40 user 29 critic

Backstabbing for Beginners (2018)

1:48 | Trailer
A young program coordinator at the United Nations stumbles upon a conspiracy involving Iraq's oil reserves.


Per Fly


Per Fly (screenplay by), Daniel Pyne (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Theo James ... Michael
Ben Kingsley ... Pasha Pasaris
Belçim Bilgin ... Nashim Hussani
Jacqueline Bisset ... Christina Dupre
Peshang Rad ... Hassan
Daniela Lavender ... Ruth Zekra Kal
Rachel Wilson ... Lily
Rossif Sutherland ... Trevor
Brian Markinson ... Rasnetsov
Aidan Devine ... Justin Cutter
Karim Doukkali Karim Doukkali ... Kurdish Minister
Zahir Gilani ... Bearded Man
Hattie Kragten ... Kate
Kardo Razzazi ... Abhek
Julie Khaner ... Melina Pasaris


In October 2002, twenty-four year old Michael Sullivan moves from a job in lobbying to one in the diplomatic corps at the UN, he getting the job despite he feeling the interview having gone badly. He comes from a family of diplomats with both his father and his older sister having served - the former who was killed in 1983 in the US Embassy bombing in Beirut - and thus feels it is in his blood, his hope to make some difference in the world. He is assigned to be the assistant to Costa Pasaris - Pasha - the Undersecretary to the Oil for Food program, the largest ever humanitarian program in the organization. The program is to have Iraqi oil sold at market value with no proceeds going to the regime of Saddam Hussein, in exchange for food and medicine to the Iraqi populace who have suffered under that regime in Hussein filling his own coffers instead. Pasha quickly begins to see Michael as a trusted and valuable aide for the program, particularly against naysayers, especially internal ... Written by Huggo

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Plot Keywords:

conspiracy | See All (1) »


If You Dig Too Deep, You May Not Like What Comes Up

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Josh Hutcherson was set to play the lead role in this movie, but when co-Writer and Director Per Fly informed him they would be shooting in Morocco and Jordan, Hutcherson dropped out because of safety reasons. See more »


Pasha: The first rule of diplomacy is that the truth is not a matter of fact, it's a matter of consensus.
See more »


Self Portrait
From the album Pop Music
Written by Todor Kobakov
Performed by Todor Kobakov
See more »

User Reviews

enough truth?.....
22 June 2018 | by joanc-40854See all my reviews

Everybody knew this was a corrupt operation - I was in Baghdad in 97 and met some UN observers one told me when she went to the warehouses to check and they were empty, her bosses said to her "shut up and take your money"....there were some highly moral people hi up in the UN though like Dennis Halliday, Hans von Sponeck and Jutta Burghardt, of WFP who like the other two resigned. A very shameful time for the UN and of course the people of Iraq who still suffer to this day. This story needs to be told and the film should be pushed but it wont be...........

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Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]


Denmark | Canada | USA


English | Persian | French

Release Date:

27 April 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Backstabbing for Beginners See more »

Filming Locations:

Casablanca, Morocco See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Color | Black and White (archive footage)
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