The Ipcress File (1965) Movie Review

Director: Sidney J Furie

Writer: W.H. Canaway, James Doran (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Caine, Nigel Green, Guy Doleman, Sue Lloyd, Gordon Jackson, Aubrey Richards, Frank Gatliff

Plot: In London, a counter espionage Agent deals with his own bureaucracy while investigating the kidnapping and brainwashing of British scientists.


Tagline – Spy man, spy man, what do you see? “One murder! Two murders! And mine makes three!”

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Spy Movie

Story: The Ipcress File starts when one of the top British scientists vanishes, former solider Harry Palmer (Caine) is transferred to Major Dolby (Green) who is leading the hunt for the scientist, which sees them tracking down an arms dealer, while stumbling into a bigger case involving a recording known as the Ipcress.

The deeper into the case Palmer gets, the more mysteries if leaves, as a bigger threat to the UK seems to be in play and Palmer is the only one that is willing to accept the problems.

Thoughts on The Ipcress File

Characters – Harry Palmer is a former soldier that has been placed on surveillance job by his government, until he gets a promotion to track down a missing scientist, he is a womaniser in his free time and has a taste for a good meal, he does think on his feet when it comes to tracking down the suspects and gets more results than any other agents. Major Dolby assigns the jobs for Palmer, being strict, but fair, he understands most ideas are done for the good of the cause, though he will not accept being going against orders. Colonel Ross is the man that Palmer used to work for, where he must send Palmer into his latest mission. Jean is the love interest, who has come from the offices they work at, also an agent that becomes charmed by Palmer.

PerformancesMichael Caine in the leading role is head and shoulders above the rest of the cast, he is the one you want to watch the most through the film, while the rest of the cast aren’t bad, they just don’t reach his levels.

StoryThe story here follows a British Intelligence Agent who is trying to search of a scientist, only to find himself investigating a much bigger threat to the country and must solve this before it becomes too late. We have a story here where the lead character Palmer, is left to question who he can trust, never knowing who is on his side, so both him and the audience will continue to try and put the piece together. In the grander scale of the story it is nice to have something on this scale, which could easily have been real for the time of making this movie, but now we are in a situation where this wouldn’t be much of a threat.

ThrillerThe thriller side of the film is all about how it tries to keep us guessing to what will happen next, this is interesting as we see the tensions slowly build on all sides about the truth.

SettingsThe film keeps the film set in and around London, it shows us just how massive operations could be happening right under our noses.


Scene of the Movie – The showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The other use of the womaniser trait for Harry.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting spy thriller that for the time would have been highly intense, but with new technology comes new weaknesses.

Overall: Easy to Watch Spy Thriller.

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