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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy 

TV-14 | | Drama, Thriller | TV Mini-Series (1979)
In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced out of semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6's echelons.
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1  
1979  
Top Rated TV #165 | Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 4 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
...  George Smiley 7 episodes, 1979
...  Peter Guillam 7 episodes, 1979
...  Sir Oliver Lacon / ... 7 episodes, 1979
...  Mendel 7 episodes, 1979
...  Toby Esterhase 5 episodes, 1979
...  Bill Haydon 5 episodes, 1979
...  Ricki Tarr 5 episodes, 1979
...  Roy Bland 4 episodes, 1979
...  Jim Prideaux 4 episodes, 1979
...  Percy Alleline 4 episodes, 1979
Alec Sabin ...  Fawn 4 episodes, 1979
...  Control 3 episodes, 1979
Duncan Jones ...  Roach 3 episodes, 1979
Daniel Beecher ...  Spikely 3 episodes, 1979
...  Connie Sachs 2 episodes, 1979
John Wells ...  Headmaster 2 episodes, 1979
Frank Compton ...  Bryant 2 episodes, 1979
Frank Moorey ...  Lauda Strickland 2 episodes, 1979
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Storyline

George Smiley has been retired for about a year when he finds a friend from the Circus, his old outfit in British Intelligence, sitting in his living room. He is taken to the home of an advisor to the Prime Minister on intelligence matters, where he finds evidence that one of the men in the senior ranks of his old agency is a Russian spy. Smiley is asked to find him, without official access to any of the files in the Circus or letting on that anyone is under suspicion. With only a few old friends, his own powers of deduction, and secrecy as weapons, Smiley must unearth the spy who turned him out of the Circus. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Alec Guinness is George Smiley in John le Carré's thriller See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

29 September 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

König, Dame, As, Spion  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (7 parts)

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Star Alec Guinness appeared in the spy movie classic The Quiller Memorandum (1966) around thirteen years before he would play John le Carré's famous spy character George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979), and about sixteen years before he reprised the role in Smiley's People (1982). See more »

Goofs

Jim Prideaux goes off on his abortive mission to Czechoslovakia at the end of March. Following this scene is a strap-line that says "six months later". That should put the continuing action at the end of September. However we see snow on the roads, and Roddy Martindale saying to George Smiley in the restaurant "... I do hope you're not going to tip him. It's a guinea at Christmas". See more »

Quotes

Bill Haydon: Got a rabbit to pull out of your hat, Percy? You've got that Britain-can-make-it look about you. Very intimidating.
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Crazy Credits

In the closing credits, the church prayer "Nunc dimittis" is played. This prayer describes Simeon's wish to depart this world after having witnessed the newborn Messiah. In context, this theme is used to bid farewell to the viewer. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Making of Our Kind of Traitor (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Nunc Dimittis
Composed by Geoffrey Burgon
Sung by Paul Phoenix and the Boys of the St Paul's Cathedral Choir
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User Reviews

 
You Needn't Love John le Carre to Want to See This Series
28 April 2007 | by See all my reviews

Although it helps to love John le Carre's novels, particularly those set during the Cold War, this series and its sequel, "Smiley's People," should be seen for their quality, which may be unsurpassed by anything on television before or since. Alec Guiness as George Smiley is the principal attraction, of course. He could do more with an eyebrow or a subtle change of expression than most actors can do with their entire bodies and vocal skills. But these two series are also distinguished by casts that are superior from top to bottom, products of the Royal Shakespeare Company and other British companies and academies. Ian Richardson is the best known member of this particular cast, other than Guiness himself, and he does an absolutely remarkable job. "Tinker, Tailor..." also offers the first glimpse of Patrick Stewart as "Karla," Smiley's chief antagonist, a leading figure in "Smiley's People." Americans used to see BBC films as part of the "Masterpiece Theatre" series on PBS, sometimes on "Mystery," another PBS staple. And the BBC is still turning out remarkable work. But "Tinker, Tailor..." and "Smiley's People" are unsurpassed -- complex, brilliantly plotted with characters (and not just Smiley) who challenge actors to do their very best work. While many of John le Carre's novels have been made into feature films (some of them quite good), they lend themselves better to the series mode, which allows for more detailed exposition and fuller development of character. They may be great literature (as le Carre's admirers insist) or polished pot boilers (as his critics argue), but they make for wonderful television. And you come away from these two series with the conviction that Smiley was MADE for Alec Guiness, that no one alive (or dead) could have done half as well.


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