7.7/10
10,062
95 user 60 critic

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)

Unrated | | Drama, Thriller | 16 December 1965 (USA)
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.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

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

Videos

Photos

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
Thriller
    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 | 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
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
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
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Following the suicide of an elderly Jewish man, a journalist in possession of the man's diary investigates the alleged sighting of a former SS captain, who allegedly commanded a concentration camp during WWII.

Director: Ronald Neame
Stars: Jon Voight, Maximilian Schell, Maria Schell
Hud (1963)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Honest and hard-working Texas rancher Homer Bannon has a conflict with his unscrupulous, selfish, arrogant and egotistical son Hud who sank into alcoholism after accidentally killing his brother in a car crash.

Director: Martin Ritt
Stars: Paul Newman, Melvyn Douglas, Patricia Neal
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

John Preston is a British agent with the task of preventing the Russians detonating a nuclear explosion next to an American base in the UK. The Russians are hoping this will shatter the 'special relationship' between the two countries.

Director: John Mackenzie
Stars: Michael Caine, Pierce Brosnan, Ned Beatty
Certificate: M Action | Adventure | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Allied agents stage a daring raid on a castle where the Nazis are holding an American General prisoner... but that's not all that's really going on.

Director: Brian G. Hutton
Stars: Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, Mary Ure
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A defrocked Episcopal clergyman leads a bus-load of middle-aged Baptist women on a tour of the Mexican coast and comes to terms with the failure haunting his life.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Richard Burton, Ava Gardner, Deborah Kerr
Edit

Cast

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

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:

BRACE YOURSELF FOR GREATNESS See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

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

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In the room in East Germany where Leamas is interrogated by Fiedler, the wallpaper is of English design ("Marigold" by William Morris). See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Alec Leamas: She offered me free love. At the time, that was all I could afford.
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.


71 of 100 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... sanddragon939
Disturbing plothole The_TJT
Can't follow the story... Euan1234
Hard to comprehend whenim64
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:
?