Peter Guillam
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Quotes for
Peter Guillam (Character)
from "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" (1979)

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"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: How It All Fits Together (#1.4)" (1979)
Peter Guillam: So Karla's fireproof. He can't be bought, and he can't be beaten.
George Smiley: NOT fireproof! Because's he's a fanatic! I may have acted like a soft dolt, the very archetype of a flabby Western liberal but I'd rather be my kind of fool than his. One day that lack of moderation will be Karla's downfall.

Peter Guillam: [to Mendel, faking a phone call] Well, at least get on to the head of office today and find out when they can supply the damn things!

Peter Guillam: [to Esterhase, about Skordeno] Paul and I were paired together at a tough-guy course. We all but killed each other.

Percy Alleline: What the hell are you shrugging at us like that for? I'm accusing you of playing hooky behind our back with a damn defector from your own damn section, of playing damn-fool parlour games when you don't know the stakes! And all you do is shrug at me? There's a law, Guillam, against consorting with enemy agents! You want me to throw the book at you?
Peter Guillam: I haven't seen him! If anybody's playing parlour games it's not me, it's you! So get off my back!

Bill Haydon: Stupid bloody cabaret. Percy's getting more insufferable every day.
Peter Guillam: I wouldn't know, would I?

Peter Guillam: [fuming] That bastard Tarr...!
George Smiley: Peter, slow down. Slow down!

Peter Guillam: [on Smiley's meeting Karla] What did Control say?
George Smiley: He said, "I hope to God they do shoot him."

George Smiley: How do you feel, Peter?
Peter Guillam: I'm all right.
George Smiley: After Delhi, you know, Control gave me three months leave without the option. When this is over, I hope you'll take it easy for a while. We're not quite there yet, but nearly. Peter, have you got the handbrake on?

George Smiley: [Hearing of Irina's execution] Ricky Tarr mustn't know. It's vital that he gets no wind of this! God knows what he would or would not do if he found out, and we may need to make further use of him.
Peter Guillam: Do you really believe all that guff about Tarr being in love with her? The little homestead in the Highlands? The avenging lover, the honourable Ricky Tarr?
George Smiley: He may be compelled, Peter, everyone has a loyalty somewhere. He mustn't know.

Percy Alleline: Well, now, young Peter Guillam, welcome to my house, about which you've been making calls, I hear. Are you lonely in the Brixton outposts? Tired of chasing the local virgins? If there are any in Brixton, which I would doubt!
Percy Alleline: If you'll excuse my freedom, Mo. You DO know that Mo Delaware is our new Head of Research, don't you? Man with message in cleft stick does reach Brixton, does he?
Peter Guillam: Barring the monsoon.

"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Return to the Circus (#1.1)" (1979)
George Smiley: What happened tonight, George?
Peter Guillam: How's Ann?
George Smiley: Roddy Martindale happened tonight. Why do I permit it? I tell myself it's for politeness' sake. It's not, it's weakness. And the fact that I've nothing better to do... My wife's fine, thank you.

George Smiley: I've been reviewing my situation in the last half-hour of hell, and I've come to a very grave decision. After a lifetime of living by my wits, and on my memory, I shall give myself up full-time to the profession of forgetting. I'm going to put an end to some emotional attachments with have long outlived their purpose. Namely the Circus, this house, my whole past. I shall sell up and buy a cottage, in the Cotswolds, I think. Steeple Aston sounds about right. Do I need overnight things?
Peter Guillam: I'm not taking any.
George Smiley: There I shall establish myself as a mild eccentric. Discursive, withdrawn, but posessing one or two lovable habits, such as muttering to myself as I bumble along innocent pavements. I shall become an oak of my own generation.

George Smiley: Why did Lacon send you for me?
Peter Guillam: Do you mean WHY did he send me for you? Or why did he send ME for you?
George Smiley: Quite right, Peter. I should have known better than to have asked.

Peter Guillam: "Reason as logic? or reason as motive? or reason as a way of life? They don't have to give me a reason, I can write my own damn reason." I thought that was pretty impressive for someone who'd drunk as much as you had.

George Smiley: I'm so out of touch, Peter. Does Lacon have any particular titles these days?
Peter Guillam: Just Sir Oliver of the Cabinet Office. You know how he loves being one of nature's prefects.

