142 user 68 critic

Foreign Correspondent (1940)

2:22 | Trailer
On the eve of World War II, a young American reporter tries to expose enemy agents in London.


Alfred Hitchcock


Charles Bennett (screenplay), Joan Harrison (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Joel McCrea ... John Jones
Laraine Day ... Carol Fisher
Herbert Marshall ... Stephen Fisher
George Sanders ... Scott ffolliott
Albert Bassermann ... Van Meer (as Albert Basserman)
Robert Benchley ... Stebbins
Edmund Gwenn ... Rowley
Eduardo Ciannelli ... Mr. Krug (as Eduardo Cianelli)
Harry Davenport ... Mr. Powers
Martin Kosleck ... Tramp
Frances Carson ... Mrs. Sprague
Ian Wolfe ... Stiles
Charles Wagenheim ... Assassin
Eddie Conrad ... Latvian (as Edward Conrad)
Charles Halton ... Bradley


Johnny Jones is an action reporter on a New York newspaper. The editor appoints him European correspondent because he is fed up with the dry, reports he currently gets. Jones' first assignment is to get the inside story on a secret treaty agreed between two European countries by the famous diplomat, Mr. Van Meer. However things don't go to plan and Jones enlists the help of a young woman to help track down a group of spies. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

policeman | fuzz | pig | bacon | reporter | See All (310) »


The thrill spectacle of the year! See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The music being used for by the Germans in the torture of Van Meer is Chick Webb's "Harlem Congo". See more »


After the fake Van Meer is shot and rolling down the stairs, he grabs his hat to keep it on. This may have been a way to prevent a wig from coming off, as presumably a stuntman would be much younger than Van Meer was. See more »


Carol Fisher: Mr. Haverstock, don't you think you've been talking through your hat long enough?
John Jones: But, I'm not talking through my hat!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: To those intrepid ones who went across the seas to be the eyes and ears of America... To those forthright ones who early saw the clouds of war while many of us at home were seeing rainbows... To those clear-headed ones who now stand like recording angels among the dead and dying... To the Foreign Correspondents - this motion picture is dedicated. See more »

Alternate Versions

In the German version the final radio address was missing. The movie ends with the newspaper headlines. See more »


Featured in Hitchcock: Shadow of a Genius (1999) See more »


Roses from the South, Opus 388
(1880) (uncredited)
Composed by Johann Strauss
Background music at a party
See more »

User Reviews

Early triumph for the great Alfred Hitchcock!
6 September 2006 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

It's always good when I discover a Hitchcock film that I haven't seen yet (not many of those left...), and this one was particularly good because it's actually one of the great director's better films! The film takes place shortly before the release date; namely, just before the start of World War 2 in 1939. Work began on the film shortly after Hitchcock released Rebecca, and this must have been something of a controversial picture at the time of release as the war was, at that time, confined to Europe and I guess all America got to hear about it was the reports of foreign correspondents such as the one in this film. Despite being about the war, Foreign Correspondent is not a war film but rather a story of espionage centred on the Second World War. We focus on Johnny Jones; a reporter sent to Europe to find a story about the events going on there. He takes the name Huntley Haverstock (because it's more memorable), and soon finds himself in the middle of the world of espionage when he witnesses the murder of a famous diplomat, and follows his shooter to a windmill outside Amsterdam...

The film takes a while to get going, and unfortunately peaks a little too early as the film is at it's best at around the middle section when our hero is hot on the trail of the spies and finds himself snooping around a windmill and climbing in through bathroom windows. Hitchcock seems keen to implement a sense of humour at this junction of the movie, whereas it gets a little too serious later on when the sense of patriotism grips hold of the movie and spoils the fun. I've got to say that the film is slightly too long at almost two hours, and the overall movie would have been thrilling if Hitchcock had opted to trim it a little bit. That being said, the movie is always at least interesting even at it's worst moments and Hitchcock builds the suspense well, which ensures that the audience is always interested in what's coming next. The acting is more than adequate also, with Joel McCrea delivering a fair lead performance and receiving good backup from the likes of Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall and best of all; George Sanders, who steals every scene he's in. On the whole, this isn't Hitchcock's BEST film - but it's a very good one and well worth seeing.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | Dutch | German | Latvian

Release Date:

16 August 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Personal History See more »

Filming Locations:

Amsterdam, Netherlands See more »


Box Office


$1,500,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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