The Courier release date, cast, plot and trailer for Benedict Cumberbatch spy film

Everything you need to know about the cold war thriller based on a true story.

The Courier

Benedict Cumberbatch has portrayed several real-life people in his career so far – from Alan Turing, to Thomas Edison, to Dominic Cummings – and, in his latest film, the acclaimed actor brings another important historical figure to the screen.

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The Courier sees Cumberbatch star as unsung cold war hero Greville Wynne, a businessman who spent several years during the ’60s acting as a courier for MI6 and the CIA – delivering messages to Oleg Penkovsky, a Soviet secret agent who was working as a UK informant.

Directed by On Chesil Beach filmmaker Dominic Cooke, this classy thriller makes for an entertaining and informative watch. Read on for everything you need to know.

The Courier release date

The Courier actually originally premiered more than 18 months ago, playing at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival under the title Ironbark.

Its theatrical release has been delayed on several occasion as a result of the coronavirus pandemic but a final UK release date of Friday 13th August 2021 has now been confirmed – almost a year after it was originally intended to hit cinemas.

The Courier cast

Sherlock and Doctor Strange star Benedict Cumberbatch leads the cast as Greville Wynne and is joined by some stellar supporting players.

Georgian actor Merab Ninidze – whose previous credits include Deutschland 83 and McMafia – stars as Colonel Oleg Penkovsky, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel star Rachel Brosnahan plays CIA agent Emily Donovan and Chernobyl and Fargo’s Jessie Buckley takes on the role of Greville’s wife Sheila.

The cast also includes Angus Wright (Official Secrets), Kirill Pirogov (McMafia), Maria Mironova (Loud Connection), Željko Ivanek (24) and child stars Keir Hills and Emma Panzina.

The Courier plot: What happens in the film?

The Courier

The film tells the true story of Greville Wynne, an unassuming British businessman who was recruited into the Cold War by MI6 and the CIA – charged with forming a covert partnership with Soviet officer Oleg Penkovsky, who was acting as a UK informant. 

The mission was an attempt to provide crucial intelligence that was essential to prevent a nuclear confrontation and defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis, but Greville finds himself in over his head the closer he gets to Penkovsky.

The Courier trailer

You can check out the official trailer for the film below, with the clip showing an incredulous Greville being recruited into the mission and teasing some of the dangers that await him.

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The Courier is released in UK cinemas on Friday 13th August 2021. Check out more of our Movies coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight.