The Passage (1979) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Passage1979

The Passage (1979)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Director J. Lee Thompson directed this World War II adventure drama from a script by author Bruce Nicolaysen who adapted the screenplay from his novel The Perilous Passage. Anthony Quinn stars as a brave Basque mountaineer who is hired by the American military to guide Professor Bergsson (James Mason) and his family over the dangerous Pyrenees. Together the two men struggle to ensure the group's survival and elude Von Berkow a crazed Nazi played by Malcolm MacDowell.


James Mason
as Prof. John Bergson
Malcolm McDowell
as Capt. Von Berkow
Patricia Neal
as Ariel Bergson
Kay Lenz
as Leah Bergson
Christopher Lee
as Head Gypsy
Michael Lonsdale
as Alain Renoudot
Paul Clemens
as Paul Bergson
Rose Alba
as Madame
Neville Jason
as Lt. Reincke
Robert Rhys
as Son of the Gypsy
Jim Broadbent
as German Soldier
Peter Arne
as French Guide
Terence Maidment
as German Sentry
Frederick Jaeger
as German Major
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Critic Reviews for The Passage

All Critics (4)

A bad bordering on terrible movie, but the action is handled well enough, the French village and Pyrenees locations are stunning...Quinn always gave good value and Malcolm McDowell camps it up.

June 19, 2021 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

Even an experienced scenery-chewer like Anthony Quinn is no match for Malcolm McDowell, whose smirking, bug-eyed performance singlehandedly places the picture in the realm of camp and foreshadows his even more insane work in the same year's Caligula.

February 13, 2016 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

A lurid, exciting World War II chase thriller with Malcolm McDowell chewing the scenery as a sadistic Nazi.

February 17, 2006 | Rating: 7/10

Would not nearly be as watchable without McDowell relishing his role as [a] fanatical German officer

May 23, 2005

Audience Reviews for The Passage


To get a scientist out of Nazi-controlled territory a sheepherder is hired to help him over the Pyrenees. Only the scientist has his family with him, for one. The other is that the Nazi chasing them is singularly determined. Anthony Quinn plays the shepherd with hidden layers, the best in the film. James Mason's scientist is a walk through. And Malcolm McDowell as the SS officer is the very picture of over-the-top, only upstaged by his jock strap. There are moments of tension. And moments of unintentional comedy.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

This is the film that was allegedly so controversial that it only played for one week in one theatre in the US and has only been released once on VHS in Europe but never in the States. *SPOILERS* It wasn't half as gruesome as I had expected based on all that hype. Maybe it was the cracktasticness of Malcolm's character that made people so averse to this film? There were plenty of films around in the 70's that depicted the Nazis in a sadistic and sexual manner ? Ilsa She-Wolf of the SS ('74), Salon Kitty ('76), The Night Porter ('74) and a whole bunch of different kinds of Camps ? but not necessarily as big jokesters, which is what Von Berkow is. Sadistic, yes, but in a facetious way. Or maybe it was the snow, like James Mason said? But having to watch people being surrounded by cold, damp snow half of the film isn't enough to give it an R rating, now is it? There are only about three somewhat disturbing scenes and one really sad one, but that's it. A Clockwork Orange ('71) and Caligula ('79) are way worse. Moving on... The Passage doesn't have much of a plot. I don't know whether reading the book first helps at all, as I haven't had the pleasure(?) of doing so. A Basque shepherd is hired by the French Resistance to transport Some Very Important Professor and his family from Toulouse across the Pyrenees to safety before the SS get to them. A bunch of running around, hiding, and interrogating people ensues. And, well, that's about it. If it weren't for Malcolm, this film would hardly be worth a watch. But thanks to his brilliant mind, it's not really all that bad.

vieras esine
vieras esine

Super Reviewer

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