Spy Game


Character: Tom Bishop
Release Date: 21 November 2001
Directed By: Tony Scott
Written By: Michael Frost Beckner, David Arata
Genre: Action/Drama/Thriller
Tagline: It’s not how you play the game. It’s how the game plays you
MPAA Rating: R
Produced by: Beacon Communications, Red Wagon Productions, Zaltman Film
Distributed by: Universal Studios
Budget: $92,000,000 (estimated)
Filming Dates: 5 November 2000 – 16 March 2001

Robert Redford…Nathan D. Muir
Brad Pitt…Tom Bishop
Catherine McCormack…Elizabeth Hadley
Stephen Dillane…Charles Harker
Larry Bryggman…Troy Folger
Marianne Jean-Baptiste…Gladys Jennip
Matthew Marsh…Dr. William Byars
Todd Boyce…Robert Aiken

Filming Locations:
Beirut, Lebanon
Berlin, Germany
Budapest, Hungary
Casablanca, Morocco
Glaxo SmithKline, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England, UK
Haifa, Israel
Hong Kong, China
Lloyd’s Building, Lime Street, Broadgate, London, England, UK
London, England, UK
Ouarzazate, Morocco
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK
Prague, Czech Republic
Regent’s Park, London, England, UK
Shepperton Studios, Shepperton, Surrey, England, UK
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
Tököl, Hungary
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Washington, District of Columbia, USA

CIA operative Nathan Muir (Redford) 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, at that time a sergeant in Vietnam, their turbulent times together as operatives and the woman who threatened their friendship.

Trivia & Facts:
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.

Brad Pitt’s character is named Tom Bishop. In Sneakers (1992), ‘Redford, Robert’ plays a character named Martin Bishop.

A pack of Morley cigarettes is used as a diversion in one part of the movie. Morley is the fictional cigarette company used in the X-Files.

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.

Kimberly Tufo, 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.

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

In a nod to “The Godfather”, where oranges signify disaster, Catherine McCormack’s character is seen purchasing oranges right before she is abducted.

The film was dedicated to the memory of Elizabeth Jean Scott. She died in 2001 and was the mother of ‘Tony Scott’.

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.

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

In the scene showing black and white news footage, Stephen Dillane’s voice can be heard (in his native English accent). This is cut from Welcome to Sarajevo (1997).

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.

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

From the gallery

Tom Bishop: All right, so what else? What else do I need to know?
Nathan Muir: Put away some money so you can die someplace warm and don’t ever touch it. Not for anyone, ever.
Tom Bishop: Okay, is that it?
Nathan Muir: Don’t *ever* risk your life for an asset. If it comes down to you or them… send flowers.

Nathan Muir: See that building across the way?
Tom Bishop: Yeah.

Nathan Muir: Do you know anyone there?
Tom Bishop: No.
Nathan Muir: In five minutes I want to see you on the balcony.
Tom Bishop: What do…
Nathan Muir: Five minutes.
Tom Bishop: Can’t we discuss it over coffee?
Nathan Muir: You just lost ten seconds.

Nathan Muir: I take it you didn’t get to be a marksman putting food on your mama’s table.
Tom Bishop: No, sir. We have a Safeway back home.
Nathan Muir: Where’d you leard to shoot?
Tom Bishop: Boy scouts, sir.
Nathan Muir: What, are you kidding me?
Tom Bishop: No, sir.

Tom Bishop: She’s just someone I used to get to the camp.
Nathan Muir: She gonna be of any more use to us?
Tom Bishop: Not to us.

Dr. Ahmed: Is it hard? To take life?
Tom Bishop: [long pause] Yes.

Tom Bishop: Central Intelligence?
Nathan Muir: You’d be working for me. Mostly undercover.

Tom Bishop: Happy?
Nathan Muir: Seventy-four casualties, an apartment block leveled, one dead terrorist? Yeah, happy.

Tom Bishop: We have some fucked up barometer for success, don’t we?

Tom Bishop: [walking in on Nathan Muir shaving] My god, you’re hideous! Why do you even bother?

[Muir indicates a fat man sitting at a table reading a menu]

Nathan Muir: The man reading the menu. Threat?
Tom Bishop: Only to the hostess.

Tom Bishop: So, when do I get my first assignment?
Nathan Muir: When I decide you’re ready.

Nathan Muir: You just gave her four pieces of personal information for one dubious impersonal fact.

Tom Bishop: Just trying to find out where she got that dress.

Tom Bishop: I thought spies drank martinis.
Nathan Muir: Scotch, never less than twelve years old.
Tom Bishop: Is that right? Agency rules?
Nathan Muir: My rules.

Tom Bishop: Don’t tell me that. Don’t fucking tell me that. You didn’t look in his eyes. Don’t tell me that!
Nathan Muir: He was your asset, somebody you use for information.
Tom Bishop: Ah, Jesus Christ, you just… You don’t just trade these people like they’re baseball
cards! It’s not a fucking game!
Nathan Muir: Oh, yes it is. It’s exactly what it is. And it’s no kid’s game either. This is a whole other game. And it’s serious and it’s dangerous. And it’s not one you want to lose.
Tom Bishop: Nathan, we killed this man. We used him and we killed him. Okay, than you got to help me understand this one. You got… Nathan, what are we doing here? And don’t give me some bullshit about the greater good.
Nathan Muir: That’s exactly what it’s about. Because what we do is unfortunately very, very necessary. And if you’re not willing to sacrifice scum like Schmidt for those that want nothing more than their freedom, then you better take a long hard look at your chosen profession my friend. Because it doesn’t get any easier. You wanna walk? You wanna walk, walk.

Tom Bishop: Fuck your rules, Nathan.
Nathan Muir: Okay, but tonight they saved your life.

Tom Bishop: Happy Birthday, Nathan. Did you know Langley has seven different birth dates for you?

Nathan Muir: And they’re all wrong.
Tom Bishop: I know, believe me, it wasn’t easy. KGB, Mossad, also wrong. Fortunately I was well trained.

Tom Bishop: [to Nathan Muir] I’m done with the reasons, Nathan. I’m done with you. I’m not ending up like you.

Tom Bishop: Vodka did me in, I’m comin’ home.
Nathan Muir: Throw out the bottle. They know.

External Links
Official website

SB Store (US)
Spy Game (Widescreen Edition)
Spy Game (Blu-ray)
Spy Game (HD DVD)
Spy Game (Full Screen Edition)
Spy Game (DVD)
Spy Game (OST)

SB Store (UK)
Spy Game (DVD)
Spy Game (OST)