Spy Game (2001)

 ●  English ● 2 hrs 6 mins

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Suspenseful and scintillating, this action-oriented thriller traces the twists and turns in the life of Nathan Muir (Redford), an experienced CIA operative who is on the brink of retirement, when he finds out that his protege Tom Bishop (Pitt) has been arrested in China for espionage. No stranger to the machinations of the CIA's top echelon, Muir hones all his skills and irreverent manner in order to find a way to free Bishop. As he embarks on his mission to free Bishop, Muir recalls how he recruited and trained the young rookie, when he was on assignment as a sergeant in Vietnam, their turbulent times together as operatives and the woman who threatened their friendship.
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Brad Pitt, Catherine Mccormack, Robert Redford

Crew: Tony Scott (Director), Daniel Mindel (Director of Photography), Harry Gregson Williams (Music Director)

Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller

Release Dates: 21 Nov 2001 (India)

Tagline: It's not how you play the game. It's how the game plays you.

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Did you know? In the scene where Nathan enters his office after the CIA employees rummaged through it we can see director Tony Scott's faded red hat on the right next to the door. Read More
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as Tom Bishop
as Elizabeth Hadley
as Nathan D. Muir
as Muir's Cousin
Supporting Actor
as Fred Kappler
Supporting Actress
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
as Berlin: Ambassador Cathcart
Supporting Actor
as Troy Folger
as Gladys Jennip
as Dr. William Byars
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
as Charles Harker
Supporting Actress


First Assistant Director
Second Assistant Director
Assistant Director




Story Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography
Still Photographer
Key Grip
Camera Operator


Music Director
Playback Singer
Music Editor


Foley Editor
Sound Re-recording Mixer
Sound Mixer
Boom Operator


Art Director
Production Designer
Prop Master
Set Decorator
Set Dresser


Casting Director
Casting Assistant

Costume and Wardrobe

Costume Designer
Assistant Costume Designer


Assistant Editor

Makeup and Hair

Makeup Artist
Hair Stylist

Special Effects

Special Effects Coordinator
Special Effects Technician


Stunt Director
Stunt Coordinator
Stunt Double

Visual Effects

Visual Effects Producer
Digital Compositor
Film Type:
Feature Film
Colour Info:
Sound Mix:
Dolby Digital, DTS, Sony Dynamic Digital Sound
Panavision Genesis
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
It's not how you play the game. It's how the game plays you.
"Poor is the pupil who does not surpass his teacher" (Leonardo Da Vinci)
In the end, only friendship matters!
The cellphone that Muir uses was not available in 1991 when the movie was set. First models in the Nokia 2100 series were available during the summer of 1994, many other 21xx models much later on in America.

While in Lebanon in 1985, Tom is wearing a style of San Diego Padres hat that did not exist until the early 1990s.

There are no American military bases in Penghu. All US military personnel were withdrawn from the Republic of China (including Penghu) after the US switched diplomatic recognition to mainland (Communist) China in 1979.

Audio/Video Mismatch
Approximately in the middle of the movie, when the train is arriving at the platform in Berlin and Bishop gets off, we can hear the train bell. The bell is common for US railroads but is not used in Europe.

Audio/Video Mismatch
The motorcycle in the building bombing scene is clearly a 4 stroke motorcycle. You can know this by the throttle has two cables as on a 4 stroke (a 2 stroke only has one). Also you can see the exhaust header is small like a 4 strokes as compare to a 2 stroke which is very fat. When the motorcycle rider pulls out of the basement you can hear that it is a 4 stroke. It makes a 4 stroke sound - low, thumping sound. But in the scenes on the road, and when doing the jump, they used a 2 stroke motor for the sound effect - high pitched, high revving, pinging sound.

Character Error
When Harry Duncan counteroffers $282,000 to the Chinese General to shut off the power, he actually said $2,820,000 in Chinese instead.

Character Error
Once Operation Dinner Out is accomplished, the pilot of the helicopter identifies himself over the radio with a Blackhawk ID. This is in line with Muir requesting "02 MH-60K" from Commander Wiley. Yet, the helicopters in use were not Blackhawks, but Hueys.

