USA Today - 09/13/2005
"Burton is terrific....Oskar Werner matches Burton's performance as an ambitious Jewish communist agent who is hungry to displace his ex-Nazi superior."
Entertainment Weekly - 12/05/2008
"Burton is sexily morose....[The actors] pull you into a fascinatingly crabbed, paranoid world." -- Grade: B+
New York Times - 11/24/2008
"The drab cold war atmosphere is deftly evoked by Oswald Morris's elemental black-and-white photography and the cramped sets designed by Tambi Larsen and Hal Pereira."
Martin Ritt's adaptation of the John Le Carre bestseller THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD stars Richard Burton as Alec Leamas, a burnt-out spy soon to retire from British Intelligence. For his final assignment, Alec must pose as a drunk who wants to defect to East Germany, where the chief of operations for the Communists, Hans-Dieter Mundt (Peter van Eyck), has captured several British spies. His acting works: Communists throw Alec into jail for public drunkenness and for having an affair with a young member of the local Communist party, Nan (Claire Bloom). In jail, he is approached by Mundt's agents and asked to defect. They take Alec to East Berlin where he is grilled by Mundt's top man, Fiedler (Oskar Werner), who believes that Mundt is actually a double agent. Shot in stark black and white in documentary style, Ritt's film is a realistic portrait of the grim life of a spy, revealing all of the profession's complexities in a style that is equally as thrilling as an elaborate action scene in a James Bond movie. At the heart of the film is Burton's bitter and world-weary Alec, and his performance here ranks among the best of his career.
In this Cold War thriller adapted from John Le Carré's novel, British Intelligence agent Alec Leamas takes on a final assignment before his retirement. His job: make believe he's a defector to get into East Germany and ruin a spy ring run by a German agent. However, it turns out to be a tricky assignment. After entering East Germany, Alec soon realizes he's caught in a trap that's been set for him. Meanwhile, he finds himself falling in love with Nan Perry, a Communist librarian. But can the two find happiness in the midst of all the deceit that goes hand-in-hand with the spy trade'
Based On A Novel |
Cold War |
Secret Agents |
Theatrical Release |
Originally released theatrically on December 16, 1965.
Filmed at Ireland's Ardmore Studios and England's Shepperton Studios.
John Le Carré actually worked as a spy for the British Intelligence Agency in Berlin when the Berlin Wall was going up. He drew upon those experiences to write THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD.
Additional cast: Scot Finch (German Guide) and Anne Blake (Miss Crail).