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The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Character: Gaby
Created by: Sam Rolfe (television series)
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Written by: Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram
Produced by: Steve Clark-Hall, Guy Ritchie, John Davis, Lionel Wigram (among others)
Other cast: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Elizabeth Debicki, Hugh Grant
Release date: 14 August 2015
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Running time: 1h 56min

In the 1960s with the Cold War in play, CIA agent Napoleon Solo successfully helps Gaby Teller defect to West Germany despite the intimidating opposition of KGB agent Illya Kuryakin. Later, all three unexpectedly find themselves working together in a joint mission to stop a private criminal organization from using Gaby's father's scientific expertise to construct their own nuclear bomb. Through clenched teeth and stylish poise, all three must find a way to cooperate for the sake of world peace, even as they each pursue their own agendas.

Synopsis (Warning: contains spoilers!)

1963, West Berlin.

Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) makes his way through checkpoint Charlie from West to East Berlin, but notices he’s being followed by a man we’ll later discover is Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer). Solo goes to a chop shop garage where he meets Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander). Gaby’s father is being forced to build an atom bomb for the Nazis. Solo’s mission is to get her out of Berlin so they can find her uncle Rudi (Sylvester Groth) and have him set up a meeting between her and her dad.

As they make their way to the border they’re chased by Kuryakin, who turns out to be Solo’s match. However, Solo has help. Waiting on the other side of the wall is a CIA truck that shoots a zip line up to the roof where Solo and Gaby end up. They’re able to zip line over the Berlin wall. Kuryakin is right behind them but the truck backs up making slack in the line and leaving Illya on the other side of the wall.

There is a flashback to Kuryakin’s briefing on Solo.

Solo came to Europe during the second world war but stayed there and became a master art thief. He was eventually captured but the CIA felt his skills were too good to be wasted in a prison, so they recruited him.

In the present, CIA specialist Sanders (Jared Harris) meets with Solo at a park. In the restroom he lays out the mission. While at the urinal he says, “What I’m going to feed you might be bitter.” It’s innuendo, but nevertheless, it’s true. It’s Illya Kuryakin! They fight and Kuryakin overcomes Solo. The KGB director Oleg (Misha Kuznetsov) comes in and tells Kury, “Don’t kill your partner on your first day.” Solo asks what that means. Sanders translates. Solo says he understands the words, but what does that mean. The CIA and KGB have struck a deal and are sending Solo and Kury on a joint mission.

They have to go to Rome where Kury will pose as Gaby’s fiancé and Solo as an antiquities dealer. They believe a family business there that Gaby’s uncle Rudi works for is a front. The business has been in Alexander’s (Luca Calvani) family but actually his wife Victoria (Elizabeth Debicki) is the brains behind the operation.

Kury and Solo get to know each other by revealing what they’ve discovered in each others files. Solo triggers Kury’s rage issues, but the Russian manages to keep them in check.

Meanwhile, a man named Waverly (Hugh Grant) checks into the hotel in Rome right before Napoleon does. When Napoleon checks in, he notices a couple of guys who are clearly evil henchmen in the lobby. He has his bags brought to his room but he takes off.

On the streets of Rome Kury and Gaby bond a little. Solo shows up and tells Kury that he’s going to get mugged. To convince the bad guys that he’s really a Russian architect, his cover, and not a super bad-ass secret agent, his instructions are to “be a pussy”; just get mugged and don’t fight back. The mugging happens and even though the thugs take Kury’s father’s watch and Gaby’s engagement ring he manages to suppress his rage and submit. Solo pops up and they all go back to the hotel.

Solo and the hotel desk clerk drink champagne and wind up in bed. Meanwhile, in the “engaged couple” room, Gaby chugs vodka and tries to get Kury to dance with her. He won’t so she slaps him and they start wrestling. She passes out and he tucks her into bed.

In the morning Solo discovers about a dozen monitoring bugs in his room. He goes to Kury’s room and hands them to him telling him that they’re Russian-made. Kury hands Solo about a dozen bugs too and says that they’re American-made.

Kury meets Gaby in front of the hotel and gives her a brand new engagement ring.

Solo heads to a party that Victoria is throwing. On the way in he literally bumps into Waverly. We later find out that he picks Waverly’s pocket and steals his invitation. Solo crashes the party and gets in a fight with security because he doesn’t present an invitation. Victoria takes notice and Solo shows his invitation. He manages to “lift” her necklace and another woman’s bracelet. Victoria asks how he got an invitation and who he is. He says his name is Deveny and that he specializes in filling the gaps in people’s collections. He gives her the bracelet and the necklace.

Gaby and Kury are also at the party. Rudi disses Kury by wondering if Gaby is slumming it like “a racehorse with a work horse”. Kury goes into a bathroom but three young Italian aristocrats prevent from using the sink and tell him to use the ladies’ washroom instead. He finally gives in to his anger and roughs them up. Alexander takes a keen liking to Gaby right away.

