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The Tailor of Panama (2001)

R  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  4 May 2001 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 22,762 users   Metascore: 66/100
Reviews: 211 user | 104 critic | 31 from

A tailor living in Panama reluctantly becomes a spy for a British agent.



(novel), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Harold Pinter ...
Uncle Benny
Francesca Deane
Lola Boorman ...
Sarah Pendel
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Teddy, the Reporter
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John LeCarre's spy thriller is brought to the big screen. A British spy is banished to Panama after having an affair with an ambassador's mistress. Once there he makes connection with a local tailor with a nefarious past and connections to all of the top political and gangster figures in Panama. The tailor also has a wife, who works for the Panamanian president and a huge debt. The mission is to learn what the President intends to do with the Panama Canal. But what the two do is concoct a tremendous fictional tale about former mercenaries who are ready to topple the current government and are willing to work with Britain and the US to do so. Written by John Sacksteder <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

panama | spy | tailor | president | canal | See All (126) »


In a place this treacherous, what a good spy needs is a spy of his own.


Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality, language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

4 May 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El sastre de Panamá  »

Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,837,068 (USA) (30 March 2001)


$13,491,653 (USA) (6 July 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


'The Tailor of Panama' was John le Carré's fifteenth novel. The novel was also le Carré's second novel to feature the word 'Tailor' in the title. The first was 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'. See more »


When Andy's car gets stuck in thick black mud, he knocks Harry down. But when Harry arrives home, he has only a minor orange stain on one knee. See more »


[first lines]
MI.6 Handler: Panama.
Andrew 'Andy' Osnard: Panama?
MI.6 Handler: Best I could do Andrew. Under the circumstances, given your sins. They were baying for blood.
See more »


Spoofed in The Taylor of Atlanta (2002) See more »


Techno N-Trance
Written and Performed by Dino Nugent
See more »

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User Reviews

Irony for the wicked
1 November 2001 | by (Karlstad, Sweden) – See all my reviews

If you understand irony, this film should be a real riotous laugh straight through. It is possibly one of the most brilliant movies so far this millennium, outright disrespectful of the "spy" theme: Brosnan's degenerated, decadent b*****d spy Osnard is just the way one would picture James Bond in real life, had the latter not been so awfully loyal. Actually, Osnard is James Bond minus loyalty and with his self-confidence, decadence and sexism turned up a couple of notches. A brilliant character, brilliantly acted. Another fantastic actor is the amazing Geoffrey Rush in the role as the Tailor of Panama, Harry Pendel.

The story is absolutely fascinating, one of the most clever and witty stories to emerge in a long while - the Tailor of Panama reluctantly becomes a spy and conjures up non-existent government plots to sell the Panama Canal to the Chinese, which makes the English and the Americans (portrayed as a bunch of idiots with delusions of grandeur and as militaristic blow-hards with victory as the only goal) react aggressively.

It is important that one understands that this film is serious in one respect only: its comedy. Don't see this expecting to see a thrilling spy-movie. It isn't, though I find the scope of the film thrilling. It's more of a comedy, and if you can't see that when the American general with tears in his eyes blurts: "There is a star missing from the American flag!", then you're not really equipped for this kind of film. The reason I'm writing this is that some reviewers have found the movie to be silly... which is just what one would think if one didn't get it.

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

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