Spy Game

April 2002

Nathan Muir: Robert Redford
Tom Bishop: Brad Pitt
Elizabeth: Catherine McCormack
Charles: Stephen Dillane
Troy Folger: Larry Bryggman
Dr. Byars: Matthew Marsh
Universal presents a film directed by Tony Scott. Written by Michael Frost Beckner and David Arata. Running time: 115 minutes. Rated R (for language,
violence and sexuality).

Central Theme
Ultimately you know the rules a person lives by, through observing what they do, not what they say, and in the case of Nathan Muir, he showed his love and loyalty by laying down his life for a friend.

Though a CIA operative, Nathan Muir has survived the dangers and risks of his profession by following a few basic, self-preserving rules. Then on his retirement day, an operative he recruited and trained, Tom Bishop, ‘boy scout’, is captured on an unapproved mission in China, and the CIA seems ready to let him die rather than risk an adverse impact on trade talks. Bishop and Muir had parted ways after an assignment in Lebanon, because Bishop disagreed with Nathan’s rules. Ironically, the only way Nathan can save Bishop is by violating the rules he’s followed his entire career. Another irony? The woman that Bishop was trying to rescue from a Chinese prison was put there by his mentor, Muir. Believing the agency must never turn its back on its own, Muir abandons his rules of self-preservation, risks everything and employs all the skills of spy-craft to secure the release of Bishop.

Beliefs num
–A spy operates on an ethic of ‘the greater good’.
–The spy’s success depends on being fully alert and fully informed.
–The spy must never be attached to assets, or even allies, if they threaten to compromise the ultimate mission.
–Keeping secrets is essential.
–Nobody will ever know who a spy really is, perhaps not even the spy.
–The first and last rule of life is self-preservation.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–What motivated Nathan to abandon his rules on the day of his retirement?
–Are you more like Bishop or Muir?
–Would you have done what Muir did to save Bishop?
–How do Muir’s actions on his retirement day fit Jesus’ saying, ‘greater love has no man than to lay down his life for a friend’?
–How else do the beliefs of this film compare to yours?

Provocative Quotes byline
–Boy Scout’s in trouble.
==The message from Hong Kong that begins Nathan’s retirement day
–When did Noah build the Ark? Before the rain.
==Nathan to his secretary on the importance of preparation
–Every time my coach told me that, I knew I was about to get benched.
==Nathan when asked to be a ‘team player’
–Put away some money so you can die somewhere nice and warm — and don’t touch it for anybody.
==Nathan’s Rules
–Don’t ever risk your life or your career for an asset.
==Nathan’s Rules
–If it comes down to you or them — send flowers.
==Nathan’s Rules
–You go off the reservation, I won’t come after you.
==Nathan’s Rules
–Why would I ask someone else to kill a horse that belongs to me?
==Muir’s tale of his uncle being applied to the CIA’s willingness to let the Chinese kill Bishop
–Tell me. Is it hard to take a life?
==Tenderhearted physician Dr. Byars asks Bishop a poignant question
–I’m not going with you. I’m done with your reasons and I’m done with you. I’m not ending up like you Nathan.
==Bishop to Nathan after hooking up with another op
–Troy, you can’t do this. He’s one of ours. Do you remember when we could tell the good guys from the bad guys? All this was about something wasn’t it?
==Nathan to Troy, his superior
–Tell him \$282,000 in a Grand Cayman account and that’s it.
==Nathan to broker, cashing out his retirement
–Operation ‘dinner out’ is a go.
==Nathan to Commander Wiley

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