Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy


Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Critics Consensus

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a dense puzzle of anxiety, paranoia, and espionage that director Tomas Alfredson pieces together with utmost skill.



Total Count: 223


Audience Score

User Ratings: 54,139
User image

Watch it now

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Photos

Movie Info

Based on the classic novel of the same name, the international thriller is set at the height of the Cold War years of the mid-20th Century. George Smiley (Gary Oldman), a disgraced British spy, is rehired in secret by his government - which fears that the British Secret Intelligence Service, a.k.a. MI-6, has been compromised by a double agent working for the Soviets. -- (C) Focus Features


Colin Firth
as Bill Haydon
Gary Oldman
as George Smiley
Tom Hardy
as Ricki Tarr
Mark Strong (II)
as Jim Prideaux
John Hurt
as Control
Ciarán Hinds
as Roy Bland
Simon McBurney
as Oliver Lacon
Benedict Cumberbatch
as Peter Guillam
Toby Jones
as Percy Alleline
David Dencik
as Toby Esterhase
Kathy Burke
as Connie Sachs
Stephen Graham
as Jerry Westerby
Michael Sarne
as Voice of Karla
Matyelok Gibbs
as Mrs. Pope Graham
Stuart Graham
as Minister
Sarah-Jane Robinson
as Mary Alleline
Linda Marlowe
as Mrs. McCraig
Erskine Wylie
as Spikeley
Philip Martin Brown
as Tufty Thesinger
Alexandra Salafranca
as Turkish Mistress
Gillian Steventon
as Listening Woman
Nick Hopper
as Janitor Alwyn
Rupert Procter
as Guillam's Boyfriend
John Le Carré
as Christmas Party Guest
Christian McKay
as Mackelvore
Jean-Claude Jay
as French Man at Residency
Péter Kálloy Molnár
as Hungarian Waiter
Ilona Kassai
as Woman in Window
Imre Csuja
as KGB Agent
View All

News & Interviews for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Critic Reviews for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

All Critics (223) | Top Critics (46) | Fresh (185) | Rotten (38)

  • The movie is riveting in the exact sense of the word: We feel nailed to the screen in the impossible task of working out what is going on-let alone why it matters.

    Jun 20, 2013 | Full Review…
  • A deliberate, cerebral, grim and utterly absorbing film that makes covert operations appear as unsexy as the Bourne films made them seem fast-paced and thrilling.

    Jan 6, 2012 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Ultimately, though, it is very much Oldman's film, thanks to a restrained tour de force performance. Smiley is weathered, worn and beaten down by life, but he's also a quiet, sure force of something that resembles good.

    Jan 6, 2012 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

    Tom Long

    Detroit News
    Top Critic
  • It's a well-crafted film that wears its old-fashionedness with pride.

    Dec 23, 2011 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" has a murkiness to it that perfectly fits a spy film; you need to pay attention, or the story will slip away into the shadows.

    Dec 22, 2011 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • Just watching Gary Oldman and his trenchcoated brethren march down the damp, ill-lit streets of Cold War London is enough to make you shiver.

