The Spanish Prisoner

The Spanish Prisoner

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The Spanish Prisoner

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The Spanish Prisoner is a 1997 American suspense film, written and directed by David Mamet and starring Campbell Scott, Steve Martin, Rebecca Pidgeon, Ben Gazzara and Ricky Jay. The film tells the story of an elaborate confidence game, known as the Spanish Prisoner.

In 1999 the film was nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for the Edgar Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay but lost out to Steven Soderbergh's Out of Sight.


Joe Ross (Campbell Scott) is a corporate engineer who has recently invented a very lucrative industrial process that has not yet been patented. While on a corporate retreat at an island resort, Joe befriends a wealthy stranger, Jimmy Dell (Steve Martin), and one of the company's new secretaries, Susan Ricci (Rebecca Pidgeon).

Jimmy wants to introduce Joe socially to his sister. Back home in America, he suggests that Joe's company and his boss, Mr. Klein (Ben Gazzara), might not give him fair compensation for his work. A flirtatious Susan also makes vague suggestions that Joe should trust no one.

Jimmy convinces Joe to use his legal counsel and bring the only copy of the process to their meeting. Joe learns that the sister is a ruse and that Jimmy is actually a confidence man, attempting to steal his valuable work. Joe contacts an FBI agent named Pat McCune he met on the island and is enlisted in a sting operation. To his horror, Joe learns that McCune is actually part of Jimmy's con game. His process is stolen and...
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