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The Defector (1966)

L'espion (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Thriller | 16 November 1966 (USA)
An American scientist is sent by the CIA to East Germany to retrieve a secret microfilm from a Soviet scientist interested in defecting to the West but the Stasi secret police's surveillance complicates matters.


Raoul Lévy (as Raoul Levy)


Robert Guenette (screenplay), Raoul Lévy (screenplay) (as Raoul Levy) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Montgomery Clift ... Professor James Bower
Hardy Krüger ... Counselor Peter Heinzmann (as Hardy Kruger)
Macha Méril ... Frieda Hoffmann (as Macha Meril)
David Opatoshu ... Orlovsky
Christine Delaroche Christine Delaroche ... Ingrid Weiß
Hannes Messemer ... Dr. Saltzer
Karl Lieffen Karl Lieffen ... Major Windisch
Uta Levka ... Mädchen unter der Dusche
Roddy McDowall ... Agent Adams (as Roddy Mc Dowall)


Montgomery Cliff (in his last role) plays James Bower, an American physicist visiting West Germany who's recruited by a shady CIA agent, named Adam, to help them with the defection of a Russian scientist. But an East German secret agent, named Peter Heinzeman, learns of Bower's meeting with Adam and threatens Bower to mind his own business, while Bower learns of a back story to all this involving stolen microfilm that each side wants. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The motion picture that bears watching! See more »


Drama | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



France | West Germany


English | German

Release Date:

16 November 1966 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Defector See more »


Box Office


$1,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

PECF, Rhein Main See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


For some unknown reason, the last two sentences Roddy McDowall speaks in the movie, "Let's get you to America first; then We'll worry about that."; and "Goodbye" were dubbed over by Montgomery Clift. Every other line in the movie for Roddy's character prior to these two, were delivered by McDowall himself. The picture and audio seem to have no difficulties anywhere else in the film. Therefore the sudden change of voices, (especially when Montgomery Clift is also using his own voice to speak as his own character,) is very confusing. That sudden overdub of Roddy's voice happening at the very end can also be offputting, as McDowall's natural voice had a tenor pitched musical lilt to it; whereas Monty Clift's Voice was much deeper and had no musical singsong quality. The obvious difference in the two voices is jarring, especially for Roddy McDowall fans, as his voice is definitely one of many things about him that his fans adore most (it could simply be that Clift was available for this final scene's dubbing and McDowall was not: and since Clift has a much bigger role, he would be around much longer for post-production than McDowall, who only appears in the beginning and end). See more »


At the end of the film when Montgomery Clift shouts, "Don't move him!" his lips are clearly forming other words. See more »


Counselor Peter Heinzmann: He seems to suffer from a disease I can only call "espionitus".
See more »

Crazy Credits

Most items in the closing credits appear and/or disappear in time with rhythms in the final music. See more »


Referenced in Montgomery Clift (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

Great "sleeper" flick.
18 January 1999 | by PuttSee all my reviews

This movie is one of those that you never heard of, but you should have. It pulls you in through excellent direction and authentic dialect and location shooting. This movie could very well be a documentary of a real cold war scenario. Those who are interested in espionage and intrigue should enjoy this movie. Get the popcorn ready and sit back for the duration.

18 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
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