The Fourth Protocol (1987)

R  |   |  Thriller  |  28 August 1987 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 6,711 users  
Reviews: 32 user | 17 critic

John Preston is a British agent with the task of preventing the Russians detonating a nuclear explosion next to an American base in the UK. The Russians are hoping this will shatter the 'special relationship' between the two countries.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Borisov / Pavel Petrovic
Irina Vassilievna
Brian Harcourt-Smith
Sir Bernard Hemmings
General Karpov
Sir Nigel Irvine
Anton Rodgers ...
George Berenson
Caroline Blakiston ...
Angela Berenson
Joseph Brady ...
Betsy Brantley ...
Eileen McWhirter
Captain Lyndhurst
Tom McWhirter
Jerry Harte ...
Professor Krilov


KGB agent Major Valeri Petrofsky has been reassigned at the request of the KGB Chairman for a secret mission wherein he is sent to England to establish a residence near an American military base and receive various items from couriers from the USSR. John Preston is the top British spy catcher, currently at odds with his superior because he doesn't lick his boots. After he conducts an operation without his superior's permission caused his superior some embarrassment, he is reassigned to the menial task of overseeing airports and ports. One day one the couriers Petrofsky was expecting comes off a freighter has an accident which leaves him dead. Preston is informed by the pathologist that the man is not a seaman so Preston goes through his things and finds that he was carrying something which he is told is an atomic bomb component. Preston now suspects that someone is bringing in parts for an atomic bomb, his superior doesn't want to let Preston be proven right so he doesn't authorize ... Written by <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


If the Fourth Protocol is ever breached, there would be no warning, just a nuclear explosion from a bedsitter...The unthinkable has just begun... See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

28 August 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A negyedik záradék  »

Box Office


$12,423,831 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


A video game of 'The Fourth Protocol' was developed and released in 1985 two years before this film was made. As such, the video game has the distinction of being made before and not at the same time or after the movie version. The computer game was made for the Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum home computer platforms. See more »


When Michael Caine decks the two punks on the train for their racist behavior, look closely as the train pulls into the station. On the left of the screen seen through the train window is the roundel sign for ALDWYCH (which is probably where it was shot). As he leaves the train, the sign suddenly changes to PADDINGTON. See more »


John Preston: Have they told you anything?
Captain Lyndhurst: Just that he's a terrorist.
John Preston: Oh, he's more than just a terrorist. He is a top Soviet agent, a pro.
Captain Lyndhurst: Is he alone?
John Preston: Maybe there's a woman in there. He's armed with a bomb.
Captain Lyndhurst: How big a bomb?
John Preston: Atomic bomb.
[Lyndhurst and the other SAS stop what they're doing and look at John in stunned silence]
See more »


Referenced in Riot on 42nd St. (1987) See more »


Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D minor, Op. 47
(excerpt from 1st movement: Allegro moderato)
Composed by Jean Sibelius
See more »

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User Reviews

Well done and realistic spy thriller!
8 July 2002 | by (Oakland, CA USA) – See all my reviews

Usually we get treated to one type of spy movie these days. This type is made up of good looking young agents with all sorts of high tech weapons and gear. There are beautiful women who are just lining up to sleep with the good guy. The Fourth Protocol is not one of these movies and thank goodness! It is one of the most realistic cold war spy movies out there. Despite it's age(1987) it is relevant to today's world. There is nuclear terrorism and real looking spies. Michael Cain plays a British agent and is too busy looking for Russian spies to be sexing up fine Russian female agents. In fact he has a family. He is excellent as the seasoned agent who uses his mind and not gadgets to track down the Russian spy played by Pierce Brosnan. For those of you who saw Brosnan in Tailor of Panama and found it refreshing to see him play a creep secret agent will be in for a real treat in The Fourth Protocol. Brosnan plays Petrofsky, a young hot shot KGB agent who tries to slice and dice his way to the top. I mean Petrofsky is a flat out cold blooded killer. He makes the guy in Tailor of Panama look like a saint. He has a conscience but he doesn't let it get in the way of his mission to explode a nuclear weapon on a US Air Force base in Great Britain in order to make it look like the US had a nuclear accident. Petrofsky was the right man for the job he would blow up two or three thousand people just like that. If he wasn't a KGB agent, he could surely find work as a serial killer.

The story moves along quickly and sometimes a bit too quickly. However it doesn't detract from the movie. The movie looks more like a cop movie in the way the investigation unfolds. When they finally find out what's going on there is a good action sequence that doesn't go over the top. It just serves the purpose in this movie. Other things I liked was the scene where they constructed the bomb.

I would recommend this one to anyone who likes spy movies and are tired of the James Bond rigmarole.


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