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Riddle Of The Sands, The (1978)

Michael York , Jenny Agutter , Tony Maylam  |  PG |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael York, Jenny Agutter, Simon MacCorkindale, Alan Badel, Michael Sheard
  • Directors: Tony Maylam
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: VCI Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 20, 2011
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00561BNJA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,968 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

A young British yachtsman (MacCorkindale) is sailing off the north coast of Germany in 1901, when he stumbles upon a plot to invade England. The young sailor enlists the aid of an old chum (York), who also works in the Foreign Office, and together the two English gents turn amateur sleuths and embark on a daring adventure to save Britain from catastrophe at the hands of the German military and Kaiser Wilhelm himself! Based on the Erskine Childers novel, considered the prototype of the modern day spy thriller. Bonus Features: Photo Gallery Product Specs: DVD5; Dolby Digital 2.0 & 5.1 Enhanced; RT - 102 minutes; Color; Aspect Ratio - 1.85:1 - Video: 4x3 Letterboxed; Year - 1978; SRP - $19.99

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Different Time - Enjoy November 25, 2011
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OK, right up front I need to preface this by saying that this movie takes place in one of my favorite periods in history and one in which very few movies take place - the early 1900's PRIOR to World War I. It is well filmed in color and takes place in the North Sea islands between Britian and Germany, and is simply a great prewar spy show with a plot of a "Pearl Harbor" type attack on, well, I won't spoil it, being exposed before it can happen. The location will have most non-europeans heading for Google Maps or an Atlas, which is a good thing. Well cast with Michael York and other well known British actors, but to me the "star" is the small two masted sailboat around which much of the action occurs. In my view this is a must have for Britsh spy fans, ship lovers, or anyone who likes history. The only downside is the movie is somewhat slow for younger viewers, relying on character, dialog and location rather than action. A rainy afternoon, feet up, favorite beverage, and Enjoy!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
VCI Entertainment and The Rank Collection presents "THE RIDDLE OF THE SANDS" (1978) - (102 min/Color) -- Starring: Michael York, Jenny Agutter, Simon MacCorkindale, Alan Badel, Michael Sheard, Jurgen Anderson, Hans Meyer, Wolf Kahler, Olga Lowe

Directed by: Tony Maylam

British Invasion has returned to VCI, with this release from their vault.

Two British yachtsmen (Michael York and Simon MacCorkindale) stumble upon a German plot to invade the east coast of England in a flotilla of specially designed barges. They set out to thwart this terrible scheme, but must outwit not only the cream of the German Navy, but the feared Kaiser Wilhelm himself. This has spy thriller written all over it.

This is a wonderful film, with scenic cinematography. There is a sequence with fog and our lead characters are about to close in on the bad guys, the suspense keeps you on the edge of your seat. Although in the book there were only male lead characters, but Jenny Agutter spices up the screenplay with a welcomed appearance.

The director achieves what the book was trying to convey, making this a classic with an outstanding cast.

Would like to add this is one of the most beautiful films from the UK during the 1970s, almost feel as if you're sailing away in this atmospheric tapestry with a colorful backdrop.

In these shifting sands, men can disappear without a trace...and their secrets with them.

For product description and editorial review check this out on the Amazon site above my review

1. Poster Gallery

1. Tony Maylam Director)
Date of Birth: 1943 - London, England, UK
Date of Death: Unknown

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie way too long in coming to DVD January 24, 2012
By lental
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I have been watching for the DVD offering of "Riddle of the Sands" since DVDs first became available and was excited to finally find it at Amazon.

I first learned sbout it when it did a short and much ignored run in the theaters in the late 70's. It was recommended by a fellow sailor during a discussion of sailing movies. Since then it's become a kind of "cult" movie for sailors.

The movie follows fairly closely the novel by Erskine Childers whose own exciting life created an excellent platform for his book of the same name. Childers was executed by a firing squad during the Irish Revolution.

