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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


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?


This theatrical feature film adaptation of a John le Carré novel first premiered in the 10th Anniversary year of the earlier le Carré adaptation cinema movie The Tailor of Panama (2001). See more »


The price of the train ticket to Norwich was quoted as 'One pound fifteen'. By 1974, this price should have been decimal, but appears too cheap for a ticket for that distance during a year of high inflation. £1. 15 shillings (1.75) would have been allowed in 1973 (just - as we introduced decimal in 1971) but not 1974. 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 16 September 2011 (2011) See more »


Mr Wu's A Window Cleaner Now
Written by Frederick Cliffe, George Formby, Harry Gifford
Performed by George Formby
Courtesy of EMI Records Ltd
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Stinker, paler, borer why?
2 July 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I know my limits. I just couldn't follow the plot of this labyrinthine movie adapted from John Le Carre's novel, which had previously been made into an award-winning BBC TV series with Alec Guinness as spy-catcher George Smiley. That itself had been a multi-part production but here the action, or should that be inaction, is condensed into a still lengthy two and a half-hour film.

It seemed that every time I picked up a plot thread, it led me down an inconclusive side-road with no real drama at any point. Even the revelation of the mole in the British Secret Service was delivered unspectacularly, in keeping with the dogmatic realism of the rest of the narrative. Plot-lines circle round and turn in on themselves but ended up only dizzying my perceptive powers.

The cream of contemporary British acting talent, old and young, pretty much is the whole cast but I didn't get any sense of the actors really inhabiting their parts. Gary Oldman's playing is very much in the shadow of Guinness and no-one else distinguished themselves in my eyes. They may have been in the book, I guess but strange scenes, like Smiley taking a constitutional swim in a public place or the Secret Service office party, just sort of occur, although to what end I'm not entirely sure. Apart from hearing the odd stray song on the soundtrack or sighting a vintage car in the streets, I hardly got the impression that this was the 70's at all. There were no news inserts or political issues to reference the times, leaving the story to unfold in a musty, grey netherworld, vaguely Kafka-ish in tone.

Which may well have been the point. All I know is this film failed to connect with me at all and was a major disappointment for this particular viewer in almost very respect.

25 of 30 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
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Most boring movie I ever saw Jonsson791
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