The Marseille Contract

The Marseille Contract (released in the US as The Destructors) is a 1974 British thriller film directed by Robert Parrish. It stars Michael Caine, Anthony Quinn and James Mason.[1][2][3][4][5]

The Marseille Contract
The Marseille Contract 1974.jpg
Directed byRobert Parrish
Produced byJudd Bernard
Written byJudd Bernard
Music byRoy Budd
CinematographyDouglas Slocombe
Edited byWilly Kemplen
Distributed by
Release date
  • 4 September 1974 (1974-09-04) (France)
Running time
89 minutes
  • United Kingdom
  • France

Set in France, the story concerns an American agent (Quinn) attempting to bring down a French drug baron (Mason) by hiring an assassin (Caine) who turns out to be an old friend. The highlight of the film is the competition between Lucienne in a Porsche 911S and Deray in an Alfa Romeo Montreal.


Steve Ventura, the French station head of Drug Enforcement Administration, is unable to find a way to expose and arrest a drug baron named Jacques Brizzard, whose henchmen were responsible for killing one of Ventura's undercover agents in Marseilles. Given that Brizzard is politically well connected to numerous affiliations, the law enforcement is finding it difficult to prove that Brizzard is involved in various crimes including murder. After several failed efforts of trying to cover an angle on Brizzard, Ventura comes to the conclusion that he couldn't take down the crime lord by the book, especially after Brizzard's henchmen make an attempt on his life, which he barely survives by evading them.

Following the incident, Ventura approaches Inspector Briac of the French police enforcement in Paris about the pinnacle, who reluctantly leads him to contact a hitman to assassinate Brizzard. Meeting the hitman discreetly, Ventura recognizes an old friend in John Deray, much to the surprise of both men. Accepting the contract, Deray travels to Marseilles under a false identity and scouts Brizzard's villa for ways to penetrate the property, spotting a possible approach by Brizzard's daughter, Lucienne, who enjoys the lavish life and privileges which her father provides, including fast sports cars. The next morning, Deray meets with Lucienne after impressing her during a car race between the two and gets a dinner invite to the villa to meet her father which he attends.

Ventura, in the meantime, decides to cancel the contract and have Deray arrested under false charges after a change of heart, which exposes Deray as Brizzard runs a background check on him to which he admits to being a killer for hire, albeit unemployed at the time. Brizzard tests him by hiring him to kill an informant, and Deray does not hesitate. Brizzard eventually hires Deray as a full-time employee which he uses as a cover until he could find the right moment to take him out, and is assigned to be a courier at a change of hands. But, Deray barely makes it out of the scene alive at the rendezvous when the party he was supposed to meet at the change of hands turn out to be undercover policemen who attempt to arrest Deray over possession of illegal substance which was planted on him on the orders of Brizzard, immediately coming to the conclusion he was double crossed.

Successfully evading armed forces of both the police and Brizzard's killers, Deray meets with Ventura to brief him about the drugs shipping to Marseilles from Turkey and Brizzard is the one buying them all which he had heard earlier when eavesdropping on the crime lord's telephone calls. Both men head to the meet where they discover that Inspector Briac was directly involved with Brizzard and was planning to betray and kill him in order to take all the drugs for himself and sell them to other buyers and frame Deray for it. A firefight ensues and all three parties shoot each other, except for Brizzard who drives away, and Ventura at whose feet Deray dies due to a fatal bullet wound. Outraged, Ventura heads to the political fundraiser Brizzard is hosting, discreetly shoots him without letting anyone notice and departs.



  1. ^ Hartman, Matthew (18 September 2015). "The Destructors". Blu-ray News and Reviews. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  2. ^ Pulver, Andrew (14 June 2019). "Michael Caine's best films – ranked!". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  3. ^ Roberts, Andrew (12 June 2018). "Classic Cars on Film: The Marseille Contract, aka The Destructors". Autoclassics. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  4. ^ Hirschhorn, Clive; Mason, James (1977). The Films of James Mason. Citadel Press. p. 248. Retrieved 22 February 2021 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Cettl, Robert (17 November 2014). King of the Turkeys: Michael Caine in America. Wider Screenings TM. pp. 18–19. Retrieved 4 July 2015 – via Google Books.

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