It's San Francisco, 1928, and Sam Spade is a wisecracking, womanising private investigator. Missing husbands and unfaithful wives are his usual stock-in-trade, but when the beautifully distressed Miss Wonderley calls, he gets involved in a dangerous caper most people would run a mile from.
Miss Wonderley asks Sam's partner, Miles Archer, to shadow Floyd Thursby, whom she maintains has kidnapped her sister. But then Archer is shot dead, and Miss Wonderley's story turns out to be a lie - just like her name, which is actually Brigid O'Shaughnessy.
Miss O'Shaughnessy keeps on lying. But one thing's for sure: she does know about the Maltese Falcon, an ancient statuette which has attracted more than one interested party.
With a bunch of heavies at his elbow and the police on his tail, Sam needs to think fast if he's to outlive the person who killed his partner....
Tom Wilkinson, Jane Lapotaire, Peter Vaughan and Nickolas Grace star in this stylish dramatisation of Dashiell Hammett's classic detective story.