Reilly: Ace of Spies

Reilly, Ace of Spies
mini-series, Reilly, Ace of Spies (1983).
Distributed by Fremantle Media
Directed by Martin Campbell
Jim Goddard
Produced by Chris Burt
Johnny Goodman
Verity Lambert
Written by Robin Bruce Lockhart (book)
Troy Kennedy Martin (screenplay)
Starring Sam Neill
Jeananne Crowley
Leo McKern
Tom Bell
Kenneth Cranham
Norman Rodway
Music by Harry Rabinowitz
Dmitri Shostakovich (main theme)
Original channel BBC
Release date UK 5 September 1983
Sweden 12 July 1985
Running time 50 min
No. of episodes 12

Reilly, Ace of Spies is a 1983 television miniseries dramatizing the life of Sidney Reilly, a Russian Jew who became one of the greatest spies ever to work for the British. Among his exploits, in the early 20th century, were the infiltration of the German General Staff in 1917 and a near-overthrow of the Bolsheviks in 1918. His reputation with women was as legendary as his genius for espionage.

The mini series is written by Troy Kennedy Martin, and based on the 1967 book Ace of Spies by Robin Bruce Lockhart. Sam Neill stars as Sidney Reilly. The theme music is the Romance movement from Dmitri Shostakovich’s The Gadfly Suite.

The miniseries was issued on DVD by A&E Home Video on 22 February 2005. Starting on 8 December 2008, the series was shown on digital channel UKTV History in the UK.

There are twelve episodes, each approximately 50 minutes in length (the first episode is near 80 minutes).


Title Directed by: Written by: Original air date
1 "An Affair with a Married Woman" Jim GoddardTroy Kennedy Martin5 September 1983
1901: Professor Sydney Rosenblum is taken from a train and held under unofficial arrest in a provincial Russian village, suspected of stealing confidential oil surveys. The young wife of an elderly vicar may hold the secret to his escape. 
2 "Prelude to War" Martin CampbellTroy Kennedy Martin7 September 1983
1904: Reilly is stationed in Port Arthur and forced to help the Japanese, against his better judgement, in taking the port from the Russians. As a mass evacuation gets under way, Reilly’s plans are put at risk by a soft-spoken detective. 
3 "The Visiting Fireman" Martin CampbellTroy Kennedy Martin14 September 1983
1905: A British operation to steal German ship plans is in danger of being uncovered. Zaharov wants the plans and Cummings wants a compromised agent saved, but Reilly decides on a unique approach to the problem. 
4 "Anna" Martin CampbellTroy Kennedy Martin21 September 1983
1906: Reilly’s search for Margaret takes him to Paris, where Cummings forces him into helping secure an oil contract from an Australian who may sell to the Rothschilds. An unexpected turn of events reunites Reilly with his sister. 
5 "Dreadnoughts and Crosses" Jim GoddardTroy Kennedy Martin28 September 1983
1910: Apparently now working for the Germans in Russia, Reilly is to bid on their behalf for a valuable weapons contract, giving him a chance to finally get his revenge on Zaharov. 
6 "Dreadnoughts and Doublecrosses" Jim GoddardTroy Kennedy Martin5 October 1983
1910: Reilly’s winning of the weapons contract depends on his marriage to a Russian Countess. Unfortunately, Margaret’s reappearance, engineered by Zaharov, threatens to ruin everything. 
7 "Gambit" Jim GoddardTroy Kennedy Martin12 October 1983
1918: Back in Russia, Reilly is tasked with appealing with the Bolsheviks to end their peace treaty with Germany and return to the war. When Lenin refuses, he sets in motion a plan to overthrow the government and place himself in power. 
8 "Endgame" Jim GoddardTroy Kennedy Martin19 October 1983
1918: Reilly’s plans come under strain when the British fail to give Savinkov the promised military support and Dzerzhinsky scuppers plans to assassinate Lenin. But then unexpected events change everything. 
9 "After Moscow" Martin CampbellTroy Kennedy Martin26 October 1983
1918: Reilly and his friends filter back to Britain and face questioning from an official enquiry. As Lenin's condition becomes stable, both Reilly and Dzerzhinsky plan their next moves. 
10 "The Trust" Martin CampbellTroy Kennedy Martin2 November 1983
1924: Reilly is in exile in New York drumming up support and money for Savinkov’s anti-bolshevik movement. A new organisation, the Trust, campaigns for Savinkov’s return, but Reilly suspects that Dzerzhinsky is behind them. 
11 "The Last Journey" Jim GoddardTroy Kennedy Martin9 November 1983
1925: Reilly’s propaganda war against the Trust has gone well enough for them to reach out and invite him to Russia. He hopes to finally undermine Dzerzhinsky’s operation, but Dzerzhinsky is already under scrutiny from Stalin. 
12 "Shutdown" Martin CampbellTroy Kennedy Martin16 November 1983
1925: Reilly has been arrested and is subjected to interrogation and torture. Back in Britain, Pepita fights to find out the truth while Cummings campaigns for his release. As Dzerzhinsky’s whole operation is put under threat, a last minute deal is attempted. 



Won 1984 BAFTA TV Award

Best Film Editors:

  • Edward Marnier
  • Ralph Sheldon

External links

  • Internet Movie Database.
  • Reilly, Ace of Spies - BFI Screenonline

Template:Jim Goddard

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