February 16th, 2007



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Still of Ryan Phillippe and Chris Cooper in BreachStill of Laura Linney in BreachChris Cooper and Billy Ray in BreachRyan Phillippe, Laura Linney and Billy Ray in BreachStill of Ryan Phillippe and Laura Linney in BreachStill of Ryan Phillippe in Breach

Based on the true story, FBI upstart Eric O'Neill enters into a power game with his boss, Robert Hanssen, an agent who was ultimately convicted of selling secrets to the Soviet Union.

Release Year: 2007

Rating: 7.1/10 (34,102 voted)

Critic's Score: 74/100

Director: Billy Ray

Stars: Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe, Dennis Haysbert

In February, 2001, Robert Hanssen, a senior agent with 25 years in the FBI, is arrested for spying. Jump back two months: Eric O'Neill, a computer specialist who wants to be made an agent is assigned to clerk for Hanssen and to write down everything Hanssen does. O'Neill's told it's an investigation of Hanssen's sexual habits. Within weeks, the crusty Hanssen, a devout Catholic, has warmed to O'Neill, who grows to respect Hanssen. O'Neill's wife resents Hanssen's intrusiveness; the personal and professional stakes get higher. How they catch Hanssen and why he spies become the film's story. Can O'Neill help catch red-handed "the worst spy in history" and hold onto his personal life?

Writers: Adam Mazer, William Rotko

Chris Cooper - Robert Hanssen
Ryan Phillippe - Eric O'Neill
Laura Linney - Kate Burroughs
Caroline Dhavernas - Juliana O'Neill
Gary Cole - Rich Garces
Dennis Haysbert - Dean Plesac
Kathleen Quinlan - Bonnie Hanssen
Bruce Davison - John O'Neill
Jonathan Watton - Geddes
Tom Barnett - Jim Olsen
Jonathan Potts - D.I.A. Suit
David Huband - Photographer
Catherine Burdon - Agent Nece
Scott Gibson - Agent Sherin
Courtenay J. Stevens - Agent Loper (as Courtenay Stevens)

Taglines: How one man betrayed the security of a nation.


Official Website: Universal Pictures [United States] |

Release Date: 16 February 2007

Filming Locations: Arlington, Virginia, USA

Opening Weekend: $12,261,835 (USA) (18 February 2007) (1489 Screens)

Gross: $33,231,264 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

In the movie, Robert Hanssen (Chris Cooper) is obsessed with Catherine Zeta-Jones. In reality, Cooper and Zeta-Jones won their respective Best Supporting Actor/Best Supporting Actress Oscars at the same Academy Awards ceremony in 2003.

Continuity: The Dell laptop and LCD monitor that Robert has in his office, when he shows Eric a movie clip with Catherine Zeta-Jones, was manufactured after 2001. While driving on Wilson Boulevard, the license plate on the back of the black SUV Eric is driving is a Virginia plate. In the traffic jam in the next scene, the license plate on the front of the SUV is clearly a Washington DC plate.

[first lines]
John Ashcroft: [news clip] Sunday, the FBI successfully concluded an investigation to end a serious breach in the security of the United States. The arrest of Robert Hanssen, for espionage, should remind us all, every American should know, that our nation, our free society, is an international target, in a dangerous world.

User Review

Loved it, but O'Neill wasn't an FBI Special Agent

Rating: 8/10

I keep reading comments referring to O'Neill as an FBI Agent. Eric O'Neill was never an FBI Agent, but rather just a support employee. That's part of what makes this movie so exciting with an almost "David and Goliath" quality. O'Neill was thrust into one of the most important cases in FBI history with virtually no undercover experience. His ability to hang in there and keep his cool in the midst of that stress and strain was simply amazing and he deserves a lot of credit.

This movie was a very accurate portrayal of the FBI culture and the events which took place regarding the investigation and arrest of Robert Hanssen. They even got the look of the HQ interior down pat.

There are a few *very* minor inaccuracies.

1) The FBI does not have mailboxes outside their office doors. 2) The real parking garage is a lot shabbier looking than the one in the movie. 3) There is no policy against FBI Agents drinking in their personal lives. 4) There is no "25 Year" wall. 5) Dennis Haysbert's character of Dan Plesac was introduced as "FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge" as if it were a big deal. It's not. An ASAC is one step above a Supervisor. Now, if he'd been introduced as "FBI Assistant Director" that would have been a much higher status position.

But everything else in the movie was amazingly accurate. As usual, do not rely on Wikipedia for your facts. I read it and there are some blatant mistakes in there.

Overall, I loved the movie. Very well-paced, well-written, well-acted, intense and riveting.


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