The Man Who Never Was (1956)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Adapted from the book of the same name by Ewen Montagu and based on fact, The Man Who Never Was stars Clifton Webb as Montagu, a lieutenant commander in the British Navy during World War II, who becomes involved in tricky scheme to fool the Nazis. It entails locating a corpse, establishing an identity for it as an intelligence officer called Major Martin, and having the body float in the water just off the coast of Spain, with military identificaiton and letters in its pockets that describe a forthcoming invasion of Greece by the British. That invasion, of course, is entirely fictitious, designed to distract the Nazis from picking up on the Britons' plans to invade Sicily. The scheme is complicated by a young woman named Lucy Sherwood (Gloria Grahame), and Patrick O'Reilly (Stephen Boyd), a German espionage agent. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Action & Adventure , Classics , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Twentieth Century Fox


Clifton Webb
as Lt. Cmdr. Ewen Montagu
Gloria Grahame
as Lucy Sherwood
Stephen Boyd
as Patrick O'Reilly
Robert Flemyng
as Lt. George Acres
André Morell
as Sir Bernard Spilsbury
Laurence Naismith
as Adm. Cross
Geoffrey Keen
as Gen. Nye
Michael Hordern
as Gen. Coburn
Moultrie Kelsall
as The Father
Cyril Cusack
as Taxi Driver
Joan Hickson
as Landlady
Richard Wattis
as Shop Assistant
Allan Cuthbertson
as Vice-Admiral
Brian Oulton
as Wills Officer
William Squire
as Lt. Jewell
Ronald Adam
as Adams
Miles Malleson
as Scientist
Gibb McLaughlin
as Club Porter
Peter Williams
as Adm. Mountbatten
Michael Brill
as Doctor
John Welsh
as Bank Manager
Robert Brown
as French
Everley Gregg
as Club Matron
Lloyd Lamble
as Passport Officer
Don Gordon Bell
as Customs Officer
Wolf Frees
as Adm. Canaris
Gerhard Puritz
as German Colonel
D.A. Clarke-Smith
as Laurence, a Consul
Peter Sellers
as Voice of Winston Churchill
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Critic Reviews for The Man Who Never Was

All Critics (5)

Inspirado numa fascinante história real, o filme mantém a sobriedade em quase toda sua duração, permitindo que acompanhemos as inteligentes ações de britânicos e alemães para confundir uns aos outros.

November 26, 2006
Cinema em Cena

This film is based on a true story, as revealed in a book by Ewen Montagu.

Full Review… | February 21, 2001
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Quote not available.

August 14, 2005

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March 9, 2004
Reeling Reviews

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February 8, 2004
Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Audience Reviews for The Man Who Never Was


"Last night I dreamed a deadly dream / Beyond the Isle of Skye / I saw a dead man win a fight / And I think that man was I."

Sue Birkenseer
Sue Birkenseer

In what was one of the most successful and infamous deceptions of World War II British intelligence fooled the entire Nazi war machine - and all with the help of a man who never existed. The deceptions that British intelligence pulled off prior to the D-Day landings are now well-known and well documented - from Gen. Patton being in charge of a fake army to the use of double agents. The allies were able to keep vital German panzer tanks and troops away from the Normandy beaches as Hitler kept his attention on the Calais region. Yet even before this British intelligence scored another coup by diverting German attention away from the imminent invasion of Sicily by making the Germans believe that Greece and perhaps Sardinia were the actual targets. They did this by creating the man who never was. Taking the body of a man whose condition could be interpreted as having died from drowning, dressing him in clothes with accompanying documentation and casting him off from a submarine just off the coast of Spain. All with the goal that the body and the vital top secrets it carried being intercepted by the Nazi's. It was an inspired scheme and this movie, in much the same vein as the similar true-life deception movie I WAS MONTY'S DOUBLE really shines. It's thoroughly entertaining and well acted throughout.

Darren Harrison
Darren Harrison

I have to wonder if casting directors of this era intuitively sought out Gloria Grahame whenever a script called for a 'promiscuous' or 'unbridled' sort?

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

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