Innocent Bystanders (film)

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Innocent Bystanders
Original film poster
Directed by Peter Collinson
Written by James Mitchell
Starring Stanley Baker
Music by John Keating
Cinematography Brian Probyn
Sagittarius Productions
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
23 July 1972
Running time
111 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Innocent Bystanders is a 1972 spy thriller directed by Peter Collinson that was filmed in Spain and Turkey. It stars Stanley Baker and Geraldine Chaplin.[1] The screenplay was written by James Mitchell based on his novel The Innocent Bystanders (1969). Mitchell had previously written several John Craig spy thrillers under the name James Munro.[2]


John Craig (Baker) is an aging British secret agent who is tasked with returning a defector, the Russian scientist Kaplan (Sheybal) who has foregone science for a modest life as a goatherd in Turkey. Craig faces opposition from his boss, his younger replacements, an American secret agent, a Turkish hotel keeper, and an organization of Russian Jews hostile to Kaplan. Craig's mission is complicated by Miriam (Chaplin), an innocent bystander who is taken hostage.[3]



Roger Greenspun was dissatisfied with what he termed the "general inconsequence" that the script evokes. However, Greenspun expressed that Chaplin's performance was "so reticent and so appealing as to constitute a small personal triumph. She is granted the film's only moments of quiet intelligence. She fills these moments with delicate intimacy that contrasts with everything else in the film that really does suggest a reservoir of feeling to oppose the lives around her that are wasted in mere action."[3] Time magazine noted the standout performances of Donald Pleasence as the Head of British Intelligence and Vladek Sheybal as a minor agent.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Article on Innocent Bystanders accessed 23 May 2012
  3. ^ a b Greenspun, Roger. "Innocent Bystanders," Spy Thriller, recalls the 1960s, pp. 51. The New York Times. 25 January 1973. Retrieved on 30 July 2011

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