Spies Like Us (1993) Directed by Ben Elton Written by Ben Elton and Stephen Fry (based on a story by Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie) Terry Milibrand (Stephen Fry) is a low level employee at Government Code and Cypher School, who takes the foreign service test to become a foreign agent. During the examination, he meets Gerald Fitz-Hume (Hugh Laurie), a pompous, ignorant aristocrat, whose family had been in foreign relations for generations, and who is taking the exam as part of a dare. Fitz-Hume tries to openly cheat on the test, and then attempts to crib the answers off of Milibrand, which prompts a fight, getting the two of them in trouble. Meanwhile, Control (John Cleese), a senior director at an overseas Defense Intelligence section code-named "The Carnival", is undertaking a secret operation against in the Soviet Union, and wants a distraction to keep them distracted while the actual agents go in for the actual mission. He sees report of Fitz-Hume and Millibrand by chance, and sees the decoys for the mission. They are recruited (under false pretenses), given the most minimal training (despite Milibrand being ill-equipped during training, and Fitz-Hume insulting the trainer), and are made full SIS agents. They are then given an assignment to receive an operative codenamed "Rubeum Allec" from an isolated Iranian village near the Soviet border, who has top-secret information. Control knows that the forces guarding a Soviet installation over the border will likely kill the two of them. As they are smuggled into Iran, a real team of SIS agents is sent just over the Iranian border in Turkmen SSR, to said Soviet installation, guarding an American made mobile Atlas missile launcher, to seize control of the installation, and "deactivate" it. Milibrand and Fitz-Hume end up getting lost from their drop off point on the Afghan border, due to Fitz-Hume's poor understanding of Persian misdirecting them. They are found by Pashtun tribesmen, and by a UN medical team, led by Dr. Hedley (Charles McKeown), and including a "Dr" Helen Boyers (Emma Thompson),who are travelling with them. They briefly impersonate doctors to avoid death, but when forced to do surgery on the leader's son, find that he is dead already, and decide to flee from that tent. They manage to reach the village, and (having been told that they shouldn't contact the Carnival until they have reached the location), call via satellite phone. Defense immediately tells them the operative had moved north, and tells them to follow him, hoping that the Soviets will detect and kill them. However, they see Boyers again, with what Milibrand recognizes as a code scrambler, leading them to realize that she is an operative. They follow her across the Artek, but once again get lost, and end up near the Capsian Sea. The British team is seized upon arrival, leaving Boyers the only survivor. Fitz-Hume is captured by Turkmenistani militia patrol, and is held in a station (where he annoys them). Milibrand meets up with Boyers, who learns of their true purpose there as decoys. Milibrand stages a rescue of Fitz-Hume, where they blow up the station. They and Boyers then see the Atlas launcher, and carry out their orders. While they neutralize the guards (using tranquilizers), and enter in the code, Control is speaking to an assortment of Entente military and intelligence bigwigs what the true intention of the Carnival is. The code they entered is not meant to deactivate the missile, but launch it. The real goal is to demonstrate the so-called space based "Olympus Defense System", which will protect the Franco-British Union from Comintern strikes. They are using the Atlas as a demonstration of the guard to the entire world. However, the system fails due to a defective mirror for one of the lasers, at the last minute, and the missile continues unhampered. Control at first tells everyone to be calm and not to panic. He seemingly goes to find something in the maintanence room, but is heard shooting himself for inadvertently starting World War III. The men in the command center panic. Fitz-Hume, Milibrand, and Boyers, along with the Soviet technicians, are left to realize what has been done. Figuring that there is nothing left to be done, the two crews decide to have one last "romp" before the end of the world. The film cuts to the credits. Trivia: - Various cameos were made during the film. These cameos include Christopher Lee, Gerry Anderson, Roy Ward Baker, Pythons Terry Jones and Michael Palin, Spike Miligan, Alan Rickman, and Ridley Scott. - The film is a parody of both the James Bond series, and the novels (and film adaptations) of the novels of John le Carre. Indeed, John Cleese's "Control" and "the Carnival" are both le Carre references. - The film was shot in Algeria and Tunisia, and around London. - The final twist was said to be based on the various proposed space based missile defense systems that both superpowers were examining at the time. - Elton and Fry were able to retain the dark ending over a studio who wanted a more optimistic ending.