24 user 10 critic

The Looking Glass War (1970)

3:21 | Trailer
From the John le Carré novel about a British spy, who sends a Polish defector to East Germany, to verify missile sites.


Frank Pierson (as Frank R. Pierson)


John le Carré (based on the book by), John le Carré (novel) | 1 more credit »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Jones ... Leiser
Pia Degermark ... The Girl
Ralph Richardson ... Leclerc
Paul Rogers ... Haldane
Anthony Hopkins ... Avery
Susan George ... The Girl In London
Ray McAnally ... Under Secretary Of State
Robert Urquhart Robert Urquhart ... Johnson
Anna Massey ... Avery's Wife
Vivian Pickles ... Mrs. King
Maxine Audley ... Mrs. Leclerc
Cyril Shaps ... East German Detective
Michael Robbins ... Truck Driver
Timothy West ... Taylor
Frederick Jaeger ... The Pilot


During the Cold War, the British Intelligence receives a blurred photograph from East Germany taken from Hamburg and Director LeClerc (Sir Ralph Richardson) believes they are missiles. Their agent, Taylor King (Timothy West), who receives a film which might clarify the detail from a pilot in Finland, is found dead on the road, and the Police believe he was accidentally killed in a hit-and-run. LeClerc meets the Polish defector Fred Leiser (Christopher Jones), who jumped overboard from a ship expecting to have asylum and stay with his British girlfriend, who is pregnant, and decides to recruit him to cross the border and spy on the East German facility to check on the missiles. In return, he would have salary, insurance, and political asylum. Leiser is trained by the Agent and family man John Avery (Sir Anthony Hopkins), and soon he finds his girlfriend has had ended the pregnancy. When Leiser crosses the border, he meets up with Anna (Pia Degermark), a local, and they stay together in... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The story about a ruthless game where the stakes are human lives. See more »


Action | Drama | Thriller


M/PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Ian Cullen was favored to play Johnson. See more »


After Lieser slaps his girlfriend, he walks out of the room leaving the door open and the girl just stays still on the bed. When Avery goes to check if the girl is alright, the door is closed (so he knocks to get in) and the girl was in the same position she was before. See more »


Leiser: What's your name?
John Avery: You can't have my name, it's a breach of security.
Leiser: You know, I'm risking my life for you so I want a name, give me a name, I don't care. Any name!
John Avery: John.
Leiser: John. John.
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Featured in Al Murray's Great British Spy Movies (2014) See more »

User Reviews

Disappointing adaptation of a good book
8 November 2017 | by MarlburianSee all my reviews

A disappointing adaptation of a good book, with a key aspect of the latter (inter-departmental rivalry) being omitted. I located an on-line copy after the usual frustrations of working through links to Youtube that led to short clips, paid subscription copies and so on.

With several jumps in the plot, I did wonder if the version I saw had been hacked around, but it was the 108 minutes stated here on IMDb. Christopher Jones was unconvincing and uninspiring as Leiser, his fight with Avery a prolonged interpolation and his scrabbling around to get under the wire in the dark protracted. And how lucky he was to come across an attractive girl and child (what happened to him?) in the middle of nowhere - and to bump into her again in a cafe.

The best things were the wide, open European spaces and Anthony Hopkins' acting

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | German

Release Date:

8 February 1970 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

A Guerra no Espelho See more »

Filming Locations:

Spain See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Black and White | Color (Eastmancolor) (as Eastmancolor®)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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