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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 secret is out. 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?


Peter Morgan wrote a draft for the screenplay and was going to write the final draft, but he gave up that assignment due to the death of a family member. He remains executive producer on this film. See more »


Technical equipment can be seen in Smiley's glasses when he asks the whereabouts of an agent. 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 »


Referenced in Gossip Girl: The Princess Dowry (2012) See more »


The Proudest, Loneliest Fool
Written by Gordon Galbraith and Ricci Mareno
Performed by Charlie Rich
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Brain not brawn
21 September 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

It really is interesting to read the above reviews. I've just come back from seeing it and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I wondered if for people who hadn't read the book or seen the TV series it would make sense, and obviously it doesn't. It also doesn't fit the change in perception that the current generation have needing an edit at least every 5 seconds and a linear storyline, that's not ageist, just what we in a much older generation have left as our inheritance, sadly. I really enjoyed the film references whether they are intentional or not, they range from Rear Window to La Nuit Americaine to Mr Bean's Holiday to Godard. Gary Oldman as Smiley is very good, much colder that AG and as in the book a bit younger. It is also less of the feel of a group of Oxbridge Dons in charge rather ex servicemen as MI5 was in those days. I was in my 20's in the early 1970's and the general dullness of everything during that time comes through very well. I would think that after they edited it they wished they hadn't had some rather crass graffiti so prominent, but I remember it was all over London at that time. Good film with a plot that makes you concentrate and you have to use your brain, well worth seeing, but don't go if you want thrills and spills.

148 of 209 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
So which was it? PeppermintPatti
Most boring movie I ever saw Jonsson791
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