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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979)

TV Mini-Series  |   |  Drama, Thriller
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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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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 4 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »
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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)


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


Drama | Thriller

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

29 September 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

König, Dame, As, Spion  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (7 parts)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Overruns meant a a large number of actors moved to other projects without finishing their roles. See more »


Jim Prideaux goes off on his abortive mission to Czechoslovakia at the end of March. Following this scene is a strap-line that says "six months later". That should put the continuing action at the end of September. However we see snow on the roads, and Roddy Martindale saying to George Smiley in the restaurant "... I do hope you're not going to tip him. It's a guinea at Christmas". See more »


[repeated line]
George Smiley: There are three of them, and Alleline.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the closing credits, the church prayer "Nunc dimittis" is played. This prayer describes Simeon's wish to depart this world after having witnessed the newborn Messiah. In context, this theme is used to bid farewell to the viewer. See more »


Referenced in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Past Prologue (1993) See more »


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

Just about as good as it gets
11 November 1999 | by (Lafayette LA USA) – See all my reviews

Sir Alec Guinness is so good at being George Smiley that John LeCarre claims he can no longer write the character about without seeing Guinness' face. The supporting cast is uniformly excellent, and the script captures the novel almost flawlessly. It takes six hours because the story is complex and ranges over many years and many characters, but it is so well-written and acted that the any viewer with an attention span longer than that of a gnat can easily keep track of who did what and when, so that the ultimate unmasking of the traitor may be a surprise, but it is not a shock.

28 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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