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Perfect Spy

A Perfect Spy

5.0 1
Director: Peter Smith,

Cast: Peter Egan, Ray McAnally, Alan Howard

Acclaimed British spy novelist John Le Carre's most personal tale, A Perfect Spy focuses on British Foreign Service operative Magnus Pym (Peter Egan). Inspired by his relationship with his own father, a noted con man and shady operator, Le Carre sets Pym emotionally and morally off course, his evolved


Acclaimed British spy novelist John Le Carre's most personal tale, A Perfect Spy focuses on British Foreign Service operative Magnus Pym (Peter Egan). Inspired by his relationship with his own father, a noted con man and shady operator, Le Carre sets Pym emotionally and morally off course, his evolved skills of deception and duplicity eventually leading him down the path to treason. This 1988 BBC production features Ray McAnally as Pym's father, Rick; Rüdiger Weigang as Axel, his contact on the other side; and Alan Howard as Jack Brotherhood, his main ally at "The Firm." Filmed on location in England, Europe, and the U.S., the six-episode A Perfect Spy originally aired in the U.S. as part of Masterpiece Theatre's fall '88 schedule. This DVD edition includes the full BBC cut of the miniseries, with footage snipped from its U.S. broadcasts.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
This 1987 BBC miniseries, based on the novel by John le Carré, is thought by many aficionados to be the best screen adaptation of a work by this perennially bestselling author of spy stories. The exceptionally well made production is among the finest of its type. A Perfect Spy doesn't preoccupy itself with extraneous cloak-and-dagger stuff; at heart it's a character study, a portrait of a man whose enormous capacity for guile, deception, and self-delusion make him particularly well suited to the life of a secret agent. Magnus Pym (Peter Egan) has grown up practicing the dubious art of duplicity, which he mastered at the knee of his rapscallion father (Ray McAnally). Recruited into the fraternity of spies by the master himself, Jack Brotherhood (Alan Howard), Pym over a period of years exhibits preternatural abilities that elevate him to the top of his field -- but not without tremendous cost to his personal life. Le Carré's sprawling narrative occupies more than six hours of screen time, but the story is so crammed with plot, incident, and character interplay that it never becomes tedious or repetitive. The narrative calls for Egan to age some 55 years, a feat he accomplishes handily thanks to convincing makeup and a subtle exhibition of the physical and emotional changes wrought by the passage of years. In his hands Pym is a charming rogue, albeit one called upon to do some frightening and despicable things. In general tone le Carré's story is, like so many of his yarns, cold and cynical -- but it translates into unusually fascinating screen fare nonetheless.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Acorn Media

Special Features

Closed Caption; John le Carré biography and cast filmographies

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Peter Egan Magnus Pym
Ray McAnally Rick Pym
Alan Howard Jack Brotherhood
Rüdiger Weigang Axel
Jane Booker Mary Pym
Peggy Ashcroft Miss Dubber
Sarah Badel Baroness Weber
Jonathan Haley Young Magnus Pym
Nicholas Haley Young Magnus Pym
Benedict Taylor Young Adult Magnus Pym
Caroline John Barbara Pym
Iain Cuthbertson Makepeace Watermaster
Tim Healy Syd Lemon
Matyelok Gibbs Aunt Nell
Andrew dela Tour Muspole
Jack Ellis Perce Loft
Rosamond Greenwood Mrs. Ardmore
Frances Tomelty Peggy Wentworth
Lesley Nightingale Sabina
John Nettleton Maj. Membury
Jill Johnson Hannah Membury
Antony Carrick City Gent Interviewer
Christopher Owen Academic Interviewer
Andrew Hilton Military Interviewer
Sarah Neville Belinda
Michael McStay Belinda's Father
Garick Hagon Grant Lederer
Jerry Harte Wexler
Erin Donovan Bee Lederer
Ed Wiley Artelli
Paul Daneman Bo Brammell
Peter Sands Nigel
Sarah Bullen Kate
Ian McNeice Sefton Boyd
Robin Hayter Steggie
Leonard Preston Fergus
Madeline Church Georgie
George Phillips Policeman
Charles Pemberton Sergeant
Susan Field Mrs. Bannister
Richenda Carey Nanny
Norman Hartley Doctor
Jake Wood Sunday School Boy
Jason Savage Billy Thompson
Sharon Maiden Millie
Frances Low Topsie
Wendy Miller Flora
Tony Rohr Dobbs
Rosy Clayton Rita
Anthony Benson Headmaster
Julian Firth Young Sefton Boyd
Fiona Mollison Felicity
Michael Mellinger Herr Ollinger
Valery Steinmann Frau Ollinger
Patrick Blackwell Mattie Searle
Edward Kelsey Maj. Blenkinsop
Denise Powell Sylvia
Philip Martin Brown Kaufmann
Wolf Kahler Lt. Dollendorf
Graham McGrath Tom Pym
Barbara Young Sal
Barbara Keogh Vi
Frances White Caroline Lumsden
Christopher Rozycki Frankel
Paul Williamson First Analyst

Technical Credits
Peter Smith Director

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Perfect Spy - Volume 1
1. Opening Fire? [2:37]
2. Family Scandal [9:24]
3. A New Home [5:16]
4. Early Aptitude [4:10]
5. Taken Away [7:07]
6. Homecoming [6:39]
7. Setbacks [5:08]
8. A New Scam [5:59]
9. School Days [8:58]
1. Summoned [1:24]
2. Cunning Hams [8:12]
3. Plan in Action [7:57]
4. Stranded [4:39]
5. Passing [5:01]
6. Talking Nonsense [5:03]
7. Recruiting [4:12]
8. Nursing Back [3:03]
9. Getting in Deep [5:09]
10. Close to Home [8:54]
1. Back Again [1:34]
2. Campaigning [3:47]
3. Post-Rally [4:14]
4. Out of the Past [8:10]
5. Comeuppance? [8:25]
6. Called Up [4:11]
7. Czech Lesson [4:02]
8. Meeting [4:22]
9. The Deal [8:36]
10. Crossed [8:34]
Disc #2 -- Perfect Spy - Volume 2
1. Brotherhood [3:22]
2. Marriage [6:22]
3. Eastern Drop [2:56]
4. Arrested [3:02]
5. New Cause [7:09]
6. Networking [2:28]
7. Anniversary Party [5:01]
8. Sent to Berlin [7:07]
9. Late Visit [10:41]
10. Magnus & Mary [5:11]
1. Dog Days [3:12]
2. Stealth [3:42]
3. Under Security [5:24]
4. Getting Close [8:31]
5. Christmas Visit [9:01]
6. Investigation [13:21]
7. Called Away [6:44]
8. Off the Rails [8:32]
Disc #3 -- Perfect Spy - Volume 3
1. Still in the Game [4:25]
2. Family Holiday [2:59]
3. Being Tailed [5:38]
4. Written Up [7:42]
5. Cord Is Cut [2:47]
6. Settling Up [4:18]
7. Diverted [7:15]
8. Sudden Stop [7:34]
9. Uncovering Trails [4:10]
10. Secret Meetings [9:17]
1. New Gas Man [1:24]
2. Inquisition [5:09]
3. Broadcast Code [5:27]
4. Severe Stress [9:26]
5. Rolling Up [7:47]
6. Lines Are Drawn [3:41]
7. Out From Under [4:15]
8. Waiting for God [4:28]
9. On the Way [6:32]
10. Parting Shot [8:37]

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A Perfect Spy 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
concon More than 1 year ago
I am so glad I purchased this DVD. It is quite long but the acting is supurb. Anything based on a John Le Carre book has to be good.