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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

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In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1,324 ( 84)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 34 wins & 88 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Zoltán Mucsi ...
Hungarian Waiter
Ilona Kassai ...
Woman in Window
Imre Csuja ...
KGB Agent
Arthur Nightingale ...


In the early 1970s during the Cold War, the head of British Intelligence, Control, resigns after an operation in Budapest, Hungary goes badly wrong. It transpires that Control believed one of four senior figures in the service was in fact a Russian agent - a mole - and the Hungary operation was an attempt to identify which of them it was. Smiley had been forced into retirement by the departure of Control, but is asked by a senior government figure to investigate a story told to him by a rogue agent, Ricky Tarr, that there was a mole. Smiley considers that the failure of the Hungary operation and the continuing success of Operation Witchcraft (an apparent source of significant Soviet intelligence) confirms this, and takes up the task of finding him. Written by David Brain

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The enemy is within. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

6 January 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El topo  »

Box Office


£20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$310,562 (USA) (9 December 2011)


$24,104,113 (USA) (16 March 2012)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Filming took place at a disused army barracks in North London, a location much cheaper and affording wider space for the set designers than renting buildings in London for filming. The barrack's corridors and alcoves were used for interior shots, and the side of a building was 'dressed up' as a Wimpy bar. See more »


One shot where the car drives under the railway bridge clearly shows modern street lights which were put in during the 1990s. See more »


[first lines]
Control: [opening door] You weren't followed?
Jim Prideaux: No.
Control: Better come in.
Control: Trust no one, Jim. Especially not in the mainstream.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The ending credit list starts on the right side of the screen, moving slowly to the left, and ended on the right side of the screen. See more »


Featured in Breakfast: Episode dated 1 September 2011 (2011) See more »


Spinning Wheel
Written by David Clayton-Thomas
Performed by Sammy Davis Jr.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Great Looking Film but Very Confusing
30 January 2012 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

*** (out of 4)

Gary Oldman plays George Smiley, a retired British agent who is placed back into the field to try and uncover the identity a mole within the ranks of the M16's who is giving information to Russia. TINKER TAYLOR SOLDIER SPY, adapted from John le Carre's novel, is certainly a very well-made movie and it features some terrific performances but I must admit that I got lost several times. It seems most people are commenting that they can't figure out the story and it seems many people are hating the movie for this and I can't blame them. However, even though I couldn't figure out all of the plot points, this type of confusion reminded me of THE BIG SLEEP with Humphrey Bogart, another movie where you couldn't follow the story but that didn't take away from the entertainment. Director Tomas Alfredson (LET THE RIGHT ONE IN) does a marvelous job at keeping the film moving at a good pace even though it's deliberately a very slow one. It seems like the director wants to get every bit of detail within the frame so there are very slow, drawn out sequences where not much happens but you can look around and just about everything will grab your attention because you never know if it's a clue or not. I really loved the cold atmosphere that he brought to the film and it's almost identical to his vampire movie. The other very strong point is that you got some terrific actors doing strong work. Oldman is so great here that I'm surprised he's gotten as much attention as he has. This isn't James Bond and there's not a single bit of flash to his character but that's what makes the performance so great. I'm sure most actors would have wanted to add more flair to the part and this is something that Oldman did in many of his early great performances. He doesn't do that here and instead he really gives such a low-key performance that you just sit there riveted because his eyes tell you everything you need to know. What also impressed me was the way he came off to be constantly thinking about everything he's taking in. Several actors have talked that it's important to listen and think while on camera and Oldman does that brilliantly here. It certainly doesn't hurt that you have impressive support by Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Toby Jones, Ciaran Hinds, David Hencik, John Hurt and Tom Hardy. Again, the story makes very little sense or at least to me, someone who hasn't read the novel but everything else is just so perfectly done that the film remains entertaining.

28 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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great film, and not THAT confusing iterater
I just didn't understand ANYTHING laffitte-manon
What happened to Toby Esterhase ? Sublime23
Irina czech_mate55
Most boring movie I ever saw Jonsson791
So which was it? PeppermintPatti
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