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  
Top Rated TV #160 | 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)
...
 Sir Oliver Lacon / ... (7 episodes, 1979)
George Sewell ...
 Mendel (7 episodes, 1979)
...
 Toby Esterhase (5 episodes, 1979)
...
 Bill Haydon (5 episodes, 1979)
...
 Ricki Tarr (5 episodes, 1979)
...
 Roy Bland (4 episodes, 1979)
...
 Jim Prideaux (4 episodes, 1979)
...
 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)
...
 Connie Sachs (2 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

Taglines:

The acclaimed BBC production of John le Carré's classic spy story. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

29 September 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

König, Dame, As, Spion  »

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 Connie Sach (played by Beryl Reid) on Milicent Jessie Eleanor Bagot, a Sovietologist and British Intelligence spy. 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

Roy Bland: It isn't ordinary flight information, Peter. The source is very private.
Toby Esterhase: Ultra, ultra sensitive in fact.
Peter Guillam: In that case, Toby, I'll try and keep my mouth ultra, ultra shut.
[Bill Haydon chuckles]
See more »

Crazy Credits

SPOILER: The closing credits scroll over a scene of Oxford, which is chronologically where the spy was recruited in the story. See more »


Soundtracks

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


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