Revolutionary Spy by James Foye | Script Revolution

Revolutionary Spy

Based on a true story from the Revolutionary War, a heroic slave agrees to act as Lafayette’s spy behind British enemy lines.



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Based on the true story of American hero James Armistead.

REVOLUTIONARY SPY - feature script by James Foye

REVOLUTIONARY SPY is a character-rich, action-packed, epic true adventure about a slave who goes undercover to spy against the British in the Revolutionary War.

1780. Virginia. JAMES and his beloved wife SARAI are the favored house slaves for owners WILLIAM ARMISTEAD and his wife LOUISE. The American War for Independence is in its fifth year. Everyone is waiting to see what happens next and what role they could be asked to play.

The Revolutionary War hero, French GENERAL LAFAYETTE, arrives at the Armistead’s farm with a strange request: he wants James to go undercover as a runaway slave so that he’ll be taken in by British officers as a manservant. There, he can help the American Army spy on and gather information from the English. Rented by Lafayette from Armistead for the task, James sets off, swearing to Sarai that he’ll return to her arms. As the lonely nights pass during this story, Sarai and James often stare at the same stars and think of one another and pray for freedom. But the reality of war presses upon them both.

With the encouragement of Lafayette’s loyal aide, CAPTAIN JOHN GILBERT, James becomes a valuable, resourceful asset in traitor GENERAL BENEDICT ARNOLD’s British encampment. At night, James sneaks away from the camp to meet Gilbert at a nearby farm and give him updates, like how the British are running out of food, or how they plan to send an advance war party to Richmond, VA to capture Governor Thomas Jefferson. Because of James this plan fails, including him heroically racing to Richmond to personally save Jefferson. He’s careful, but not so careful that he avoids suspicions from torture-loving British LIEUTENANT ALBERT LOUDEN.

British GENERAL CHARLES CORNWALLIS takes over for Arnold as American GENERAL GEORGE WASHINGTON, COLONEL ALEXANDER HAMILTON, and Lafayette plot their final moves in attempt to end the war.

James sees the plans for the British to flee Yorktown across the York River, but James accidentally leaves enough clues behind for Louden to figure out James is spy. Louden captures Captain Gilbert while he is sneaking around outside the British camp. James, hidden and unseen, watches as Louden and his British Soldiers execute Gilbert. After seeing his friend killed, James is close to giving up - he’s losing his faith in God, his hope of freedom, and the hope the Americans will be able to finally end the long war. Although James is wavering in his beliefs, God doesn’t abandon him. The next day, as the British prepare to escape Washington’s Army and flee across the York River to Gloucester, the heavens suddenly pour down and the winds whip and the British escape is scuttled on the river, trapping the English in Yorktown. Washington now has his opening to launch the final assault and James’s faith is restored.

Yorktown descends into cannon fire, blood and chaos. James runs through the cobbled streets, searching for Louden to avenge the death of Captain Gilbert. As Louden gets the upper hand at the start of their fight, James recites Bible verses for strength and overcomes and defeats the hateful Louden in a music-swelling, crowd-pleasing, hand-to-hand, sword-to-boarding axe fight. When the smoke clears, the British surrender at Yorktown.

Now James is free to return to a joyful Sarai - but then again, he’s not really free. Only slaves that fought as soldiers for the revolution were emancipated, not spies.

One day a special messenger arrives from the Virginia Legislature. Armistead is paid for James’s new, State of Virginia-ordered freedom - a thank you to James from his grateful and powerful friends. There’s also a stunning $5,000 for James so that he can “buy” freedom for Sarai, and other slaves ROBERT, ROSCOE and his wife ANNE. At last James’s dreams, faith and hard sacrifices are rewarded. So as the curtain closes on James’s life, it does so with him on the farm he buys with Sarai. James sees his friend Lafayette once more - when both men are old and grey - then dies a free man in 1832.

REVOLUTIONARY SPY is a mix of LAST OF THE MOHICANS adventure, GLORY’s noble fight for freedom and HACKSAW RIDGE’s faithful hero. It’s a true adventure story about a steadfast American hero - a hero who believes that through his bravery, his enduring love for his wife, his determination and faith, and by doing what he believes is moral and just, he will be free. And even when he doubts himself and faces the many challenges associated with bigotry, slavery, and war, he still keeps on his true path and remains steadfast, no matter what. And he achieves his ultimate goal - freedom.

This script was a semifinalist in the 2020 Austin Film Fest Screenplay Competition, a top 50 finalist script in the Tracking Board’s 2019 Launch Pad contest and a top 3 finalist in Final Draft’s 2019 Big Break Screenwriting Competition.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

REVOLUTIONARY SPY was the First Place Gold Award Overall Winner in the 2021 Titan International Screenplay Awards from Industrial Scripts. This script was a semifinalist in the 2020 Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition, a top 50 finalist in the Tracking Board’s 2019 Launch Pad Feature Competition and a top three finalist in Final Draft’s 2019 Big Break Screenwriting Contest.
The screenplay also finished in the top seven percent of all scripts entered in the 2019 Nicholl Fellowships and was a finalist in the Creative World Awards Contest and the WeScreenplay Diverse Voices script contest, a semifinalist in the CineStory Retreat Contest and Table Read My Screenplay Contest, and a quarterfinalist in the Blue Cat Screenplay Competition, the Stage 32 Feature Script Contest, and the Los Angeles International Screenplay Awards.

Revolutionary Spy feature script pitch
Submitted: September 22, 2021
Last Updated: January 25, 2022

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The Writer: James Foye

James Foye is a multiple quarterfinalist in the Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Competition, sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He was a semifinalist in the Creative World Awards Screenplay Competition, a quarterfinalist in the Scriptapalooza Competition, and a finalist in the Chesterfield Writer’s Project, the American Accolades Screenwriting Competition and BenderSpink’s Cowrite screenplay competition. In 2011 and 2014, he finished in the top fifteen percent of all scripts entered in the Austin Film Festival Feature Screenplay Competition. His most recent script REVOLUTIONARY SPY was the First Place Gold Award Overall Winner in the 2021 Titan Awards from... Go to bio

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