While on holiday in Barbados to recover from the lingering effects of a love affair that ended badly, Judith Farrow (Julie Andrews) meets Feodor Sverdlov (Omar Sharif), a handsome Russian.
They find pleasure in each other’s company as they visit colourful places on the island, but there are complications to their budding romance after their holiday in the tropical paradise comes to an end.
Problems arise due to geopolitical concerns of the Cold War, for Judith is the assistant to an important minister serving in the British Home Office in London, and Feodor is the Soviet air attaché assigned in Paris to Soviet General Golitsyn (Oskar Homolka).
British intelligence officer Jack Loder (Anthony Quayle) suspects that Sverdlov is attempting to recruit Judith to work as a Soviet spy, and this is in fact what Feodor tells his boss he is attempting to accomplish.
Feodor tells Judith that this is a way for him to be able to see her without bringing about suspicion from his people.
The film reflects its era, with the dominance of Cold War issues the subject for most plots involving international intrigue. Here, however, Sharif’s Sverdlov is refreshingly not the enemy or the villain of the piece, but rather instead its romantic, noble, and conflicted hero.