The Jigsaw Man (film)

The Jigsaw Man is a 1983 British espionage film starring Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier and Robert Powell. It was directed by Terence Young. The screenplay was written by Jo Eisinger, based on the novel The Jigsaw Man by Dorothea Bennett.

The Jigsaw Man
Directed byTerence Young
Produced byRon Carr
Benjamin Fisz
Robert Porter
Mahmud Sipra
Screenplay byJo Eisinger
Based onThe Jigsaw Man by Dorothea Bennett
StarringMichael Caine
Laurence Olivier
Music byJohn Cameron
CinematographyFreddie Francis
Edited byDerek Trigg
Distributed byUnited Film Distribution Company
Release date
  • 1983 (1983)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The film was inspired by the story of Kim Philby, a British intelligence officer who was secretly working for the KGB, then defected to the Soviet Union in 1963.[1]


Sir Philip Kimberly, the former head of the British Secret Service who defected to Russia, is given plastic surgery and sent back to Britain by the KGB to retrieve some vital documents. Once back in England, he escapes his Soviet handlers and sets out for business on his own, leading MI6 and the KGB on a hunt for him and the documents.


Plus, uncredited cameos from;


Director Terence Young cast Michael Caine to play the lead role. The second major role went to Laurence Olivier, thus reuniting the two actors who had previously received Academy Award nominations for their roles in the acclaimed Sleuth in 1972.

The Jigsaw Man had a troubled filming history. Filming began in 1982 but the film hit financial troubles, and was reportedly shut down due to cash difficulties. Laurence Olivier, who had been ill on and off since the late 1970s, collapsed on set.[2] He also apparently walked away from the film after receiving no pay, with Caine following not long after. The actors returned when $4 million was secured as finance by Pakistani businessman, filmmaker and best seller author Mahmud Sipra.

Originally Mike Hodges was going to direct The Jigsaw Man, which, if he had cast Caine, would have been Hodges and Caine's third film after their cult classics Get Carter (1971) and Pulp (1972).

There are several uncredited cameos by friends of Olivier and Caine, who were invited to take part when they visited the set. These include Max Bygraves (3rd Policeman), William Walton (Salvation Army band leader), Arthur Negus (Man in trilby) and Sir John Mills as a Cockney bingo-caller. Dame Eileen Atkins was supposed to have leapt out of a wedding cake, but the scene was subsequently cut as it was felt her cardboard and cellophane leotard was too obviously ill-fitting.[3]

End Credits Song - "Only You And I" - Music by Georges Garvarentz. Lyrics by Labi Siffre, Scott English, Sung by Dionne Warwick. Produced by Bob Gaudio. Rhythm arrangement by Jeremy Lubbock and Bob Gaudio. String & horn arrangement by Jeremy Lubbock. Recorded by Paul Lani and Rick Ruggieri. Mixed by Ron Hitchcock. Producers assistant: Marla Miller. Recorded at Sound Lab Studios, Los Angeles, California. Song & theme published by P.G.G. (Chappell Aznavour Ltd.)


The film was given a 15 rating by the BBFC in August 1983 and was released by Thorn EMI.

The Jigsaw Man was released in DVD format in 2002 by Prism Leisure with the special features being limited to chapter selection options.


  1. The Jigsaw Man review, Lawrence Van Gelder, The New York Times
  2. Terry Coleman, Olivier, Bloomsbury, 2005
  3. JM Melon, "Hidden Actors", Fortescue Press, 1992
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