The Passage (1979 film)

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The Passage
The Passage FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by J. Lee Thompson
Produced by Maurice Binder
Lester Goldsmith
John Quested
Written by Bruce Nicolaysen (novel and screenplay)
Starring Anthony Quinn
James Mason
Malcolm McDowell
Patricia Neal
Christopher Lee
Music by Michael J. Lewis
Distributed by United Artists (USA Theatrical)
Hemdale Film Distribution (International)
Metro Goldwyn Mayer (Current worldwide distributor)
Release date
Running time
99 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Passage is a 1979 British actionwar film directed by J. Lee Thompson and starring Anthony Quinn, James Mason, Malcolm McDowell and Patricia Neal. The film is based upon the 1976 novel, Perilous Passage by Bruce Nicolaysen, who also wrote the screenplay for the film.


During World War II, a Basque farmer (Anthony Quinn) is asked by the French resistance to help a fleeing scientist (James Mason) and his family escape across the Pyrenees Mountains to safety in neutral Spain. On his trail are a group of Germans, led by a sadistic SS officer (Malcolm McDowell).



As he made this movie in Europe and England, James Mason predicted to co-star Kay Lenz that people do not like movies in snow and this film would bomb miserably after they were finished making it. He was right: the film opened to bad box office worldwide and, in critics' eyes, was a disaster in contrast to J. Lee Thompson's 1961 masterpiece The Guns of Navarone.

From Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide:

"Trashy WW2 story of Basque guide Quinn helping chemist Mason and his family escape over the Pyrenees with Nazi fanatic McDowell in hot pursuit. McDowell's campy performance must be seen to be disbelieved."

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