George Smiley: I saw you parking this toy in Pearson Street this afternoon. I ran away immediately. Good guess on your part.
Peter Guillam: What made you think I was looking for you?
George Smiley: I hoped you were.

George Smiley: [about Guillam's car] It's far too young for you.
Peter Guillam: It's quick.

Ricki Tarr: [to Smiley] Twelve years ago nobody, but nobody, got taken on unless he got past you. Not even scalphunters, though they were not quite your type. We all had to get the nod from Mr Smiley.
Peter Guillam: Tarr...
George Smiley: Of course I remember you, Ricki. Your father was an Australian, as I recall a solicitor and a non-conformist preacher; altogether a most unusual chap to pop up in Marseilles. But such odd circumstances do seem to provide us with suitable personnel.

"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Flushing Out the Mole (#1.7)" (1979)
[Polyakov has been caught red-handed meeting with "Gerald"]
Polyakov: I'm a Soviet diplomat! This behavior...
Peter Guillam: SHUT UP!

[Guillam has come face to face with Gerald the mole]
Peter Guillam: You butchered my agents... How many since? How many? Two hundred?... Three?... FOUR?
[he launches himself at Gerald]
Mendel: [pulling Guillam off] Stop that!

[while laying a trap for the mole at the safe house, Smiley goes up to the attic to test the bugging equipment. When Guillam starts speaking, the tape starts]
Peter Guillam: This equipment, provided at great expense to the British taxpayer, is voice-activated. When I stop speaking, the tape will stop recording.
[the tape stops]
Peter Guillam: See?
[the tape starts again]
Peter Guillam: [singing] Old Man River, that Old Man River, he just keeps rolling...

Peter Guillam: It would have to be Bill, wouldn't it? He was always our hero, in capital letters. I mean for the younger lot... my kind anyway. The antiquated English patriot. "Never mind all the dirt. We have to do this. It's for England!"

[first lines]
[Smiley and Guillam prepare the safe house]
George Smiley: Toby Esterhase did say, two full milk bottles and all's well.
Peter Guillam: Right. That's the second time you asked.
George Smiley: Well, let's not pretend we're not nervous.

"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Smiley Tracks the Mole (#1.3)" (1979)
Toby Esterhase: Ultra, ultra-sensitive, in fact, Peter.
Peter Guillam: In that case, Toby, I'll try and keep my mouth ultra, ultra-shut.

Peter Guillam: Why was Control always so hostile to Alleline? Percy wasn't a complete fool.
George Smiley: Percy can flirt, Peter. And Control hadn't reckoned on the power of the Alleline lobby.
Peter Guillam: Who were they?
George Smiley: Golfers. "Golfers and Conservatives." That's what Control said to me.

[last lines]
George Smiley: I don't seem to have very much on Operation Testify. Would you...?
Peter Guillam: Of course, George.

George Smiley: And within six months of Bill Haydon's diagnosis, Control was indeed dead.
Peter Guillam: And what killed him? Operation Witchcraft or Operation Testify?
George Smiley: Neither. Let's not be melodramatic, Control would disapprove. He died of old age... a little early. But Testify destroyed his function in life, which was a form of murder.

"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Smiley Sets a Trap (#1.6)" (1979)
Toby Esterhase: Why pick on the little guy? Why not pick on the big ones? Percy Allenine, Bill Haydon!
Peter Guillam: I thought you were a big guy these days.
George Smiley: You're the perfect choice, Toby: resentful about slow promotion, sharp-witted, fond of money. With you as his agent, Polyakov has a cover story that really sits up and works. The big three give you the little sealed packets of chickenfeed, and Moscow Centre thinks you're all theirs. The only problem arises when it turns out you've been handing Polyakov the crown jewels, and getting Russian chickenfeed in return. If that's the case, Toby, you're going to need some pretty good friends. Like us. Gerald's a Russian mole, of course. And he's pulled the Circus inside out.

George Smiley: Karla really did bring off the perfect fix... for a while. It would be beautiful in another context.
Peter Guillam: Tinker: Alleline. Tailor: Haydon. Soldier: Bland. Spot the Mole.

Peter Guillam: [at a window] Same as you, George: just a feeling that someone's watching my back.
Mendel: I followed both of you to the front door. If either of you had company, it's cleverer than me.

