The Little Drummer Girl (1984)

R  |   |  Thriller  |  19 October 1984 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 1,481 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 6 critic

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.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Martin Kurtz
Sami Frey ...
Ben Levine ...
Shlomit Hagoel ...
Juliano Mer-Khamis ...
Julio (as Juliano Mer)
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Doron Nesher ...
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A Palestinian bomber has killed an Israeli diplomat and his family and the Israeli plot to neutralise him becomes convoluted as they select an American Actress (Charlie) to impersonate the Bomber's brother's girlfriend after the Israeli's capture and kill the brother. Charlie is placed into a world where she begins being an actress, then becomes a spy, then is trained by the Palestinians as a guerrilla and finally is sent to deliver a bomb. She is chronically confused by how far she is really supposed to go in her impersonations and how much of herself she must give up. From the book by John Le Carre Written by John Vogel <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She will become their most deadly weapon. As long as they can make her fall in love.




R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

19 October 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Garota do Tambor  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$7,800,000 (USA)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Neither this film and nor its source John le Carré novel are one of his usual cold war spy stories but instead examine the Israel-Palestine conflict. Le Carré's famous George Smiley character is also not featured. See more »


Charlie: God damn it, I believe in things. I believe in helping end the suffering.
See more »


Referenced in Cybill: The Little Drummer Girls (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

This is a twisty, winding road brimming with political intrigue.
4 October 2001 | by (Silver Spring, MD) – See all my reviews

This film is detailed and occasionally harsh, but told by a master storyteller. the director has modified the John LeCarre novel somewhat, but weaves a strong story. It's a little hard to follow if you don't know much about the world of Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but provides quite an education by its end.

It begins with the assassination (bombing) of an Israeli diplomat and family and then jumps to an American stage actress, Charlie (Diane Keaton), who's currently living in Britain. She is ideologically a supporter of the Palestinian cause. She has a problem with falling in love easily and sympathizing with her lover. You begin to see the wheels turning in Israeli intelligence as they research and try to react to this most recent terrorist bombing.

They skillfully recruit/seduce her by pretending to support the Palestinian movement. To be effective in their scheme, they need someone authentic. They try to get under her skin and into her personal psyche (why she is an actress, pain in her life). Klaus Kinski is superb as the head of the Israeli intelligence effort.

After feeling more confident, they put her work to infiltrate the Palestinian-backed terrorist camps to ultimately get to the almost impossible to find bomber Khalil. This involves serious physical/military training. She excels and is given more and more trusted tasks as the story progresses. The story takes many twists and is very detailed and realistic in it's portrayal of both sides. It gets a little heavy, but is fascinating to watch unfold even a second time.

I give it a solid recommendation.

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