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The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)

7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 8,137 users  
Reviews: 86 user | 56 critic

British agent Alec Leamas refuses to come in from the cold war during the 1960s, choosing to face another mission, which may prove to be his final one.

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Rupert Davies ...
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Hans-Dieter Mundt (as Peter Van Eyck)
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Patmore
Beatrix Lehmann ...
Tribunal President
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Old Judge
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CIA Agent
Niall MacGinnis ...
German Checkpoint Guard
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Storyline

Alec Leamas, a British spy is sent to East Germany supposedly to defect, but in fact to sow disinformation. As more plot turns appear, Leamas becomes more convinced that his own people see him as just a cog. His struggle back from dehumanization becomes the final focus of the story. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

THE MAN WHO KNOWS ALL THE DIRT! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 December 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

L'espion qui venait du froid  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First ever appearance of John le Carré's famous George Smiley character in film or television. In this movie, actor Rupert Davies was the first ever actor to play the Smiley character on screen and TV. James Mason was the second actor to play him in The Deadly Affair (1966), though the character was renamed Charles Dobbs for the film. Sir Alec Guinness was the third, he played him twice, in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979) and Smiley's People (1982). Denholm Elliott was the fourth actor to play Smiley in A Murder of Quality (1991) whilst Gary Oldman is the fifth actor to play him, in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011). See more »

Quotes

Alec Leamas: I'm a man, you fool. Don't you understand? A plain, simple, muddled, fat-headed human being. We have them in the West, you know.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs (1966) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

the Cold War's bleak aesthetic
23 March 2004 | by (Balto.-WDC Metro area) – See all my reviews

Back during the Cold War, people actually bought into the bleak misery that was brinkmanship & actors actually took chances, & their agents let them.

Richard Burton is Alec Laemmas, John Le Carre's reluctant spy, whose disillusionment is turned against him to save one last informant: hard to believe that Mr. Burton was then still in the throes of his public romance with Liz Taylor. Grim's the word here: from the opening Checkpoint Charlie Berlin scene to the Dutch shores to the East German countryside--the Cold War's done nobody any favors. Moreover, this harsh treatment of spies & their back-stabbing, double-dealing ways was made just after Ian Fleming's suave James Bond had become a pop movie icon (Bond's "M," Bernard Lee, as a grocer here ["T'get a proper credit, y'need a banker's reference."], gets the crap pummeled outta him by Burton).

Anyway, "Spy" is movie stripped of glamor: everyone gets usurped by people with power. Burton's Laemmas is sent to salvage the good guys' chief informant, a senior GDR official; Claire Bloom's Commie idealist Nancy is called to East Germany under the ruse of cultural exchange, to aid in the hoax. Oscar Werner is mesmerizing ("Were you present for ziss...Sanksgiving?") as the no. 2 man in the Abteilung, on the trail of no. 1, Peter van Eyck, until Laemmas shows up to thwart his plans.

If old cold warriors were only half as conniving as they appear here, whither did they go after the fall of the Soviet Union? Something to which nobody with nanogram of sense has paid much attention.


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Can't believe George Smiley was such a cold hearted b#$tard... sn939
Disturbing plothole mr Marble
Can't follow the story... Euan1234
Poor image quality on DVD fahyr
Nan/Liz zingzangspillip
Hard to comprehend whenim64
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