6.5/10
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Defense of the Realm (1985)

Defence of the Realm (original title)
After a newspaper reporter helps expose a Member of Parliament as a possible spy, he finds that there's much more to the story than that.

Director:

David Drury

Writer:

Martin Stellman
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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 6 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gabriel Byrne ... Nicholas 'Nick' Mullen
Greta Scacchi ... Nina Beckman
Denholm Elliott ... Vernon Bayliss
Ian Bannen ... Dennis Markham
Fulton Mackay ... Victor Kingsbrook
Bill Paterson ... Jack Macleod
David Calder ... Harry Champion
Frederick Treves ... Arnold Reece
Robbie Coltrane ... Leo McAskey
Annabel Leventon ... Trudy Markham
Graham Fletcher-Cook ... Micky Parker
Steven Woodcock Steven Woodcock ... Steven Dyce
Alexei Jawdokimov Alexei Jawdokimov ... Dietrich Kleist
Danny Webb ... Danny Royce (as Daniel Webb)
Prentis Hancock ... Frank Longman
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Storyline

A reporter Mullen 'stumbles' on a story linking a prominent Member of Parliament to a KGB agent. In fact it is also linked to a near Nuclear disaster involving a teenage runaway and an Americal USAF base. Has there been a Government cover-up,Mullen teams up with Vernon Bayliss, an old hack, and Nina Beckam the MP's assistant to find out the truth. Written by Matthew Stanfield <mattst@cogs.susx.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Just how far will a government go to hide the truth?

Genres:

Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 November 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Defense of the Realm See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,938, 23 November 1986

Gross USA:

$750,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$750,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The plot borrows a few elements from the 1961 Profumo affair. That too involved a British politician sharing a woman with a Russia spy. But most of the story is very different. See more »

Goofs

Markham's wife's name is spelled "Trudy Markham" when a typist takes dictation from Nick over the phone and in the rolling credits. In a newspaper clipping that Mullen looks at, her name is spelled "Trudi" in the headline. See more »

Quotes

[Mullen shows Bayliss a group photograph in which Markham and Kleist are laughing together at a Prague conference]
Nicholas 'Nick' Mullen: You better take a look at that, Vernon.
Vernon Bayliss: Okay, so what does that prove?
Nicholas 'Nick' Mullen: It proves that your friend was lyin'. He said categorically that he'd never met Kleist before.
Vernon Bayliss: Well, isn't it possible that Kleist could just have been another face in the crowd? That Markham didn't know who he was?
Nicholas 'Nick' Mullen: Come on, Vernon! There's Markham, there's Kleist.
Vernon Bayliss: Well, that doesn't prove that Markham's a ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The research done for this film is shown by the acknowledgment at the end of the credits: "The Producers wish to thank the STAFF and MANAGEMENT of THE TIMES NEWSPAPERS FOR THEIR HELP." See more »

Connections

Remade as Defence of the Realm See more »

Soundtracks

Canon
(uncredited)
Music by Johann Pachelbel
Arranged by Dominic Muldowney
See more »

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User Reviews

They're out to get you...
25 April 2001 | by heedarmySee all my reviews

This taut, underrated little thriller might be called a British version of "The Parallax View". Ian Bannen plays a Profumo-like MP targeted by the security services because he knows too much. His career is ruined by muck-raking reporter Gabriel Byrne but the latter's determination to get to the bottom of the story, and his guilt at the death of a colleague (the superb Denholm Elliott), lead him down unexpected political byways...

"Defence of the Realm" can boast excellent location work and a convincing recreation of the vanished world of the "old" hard-drinking Fleet Street. The tone becomes darker and more claustrophobic as the film goes on and the apolitical Byrne enters a paranoid world of car headlights in the rearview mirror, bugged telephones and rifled apartments. The film taps into many of the issues that concerned the British Left in the mid-eighties (secrecy, American missiles on UK soil, the unaccountability of the security services, newspaper obsession with sexual gossip to the exclusion of harder material) and builds to a clever, if shocking, double-twist climax. Well worth locating and viewing.


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