Rent The Ipcress File (1965)

3.8 of 5 from 162 ratings
1h 43min
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Cynical and rebellious ex-army sergeant Harry Palmer (Michael Caine) has been blackmailed into working for Britain's security service. Hot on the trail of a kidnapped scientist, Palmer finds himself enmeshed in a sinister conspiracy involving horrifying brainwashing techniques, murder and treachery that reaches up to the highest levels of the security service itself.
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Harry Saltzman
W.H. Canaway, James Doran
Ken Adam, Bill Canaway, Otto Heller
British Films, Action & Adventure, Classics, Thrillers

1966 BAFTA Best Production Design

1966 BAFTA Best Cinematography

1966 BAFTA Best British Film

Release Date:
Run Time:
103 minutes
English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
Release Date:
Run Time:
103 minutes
English Dolby Digital 2.0, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.78:1 / 16:9
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Reviews (3) of The Ipcress File

A great 1960s period spy film - The Ipcress File review by RP

Spoiler Alert

A great spy film starring Michael Caine as Sergeant Harry Palmer, a somewhat rebellious and ill-disciplined army intelligence spook in 1960s London. Much period background, gourmet cooking, and a little bit of mystery and adventure.

Harry investigates the brainwashing of British scientists, is captured and brainwashed himself, but escapes - and finds himself out on the streets of London and not in Eastern Europe as he imagined. Now to find the traitor in the department...

All good stuff, quite a few differences from Len Deighton's novel (including the fact that the central character definitely wasn't called 'Harry'), but enjoyable stuff nonetheless.

I enjoyed it, and although it's a little dated it gives a window onto the London of 50 years or so ago. 4/5 stars.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

A good low-key spy thriller with Michael Caine in the driving seat - The Ipcress File review by Philip in Paradiso

Spoiler Alert

A scientist called Radcliffe is kidnapped from a train. Harry Palmer, a British Army sergeant, now working for an MoD outfit, is summoned by his superior, Colonel Ross, and transferred to an investigation section headed by Major Dalby. H Palmer, played by an excellent Michael Caine, is the most interesting character in the story because he is a relatively complex individual with a troubled past. The other characters, overall, are stereotypical and formulaic in their roles/ acting.

It is a good film, as low-key spy thrillers go, and it is interesting to see London in the 1960s featured extensively in the movie -- a trip down memory lane for older viewers! The story is not entirely plausible, but the suspense keeps you hooked and wanting to know what will happen next. There is still a lack of depth in the plot and the characters, somehow, so that it cannot be a masterpiece or a truly unforgettable classic, in my opinion.

Still, I certainly recommend this film, more particularly if you like spy thrillers, the cinema of the 1960s and Michael Caine. Who doesn't?

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Landmark Spy Film. - The Ipcress File review by Steve

Spoiler Alert
Updated 28/02/2021

An espionage drama about the brainwashing of British scientists pitched rather nearer to the spy-procedural fiction of John le Carre's circus than the sixties consumerism of the cartoonish James Bond franchise. But which has a little of both.

The film has a fascinating look, with the bright colour and expressionist, deep focus camera angles giving the film a pop art sensibility.

The clothes are fantastic, particularly the suits of Harry Palmer, the outsider at the MOD conducting an internal investigation. The remote, numb Michael Caine as Palmer, in his famous glasses, delivers the nerdy cool that he became less deservedly more famous for elsewhere.

But what elevates all else in the Ipcress File is John Barry's haunting, introspective score, which gives the film its soul, its froideur, and a good measure of its style. One of the best London films of the sixties. One of the great espionage films. One of cinema's most brilliant soundtracks.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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