Garbo: The Spy

( 1 )


Juan Pujol was called "Garbo" by British intelligence agents because they regarded him as "the greatest actor in the world." And perhaps he was -- he was good enough to persuade Nazi authorities that he was working for them even as he was serving the Allies at the same time, and received high decorations from both sides without either learning his true identity. Pujol was a Spaniard who was determined to work against the Axis during World War II, and provided German intelligence with information that he'd ...
See more details below
DVD (Subtitled)
$25.64 price
(Save 8%)$27.99 List Price
Other sellers (DVD)
  • All (6) from $14.88   
  • New (4) from $14.88   
  • Used (2) from $29.66   


Juan Pujol was called "Garbo" by British intelligence agents because they regarded him as "the greatest actor in the world." And perhaps he was -- he was good enough to persuade Nazi authorities that he was working for them even as he was serving the Allies at the same time, and received high decorations from both sides without either learning his true identity. Pujol was a Spaniard who was determined to work against the Axis during World War II, and provided German intelligence with information that he'd received through a network of 27 spies in Europe and the U.K. Of course, those spies never existed, the information he gave the Germans was largely false, and his insistence to the Germans that the Normandy landing was just a distraction helped make the successful D-Day campaign possible. However, while the Germans didn't know who Pujol was, neither did the British, and while he was reported dead in 1949, three decades later it was discovered that Pujol was alive and using another identity in South America. Filmmaker Edmon Roch uses interviews, newsreel footage, vintage photographs, clips from Hollywood espionage dramas and WWII propaganda films to tell the true story of one of the greatest and most elusive spies of his generation in Garbo: The Spy aka Garbo: El Espia and Garbo: The Man Who Saved the World. The film was an official selection at the 2010 San Francisco Film Festival.
Read More Show Less

Special Features

Interview with intelligence & Espionage expert Nigel West (32 min.); Sonic Deception: WWII training film )27 min.); Original theatrical trailer; Filmmaker biography
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Nathan Southern
Juan Pujol Garcia 1912-88 is quite a rarity: a subject so intriguing that he makes any documentary profile unsinkable. This outwardly unassuming Barcelona native established himself as the single most-accomplished spy of World War II with stunning rapidity and ease. Nicknamed "Garbo" as an homage to his thespian-like ability to slip from one guise to another, he was hired by the Nazis to collect British intelligence secrets, but he actually spent years as a double agent, building a bedrock of elaborate deceptions that drove the Axis powers to the point of unmitigated failure. If presented in a fictional context, the fantastic minutiae of this tale would strain the belief of even the most gullible -- from the byzantine network of imaginary transcontinental operatives that Garcia created and sustained for Germany, to his ability to distract the Nazis from the Normandy landing and reorient them toward Pas de Calais, to an aura of trustworthiness so convincing that surviving Nazis continued to pay Garcia retroactively for his wartime services despite the worthlessness of his strategic information. If this tale sounds entertaining, it is. One need only wonder why it took decades for an enterprising filmmaker to unearth the details. Spanish director Edmon Roch can be commended for his realization of this goal, but that's about all that can be said for the director. He makes one constantly aware of the two greatest risks associated with this documentary subject: his almost impenetrably enigmatic personality and a dearth of photographs or videos of him. To compensate for the latter, the director builds the movie on an ill-advised visual foundation: clips from classic Hollywood movies such as Carol Reed's Cold War comedy Our Man in Havana and the Peter Lorre vehicle Mr. Moto's Last Warning. Roch presumably did this to reinforce the sense of Garcia as an actor, but it doesn't really work. At worst, the cutaways just add hackneyed kitsch to the tale. Granted, one could make a case that the clips help illustrate the degree to which Garcia's tale remains shrouded by the same sort of mythmaking prevalent in the spy films of the period and must be factually unearthed from that context, though the editing fails to support this transition during the second half of the film. Equally unsettling are some weird stylistic choices that Roch makes, such as an inexplicable decision to omit the identities of his interviewees until halfway through the picture, and one particularly loathsome bit of self-indulgence that involves gradually lowering an interviewee's voice during a commentary about inaudibility. It all comes off as highly amateurish and not the slightest bit effective. One can also fault Roch for failing to disclose information regarding the final decades of Garcia's life in Venezuela his ownership of a bookstore, for example or the date and details of his death in the late '80s. As indicated, though, the film is far from being an unmitigated failure. It succeeds to a surprising degree, despite the clumsy presentation, thanks to a fascinating true story. The narrative takes some time to find its footing, though by the time we get to the animated illustrations of Garcia's operative charts, the mesmerizing tale of the Normandy diversion, and Garcia's reemergence in Thatcher-era Britain, we're emotionally hooked. While one can't imagine that Garcia would be proud of the shoddy treatment afforded him here, he would likely be moved by the overall arc and sweep of his own life as played out onscreen and the film's central conviction that the Allies owed much of their success to his efforts.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/17/2012
  • UPC: 720229915045
  • Original Release: 2009
  • Source: First Run Features
  • Presentation: Subtitled
  • Time: 1:33:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 44,742

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Nigel West Participant
Mark Seaman Participant
Xavier Vinader Participant
Stan Vranckx Participant
Aline Griffith Participant
Juan Pujol Participant
Technical Credits
Edmon Roch Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Alexander Adams Associate Producer, Editor, Musical Direction/Supervision
Joaquin Bergamin Cinematographer
Belen Bernuy Producer
Victoria Borras Associate Producer
Brian Eno Songwriter
Gabriel Guerra Cinematographer
Sandra Hermida Producer
Maria Hervera Screenwriter
Isaki Lacuesta Screenwriter
Bet Rourich Cinematographer
Patricia Ruiz Associate Producer
Oriol Tarrago Sound/Sound Designer
Fernando Velázquez Score Composer
Read More Show Less

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Garbo: The Spy
1. Points of Deception [6:48]
2. Who Was Arabel? [5:44]
3. Juan Pujol Garcia [11:36]
4. Lisbon [7:33]
5. The Double Game [11:02]
6. Codes and Ciphers [7:56]
7. Prelude To a Diversion [10:14]
8. Normandy [11:58]
9. After the Years [:31]
10. End Credits [12:25]
Read More Show Less


Disc #1 -- Garbo: The Spy
      Interview With Intelligence & Espionage Expert Nigel West
      Sonic Deception: WWII Training Film
      Original Theatrical Trailer
      Filmmaker Biography
      Trailer Gallery
         The Man Nobody Knew
         The Trials Of Henry Kissinger
         Surviving Progress
         The Most Dangerous Man In America
   First Run Features
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2013

    Most Interesting.

    I found this very interesting and amazing. I highly recommend watching this. I am thankful that we have men and women who have risked everything to fight for our freedoms. I thank God for our vets all over the world who stood up for us then and now. It only takes one person, one pray to get the ball rolling. This is inspiring for todays's troubles, that one person can start to make the difference, hanging in there alone, to be united with others who believe that good should overcome and not be allowed to fall to the way-side. God bless the people who put this film together and God bless all the Garbo's out there.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews