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Michael Caine’s cockney spy Harry Palmer brought a new gritty realism to the world of screen espionage.

In stark contrast to the exploits of the likes of James Bond, author Len Deighton’s character does his own shopping, enjoys a spot of home cooking and lives alone in a shabby flat. Here, in the first of five Palmer films, Caine is on the trail of a missing scientist.

The scenes featuring Caine’s deadpan verbal sparring with his long-suffering superiors are the highlights of a complex, thoroughly entertaining tale of brainwashing and international treachery.

Gordon Jackson and Nigel Green co-star and this movie helped cement Caine’s status as an international superstar.