|Directed by||Charles Jarrott|
|Edited by||Stephan Fanfara|
|Music by||Kenneth Wannberg|
|Distributed by||Pan-Canadian Film Distributors|
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The Amateur is a 1981 Canadian crime/thriller film directed by Charles Jarrott with a screenplay by Robert Littell, which he then adapted into a novel of the same name. It stars John Savage and Christopher Plummer.
When his fiancée is murdered by terrorists, a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) cryptographer named Charles Heller blackmails his superiors into sending him on a field assignment into Czechoslovakia to assassinate those responsible. Just as he enters the field, the CIA locates the stolen material he had been using to blackmail the agency, eliminating their need to cooperate with him. So he is behind the Iron Curtain, inadequately trained, and without support.
He nonetheless reaches his safe house, meets his local contact, Elisabeth, and kills two members of the terrorist band. He discovers the location of their ringleader, Schräger, the man who had killed his fiancé, but attracts the attention of the local security forces, who begin following him.
At the site where he expects his final showdown with Schräger he is ambushed by his CIA trainer, Anderson, who explains that Schräger is a double agent working for the CIA who had killed his fiancé under orders to establish his bona fidescode: lat promoted to code: la by murdering an American. He insists that Heller explain his own rogue status to Schräger so that the terrorist, who believes Heller was sent by the CIA to kill him, will continue to work with the Americans.
A senior agent of the local security service, Lakos, overhears all this.
Schräger arrives, kills Anderson in a shootout, and is killed by Heller. Lakos, who has come to respect Heller, helps him and Elisabeth escape back to the west in exchange for his promise to write a book embarrassing the CIA.
- John Savage as Charles Heller
- Christopher Plummer as Professor Lakos
- Marthe Keller as Elisabeth
- Arthur Hill as Brewer
- Jan Rubeš as Kaplan
- John Marley as Molton
- Ed Lauter as Anderson
- Kleinburg, Ontario
- Toronto, Ontario
- Oakville, Ontario
- Valley Halla Estate, Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario
- Vienna, Austria
1982 nominations from the Genie Awards:
- Best Achievement in Art Direction/Production Design - Trevor Williams
- Best Achievement in Overall Sound - Dennis Drummond, Wayne Griffin, Michael O'Farrell
- Best Achievement in Sound Editing - Austin Grimaldi, Joe Grimaldi, Peter Shewchuk, Dino Pigat
- Best Motion Picture - Garth Drabinsky, Joel B. Michaels
- Best Performance by a Foreign Actor - John Savage
- Best Performance by a Foreign Actress - Marthe Keller
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role - Christopher Plummer
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role - Nicholas Campbell
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role - Chapelle Jaffe
- Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Medium - Diana Maddox
- Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989 p259
- Box Office Mojo
- The Amateur at IMDb
- The Amateur at AllMovie
- The Amateur (2009) at IMDb (Link currently only available to IMDbPro subscribers)
- Robert Littell interview
- The Amateur at Rotten Tomatoes