Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979)

TV Mini-Series  |   |  Drama, Thriller
8.7
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Ratings: 8.7/10 from 4,586 users  
Reviews: 84 user | 19 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.

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

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John le Carré based the character of Karla (played by Patrick Stewart) on the KGB's Major General Rem Krassilnikov who was a counter-intelligence spy for the KGB's State Security Committee. See more »

Goofs

In episode 6, when Peter Guillam is testing the taping system at the safe house, he says the recorder is voice-activated, but it doesn't stop turning on his first silent pause, which is much longer than his second and third pauses, when it stops instantly. See more »

Quotes

Bill Haydon: Got a rabbit to pull out of your hat, Percy? You've got that Britain-can-make-it look about you. Very intimidating.
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

Featured in The 33rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards (1981) 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 »

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User Reviews

An outstanding dramatization of a brilliant book
29 December 1998 | by (Melbourne, Australia) – See all my reviews

It is rare that an adaptation of a complex novel translates well to the small screen. Often detail is eliminated for sake of time and the plot loses aspects that are key to the real story.

The team of John Le Carre and John Irvin has created what may go down as the benchmark for the Spy story mini series. In six hours of television they lay out piece by piece the background of each of the characters in a slow and gentle manner enabling the viewer to capture a sense of both the person and the time in which they are placed.

Irvin permits the story to move in a 'typical English manner', with George Smiley, the principal character almost rolling along from one event to another. Alec Guinness is outstanding in this role and it seems the it was either written with him in mind or he was born for it. I suspect the later is more likely. Smiley and his quirks are key to unravelling what is a complex plot with the usual twists and turns of they spy genre.

The casting of the rest of the players is equally superb with an ensemble performance by the who's who of the English stage. The goodies are all flawed people while the badies, many of who are within the British Secret Intelligence Service, are bad in the way that only the English can truly be to each other.

If you enjoy Le Carre and are prepared to put in 6 hours to view the entire series you you will be richly rewarded.


26 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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