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Pack of Lies (1987)

Ellen Burstyn , Teri Garr , Anthony Page  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ellen Burstyn, Teri Garr, Sammi Davis, Ronald Hines, Clive Swift
  • Directors: Anthony Page
  • Writers: Hugh Whitemore
  • Producers: Arthur Cantor, Robert Halmi Jr., Robert Halmi Sr., Terry Lens
  • Format: Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Platinum Disc
  • DVD Release Date: May 16, 2006
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EWBO8G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,240 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Pack of Lies" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Ellen Burstyn, Terri Garr. Two friends' lives are torn apart by British Intelligence when one is accused of being in a Russian KGB spy ring. 1987/color/100 min/NR/fullscreen.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Packed with Emotion January 28, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
An amazingly powerful drama based on the Hugh Whitmore play, in turn based on the true story of the Soviet spies, Peter and Helen Kroger. This is a low-budget, low-key movie that builds an emotional intensity that is almost unbearable. The cast is superb, without exception, and Anthony Page's direction is unerring.
A neglected masterpiece that all drama lovers should see.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Best TV Movies Ever March 12, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This English made for TV movie is tense and absorbing. It concerns the

effect on a long time friendship between two women (Ellen Burstyn and

Teri Garr) when Scotland yard asks Burstyn to use her house to spy on

Garr, a suspected Russian spy (along with her husband) during the cold war. The film is extermely intelligently scripted and builds to a climax

that is at once disturbing and tension ridden as well as painful. It

can be watched repeatedly and never seems to lose its bite.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Packed with Drama May 11, 2009
By Dianne
This 1987 BBC made-for-tv drama is an exceptional film, based on the true story of Soviet spies living in a neighborhood in England, posing as a Canadian bookseller and his wife, during the Cold War. They were actually Americans who were involved in a large spy ring. The action centers on the impact that is made on the English family who considers them their best friends, when Intelligence officers take over an upstairs bedroom in order to watch the "Schaefers". It asks the question, "Loyalty to friendship or country?".

This is an extraordinarily well acted and directed film with Ellen Bursten as the English housewife and Terri Garr as her best friend Helen Schaefer. Alan Bates is also featured as the Intelligence officer.

Definitely worth buying. You'll watch it again and again!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film May 5, 2009
A great movie... Top rate performances by everybody!!
Teri Garr and Ellen Burstyn are top notch!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great acting February 12, 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Ellen Burstyn is so good in this role of a sheltered British wife in the 1950's and her humanity when she is betrayed by her best friend is difficult to see. Terri Garr is also excellent as that friend. This plot is based on a true story and I recommend it highly. I don't think most people know of this movie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pack of Lies May 23, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a very good movie. Ellen Burstyn and Teri Garr give excellent and believable performances. I first saw this movie on tv years ago and never forgot it. I was absolutely thrilled to find it on dvd.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cold War Friendship...and Betrayal August 26, 2010
A PACK OF LIES is way up there on my fab list, not top 10, but pretty close. One reason I like it so much is that Ellen Burstyn & Terri Garr star in it--AND a young Sammi Davis playing Burstyn's impressionable teenage daughter. Another reason I like it is that I have a personal interest in the Cold War Era & the "ordinary" people who were involved in espionage, what made them tick.

Burstyn's character is a pleasant, simple, somewhat repressed middle class British matron who is befriended by the new married couple living across the street--and forms a particularly close friendship with the wife, Garr. Terri Garr's character is younger and their relationship reflects an interesting inversion of the Older Sister-Younger Sister situation. Garr takes her under wing & Burstyn blooms & blossoms with the attention (her own husband is nice, but very conventional). The two households' basically have an open door policy toward each other--except for Sundays. The childless American/Canadian neighbors say that this is their special, inviolate time for themselves alone--always, absolutely no exceptions.

As it turns out, the people across the street are being investigated by British Intelligence and Burstyn & hubbie are first politely asked, then forced under threat of National Security, to spy on them. 24-hr surveillance is set-up in a spare bedroom facing the spy house. The parents even have to lie to their daughter about what is really going on. This poses a terrible moral dilemma for Burstyn, leading to the break down of her health.

The horrible pretence causes Burstyn to quickly spiral downward & emotionally crack. Garr's notices that something is wrong & she keeps pushing to find out what's going on.
Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars Is it real - or is it Memorex? March 30, 2014

We'd never heard of this great little film, which in one way is worthy of Hitchcock.

I say "one way," because as we were watching, we assumed it was fiction. And that makes a big difference!

As a "fiction" film, the suspense builds and builds. Before long you wonder just what the "Scotland Yard" investigators are up to. There are a couple of seemingly intentional throwaway moments that lead you to wonder seriously who these cloak-and-dagger types are *really* working for and what they're *really* after.

Alan Bates is terrific in his role as the undercover man, and both Ellen Burstyn and Teri Garr are at the top of their game (despite Burstyn's uncertain "English" accent).

Interesting point: if you're thinking it's fiction, the ending will infuriate you. If, however, you know that the story is based on actual events, the ending makes perfect sense - but the otherwise incredible suspense and doubt disappear. It becomes a different kind of movie.

Four stars - but most of the time it felt like five!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Pack of Lies
Thank you very much, Excellent film just what was required to brighten up the day and have a good laugh to
Published 14 months ago by Les
5.0 out of 5 stars Pack of Lies
I liked the movie. I have been looking for this particular movie to purchase for a number of years. The DVD was in excellent condition. I received it in a timely manner. Read more
Published 21 months ago by George B. Dean
5.0 out of 5 stars Pack of Lies (DVD) ~ Ellen Burstyn
This was an okay movie. What else can I say? I thought with the one actress it would have been better but sorry to say, "No.".
Published on February 8, 2012 by Peace
3.0 out of 5 stars Do we really know our neighbors?
I am a collector. I collect many kinds of things. One thing I collect now is Hallmark Hall of Fame movies. Read more
Published on July 16, 2011 by Edith Biggar
4.0 out of 5 stars ARE the neighbors "really" KBG spies? Burstyn is excellent GREAT...
PLOT: 1960's UK~ Police use the Jackson home to "watch" their best friends across the street~

THE DOORBELL rings and the police /secret service ask the Jackson's a nice... Read more
Published on March 26, 2011 by Molly
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Up to Par
Sorry, neither Terry nor Ellen portray very believable charachters in this debaucle and try to overcome it by gross overacting. Read more
Published on January 27, 2010 by William J. Wilhite
5.0 out of 5 stars pack of lies
the service was speedy and accurate. Great condition, as outlined. Would use this service again. Can't say any more than I was totally satisfied.
Published on June 27, 2009 by Holli L. Magill
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