polished performances and action director Tony Scott (Crimson Tide, Enemy Of The State, True Romance, Top Gun) will always keep the pace of a movie galloping along, but will the mix necessary produce a quality movie?

Spy Game is essentially about the foibles of humanity. Even seasoned hard nosed spies can have softer moments you know.

Nathan Muir (Redford) is on his last day as a spy with the CIA when his protégéé Tom Bishop (Pitt) gets nabbed on an unauthorised mission trying to break someone out of a Chinese Prison. Bishop is going to be executed in 24 hours unless Muir can do something.

Muir realises that the CIA is going to dump Bishop for the sake of impending trade talks. We are treated to a series of extended flashbacks to Vietnam, Berlin and Beirut which chronicle Muir and Bishop's relationship.

Spy Game is mostly a boys own story with lots of explosions showing smart men outwitting the opposition. As Muir teaches Bishop his tradecraft we're introduced to how spies are taught to case a restaurant, fix a radio, vomit on demand.

We're told how they are trained to be callous, to look at the big picture, to stay remote, to sell out people if that's of use. They're taught how to kill.

And we're shown again and again the CIA assassinating people, causing civil unrest, authorising explosions, arranging murders. The film makes no apologies for this but implies that for the good of the free world, well someone has to do it. Spy Game certainly surfs sweetly on American patriotism.

Spy Game is predictably interesting though mainly because of Robert Redford who still has that million dollar smile and Brad Pitt who mixes boyish charm with a slight degree of angst.

Tony Scott's film making style however really needs to slow down. Relentless pace and swooping cameras are eventually tiring and they don't give time to contemplate. Still, Spy Game is slick and informative. I'm damn glad I don't live in a war zone.

3 Blown Apart Flys


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Universal

Country:

USA | Germany | Japan | France

Language:

English | German | Arabic | French | Cantonese

Release Date:

21 November 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

SpyGame See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$115,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$21,689,125, 25 November 2001

Gross USA:

$62,362,560

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$143,049,560
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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