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North Sea Hijack (released as ffolkes outside the UK and as Assault Force on US TV[1]) is a British action film from 1980 starring Roger Moore, James Mason, Anthony Perkins and Michael Parks. It was directed by Andrew V. McLaglen and adapted by Jack Davies from his novel, Esther, Ruth and Jennifer.[1]

North Sea Hijack
North Sea Hijack.jpg
Original UK film poster
Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen
Produced by Elliott Kastner
Written by Jack Davies
Starring Roger Moore
James Mason
Anthony Perkins
Michael Parks
Music by Michael J. Lewis
Cinematography Tony Imi
Edited by Alan Strachan
Cinema Seven Productions[1]
Distributed by Universal/CIC
Release date
3 April 1980 (UK)
18 April 1980 (US)[1]
Running time
100 min
Country United Kingdom[1]
Language English
Box office $2,993,772 (US only)[2]

This film was a vehicle for both Moore and Perkins to try to escape typecasting. Previously, Moore had been practically typecast as a womanising, happy-go-lucky playboy in such series as The Saint, The Persuaders! and James Bond. In contrast to those parts, he portrays a bearded, eccentric, arrogant, cat-loving misogynist with master strategist skills.



Counter-terrorism consultant Rufus Excalibur ffolkes (Moore) is asked by Lloyd's of London to develop a contingency plan should any of the North Sea oil installations they insure be threatened.

Months later, a North Sea supply ship takes on board a group of men posing as reporters who are to visit the oil production platform Jennifer. The leader of this group, Lou Kramer (Anthony Perkins), hijacks the ship and attaches limpet mines to the legs of an oil drilling rig, Ruth, then issues a ransom demand for £25 million

ffolkes, who has anticipated this kind of action, is tasked to recover the drilling rig.[1]


* ffolkes is an old English name that is correctly spelled with two lower-case f's. In the book, ffolkes corrects other people several times on this matter. See ffolkes baronets.


The film was released as North Sea Hijack in the United Kingdom, but as ffolkes in the United States and other English-speaking territories. In the United States, it was renamed Assault Force when released on television in 1983.[1][3] "The film's had so many title changes I've lost count," said Moore. "But everyone seems to like the character I play."[4]

Box officeEdit

The film was a commercial disappointment.[5]


The Guardian said: "as pulp melodramas go, it's quite fun".[6] The Los Angeles Times called it: "a vigorous but lacklustre high-seas adventure... there are lots more conferences than bravura acts of daring... even so, it is ingenious and well crafted."[7] Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel selected the film as one of their "dogs of the year" in a 1980 episode of Sneak Previews.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g ffolkes on IMDb
  2. ^ Box Office Mojo Retrieved 2011-02-14
  3. ^ Ffolkes on David Hedison's Web site Retrieved 2011-02-14
  4. ^ "MOORE—ON THE GO FROM GOA: MOORE ON THE GO". Los Angeles Times. 29 January 1980. p. 1. .
  5. ^ "If a film chews gum, it's American". The Guardian. 5 July 1980. p. 9. 
  6. ^ "Anatomy of an American dream". The Guardian. 27 March 1980. p. 13. 
  7. ^ Thomas, Kevin (18 April 1980). "'FFOLKES': HHIGH SSEAS AADVENTURE". Los Angeles Times. p. 6. 
  8. ^ "Sneak Previews: Worst of 1980". Retrieved 27 November 2017.