The Tenth Man (1988)

Anthony Hopkins, Kristin Scott Thomas, Derek Jacobi, Cyril Cusack,
Based on the novel by Graham Greene, this is a story of a French advocate Chavel (Sir Anthony Hopkins), who, while imprisoned by the Germans during the occupation, trades his material possessions to another prisoner in exchange fo...
  • 6.9 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2022-10-02 Added:
  • Graham Greene, Lee Langley, Writer:
  • Jack Gold, Director:
  • William Hill, David A. Rosemont, Michael Stringer, Producer:

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5 / 10

Needed A Better Director And Cameraman

When the Germans invade northern France, they round up a hundred local men, including Anthony Hopkins. Being Nazis and all, they announce that ten of the prisoners will die, and leave it up to them to decide who. They decide on lots. Hopkins is one of the ten. He trades his lot with Timothy Watson, in return for all his goods. Watson leaves everything to his sister and mother.

Three years later, a bearded Hopkins is free and goes to his estate, where Kristen Scott Thomas and an ailing Brenda Bruce are in possession. They wait with fear and hatred Hopkins' return, so he claims to be a nobody and gets a job with them as a common laborer. Then one day,collaborator and fugitive Derek Jacobi, the son of one of the other men in the hundred, shows up, fleeing from the Resistance. He claims to be Anthony Hopkins.

It's based on a novel by Graham Greene that he turned into a script and left in the MGM archives in the mid-1940s. Director Jack Gold handles the film like it's a TV movie with enough of a budget for some extra location shooting. Hopkins plays his role in a repressed combination of shame for what he has done, love for Miss Thomas, and fear for the consequences of any revelation. With a better director, or a better lighting cameraman, the role might have worked. As it is, those who are familiar with Greene's world will understand what is going on. Those who approach it without any background will just find it bizarre.

10 / 10

The necessity and complications of hidden identities in the war that never can conceal or cure the traumas

A typical Graham Greene story, with many human factors, many human weaknesses, many human lies and many strange turns in a very human story. Anthony Hopkins is a very ordinary citizen, a very bourgeouis lawyer, well off with a chateau-like house outside Paris, working in Paris, when he goes in to town to work in 1940 gets rounded up by the Gestapo and put in prison on a waiting list for death. Although he shouldn't, he survives three years in that prison, while several of his fellow prisoners have been shot. He looks up the sister of one of them, Kristin Scott Thomas, and they become very good friends, until there is Derek Jacobi, who turns out to be a collaborator with the Germans, trying to take Kristin Scott Thomas for himself, which of course Anthony Hopkins can't quite accept. Perhaps the flaw of the story is its very human weakness, predominant in almost all of Graham Greene's novels. Here he should have told Thomas the real truth from the beginning and reveal who Jacobi really was, which he didn't which results in the consequences.It's perfect acting, a great human drama, a beautiful film and above all with wonderful music by Lee Holdridge, ideal film music for this kind of film. It is both one of Anthony Hopkins' and Kristin Scott Thomas' best performances in very delicate and tricky parts, she always does well in France, and this film and story is all French and very French. It's about the resistance in the war, the German tyranny, the intricate psychology of freedom fighters and collaborators, the son of Max Ophuls once made a very explicit film about this, clearing it all up in a unique documentary, while this film only touches on the problems and is focussed on the human factors. In brief, no Graham Greene admirer or reader of his books could be disappointed by this splendid feature on quite an intimate and chamber music level.

9 / 10

Superb, unjustly neglected gem

In the late 1980s, I had just seen Anthony Hopkins in "The Bounty," which together with the earlier "Magic" convinced me he was an actor to watch for; and I had read Graham Greene's recently unearthed little novel "The Tenth Man," when I heard about this TV adaptation. My excited anticipation was not disappointed, and since then I have probably seen this little gem 25 times, often screening it for high school students, who watch in rapt fascination. The plot is amazing -- as only GG could concoct -- and I am still convinced this is Hopkins's best performance. Also superb are Kristin Scott Thomas, Derek Jacobi, Cyril Cusack and Brenda Bruce. Production values are strong if not stellar (after all, it's made for TV). Too bad this film is all but unavailable -- you'll have to buy a used VHS online if you want to see it; but you won't be sorry.

7 / 10

Great story, great acting, but feels like an 80s made-for-tv movie (which it is)

"The Tenth Man" is a screen adaptation of the powerful novel by Graham Green. Set in 1940s France at the time of the Nazi occupation and its aftermath, it tells the story of a man who does something despicable to save himself and later comes face to face with those whom he wronged. It's a great story with excellent acting by Anthony Hopkins and Kristen Scott Thomas, and well worth watching. However, you should bear in mind that this was a made-for-tv movie in 1988 for the Hallmark Channel.

This means its presentation suffers from a lot of dated clichés, such as a saccharine Hallmark Channel musical score that often detracts from the powerful acting, bright lighting & sets which give it a slightly cheap look, and it also feels a bit rushed in pace, not giving the dramatic moments enough time to sink in. But if you can overlook these small flaws, the story and acting will sweep you away.

Though set during WW2, this is not a war movie, there isn't much violence, and when there is violence it's handled in a safe PG-13 way. This is mostly a sentimental film that focuses on the characters' feelings more than action and plot twists. The plot does get twisty toward the end, bordering on crime thriller, but really this movie is more for people who enjoy slow, nostalgic films with themes of regret, forgiveness, morality and a dash of romance.

I would compare this film to "Somewhere in Time" (1980) though the stories are nothing alike; they both share the same sentimental vibe, a bit syrupy in presentation but with first class acting and a great story.

10 / 10

You can't go wrong with this one.

I remembered this movie (and subsequently ordered it) because of Anthony Hopkins' incredible role. When I received it from my movie retailer, I realized that the other actor in it was Derek Jacobi, who has become my favorite actor of all time. To top it off, the woman is Kristin Scott-Thomas who hadn't come into her own yet. This is an amazing cast, from a novel from an amazing author. Watch it! Watch it!