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The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)

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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Burton ... Alec Leamas
Claire Bloom ... Nan Perry
Oskar Werner ... Fiedler
Sam Wanamaker ... Peters
George Voskovec ... East German 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 ... Patmore
Beatrix Lehmann ... Tribunal President
Esmond Knight ... Old Judge
Tom Stern ... CIA Agent
Niall MacGinnis ... German Checkpoint 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:

THE MAN WHO KNOWS ALL THE DIRT! ...SHEER AND NAKED! 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 film's source - John le Carré's novel, won the UK's "The Somerset Maugham Award" from The Society of Authors (SOA) in 1966. See more »

Goofs

In his defense speech of Mundt, the East German defense attorney (played by George Voskovec) states "Smiley was indeed Leamas's friend. He was also a planner in the section called Satellites Four, which operates behind the Iron Curtain." The term "Iron Curtain" would not have been used by officials of East Germany or other Soviet bloc countries to refer to the east-west divide. Originally created by Winston Churchill, the phrase "behind the Iron Curtain" became a disparaging characterization of the east bloc countries and their socialist systems. It was seen as serving to keep people in and information out, and people mostly throughout the West used the metaphor in that context. See more »

Quotes

Alec Leamas: I reserve the right to be ignorant. That's the Western way of life.
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Connections

Referenced in Nature: The Cat That Came in from the Cold (1991) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Grim, just as it should be
7 September 2004 | by glennserSee all my reviews

I read the book about three years ago and was prepared to be disappointed with the feature as it's a grim book and I thought they'd soften it a little, the movie is excellent though, they made a couple of changes but all for the best, anyone who thinks spying was/is a glamorous occupation should check the film out, LeCarre actually worked as a spy too which adds weight to his dark and realistic (in my opinion)view of this filthy job. My favourite feature of the film is the contempt with which each of the communist spies treats his inferiors as the chain of command is followed, it's a beautiful touch which I don't remember from the book, and by the time Leamass starts laughing at it I was right there with him. I loved this film and can't recommend it enough, Burton is brilliant, some of his cold stares as things start going bad are magnificent, and of course he plays a great drunk... it's a nice script too.


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