The Jigsaw Man (film)

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The Jigsaw Man is a 1983 British espionage film starring Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier and Robert Powell. It was directed by Terence Young. The screenplay was written by Jo Eisinger, based on the novel The Jigsaw Man by Dorothea Bennett.

The film was inspired by the story of Kim Philby, a British intelligence officer who was secretly working for the KGB, then defected to the Soviet Union in 1963.[1]


Sir Philip Kimberly, the former head of the British Secret Service who defected to Russia, is given plastic surgery and sent back to Britain by the KGB to retrieve some vital documents. With the documents in hand, he instead plays MI6 and the KGB off against each other.



Director Terence Young cast Michael Caine to play the lead role. The second major role went to Laurence Olivier, thus reuniting the two actors who had previously received Academy Award nominations for their roles in the acclaimed Sleuth in 1972.

The Jigsaw Man had a troubled filming history. Filming began in 1982 but the film hit financial troubles, and was reportedly shut down due to cash difficulties. Laurence Olivier, who had been ill on and off since the late 1970s, collapsed on set.[2] He also apparently walked away from the film after receiving no pay, with Caine following not long after. The actors returned when $4 million was secured as finance by Mahmud Sipra, an international entrepreneur.

Originally Mike Hodges was going to direct The Jigsaw Man, which, if he had cast Caine, would have been Hodges and Caine's third film after their cult classics Get Carter (1971) and Pulp (1972).


The film was given a 15 rating by the BBFC in August 1983 and was released by Thorn EMI.

The Jigsaw Man was released in DVD format in 2002 by Prism Leisure with the special features being limited to chapter selection options.


  1. ^ The Jigsaw Man review, Lawrence Van Gelder, The New York Times
  2. ^ Terry Coleman, Olivier, Bloomsbury, 2005

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