In the World War II era film Allied (Paramount Pictures, 2016), Canadian RAF airman Max Vatan (played by Brad Pitt) is informed by his superiors that the British military code requires him to quickly execute his wife Marianne Beausejour (played by Marion Cotillard) if it is confirmed she is spying for the Germans, or face execution himself.

Is this twist in the film based on actual legal fact in the British military code (at least at the time) or is it just cinematic fiction?

1 Answer 1


Its complete crap.

Enemy agents (spies) were executed by a state executioner after they were convicted by a court or court martial. The law governing espionage is the Official Secrets Acts of 1911 and 1920 as amended.

However, the vast majority of German agents in Britain were never prosecuted: they were turned, that is, they were forced to work as double agents for the British, feeding whatever information the British wanted them to their German "masters". This was the famous double cross system

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    The emphasis the effectiveness of turning the enemy into an ally, Britain basically ran the German spy ring in the UK during the war. Almost all the information the Germans got from 'their' spies was exactly what the British wanted them to hear. It would be counter productive to kill a German spy immediately.
    – SGR
    Jan 5, 2017 at 14:51

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