Callan (film)

Callan is an 1974 British thriller film directed by Don Sharp and starring Edward Woodward, Eric Porter and Carl Möhner.[1]

UK theatrical poster
Directed byDon Sharp
Produced byHarry Benn
Derek Horne
Written byJames Mitchell
Based onnovel A Red File for Callan by Mitchell
StarringEdward Woodward
Eric Porter
Carl Möhner
Catherine Schell
Music byWilfred Josephs
CinematographyErnest Steward
Edited byTeddy Darvas
Magnum Films
Distributed byEMI UK
Release date
  • 1974 (1974)
Running time
106 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

It was based on the ITV television series Callan which ran from 1967 to 1972.[2]


David Callan (Edward Woodward), a leading intelligence agent/assassin in the employment of the S.I.S., was forced into retirement when he lost his nerve. Now, he is called back into service to handle the assassination of Schneider, a German businessman. Colonel Hunter (Eric Porter), his former employer, promises Callan that he'll be returned to active status as long as he follows his orders. But Callan refuses to act until he knows exactly why Schneider has been marked for death...


The only actors to reprise their television roles in the film were Woodward, Russell Hunter who played Lonely and Clifford Rose who played Snell. Apart from the three, all the other recurring characters were played by different actors and actresses.


The script by James Mitchell is based on his original TV pilot "A Magnum for Schneider" and the novelization thereof, Red File for Callan, although only the novel is listed in the film's credits (as A Red File for Callan). The film was based more on the novel than on the original television script.

Callan's boss Hunter is played by Eric Porter, and Meres too is re-cast, this time played by Peter Egan. The only recurring actors from the TV series were Edward Woodward as Callan, Russell Hunter as Lonely, and Clifford Rose as Dr Snell.

Callan was the first film with a Dolby-encoded optical soundtrack.[3]


The film's original reaction was mixed to positive.

The Observer called it "surprisingly enjoyable".[4]


  2. CALLAN Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 41, Iss. 480, (Jan 1, 1974): 144.
  3. Sergi, Gianluca (2004). The Dolby Era: Film Sound in Contemporary Hollywood. Manchester University Press. p. 46. ISBN 0719070678.
  4. Cross-country parable Milne, Tom. The Observer 26 May 1974: 31
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