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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 »
1,408 ( 85)
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


At the height of the Cold War, only a master spy could be trusted to expose one of their own. 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?


This movie remake was made and released thirty-two years after the renowned TV series Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979), just under thirty years after its sequel Smiley's People (1982) and thirty-seven years after the 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' novel was first published in 1974. See more »


Julio Iglesias' cover of the song 'La Mer' used in the movie's final scene is from a live album recorded in 1976 ('En Directo Olympia'); it wouldn't have been on the turntable at the last Christmas party which had Control and Prideaux in attendance, as that was presumably in 1972. 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 Bad Movie Beatdown: Review of 2011 (2012) See more »


The National Anthem of the USSR
Written by Aleksandr Aleksandrov (as Alexander V. Aleksandrov), Sergey Mikhalkov (as Sergey V. Mikhalkov), and Gabriel Ureklyan (as Gabriel A. El-Registan)
Performed by The Red Army Choir
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Class all the way through
17 September 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I have been eagerly awaiting this production for a long time and have not been disappointed. Never have I seen such a compilation of such fabulous performances together. No way is this another James Bond, it is how the world of espionage was, and is today. No car chases in Aston Martins or gadgets but a world of seedy little offices and the grim reality of this genre. What had the greatest impact on myself was the slow deep menace conveyed by all. Difficult to single out any one performance as all were amazing but I particularly admired Gary Oldman, Mark Strong and Tom Hardy for their work. At times this film has some unexpected moments of shocking cruelty. Complex character portrayal is presented in a slow deep style that only inspires you to know more about the person. The story itself is a classic and known by many, yet this production introduces a few changes which work well. One of the most absorbing and classy movies I have seen and has left a lasting impact on me. Please, please, please, make Smiley's People now.

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great film, and not THAT confusing iterater
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