Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979)

TV Mini-Series  -   -  Drama | Thriller
8.6
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.6/10 from 4,219 users  
Reviews: 81 user | 18 critic

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.

0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 40 titles
created 28 Jul 2012
 
a list of 40 titles
created 7 months ago
 
a list of 45 titles
created 4 months ago
 
a list of 36 titles
created 4 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979– )

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979– ) on IMDb 8.6/10

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

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

User Polls

Episodes

Seasons


Years



1  
1979  
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 4 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

A Perfect Spy (TV Mini-Series 1987)
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 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
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

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: Martin Ritt
Stars: Richard Burton, Oskar Werner, Claire Bloom
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

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

Director: Tomas Alfredson
Stars: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy
Smiley's People (TV Mini-Series 1982)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 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 | 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
A Murder of Quality (TV Movie 1991)
Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Taken from the book by John le Carre, George Smiley rallies to the aid of his former intelligence colleague, Ailsa Brimley, to investigate a mysterious letter from a junion master's wife at... See full summary »

Director: Gavin Millar
Stars: Denholm Elliott, Joss Ackland, Glenda Jackson
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
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

An American Actress with a penchant for lying is forceably recruited by Mosad, the Israeli intelligence agency to trap a Palestinian bomber, by pretending to be the girlfriend of his dead brother.

Director: George Roy Hill
Stars: Diane Keaton, Yorgo Voyagis, Klaus Kinski
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

An expatriate British publisher unexpectedly finds himself working for British intelligence to investigate people in Russia.

Director: Fred Schepisi
Stars: Sean Connery, Michelle Pfeiffer, Roy Scheider
The Singing Detective (TV Series 1986)
Drama | Musical | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

Tormented and bedridden by a debilitating disease, a mystery writer relives his detective stories through his imagination and hallucinations.

Stars: Michael Gambon, Patrick Malahide, Joanne Whalley
Drama | Mystery | Thriller

George Smiley comes out of retirement to settle the affairs of an old friend.

Director: Tomas Alfredson
Endstation (TV Movie 1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Ludwig Cremer
Stars: Hans Schweikart, Peter Striebeck
Edit

Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 George Smiley (7 episodes, 1979)
...
 Peter Guillam (7 episodes, 1979)
Anthony Bate ...
 Sir Oliver Lacon / ... (7 episodes, 1979)
George Sewell ...
 Mendel (7 episodes, 1979)
Bernard Hepton ...
 Toby Esterhase (5 episodes, 1979)
...
 Bill Haydon (5 episodes, 1979)
Hywel Bennett ...
 Ricki Tarr (5 episodes, 1979)
Terence Rigby ...
 Roy Bland (4 episodes, 1979)
...
 Jim Prideaux (4 episodes, 1979)
Michael Aldridge ...
 Percy Alleline (4 episodes, 1979)
Alec Sabin ...
 Fawn (4 episodes, 1979)
...
 Control (3 episodes, 1979)
Duncan Jones ...
 Roach (3 episodes, 1979)
Daniel Beecher ...
 Spikely (3 episodes, 1979)
John Wells ...
 Headmaster (2 episodes, 1979)
Frank Compton ...
 Bryant (2 episodes, 1979)
Frank Moorey ...
 Lauda Strickland (2 episodes, 1979)
Edit

Storyline

George Smiley has been retired for about a year when he finds a friend from the Circus, his old outfit in British Intelligence, sitting in his living room. He is taken to the home of an advisor to the Prime Minister on intelligence matters, where he finds evidence that one of the men in the senior ranks of his old agency is a Russian spy. Smiley is asked to find him, without official access to any of the files in the Circus or letting on that anyone is under suspicion. With only a few old friends, his own powers of deduction, and secrecy as weapons, Smiley must unearth the spy who turned him out of the Circus. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

29 September 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Az áruló  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (7 parts)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

While talking to Smiley about his encounter with Toby Esterhase, Ian Bannen's character Jim Prideaux says "He (Esterhase) said the Circus had nearly gone under due to Operation Testify and I'm currently the number one leper..." Years later, Bannen played a leper in Braveheart. See more »

Goofs

In episode 5, Fawn's hair is shaggy and hangs over his ears. A day later (in episode 6) it is short and trim. He's been guarding the kidnapped Toby Esterhase for the intervening period, so he could hardly have run out and got it cut. See more »

Quotes

George Smiley: Topicality is always suspect.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits show a set of Russian matryoshka dolls. One doll opens up to reveal a doll more irate than the other one, and the final doll is seen as being faceless. This was inspired by a line at the end of the "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" novel: "Smiley settled on a picture of one of those little Russian dolls that open up to reveal one inside the other, and another inside him. Of all men living, only Karla had seen the last little doll inside..." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Birds of a Feather: Tinker, Tailor... (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Nunc Dimittis
Composed by Geoffrey Burgon
Sung by Paul Phoenix and the Boys of the St Paul's Cathedral Choir
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Definitely in the BBC pantheon...
17 January 2000 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland) – See all my reviews

Definitely in the BBC pantheon (alongside I Claudius and Pride and Prejudice), partly for its formidable cast, but mainly for John Irvin's taut directorial grip - a model of visual economy and uncompromising narrative drive.

A double-agent or 'mole' is suspected at the top levels of the British secret service and retired spymaster Alec Guiness must narrow down the suspects amongst his former colleagues. Arthur Hopcraft's adaptation, while capturing the bureaucratic intrigue and perfidy of John Le Carre's novel, will demand viewers' utmost attention if they want to stay with the unfolding plot.

Irvin shoots Tinker, Tailor as if for widescreen - edge of the screen compositions, careful background detail - and demonstrates how a determined director can overcome the limitations of television(usually seen as a writer or producer's medium). Look at how he composes and cuts the scene where Guillam (Michael Jayston) is interrogated round the boardroom table towards the end of the first half. How Irvin provides deft little 'bookend' shots with the characters slowly walking away from camera.

Not that his sparse, pared-down style doesn't translate to action scenes with equal verve. The prologue - Ian Bannen's abortive mission into Czechoslovakia and its climatic chase through the forest - is as tense as anything you're likely to see on the big screen. Wintry settings and a fraught music score (mainly strings) add to this bleak, cynical vision.

Irvin landed the Hollywood actioner Dogs of War on the strength of Tinker, Tailor, but despite clever touches it didn't launch a notable cinema career. Look out, however, for his earlier television adaptation of Dickens' Hard Times. (For another example of very superior television direction, check out James Goldstone's handling of two first-season Star Trek episodes - 'Where No Man Has Gone Before' and 'What Are Little Made Of').

Author Le Carre may have topped Tinker,Tailor with a dazzling sequel (The Honourable Schoolboy, published 1977), but this is still far and away the best espionage suspenser ever televised. Indeed, it's hard to see how anything else, post Cold War, could quite match this relentless, ruthless dissection of personal and political betrayals.


24 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Its 'The Little Things' that keeps me watching it over and over.... Don-91
Who would play Smiley now? rleather
Alexander Knox. In Memoriam. l_grds
one of the best spy movie/mini-series here is a list of others ... Renard-4
Tarr is the Anti-Hero of the story! chumface
Scenes in Brno l_grds
Discuss Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?