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The Spy Who Came In from the Cold (1965)

Not Rated | | Drama, Thriller | 16 December 1965 (USA)
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British agent Alec Leamas refuses to come in from the Cold War during the 1960s, choosing to face another mission, which may prove to be his final one.

Director:

Martin Ritt

Writers:

John le Carré (novel), Paul Dehn (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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British spy, Alec Leamas, seeks vengeance on the East German Intelligence Service during the height of the Cold War. A Television adaptation of John le Carre's novel "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold".

Stars: Aidan Gillen
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Burton ... Alec Leamas
Claire Bloom ... Nancy 'Nan' Perry
Oskar Werner ... Fiedler
Sam Wanamaker ... Peters
George Voskovec ... Comrade Karden - Defense Attorney
Rupert Davies ... George Smiley
Cyril Cusack ... Control
Peter van Eyck ... Hans-Dieter Mundt (as Peter Van Eyck)
Michael Hordern ... Ashe
Robert Hardy ... Dick Carlton
Bernard Lee ... Mr. Patmore - Grocer
Beatrix Lehmann ... Tribunal President
Esmond Knight ... Old Judge
Tom Stern Tom Stern ... CIA Agent
Niall MacGinnis ... Checkpoint Charlie Guard
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Storyline

Alec Leamas, a British spy, is sent to East Germany - supposedly to defect, but in fact to sow disinformation. As more plot turns appear, Leamas becomes more convinced that his own people see him as just a cog. His struggle back from dehumanization becomes the final focus of the story. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

BRACE YOURSELF FOR GREATNESS THE BOOK THE WORLD COULD NOT LAY DOWN IS NOW A MOTION PICTURE See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Criterion Collection

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 December 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Spion, der aus der Kälte kam See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$7,600,000, 31 December 1965
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Salem Films Limited See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character of George Smiley, John le Carré's iconic character, was renamed Charles Dobbs for John le Carré's The Deadly Affair (1967) because Paramount Pictures had bought the film rights to the 'Smiley' name when they produced this film. See more »

Goofs

The Whiskey that is served and sold throughout the movie has the same label and shape on three different occasions, London.the Netherlands and East Germany. See more »

Quotes

Nan Perry: What was my part in all this? I want to know.
Alec Leamas: You were a pawn in the plot. London knew it was no good just killing Fiedler. If he'd been killed, people would've started asking by whom and why. Maybe he'd told friends he suspected Mundt. Maybe he'd left notes, incriminating notes. London had to eliminate suspicion. Public rehabilitation, that's what they organized for Mundt. I was sent to discredit him. He was sent to discredit me.
Nan Perry: And love?
Alec Leamas: We made it very easy for them. They used us. They ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in This Life: The Bi Who Came in from the Cold (1997) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Is that right?
1 March 2010 | by pmw1004See all my reviews

The last reviewer wrote: Burton is cast as Alex Leamas, a nerve-dead, aged secret operative operating out of West Berlin. After a routine assignment goes awry, Leamas is sent home and out of the service. He struggles to try to live a normal, average life as a librarian's assistant, but he can't make it work for him (something that is not helped by his chronic alcoholism). This fact is made forcefully clear when he winds up beating a local grocer and is sentenced to jail time. Slowly but surely, he allows himself to be pulled back into the Cold War he operated in, not suspecting or maybe not even caring that his superiors are setting him up for a fall.

I think this is wrong. I believe the Burton character, Leamas, working with his UK spy agency, pretends to be kicked out of the spy service and acts as if he is going to seed so he can be "turned" by the enemy and complete his secret mission.

Regardless, it's a great film with a great performance by Burton as the world-weary spy who has seen it all, and Claire Bloom as the idealistic UK communist party member who has no idea how ugly it is out there.


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