This movie was a real sleeper when it was released and that's too bad because it's a top-flight sailing spy adventure with a little romance thrown in. In my opinion, it's a four-star movie and should have been an award winner.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An old favorite.... March 17, 2012
I have both the book and the movie and while I think the book is a bit better, the movie is a gem. I have little to add to what the other reviewers have said except to point out that this was the first modern spy story. And, in its time it was an amazingly influential story. When it first appeared in the UK about 1904, it created a furor because it pointed up a major vulnerability of the British Navy's bases. It led to a complete re-evaluation of the Navy's home fleet bases and the creation of the base at Scapa Flow.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First rate mystery November 2, 2011
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I saw this movie years ago and was very impressed with it. The acting is wonderful, but the story line is even better. Time is pre- world war I. Place is Germany. I was so glad to see it's available on DVD. This is a film very much worth seeing. Great for mystery lovers, history buffs, and those who love sailing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unintended steam punk before steam punk was cool January 7, 2013
By Phred
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A few things about the book the Riddle of the Sands before starting the review with the movie:
Erskine Childers author of the book is worthy of an action movie all to himself. In death he was shot by a British firing squad as a martyr to the Irish nationalist cause. As a novelist, this book is credited as having influenced British Royal Navy policy to the advantage of the British defense. A partial list of his activities would include British soldier (Boer war), Royal Navy intelligence service (WWI - Winner of the Distinguished Service Cross), arms smuggler, and yachtsman.

The book behind this movie is considered to be one of the first modern espionage books. In the Riddle of the Sands Childers would establish many of the elements that would influence the spy genre for decades to come. In the immediate years after this book was published it would inspire a number of look-alike books including a sequel by another author. About the only aspect of the modern spy novel not seen in Riddle of the Sands is a heavy emphasis on high tech gadgetry and huge expense accounts.

Now to the movie: Riddle of the Sands finds a relatively young Michael York and in a supporting role traveling out to join his friend amateur yachtsman author Davies, played by Simon McClorkindale. Simon is in need of backup because he believes he is on to a possible German scheme the exact dimensions of which he does not yet appreciate. The balance of the plot is dedicated to the process of discovering the details of the plot and then foiling it all before reporting it back to the British foreign office.

In terms of the history of the period, the movie is set in the early years after 1900. Germany has emerged as a modern nation and an industrial power.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great interpretation of the book that so scared the Brits prior to WW1
I first came across the public domain audio book and was enthralled with the plot, especially as the original paper book had such an effect on the British when it first came out. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Duncan
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
en, its ok.
Published 2 months ago by michael
5.0 out of 5 stars ... this movie first in the early '80's and have loved it ever since
Saw this movie first in the early '80's and have loved it ever since. Have been waiting for the DVD, because my VHS copy is pretty much worn out. Read more
Published 2 months ago by CSCincy
5.0 out of 5 stars I liked the movie
Goodness, it is just an old movie that you had to see back then, I liked the movie, I like the movie back then and I have always wanted to see it again, Thanks to the people who... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Lawton F. Douglass Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sailor's Delight
If you love sailing, this is YOUR kind of movie. Excellent cast, well-acted, exciting, but the sailing shots and life aboard are well depicted.
Published 3 months ago by Robert A. Dahmes
4.0 out of 5 stars Like opening a old bottle of fine wine.
Good old drama that still entertains you. Very well acted and directed. A blast from the past with historical accuracy.
Published 5 months ago by Lee Richardson
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful old fashioned adventure/mystery set in Downton Abbey period
A light hearted adventure mystery story set at the turn of the 20th century with good plot and acting. Nothing blows up, no aliens, just an enjoyable story for a quiet afternoon.
Published 5 months ago by Lockett F. Ballard
3.0 out of 5 stars Good movie for sailors and Michael York fans
I was looking forward to viewing the film version of The Riddle of the Sands. The book by Erskin Childers is a little diffcult but interesting for details of history, geograpy and... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Gary alan Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars An important book gets made into a movie.
Read the book for sure. Winston Churchill hated the author & sid it caused WW I. No it didn't but it signaled the faults of the British Admiralty. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Richard DuBrul
5.0 out of 5 stars Riddle of the Sands.
I purchased this DVD to add to my mystery/spy collections. I read the
book. It is one of the first spy novels written. Read more
Published 11 months ago by charles
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