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Enigma (1982 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Enigma FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed byJeannot Szwarc
Written byJohn Briley
Based onEnigma Sacrifice by Michael Barak
Produced byBen Arbeid
André Pergament
Peter Shaw
StarringMartin Sheen
Sam Neill
Brigitte Fossey
CinematographyJean-Louis Picavet
Edited byPeter Culverwell
Peter Weatherley
Music byDouglas Gamley
Marc Wilkinson
Distributed byColumbia-EMI-Warner (UK)
Embassy Pictures (US)
Release date
  • October 15, 1982 (1982-10-15)
Running time
122 minutes
CountriesUnited Kingdom
United States
Budget$8.1 million[1]
Box office$894,000[2]

Enigma is a 1982 Anglo-American thriller film directed by Jeannot Szwarc[3] and starring Martin Sheen, Sam Neill, Brigitte Fossey, and Kevin McNally. Based on Michael Barak's novel Enigma Sacrifice, the film centers on a CIA agent who tries to infiltrate Soviet intelligence in order to stop a murderous plot.[4]


East German dissident Alex Holbeck (Martin Sheen), living in Paris, hosts a radio program aimed at Iron Curtain countries. Bodley (Michael Lonsdale), a CIA agent, recruits Alex to take on a dangerous assignment.

Alex is sent to East Berlin on a mission to steal an Enigma code scrambler. This is part of an attempt to stop the Russian assassination of five Soviet dissidents planned for Christmas Day. What Alex does not know is that the CIA already has a code scrambler. By stealing the scrambler in Berlin, they are trying to convince the Russians that they do not have a copy.

On arrival in Berlin, Alex finds that the East German police and KGB knows that he is there. Alex must use numerous disguises and escape from a number of capture attempts. He seeks shelter with his former lover, Karen Reinhardt (Brigitte Fossey), before moving on, as it is too dangerous for her. Karen and a number of Alex's other old friends are arrested and tortured by the police in an attempt to gain information about Alex's whereabouts.

As he gets more desperate, Alex enlists Karen's help again; she seduces Dimitri Vasilikov (Sam Neill), the KGB man in charge of the hunt for Alex, to obtain information. In the end, Dimitri catches Alex and Karen and finds the scrambler hidden in an exhibition artifact. As he is in love with Karen, he lets them go, but keeps the scrambler, which was in fact not needed. On Christmas Day, the assassination attempt is successfully thwarted.



Goldcrest Films put up $58,000 in development costs and invested £985,000 in the budget of $8.1 million. The company received £355,000, losing £630,000.[1]

Enigma was shot partly, in 1982, at Paris–Le Bourget Airport. A scene was shot in the terminal, in the hall of eight columns, disused at the time, others on the terrace or in front of the entrance.[5]

The aircraft in Enigma are:


Janet Maslin in her review for The New York Times, decried the "wise-guy" attitude in Enigma, writing, "There are plenty of mysteries about 'Enigma' but they aren't necessarily the ones the film makers intended. As directed by Jeannot Szwarc, best known for 'Jaws 2' and 'Somewhere in Time', this is the spy film at its most absurdly hard-boiled and at its most, icily perfunctory. It is punctuated by crisp titles (indicating the date of each scene), played very close to the vest and riddled with false alarms ..."[6]

Film historian and critic Leonard Maltin in Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide 2013 (2012) noted a "fine cast does its best with so-so material."[7]



  1. ^ Since 1975, Le Bourget Airport has hosted the Musée de l’air et de l’espace, France's main state-owned aviation museum, and aircraft from the museum were seen in Enigma".[5]


  1. ^ a b Eberts and Illott 1990, pp. 98, 655.
  2. ^ "Movies: 'Enigma'.", 2019. Retrieved: August 17, 2019.
  3. ^ "Overview: 'Enigma'." Turner Classic Movies, 2019. Retrieved: August 17, 2019.
  4. ^ Floyd 2004, p. 357.
  5. ^ a b c Santoir, Christian. "Review: 'Enigma'." Aeromovies, January 6, 2018. Retrieved: August 17. 2019.
  6. ^ Maslin, Janet. "Review: 'Enigma'." The New York Times, January 28, 1983.
  7. ^ Maltin 2012, p. 416.


  • Eberts, Jake and Terry Illott. My Indecision is Final. London: Faber and Faber, 1990. ISBN 978-0-87113-392-2.
  • Floyd, Nigel. "Review: 'Enigma'." in Pym, John, ed. Time Out Film Guide. London: Time Out Guides Limited, 2004. ISBN 978-0-14101-354-1.
  • Maltin, Leonard. Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide 2013. New York: New American Library, 2012 (originally published as TV Movies, then Leonard Maltin’s Movie & Video Guide), First edition 1969, published annually since 1988. ISBN 978-0-451-23774-3.

External links

This page was last edited on 27 August 2021, at 03:14
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