    Dec 22, 2011 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

  • Jan 05, 2014
    Without being concerned about mainstream demands of pacing and plot evolvement, Tomas Alfredson adapts the classic Cold-War-based novel of John le Carré with impeccable precision. Filmed with delicacy, and thanks to the great array of British actors, along with Oldman's always satisfactory presence, <i>Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy</i> reminds us of the always challenging and audience-demanding, yet simultaneously rewarding and superbly written political intrigues of European cinema, from Bertolucci to Melville. This had to omit more introspective aspects of the novel for obvious reasons, being one of them the emphasis of Carré towards what goes on in the minds of the characters as puzzle pieces are placed throughout, but compensates the lack of psychological depth with the visual power of cinema: a grand cinematography and wonderful filming locations loyal to the story's nature. Unexpectedly, this is one of the best spy thrillers that modern cinema could bring along for the hall of fame of the genre. And trust me, adapting Carré is not an easy task whatsoever. 88/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Apr 16, 2013
    Decent. Honestly, really confusing most of the time, and while the acting is top notch, there's not a lot of espionage going on here, especially for a so-called "spy movie." Kind of boring, but maybe worth checking out if you're a fan of Gary Oldman, because he's good here.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Feb 07, 2013
    From all the hype, I was actually expecting the film to be better than what it is. The film reminded me of movies like No Way Out, The Good Shepard, The Fourth Protocol, and Enigma. The film lacked suspense. The pacing was off. Some scenes were too slow. Also the film has too many flashbacks, and at times, I was confused by some of the flashbacks. I also found the film predictable, meaning, I was able to figure out who the real spy was after 10 minutes of watching the film. On the positive all the actors are well cast and deliver here. I was happy that Gary Oldman got the Oscar nomination for his role. He plays George Smiley very cold and stoic at times. Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy, and Mark Strong are all great in their supporting roles. Overall, I would say check out the film for the performances, especially Gary Oldman's performance.
    Sol C Super Reviewer
  • Nov 19, 2012
    If for one second you think that this adaptation of John LeCarre's seminal novel taking place during the 60's cold war is not relevant today, then you need to re-examine your thinking. The Spy business is alive and well, and good information is just as all important now as it was then (though the villain, for the time being may have changed). That being said, this is a very dense, expertly filmed (every frame has context and meaning), vision that somehow is just too British Buttoned Down for it's own good. Director Tomas Alfredson moves the film along at a slow but steady pace - giving you time to contemplate all the clues and red herrings, just as the main character George Smiley (in a magnificently controlled performance by Gary Oldman), tries to work it all out. The film starts out with a bang - a BSS agent enters the flat of BSS head man "Control" (the always wonderful John Hurt). Hurt tells the agent that he is going "off the books" to "bring over" a Hungarian Colonel who is dangling the ultimate carrot: the identity of a mole within the BSS. Of course, since there is a high level mole in place according to this source, Control cannot let anyone else within the agency know of this agent's mission. The agent arrives in Budapest and makes contact with a man acting as a front for the Hungarian Colonel. Alfredson does a wonderful job of allowing the camera to follow the agents' gaze: taking in all the people hanging out in and around the outdoor café where the meet was scheduled. This paranoid viewpoint, where anyone and everyone could be a plant or enemy agent is wonderfully filmed and just one example of how every frame of the film is planned, staged and with meaning. Later, Control steps down (in somewhat of a disgrace) and mentions to the "inner circle" that ageing agent Smiley is retiring as well. Now that Smiley is "outside" the circle, he is now free to investigate said circle and try to ferret out the mole. So what comes next is a byzantine and complex puzzle with Smiley taking it all in and processing what it all means. There is no James Bond action here, just a very smart, minimalistic man pursuing the threads of a conspiracy. He looks at several of the inner circle, peopled by such European stalwarts as Colin Firth and Cairan Hinds. Firth in particular is a joy to watch as he seemingly floats above the actions around him with his winning smile. In my mind what prevents this film from becoming the standard for all spy films is that somehow the sense of urgency is lacking. It is as if there is no life or death consequence and while it would be nice if the mole is discovered, one gets the sense that it isn't a deal breaker (which is absurd, for it indeed is - as one spy tells the other "everything we think is gold is shit"). Perhaps it is just this - the action is all words and wordplay - nothing wrong with that (as I'd wish most Hollywood films used a bit more discretion in the shoot em up dept.) - but the tension level never seems to heat up to the boiling point. Regardless, this is a very intelligent film that's beautifully crafted. It assumes that you have a degree of brain power, so it doesn't spoon feed you the clues on a platter... which is so reminiscent of Brit spy films of the 60's and 70's like The Ipcress File and The Spy Who Came In From The Cold.
    paul s Super Reviewer

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Quotes

News & Features