Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Richard Lester|
|Produced by||Arlene Sellers
|Written by||Charles Wood|
|Music by||Patrick Williams|
|Editing by||John Victor-Smith|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Release dates||21 December 1979|
|Running time||122 minutes|
Connery stars as a British mercenary who travels to Cuba, which is on the brink of revolution with the authority of dictator Fulgencio Batista collapsing every day. Connery runs into a former lover there (Brooke Adams), who is neglected by her Cuban husband (Chris Sarandon). The film ends with Havana falling to Fidel Castro's revolutionaries and most of Connery's employers fleeing the island aboard one of the last flights out.
The same historical events were featured five years earlier in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather Part II and would be covered again by Sidney Pollack in his 1990 film Havana, starring Robert Redford. Lester's film was perhaps the most stylish of the three, aided by its stirring Spanish locations, "with a marvelous sense of atmosphere."
The film's sense of historical accuracy is marred by the opening scene which shows an airliner landing in Havana and the wrong date "1959" is superimposed on the screen. It should read "1958", the last year of the revolution. Cuban President Batista fled the capital when Fidel Castro and his guerrillas entered Havana on New Year's Day 1959.
Former British Major Robert Dapes (Sean Connery) arrives in Cuba under General Bello's (Martin Balsam) orders to train the Cuban army to resist Fidel Castro's upcoming revolution. Before he even begins his task, he encounters an old flame, Alexandra Lopez de Pulido (Brooke Adams), whom he repeatedly tries to pursue. The plot winds around the tremendous wealth of the present leaders, the mostly American tourists who seem to ooze money, the poverty-stricken and ex-urban slums where most Cubans live, and the rum and cigar factory that Alexandra's husband owns and that Alexandra runs.
When Alexandra's husband takes her out and expects her to sit and have a drink with a potential (factory) investor and his prostitute, she leaves the restaurant and runs into Robert. Furious with her husband, she is more open to spending time with him and reminiscing about their old affair in North Africa (when she was 15 and he was 30). They find a motel and make love. It is clear that they care for each other. But he will not stay in Cuba. Will she leave with him?
The next day virtually every Cuban worker goes on strike, including those in Alex's factory. Alex watches the events go by, believing things will soon return to normal. Robert begs her to leave, either to be with him or just to escape Cuba. She refuses.
Not seeing Alex at the airport, Robert boards the plane. Meanwhile, Alex is at the airport, outside the wire fence, watching him board the plane and weeping.
This movie weaves many more plots around these events, as various Cubans, Brits, and Americans try to make something of the revolution. What is most stunning about this movie, however, is that it unwinds like a James Bond movie but "inside out." Robert is the cool, competent, knowledgeable spy: but he is inserted into a history that imposes on him an almost complete passivity: he is supposed to engineer Fidel's defeat; he knows Fidel will win. And instead of powerfully sweeping his gorgeous counterpart off her feet, she's always one step ahead of him, and he must let her go.
- Sean Connery : Maj. Robert Dapes
- Brooke Adams : Alexandra Lopez de Pulido
- Jack Weston : Larry Gutman
- Hector Elizondo : Capt. Raphael Ramirez
- Denholm Elliott : Donald Skinner
- Martin Balsam : Gen. Bello
- Chris Sarandon : Juan Pulido
- Danny De La Paz : Julio Mederos
- Lonette McKee : Therese Mederos
- Alejandro Rey : Faustino
- Louisa Moritz : Miss Wonderly
- Dave King : Miss Wonderly's Press Agent
- Walter Gotell : Don Jose Pulido
- David Rappaport : Jesus
- Wolfe Morris : Gen. Fulgencio Batista
- Michael Lees : Roger Maxwell-Lafroy
- Tony Mathews : Carrillo
- Roger Lloyd-Pack : Nunez
- Leticia Garrido : Celia
- Maria Charles : Senora Pulido
- Pauline Peart : Dolores
- Anna Nicholas : Maria
- Earl Cameron : Col. Leyva
- John Morton : Gary
- Anthony Pullen Shaw : Spencer
- Stefan Kalipha : Ramon, Cigar Factory Foreman
- Raul Newney : Painter
- Ram John Holder : Fat Sergeant
- James Turner : Pulido's Chauffeur
- Willis Bouchey : Cavalry Officer on TV (archive footage) (uncredited)
- Ana Obregón : Woman (uncredited)
- Pfeiffer, Lee and Phillip Lisa (2001). The Films of Sean Connery. New York: Kensington Publishing Co. ISBN 0-8065-2223-2. p. 185.