Alec Leamas: What the hell do you think spies are? Moral philosophers measuring everything they do against the word of God or Karl Marx? They're not! They're just a bunch of seedy, squalid bastards like me: little men, drunkards, queers, hen-pecked husbands, civil servants playing cowboys and Indians to brighten their rotten little lives. Do you think they sit like monks in a cell, balancing right against wrong?
Control: We have to live without sympathy, don't we? We can't do that forever. One can't stay out of doors all the time. One needs to come in from the cold.
Alec Leamas: I'm an operator, Control, just an operator.
Control: There's a vacancy in Banking Section which might suit you.
Alec Leamas: Sorry, I'm an operational man. I'll take my pension. I don't want a desk job.
Control: You don't know what's on the desk.
Alec Leamas: Paper!
Control: [after taking a long sip from his tea cup] I want you to stay, uh, out in the cold... a little longer.
Alec Leamas: She offered me free love. At the time, that was all I could afford.
Alec Leamas: Before, he was evil and my enemy; now, he is evil and my friend.
Ashe: [Approaching Leamas who is sitting on a bench] Do you like birds? The ones with the white collars are wild. The others are domesticated. With people it's the other way around.
Alec Leamas: [He snickers]
Ashe: Bird-watching's one of my hobbies. I often come here.
Alec Leamas: Do you also often come to Wormwood Scrubs Prison at eight o'clock in the morning to watch birds?
Ashe: Yes, jailbirds. They're my other hobby.
Alec Leamas: Only the young ones, surely!
Alec Leamas: I reserve the right to be ignorant. That's the Western way of life.
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.
Alec Leamas: [to Fiedler] If ever I have to break your neck, I promise to do it with a minimum of force. Now, when do I get my bloody money?
Nan Perry: Well, they returned you to me. I'm so grateful. So grateful! I cut tonight's party meeting.
Alec Leamas: Oh, well, well! Thank you for putting me above history.
Fiedler: Innocent people die every day. They might as well do so for a reason.
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 miracles my bloody neck too! The agreememnt was that I should be interrogated for two weeks in Holland, paid, and allowed to slip quietly back to England without anyone knowing. I'd have been away and nobody would have known if you haven't broken the story.
Fiedler: Just who the hell do you think you are? How dare you come sniffing in here like Napoleon ordering me about? You are a traitor! Does it occur to you? A wanted, spent, dishonest man, the lowest currency of the Cold War? We buy you - we sell you - we lose you - we even can shoot you! Not a bird would stir in the trees outside. Not even a single pheasant would turn his head to see what fell.
Control: A shark can smell blood a mile off when he's hungry, and Mundt is hungry for our blood.