Back at the hotel Kury has locked himself in the bathroom which he has turned into a dark room and is developing film. His camera was able to pick up on radiation on clothing at the party. Therefore, Gaby’s father must be near and working on that atom bomb. Both Solo and Kury say that they’ll sleep on this new information, but …

… in the next shot they both break into the company’s factory in the middle of the night. While Kury is clearly the muscles between the two of them, Solo is more cunning and manages to break into a large bank-style safe. It’s empty except for a centrifuge used for enhancing uranium. Solo thought that model of safe didn’t have an alarm. Wrong! They escape by jumping out of a window and onto a boat. Solo falls off and swims to a dock where he finds a truck. Inside is the driver’s dinner which he casually eats while Kury gets chased in circles by guards on a well-armed boat. They blow up Kury’s boat. Solo drives away but has second thoughts. He returns, crashes his truck onto the bad guys’ boat, and then rescues a drowning Kury.

Victoria sees that the safe has been opened and calls Solo’s hotel room. No answer. Rudi calls Gaby and asks to apologize to Kury, but she says he’s asleep. She then calls room 304 to tell the person on the other end that the meeting is confirmed. Victoria and her goons race to the hotel, but Solo and Kury get there first. She and Solo get it on in his room (807).

The next morning, Kury awkwardly turns on a tracker that’s on Gaby’s garter belt. (Lots of sexual tension there).

Gaby meets with her uncle and says that she knows her father is there and that he works for him. Rudi asks how she knows. We don’t hear her answer just yet. Instead, we see Kury, who’s monitoring from afar, start running.

Solo meets with Victoria. He pours himself a drink, but she’s drugged it. He wakes up strapped to an electric torture chair. Rudi is an evil Nazi scientist who keeps a scrapbook of all the horrific stuff he’s done. He has a blank page just waiting for Solo. Fortunately, there’s a short in the electric chair. Kury rescues Solo and straps Rudi into the chair. He tells them that the warhead is already built. Kury and Solo step out of the room to debate what to do with Rudi. In the background, the short in the electric chair fixes itself and Rudi gets electrocuted to the point of bursting in flames.

Gaby is brought to an island where her dad is working. She slaps him and tells him to finish the job. Alexander and Victoria seem happy with this.

Meanwhile, Waverly (who turns out to be a member of the British Intelligence) informs Solo and Kury about the situation. The Brits knew that it was only a matter of time before someone grabbed Gaby to try to get her dad to finish the atom bomb. They assumed it would be the Nazis. They were surprised that it was the Russians and the Americans. So Gaby has been working undercover with the British this whole time. She gains the trust of the bad guys by telling them that Kury and Solo are secret agents. She knew that her new engagement ring would have a bug in it and that Kury would be listening. Solo says that he thinks the British were working with her, but now that they’ve lost her, they need the American and the Russians help.

Kury and Solo are both told by their respective superiors to get the warhead and the disc with professor Teller’s research. Also, to kill the other if necessary.

On the island, Gaby and her dad try to switch lenses on the warhead but Victoria notices. There is also a second warhead. She orders Gaby be put in a cell and tells her father to finish, with the threat of her death. He does, but Victoria takes his disc and the backup he had hidden, then shoots him.

Time for a super-stylized and ultra-cool breaking-in montage as Solo and Kury storm the island. During it, Solo finds Kury’s father’s watch on a guard and grabs it. They find that Gaby and the warhead on the far side of the island in a jeep being driven by Alexander. Solo chases in a dune buggy while Kury is on a motorcycle. The vehicles all crash. Alexander and Kury fight and Kury stabs him in the head with his knife. Turns out though, this is the wrong bomb! Victoria disappeared with the right one.

Solo remembers that Alexander’s family used a fishing boat to smuggle gold for the Nazis. He also remembers the name of the boat from an old childhood photo of Alexander. They radio the boat and Solo taunts Victoria about the way her husband died. They stay on the radio long enough for the good guys to track the boat. Turns out that the two lenses that were in the bombs make it so that one bomb can take out the other. They launch the decoy bomb and blow up Victoria, the Atom bomb and the fishing boat.

Gaby apologizes to Kury and returns the engagement ring. He tells her to keep it so that he can know if she ever needs him. Kury’s boss tells him that the professor’s disc wasn’t destroyed but that Solo has it. Kury goes to his room. Solo pours drinks for the two of them. Kury sees the disc and is filling with rage. Solo gives him the watch and reveals the disc. They both decide to destroy it. Waverly and Gaby show up. Waverly says that he’s decided to keep the group together and that they have a new code-name: UNCLE. (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement).

Over the end credits we see everyone’s dossiers. In one little detail, Gaby is currently learning to speak Russian.