[last lines]
Peter Guillam: The message will be, "Have information vital to the safeguarding of the service. Request immediate meeting. Personal." Remember, "Vital to the safeguarding of the service."
Ricki Tarr: It's even true.
Peter Guillam: Don't forget that. No mistakes, Ricki. Your head's on the block.
Ricki Tarr: Not the only one, Peter.

"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Tarr Tells His Story (#1.2)" (1979)
Peter Guillam: As soon as he gave me his story I rang Sir Oliver from a call box. I rang him here, from London.
[Smiley stares at Guillam]
Peter Guillam: Well, at the time there was no reason to suppose the phone was tapped...
George Smiley: There was every reason.

George Smiley: It's very unusual for Moscow Centre to use a husband-and-wife team. Hard to believe. Unless of course they have children in Moscow, hostages...
Ricki Tarr: They have.
Peter Guillam: Common-law marriage. Unofficial, but permanent.
Ricki Tarr: There's a lot the other way around these days, believe it or not, Mr Smiley.

Peter Guillam: I know that look, George. I'm breaking into the Circus, playing Burglar Bill, am I?

Peter Guillam: I'm doing what I can to check...
Ricki Tarr: Well, you be damn careful baby, because I don't want the wrong people on my back!

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
Ricki Tarr: Mr Guillam, I'm sorry I was out for so long.
[Guillam attacks Tarr]
George Smiley: Ricki's been helping us, Peter! He's been telling us all about his adventures.
Peter Guillam: He's a double, George! There is no mole! Irina's been locked up by Moscow!
[turns on Tarr]
Peter Guillam: I stole that, because of you! I spied on my own, because of him! Do you know how that makes me feel?

Bill Haydon: I thought I'd pop down and catch a glimpse at the new girl before Bland gets to her.
Peter Guillam: Ah, yes, Belinda the Blonde.

[Haydon rides a bicycle into the Circus office]
Peter Guillam: You got clearance for that?
Bill Haydon: Well, I'm not bloody chaining it up outside. Mind you, probably no better off in here with this bunch of bloody cut-throats, they'll have the gold out of your teeth!

The Deadly Affair (1967)
Bill Appleby: I want to live to see the advisor eating his own vomit.

Bill Appleby: Are you suggesting that Elsa might have connived in her husband's murder? That's rather a ghoulish thought, Charley.
Charles Dobbs: She's had a rather ghoulish life.

"Smiley's People: Episode #1.6" (1982)
[last lines]
Peter Guillam: Come on, old friend, it's bedtime. George, you won!
George Smiley: Did I? Yes, well, I suppose I did.

[waiting at the Berlin Wall for Karla]
Peter Guillam: [pointing to a man] George...
George Smiley: If he comes, he'll come on time.
Peter Guillam: Then why did we get here two hours early?
George Smiley: We owe it to him. Nobody else is on his side.

"Smiley's People: Episode #1.4" (1982)
George Smiley: In my time, Peter Guillam, I've seen Whitehall skirts go up and come down again. I've listened to all the excellent argument for doing nothing, and reaped the consequent frightful harvest. I've watched people hop up and down and call it progress. I've seen good men go to the wall and the idiots get promoted with a dazzling regularity. All I'm left with is me and thirty-odd years of cold war without the option.
Peter Guillam: So what does that mean in little words?
George Smiley: It means that if a rogue elephant, to use Saul Enderby's happy phrase, charges at me out of the thicket of my past and gives me a second shot at it, I intend to shoot it dead - but with the minimum of force.

Peter Guillam: It's bloody typical of London, not telling me you're out here. I mean, that's par for the course, these days. I usually pick it up from the Queen's Messenger six weeks after the event! Not like in your day.
George Smiley: I'm sorry to have to tell you, Peter, I'm working on my own these days.
Peter Guillam: Bloody hell, George! I must say, you do put a strain on friendship, you do! You mean I just called out the entire Emergency Service in Paris to assist you in a piece of private enterprise?
George Smiley: Find a phone box, ring your wife, if there's anybody in the house tell her to get rid of them. I'm sure she's understanding.
Peter Guillam: George, she's pregnant! Forgive us, Madame.
Madame Ostrakova: You are abducting me?
Peter Guillam: Oh, no, Madame.
Madame Ostrakova: I'm a little disappointed, Monsieur.
Peter Guillam: The Ambassador's going to love this, he really is!