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Trailer
2:23 | Trailer

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FBI upstart Eric O'Neill enters into a power game with his boss, Robert Hanssen, an agent who was put on trial for selling secrets to the Soviet Union.

Director:

Billy Ray

Writers:

Adam Mazer (screenplay), William L. Rotko (screenplay) (as William Rotko) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
4,909 ( 1,763)
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Chris Cooper ... Robert Hanssen
Ryan Phillippe ... Eric O'Neill
Laura Linney ... Kate Burroughs
Caroline Dhavernas ... Juliana O'Neill
Gary Cole ... Rich Garces
Dennis Haysbert ... Dean Plesac
Kathleen Quinlan ... Bonnie Hanssen
Bruce Davison ... John O'Neill
Jonathan Watton ... Geddes
Tom Barnett ... Jim Olsen
Jonathan Potts ... D.I.A. Suit
David Huband ... Photographer
Catherine Burdon ... Agent Nece
Scott Gibson ... Agent Sherin
Courtenay J. Stevens ... Agent Loper (as Courtenay Stevens)
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Storyline

In February, 2001, Robert Hanssen, a senior agent with 25 years in the FBI, is arrested for spying. Jump back two months: Eric O'Neill, a computer specialist who wants to be made an agent is assigned to clerk for Hanssen and to write down everything Hanssen does. O'Neill's told it's an investigation of Hanssen's sexual habits. Within weeks, the crusty Hanssen, a devout Catholic, has warmed to O'Neill, who grows to respect Hanssen. O'Neill's wife resents Hanssen's intrusiveness; the personal and professional stakes get higher. How they catch Hanssen and why he spies become the film's story. Can O'Neill help catch red-handed "the worst spy in history" and hold onto his personal life? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

How one man betrayed the security of a nation. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian | Arabic | Latin

Release Date:

16 February 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hanssen See more »

Filming Locations:

Arlington, Virginia, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,261,835, 18 February 2007, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$33,231,264
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Production Designer Wynn Thomas worked very closely with cinematographer Tak Fujimoto and costume designer Luis Sequeira to make sure that the choices of color palette in lighting and clothing were in sync. "Billy was looking for someone who could nail the look of American studio movies from the '70s, and you can't do much better than Tak," said Thomas, who likewise credits a team including set decorator Gordon Sim, construction coordinator James Halpenny, and key scenic artist Ian Nelmes. See more »

Goofs

The mail with the video tape is sent to 5311 Bonn, Germany. The German zip code system was changed from 4 to 5 characters in 1993. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
John Ashcroft: [news clip] Sunday, the FBI successfully concluded an investigation to end a serious breach in the security of the United States. The arrest of Robert Hanssen, for espionage, should remind us all, every American should know, that our nation, our free society, is an international target, in a dangerous world.
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Connections

Featured in Breach: Anatomy of a Character (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Near You
Written by Francis Craig, Kermit Goell
Performed by The Andrews Sisters
Courtesy of Geffen Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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User Reviews

 
Cooper is amazing, the story is taut and good
2 January 2014 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Breach (2007)

The big arc here is the uncovering of a spy within the FBI, based on a true story. And that's interesting. But the movie works because of the mental and emotional sparring between the two leads.

First is the spy, Robert Hanssen, played brilliantly by Chris Cooper. He pulls off the brilliance and eccentricity you might get with this kind of person, and all without stagy exaggeration. This is a spy and a spy story worthy of John Le Carre.

Next to him is the young FBI worker, not yet an agent, Eric O'Neill, played by Ryan Phillippe. He's excellent enough to support Cooper, for sure, though he (maybe by necessity) is a more bland type. His struggle with why he (of all the FBI people possible) has been given the huge job of bringing this other man down is key to his depth.

Both men have wives, and both women are good—Hanssen's wife is played by Kathleen Quinlan and though we don't see her much, she's really good. And generally the cast supports this chilling, dry, steady intrigue.

In other ways, the movie is a bit conventional—professionally made, you might say, but without stylistic distinction. It's no breakthrough masterpiece. But what it tries to do telling this story it does with spare, direct force. This is no adventure tale —there is no real action. But that's good. It's compelling and interesting.

Since this is "history" or "based on truth" it's worth saying that only the large facts are followed. All the fun movie stuff—the meeting of the wives, the pistol shooting in two scenes, the sex stuff, and so on—are all invented. Apparently life is either too dull or too dangerous to really put on film.

But that's okay. It's a strong story. And Cooper steals the day.


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