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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.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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1,494 ( 4)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 34 wins & 88 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

Trust no one. Suspect everyone. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

6 January 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El topo  »

Box Office

Budget:

£20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

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

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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The filmmakers searched for 18 months to find the right actor to play George Smiley. They were on the point of canceling the film before producer Tim Bevan thought of Gary Oldman. See more »

Goofs

During their secret meeting when Big Ben is visible through the window, the hands on the clock face jump forward about 3 hours within the space of about 30 seconds. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Control: [opening door] You weren't followed?
Jim Prideaux: No.
Control: Better come in.
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Crazy Credits

At the end of the closing credits, there is a mention of Karla Films. This is a homage to George Smiley's nemesis. See more »


Soundtracks

Tamara Delihorn
Written by Lennart Åberg (as Lennart Aberg)
Performed by Oriental Wind
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Fact It's Uncinematic Is A Major Problem
9 September 2013 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

John Le Carre is without doubt one of the literary greats of the late 20th Century . A master of complex story telling his novels are often composed of characters standing around discussing complicated geo-political situations and the human condition . This means that his novels are fundamentally uncinematic , a fact reflected that so little of his work has been adapted to the silver screen . With this adaptation of his 1974 novel I doubt if anyone was expecting a James Bond thriller and I know I wasn't but even so you're struck as to how a Le Carre thriller doesn't lend itself to mainstream cinema

You can't fault the film for its production values . It contains a who's who of prestigious big hitting British character actors such as Oldman , Hurt and Firth alongside up and coming peers such as Hardy and Cumberbatch . We also get a host of under rated actors in Strong and Burke and at a casting level none of this can be faulted . The look of the film is fantastic with the brownish dull hues reflecting both Communist Eastern Europe and run down Britain in the early 1970s and a day after seeing the movie my abiding memory of the film is the cinematography

The problem is that - and I'm afraid to admit this - is that I didn't have a clue what was going on most of the time . A British agent is shot and caputured in Hungary and MI6 believes he was set up by a mole . I understood this but then we cut to a character after character discussing who the mole might be , do we have a mole and we don't have a mole and very soon I was very lost . This film topped the film charts in Britain for a grand total of three weeks and one suspects by way of a backhanded compliment many people went to the cinema for a second and third time in order to unravel the plot . This is all well and good but illustrates the fact highly regarded novels often don't lend themselves to great cinema . Let's not forget two of the most memorable movies of the 1970s THE GODFATHER and JAWS were based on novels dismissed as trash


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