Character Error
Muir, after having Bishop elicit a piece of information, tells Bishop he gave out 4 facts about himself (Bishop) for one dubious piece of information: "You're straight, you're engaged, tomorrow is your girl's birthday, and you have no taste in women's fashion... What if she was an asset: You told her four lies that now have to be true." But Bishop *is* straight. He only told 3 lies.

When posing as a photojournalist, Tom Bishop carried two cameras: a Nikon and a Leica. While in photographing the doctor and an injured child in Lebanon, Tom's camera switches back and forth between his Leica and his Nikon, depending on the camera angle. From the front he is shown shooting with his Lecia (with external range finder), then in the same moment he is shown shooting with his Nikon (the silver body and empty hot shoe are visible), then again with his Leica.

When Bishop is brought onto the helicopter two soldiers proceed to stand on the skid of the helicopter as it begins its takeoff. The soldiers disappear in the next shot, when the helicopters are several feet in the air.

When the STASI are chasing Bishop in Berlin they deploy the blue-lights on the roof. The cord is going through the open car window. When they take it off after leaving the pub (after the chase) the cord is not going through the window.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When the rescue helicopters are landing on the prison roof, there is someone in the bottom right corner waving them in. It couldn't have been a guard because they were taken by surprise, and it couldn't have been one of their own, since none of the helicopters had landed yet.

Errors in Geography
The prison guards are speaking Cantonese instead of Mandarin, and the Chinese characters shown are traditional Chinese characters whereas in mainland China people use simplified Chinese characters.

Errors in Geography
The USA has no embassy in Hong Kong. Embassies only exist in the capital of an independent nation, not in a colony. The U.S. has a consulate in Hong Kong. In the two live TV reports from Hong Kong the reporter correctly refers to the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong, even though he's standing in front of a building marked as "Embassy".
Tony Scott asked for more money to film the rooftop scene in "Berlin" (in order to rent a helicopter for an aerial scene) but the producers refused. Scott believed that the scene was important and rented the helicopter with his own money.

The scene where Robert Redford's character asks Brad Pitt's character if he knew anybody in 'this apartment house' and tells him to be up on one of the balconies in five minutes is from a book by former Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky who describes this test as part of the training of a Mossad agent.

On being introduced to Robert Redford, Omid Djalili joked "Mr. Redford, delighted to meet you - I loved you when you starred in Hawaii Five-O (1968). Without missing a beat Redford fired back "Well thanks, and I loved you in Doctor Zhivago (1965), although you have let yourself go since then"

Part of the film was originally set to have been filmed in Israel, but due to the sudden escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (in September-October 2000), and following the requirements of the actors' insurance companies, the filming took place in Morocco instead.

Nathan Muir's personal car is a Porsche 912, basically a 911 with boxer 4 engine produced for a short while in the late 60s.

In the scene where Nathan enters his office after the CIA employees rummaged through it we can see director Tony Scott's faded red hat on the right next to the door.

The coffee cup Bishop drinks from before finding Hadley's empty apartment is nearly identical to the coffee cups seen at CIA in Langley.

Kimberly Paige, playing the part of Sandy at the embassy in Berlin, is wife of the former US ambassador to Hungary, the location where the Berlin scenes were filmed.

Dedicated to the memory of Elizabeth Jean Scott (died 2001), mother of Tony Scott and Ridley Scott.

Tony Scott dedicated this film in memory of his mother. His brother Ridley Scott did the same with Black Hawk Down (2001).

The building identified as the US Embassy in Hong Kong is actually the headquarters of HSBC - the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.

When the film was previewed in the summer of 2001, Brad Pitt said that it dealt with blow back from unsuccessful CIA operations and suggested that it might mean America had been the world's leading power for too long. However, after the 9/11 attacks, Pitt was quoted as saying the movie indicated that CIA operatives were needed "now more than ever".

Average Shot Length (ASL) = ~2.7 seconds. Median Shot Length = ~2.6 seconds.

Dutch Oscar-winning director Mike van Diem was once attached to the project.