Up 106 this week

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  16 December 1965 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 9,651 users  
Reviews: 95 user | 60 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.



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video


The 25 Most Immersive Worlds in Cinema

Highly immersive cinematic worlds can carry a movie, and we've rounded up the best of the best.

See the full list

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 21 titles
created 15 Aug 2011
a list of 29 titles
created 21 Sep 2011
a list of 27 titles
created 18 Dec 2011
a list of 39 titles
created 25 May 2012
a list of 28 titles
created 28 May 2013

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965) on IMDb 7.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.

User Polls

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



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (TV Mini-Series 1979)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced out of semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6's echelons.

Stars: Alec Guinness, Michael Jayston, Anthony Bate
Smiley's People (TV Mini-Series 1982)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

Called out of retirement to settle the affairs of a friend, Smiley finds his old organization, the Circus, so overwhelmed by political considerations that it doesn't want to know what ... See full summary »

Stars: Alec Guinness, Eileen Atkins, Bill Paterson
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In London, a counter espionage agent deals with his own bureaucracy while investigating the kidnapping and brainwashing of British scientists.

Director: Sidney J. Furie
Stars: Michael Caine, Nigel Green, Guy Doleman
Certificate: M Action | Thriller | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

From the John le Carre novel about a British spy who sends a Polish defector to East Germany to verify missile sites.

Director: Frank Pierson
Stars: Christopher Jones, Pia Degermark, Ralph Richardson
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A British agent is sent to Berlin to receive a Communist defector, but the true situation turns out to be rather more complicated.

Director: Guy Hamilton
Stars: Michael Caine, Oskar Homolka, Paul Hubschmid
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A British agent sets out to uncover the hidden facts behind a British government employee's suicide.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: James Mason, Maximilian Schell, Simone Signoret
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A professional assassin codenamed "Jackal" plots to kill Charles de Gaulle, the President of France.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Edward Fox, Terence Alexander, Michel Auclair
A Perfect Spy (TV Mini-Series 1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

This is the story of Magnus Pym, from his childhood to the end of his career in middle age. As a young man, there is little doubt that his father Rick was the most influential character in ... See full summary »

Stars: Ray McAnally, Rüdiger Weigang, Alan Howard
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A bookish CIA researcher finds all his co-workers dead, and must outwit those responsible until he figures out who he can really trust.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Cliff Robertson
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Two British agents are murdered by a mysterious Neonazi organization in West Berlin. The British Secret Service sends agent Quiller to investigate. Soon Quiller is confronted with Neonazi ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Anderson
Stars: George Segal, Alec Guinness, Max von Sydow
Hud (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Hud Bannon is a ruthless young man who tarnishes everything and everyone he touches. Hud represents the perfect embodiment of alienated youth, out for kicks with no regard for the ... See full summary »

Director: Martin Ritt
Stars: Paul Newman, Melvyn Douglas, Patricia Neal
Becket (1964)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An English king comes to terms with his affection for his close friend and confidant, who finds his true honor by observing God's divine will rather than the king's.

Director: Peter Glenville
Stars: Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole, John Gielgud


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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It plunges you knife-deep into actual Espionage. It gives you the dirt as well as the dazzle. Here is excitement sheer and naked and unforgettable. [UK Theatrical] See more »


Drama | Thriller


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 December 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Spion, der aus der Kälte kam  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Richard Burton and co-star Warren Mitchell were Royal Air Force cadets together at Oxford in 1944, where they knew one another and became friends. From 1944-47, when both were demobilized, they were stationed together at times in Canada and back in England. See more »


In his defense speech of Mundt, the East German defense attorney (played by George Voskovec) says "Smiley was indeed Leamas's friend. He was also a planner in the section called Satellite Four... which operates behind the Iron Curtain." The term "Iron Curtain" would not have been used by officials in East Germany or any of the Soviet bloc countries to refer to the east-west divide. It was originally created by Winston Churchill and the phrase "behind the Iron Curtain" became a derogatory description of the east bloc countries and their socialist systems. The term "Iron Curtain" was seen as serving to keep people in and information out, and people throughout the West used the metaphor in that context. See more »


Alec Leamas: [Yawns]
Peters: Tired?
Alec Leamas: Aren't you?
Peters: No, I didn't have any drink with my supper.
Alec Leamas: I didn't have any supper with my drink.
See more »


Referenced in It Takes a Thief: The Old Who Came in from the Spy (1969) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

If only more spy movies were like this.....
1 June 2005 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

It's truly refreshing to see a spy movie which does not involve fast cars, bikini clad women, super heroes etc. This movie shows how spies are used and discarded. The main character cannot perform stunning stunts while doing one hand push ups. He is just your average Joe who drinks too much and knows that there is no escape from his profession which he seems to hate. The idealism of young people seems to depress him even more which he rips apart towards the end (the highlight of the movie). The bleak look of the movie (it's in B&W) gives it even more of an authentic look and sets the mood for the viewer.

There are no explosions, no car chases, no sweeping a woman off her feet......just plain, simple story telling.

44 of 57 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Who would like to see an remake of this? overfiend1976
Can't believe George Smiley was such a cold hearted b#$tard... sn939
Disturbing plothole mr Marble
Hard to comprehend whenim64
Can't follow the story... Euan1234
Poor image quality on DVD fahyr
Discuss The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: