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The Falcon and the Snowman is a 1985 film about two young Americanmarker men, Christopher Boyce (played by Timothy Hutton) and Daulton Lee (played by Sean Penn), who sold U.S. security secrets to the Soviet Unionmarker. The film is based upon the 1979 book A True Story of Friendship and Espionage by Robert Lindsey, and features the theme song "This Is Not America", written and performed by David Bowie and the Pat Metheny Group.

Plot synopsis

The Falcon and the Snowman is based on the true story of former altar boy and former Catholic seminary student Christopher Boyce and fellow former altar boy turned drug dealer Daulton Lee, two young men from wealthy California families who sold classified government information to the Soviet Unionmarker during the mid 1970s.

Boyce, an expert in the sport of falconry-- thus, the nickname "Falcon"-- gets a job at a civilian defense contractor (TRW, though it is called "RTX" in the movie) working in the so-called "Black Vault", a secure communication facility through which flows information on some of the most classified U.S. operations in the world. Boyce becomes disillusioned with the U.S. government through his new position, especially after reading a misrouted communiqué dealing with the CIA's plan to depose the Prime Minister of Australia. Frustrated by this duplicity, Boyce decides to repay his government by passing classified secrets to the Soviets. Lee, a drug addict and minor smuggler sometimes called "the snowman" (in reference to his cocaine sales), agrees to actually contact and deal with the KGB on Boyce's behalf, motivated not by idealism, but by what he perceives as an opportunity to make money and eventually settle in his idea of paradise, Costa Rica.

As the pair become increasingly involved with espionage, Lee's ambition to create a major espionage business coupled with his excessive drug use began alienating the two men from each other, and their Soviet handler becomes increasingly reluctant to deal through Lee as the middleman because of Lee's periods of irrationality. Boyce wants to end the espionage so that he can attend college and meets with Lee's KGB handler to explain the situation. When Lee, desperate to regain the Soviets' regard after realizing that the KGB no longer needs him as a courier now that they have direct contact with Boyce, is observed tossing a note over the fence at the Soviet embassy in Mexicomarker, he is arrested by Mexican police, and a U.S. Foreign Services officer accompanies him to the police station. When the police search his pockets and find film (from a Minox spy camera Boyce used to photograph documents) and a postcard (used by the Soviets to show the haphazard Lee the location of a drop zone), they produce pictures of the same location that was on the postcard, showing officers surrounding a dead man on the street: the Foreign Services officer explains that the Mexican police are trying to implicate him with the murder of a policeman, a charge Lee denies. The police drag away Lee and torturehim. Hours later, he reveals finally that he is a Soviet spy... the real reason the police had been ordered to detain him. Told by the Mexican police that he will be deported, Lee is asked to where he should be deported. Lee suggests Costa Rica: the police give him a choice between the Soviet Union and the U.S.A. Lee reluctantly agrees to go back to America and is arrested as he walks across the border.

Boyce learns of Lee's arrest and, knowing that he too will soon be captured, releases his pet falcon in a field and then sits down to wait. Moments later, U.S. Marshals and FBI agents surround and capture him.

The movie ends with both Lee and Boyce in prisoner jumpsuits and shackles, flanked on either side by officers escorting them to prison.


HBO broadcast jamming

The film has obtained some notoriety as a showing of the movie on HBO in 1986 was jammed by a satellite broadcast operator calling himself Captain Midnight.


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