  • Napoleon Solo’s trick of removing a tablecloth from a table while leaving all the objects undisturbed was not a visual effect. Henry Cavill actually performed it himself, having trained in the trick from British variety star Mat Ricardo.
  • Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer often did their own stunts in the film. Hammer was more enthusiastic about his stunts; his stunt double joked that he “hardly has a chance to do anything because he’s out there doing it all by himself.”
  • Henry Cavill admitted that he was very relieved to not have a shirtless scene in this movie after a string of movies where he had to be in top shape. Cavill said that he was glad to focus on his performance for once and not his physique, which he said took an enormous amount of work to present on screen.
  • Armie Hammer confessed to being awed by co-star Henry Cavill on first meeting him. Hammer re-called, “I was overwhelmed by his good looks, his chiseled body, his muscles, pretty much everything. There was the whole package there.”
  • The TV series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1964-1968) was partially developed by Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond; Napoleon Solo had started out as a character in Fleming’s novel “Goldfinger.” In homage, Alexander Waverly, in this film, is a Commander in the British Naval Intelligence, the same rank that James Bond holds.
  • One of the reasons the film stayed in the 60s time period was to allow them “to have our own world, our own reality, our own tone, which sets us apart” from films like the Bourne franchise and other recent spy thrillers.
  • Former England international football star David Beckham has a brief cameo in the film as a projectionist.
  • The only principal cast members to use their natural accents in the film were Sylvester Groth and Hugh Grant.
  • The movie takes place a year or two after the Cuban missile crisis, an origin story that the TV show never explained. Presenting the origin story was one of the reasons Ritchie and Wigram wanted to do the project.
  • Warner Bros. had been trying to adapt The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964-1968) for over a decade; it was a project that could not get the green light.
  • Some of the costumes in the film are actually vintage clothing.
  • The code name used by the studio for covertly shipping copies of the film to theaters was “Waterloo.”
  • Gemma Arterton, Alice Eve, Mia Wasikowska, Emilia Clarke, Felicity Jones, Teresa Palmer and Sarah Gadon all auditioned for the role of Gaby Teller.
  • When they are getting Gaby clothes before heading to Rome, Ilya and Napoleon argue over matching clothes. When Ilya believes his point has been proven, he tells Napoleon “Get back on your horse, cowboy.” Armie Hammer, who portrays Ilya, previously played The Lone Ranger in Disney’s 2013 adaptation.

[Solo and Kuryakin meet after spending a night in their hotel rooms]
Napoleon Solo: [shows him electronic bugs] These. Are. Russian-made.
Illya Kuryakin: One moment.
[leaves and returns]
Illya Kuryakin: [shows him electronic bugs] These. Are. American-made. And very low-tech.

Illya Kuryakin: [as Solo cracks a safe] Did you disable the alarm?
Napoleon Solo: There’s no alarm on the 307.
[alarm immediately begins wailing]
Illya Kuryakin: …Loving your work, Cowboy.

Napoleon Solo: [telling Kuryakin to let himself get mugged] Take it like a pussy.
Illya Kuryakin: This is NOT the Russian way.

Napoleon Solo: [seeing Illya grabbing the rear of their car] He’s trying. To stop. The car.
Gaby Teller: We’re struggling here. Why don’t you take a shot at him?
Napoleon Solo: Somehow, it just doesn’t seem like the right thing to do.

Illya Kuryakin: [about having to get mugged] A Russian architect would have fought them, a Russian agent would have killed them!

Gaby Teller: [Illya checking tracker on Gaby’s garter] What are you doing down there?
Illya Kuryakin: Trying not to get lost.

Uncle Rudi: There are only two masters in this world: fear and pain.

Waverly: For a special agent, you’re not having a very special day, are you?

Illya Kuryakin: [as Uncle Rudi is being electrocuted in the other room] Looks like he fixed the short.
Napoleon Solo: Damn. I left my jacket in the other room.

Illya Kuryakin: You’re trembling…
Gaby Teller: That’s because I’m scared!
Illya Kuryakin: It’s going to be okay.

Gaby Teller: About last night…
Illya Kuryakin: [smiles] I like my women strong.

Gaby Teller: America teaming up with Russia. That doesn’t sound very friendly.

Gaby Teller: I’m not going back behind that wall. And when I’m done here, that’s where they’ll put me!


The Man from U.N.C.L.E. grossed $45.4 million in North America and $64.4 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $109.8 million, against a budget of $75 million.

The film grossed $900,000 from its early Thursday screenings and $4.8 million on its opening day. In its opening weekend, the film grossed $13.4 million, which was about $5 million below expectations, finishing 3rd at the box office.

It opened in Russia with $3.1 million. In the United Kingdom, it opened alongside Sony Pictures’ Pixels, earning $2.3 million, debuting at No. 4 for Friday-Sunday, while Pixels was at No. 1 with $4.2 million, including previews during the week. Warner Bros did not preview The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Across Asia, it generated $2.7 million from six countries and $1.7 million in Australia.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 68%, based on 224 reviews, with an average rating of 6.2/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E. tries to distract from an unremarkable story with charismatic stars and fizzy set pieces, adding up to an uneven action thriller with just enough style to overcome its lack of substance.” On Metacritic, the film has a score of 55 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating “mixed or average reviews”. On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of “B” on an A+ to F scale.


‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ was first presented at the annual San Diego International Comic Con, on July 11. A week later, on July 23, Alicia attended a ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ photocall and press conference in London.

On August 10, Alicia, along with her co-stars Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer and Elizabeth Debicki, attended the New York City premiere for ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’. The next day, on August 11, they all attended the Toronto premiere.

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