Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) Poster



In one of the flashbacks to the Christmas party, presumably before Control resigns in 1973, a "Lenin Santa" has everyone sing along to a recording of the Soviet National Anthem. The version that is played is the 1977 version - the original 1944 words fell out of favor after Stalin's death in 1953 and the anthem was played without words until the new version in 1977.
When in Istanbul, a freighter in the Bosphorus with a bulbous bow can be clearly seen. The bulbous bow wasn't in common use until two decades later.
A scene in Istanbul showed a tram. There were no trams in Istanbul in 1973. They were in use up until the mid/late 1960s, at which point they were discontinued, and then re-introduced in the 1990s.
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.
When George Smiley visits Connie Sachs, she brings in a tray with tea and milk in a bottle. The milk bottle is a modern, thin-walled, short-necked model. These were not introduced in Britain until the 1980s. It should be an old thick-walled, tapered version.
In the docks scene, when they are taking Irina, a new BMW 7 series can be seen between some barrels, at the left corner of the screen for a glimpse of time.
During a roof shot going down the building to the road in Istanbul, 2 split type air conditioners can be clearly seen mounted on a building wall. Split air conditioners came to the Turkish market in mid'90s.
(at around 52 mins) Siyami Ersek Hospital Tower is visible, which was completed in 2001.
In the Paris scene with the white Peugeot, two silver, modern cars can be seen parked on the street just up the hill from the Peugeot.
When the roof of the train is shown, it is of a ridged type not seen until the introduction of the featured multiple units in 1981.
One shot where the car drives under the railway bridge clearly shows modern street lights which were put in during the 1990s.
The 1973 establishing shot of the Budapest Parliament building shows no red star on the dome. The giant red star was put there during the communist era and was removed during the early 1990's.
The Fred Perry shirt the guy was wearing after the squash game did not come out until 1976, it was based on the Bjorn Borg Fila original.
In the scene where C's flat is entered after his death there is a box full of files. The box itself is packaging for a Dual CS 505-1 turntable. These were not in production until 1980.
In Nyugati Railway station in Budapest modern advertising for a railway museum (vasúttörténeti park) is visible, that didn't open until 2001.


When Smiley is first shown waiting on phone in the secret flat, you can see his shoes removed and under table. In the next scene a few seconds later, he is shown again with shoes on, which he then proceeds to remove.
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.
Lacon meets with Alleline and Bland. He is holding a sheet of paper prominently in his right hand. As the camera angle changes to Alleline, who says "Operation Witchcraft needs to remain secret," Lacon is instantly holding a cup of tea in his right hand instead.

Crew or equipment visible 

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

Errors in geography 

The hotel where Smiley carries out his research supposedly overlooks Liverpool Street Station. The tracks seen from his window have 3rd rail electrification, whereas Liverpool Street uses overhead live wires.

Factual errors 

A speed hump can be seen on the road. These certainly did not exist in 1973.
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.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

When a phone call is made from a public phone box, the money is inserted first. This is incorrect, as in those days the money was only inserted after the party you were calling answered.

Plot holes 

Despite Control being so secretive that not even his own employees know his name, Connie Sachs is able to show Smiley a picture of him a military uniform. With that picture Connie (or anyone else in the Circus records) would have been able to identify rank, regiment, and date - and therefore with a little research - Control's name.

Revealing mistakes 

Some of the buildings that were used for filming clearly show uPVC double glazing. This wasn't around in 1974.
Connie Sachs shows Smiley some old photographs. Underneath the photographs is a postcard. A postmark is clearly visible on the stamp but it does not run through onto the card itself. This is probably because the film makers used an old postmarked stamp on a new postcard.
The lock shown on the Russian cell door during Prideaus interrogation is British (probably Chubb) in common use throughout UK prisons.


The goof item below may give away important plot points.


When Smiley and Guillam are going through Control's flat after his death - which occurs in 1973 (based on the last document he signs before he leaves The Circus, of which there's a clear close-up showing the date) - there's a box for a Dual CS505-1 turntable - which wasn't made until 1980.

See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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