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Cold War spy Greville Wynne and his Russian source try to put an end to the Cuban Missile Crisis.


Dominic Cooke


Tom O'Connor
32 ( 24)
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Vladimir Chuprikov Vladimir Chuprikov ... Nikita Khrushchev
Merab Ninidze ... Oleg Penkovsky
James Schofield ... Cox
Fred Haig Fred Haig ... Lee
Emma Penzina Emma Penzina ... Nina
Mariya Mironova Mariya Mironova ... Vera (as Maria Mironova)
Rachel Brosnahan ... Emily Donovan
Anton Lesser ... Bertrand
Angus Wright ... Dickie Franks
Benedict Cumberbatch ... Greville Wynne
David Bark-Jones David Bark-Jones ... Golf Exec (as David Bark Jones)
Miles Richardson ... Golf Exec
Keir Hills ... Andrew Wynne
Jessie Buckley ... Sheila
Zeljko Ivanek ... CIA Boss


In the shadow of the Cold War a letter from Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) an agency of the Soviet Union received by M16 stating the concern of Penkovsky about world safety and his anxiety about a nuclear war, So Emily Donovan (Rachel Brosnahan) a CIA Agent reached out to MI6 Agent Dickie Franks (Angus Wright) , who recruited British salesman Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) to be their spy. Written by Saif Alaa

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence, partial nudity, brief strong language, and smoking throughout | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


This is the second time actor Vladimir Chuprikov has played Nikita Khrushchev in a film, the First Being in Gagarin, First in Space (2013). See more »


In a panoramic shot of Moscow, Wynne walks along the embankment opposite the building of the Ministry of Defense. Although it was built in 1951, a late 2014 annex with two-headed eagles on the friezes is visible. In Soviet times, two-headed eagles were a symbol of czarism and under no circumstances could they appear on an official building in the center of Moscow. See more »


Oleg Penkovsky: I'm sorry it has to be you. But Greville, it has to be you.
See more »


References The Hunt for Red October (1990) See more »


Let's Twist Again
Written by Kal Mann and Dave Appell
Sung by Chubby Checker
Played on soundtrack when the Russians visit London
See more »

User Reviews

What a Wild Ride Exploring the Cuban Missile Crisis and those that Intervened
1 March 2021 | by rannynmSee all my reviews

The Courier is a historical fiction movie that perfectly captures the events of the threat of a nuclear weapon attack that took place back in the 1960s. While this is based on a real event that happened, the people that worked on this movie used their creative license to their advantage resulting in a riveting film.

The Courier is about a British businessman named Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) who is enlisted to go undercover to get intelligence on a nuclear missile attack that's being plotted against Cuba. Under the leadership of Emily Donovan (Rachel Brosnahan) and Dickie Franks (Angus Wright), he forms an alliance with Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze). Together, they try to stop the planned nuclear weapon attacks.

The Courier is a very unique film that really dives deep into the topic it's discussing, the threat of nuclear attacks on Cuba. It is based on an actual historical event, known as the "Cuban Missile Crisis." When I looked up the historical images of Greville Wynne and Oleg Penkovsky I was surprised that Benedict Cumberbatch and Merab Ninidze look so similar to them. Major props to Alena Garetovskaya, Lucy Amos and the rest of the casting team. Although there are points in the film where I couldn't make out what they were saying, the emotional impact of what is going on is definitely clear. For instance, the scenes towards the end where Greville is in jail and has a conversation with his wife Sheila (Jessie Buckley). Benedict and Jessie both convey their disappointment and tiny ray of hope that both of their characters have. The setting of this film, which is dark and grey, makes the story seem very authentic, because the topic is very dark and dangerous with almost an ominous feel. My favorite part of this film is when Oleg and Greville go see the ballet, Swan Lake. Greville is obviously very moved by the performance to the point that he is crying. The Courier is supposed to be a serious and momentous film and for the most part, it is, but that scene made me laugh.

The message of The Courier is to never stop fighting for what you believe in, no matter who tries to tell you otherwise. Oleg knew that he would be arrested and executed if he got caught learning and transporting information about the attack. Greville knew that leaving Oleg to take all the fault and retribution wasn't the right thing to do. Everyone told them that these weren't good ideas and that they would be in too deep. But did that stop them? No. They decided to do what they knew was right, and take the risk. There are some mature and gory scenes along with suggestive language in this film, which explains its PG-13 rating.

I rate The Courier 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. If you love learning about history, and love a good thriller, you will love this film. Reviewed by Maica N., KIDS FIRST!

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Release Date:

19 March 2021 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ironbark See more »

Filming Locations:

Prague, Czech Republic See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,885,829, 21 March 2021

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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