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The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)

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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 8,859 users  
Reviews: 92 user | 58 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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Title: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)

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

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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:
...
...
...
...
...
Rupert Davies ...
...
...
Hans-Dieter Mundt (as Peter Van Eyck)
...
...
...
Patmore
Beatrix Lehmann ...
Tribunal President
...
Old Judge
Tom Stern ...
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! ...SHEER AND NAKED! 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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Author John le Carré worked for British Intelligence MI5 and MI6 during the 1950s and 1960s and worked in Berlin where this film is partially set. Le Carré was there when the Berlin Wall was being constructed. Le Carré drew on this real life experience when he wrote the novel of 'The Spy Who Came in from the Cold'. The novel is set about a year after the Berlin Wall was built. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Alec Leamas: Mundt was a Nazi, wasn't he?
Fiedler: He was a member of the Hitler Youth... as a boy.
Alec Leamas: Now he's a grown-up Communist. He was what I would call... available.
Fiedler: Like you!... Shall we begin? Let me start by asking you an amusing question.
Alec Leamas: Let me start by asking you one! Make you laugh your head off! Where's my money? When can I go whatever... whatever home is? And Carleton's gone home! Peters has gone home! What about me?
Fiedler: The agreement was...
Alec Leamas: Agreement!... You've broken the bloody agreement and barring ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Tais-toi quand tu parles! (1981) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The great Richard Burton performance no one saw...

It seems to me as though no one remembers this film. In fact, I think that it would be fair to say that I wouldn't have become intrigued enough by it to finally rent if I hadn't seen just the briefest of clips of it on an ABC news broadcast. When I think about it, I realize why should anyone remember it? This was made during the Golden Age of Bond, which this film acts as a dark mirror to. More's the pity, actually, as this was one of Richard Burton's finest performances.

Burton is cast as Alex Leamas, a nerve-dead, aged secret operative operating out of West Berlin. After a routine assignment goes awry, Leamas is sent home and out of the service. He struggles to try to live a normal, average life as a librarian's assistant, but he can't make it work for him (something that is not helped by his chronic alcoholism). This fact is made forcefully clear when he winds up beating a local grocer and is sentenced to jail time. Slowly but surely, he allows himself to be pulled back into the Cold War he operated in, not suspecting or maybe not even caring that his superiors are setting him up for a fall.

One will never mistake Alex Leamas' grey, rainy world for the sunlight universe of James Bond. It offers what is probably the ugliest depiction of the Great Game on film: drunkards, ex-Nazis, Jews, and die-hard Communists swimming like sharks through a fish pond, all of them devouring any who get in their way. None have any more than lip-service loyalty to their fellow operatives, their countries, or maybe even their own ideologies. At it's center stands Burton, playing Leamas as a walking dead man, festering with hate, resentment, and cynicism at the system that eventually sends him into the gutter. His devastating parked car monologue alone is worth the price of renting this one from the local video store.

It's bitter cynic tone may have been the film's undoing; rarely have I seen a film so downbeat in it's depiction of humanity. Still, it is not one that deserves to be forgotten.


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