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The Tailor of Panama (2001)

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



(novel), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Uncle Benny
Francesca Deane
Lola Boorman ...
Sarah Pendel
Rafi Domingo
Teddy, the Reporter
Martin Savage ...
Edgardo Molino ...


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 criminal past and connections to all of the top political and gangster figures in Panama. The tailor also has a wife, who works for the canal administrator, and a huge debt. The spy's mission is to learn what the President intends to do with the Panama Canal, but he's really in business for himself, blackmailing the tailor into spinning a fantastic tale about the canal being sold to China and former mercenaries ready to topple the current government. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

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


A first-class thriller from John Boorman - director EXCALIBUR and DELIVERANCE. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

30 March 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?


"Geoffrey Rush's performance might have been modelled on Alec Guinness" according to Time Out who also state that John le Carré's source "1996 novel acknowledged a debt to Our Man in Havana (1959)" which starred Guinness. 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 »


Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #22.7 (2005) See more »


Techno N-Trance
Written and Performed by Dino Nugent
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User Reviews

Exciting and Cynical, LeCarre at His Best
2 April 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There are no heroes or villains in "The Tailor of Panama," only exploiters and victims. Some may be turned off by the cynical tone of the film. For example, Andy Osnard, the British secret agent, played by Pierce Brosnan (who else?) is a scheming sociopath, not a patriotic hero. The title character, Harry Pendel, played by Geoffrey Rush, is a liar and an ex-convict. Don't be put off by these flawed characters, though. In the great tradition of John LeCarre's characters, these devious, selfish people are endlessly interesting -- and believable. I suspect that those who did not like this film reacted as they did because of a lack of heroes and because the outcome of the machinations it depicts are sadly grotesque. Nevertheless, this is the thinking person's spy movie. Highly recommended, 8 out of 10.

51 of 61 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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