Spy Who Came In from the Cold, The (1965)

Original Title : Spy Who Came In from the Cold, The
Director : Martin Ritt
Writer : Paul Dehn
John Le Carré
Guy Trosper
Genre : Thriller
Country : UK
Language : English
Producer : Martin Ritt
Music : Sol Kaplan
Photography : Oswald Morris
IMDB ID : 0059749
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poster for "Spy Who Came In from the Cold, The" by Martin Ritt (1965)
Spy Who Came In from the Cold, The (1965) - Martin Ritt


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
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
Scott Finch German Guide (as Scot Finch
Anne Blake Miss Crail
George Mikell German Checkpoint Guard
Richard Marner Vopo Captain
Warren Mitchell Mr. Zanfrello
Warren Mitchell Mr. Zanfrello
Richard Caldicot Mr. Pitt (scenes deleted
Michael Ripper Lofthouse (scenes deleted
David Bauer Young Judge (uncredited
Marianne Deeming Frau Floerdke (uncredited
Walter Gotell Holten (uncredited
Edward Harvey Man in the Shop (uncredited
Katherine Keeton Stripper at the Pussywillow club (uncredited
Philip Madoc Young German Officer (uncredited
Henk Molenberg Dutch customs officer (uncredited
Nancy Nevinson Mrs. Zanfrello (uncredited
Michael Rittermann Security Officer (uncredited


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.


The great Richard Burton performance no one saw... It seems to me as though no one remembers this film. In fact, I think that it would be fair to say that I wouldn't have become intrigued enough by it to finally rent if I hadn't seen just the briefest of clips of it on an ABC news broadcast. When I think about it, I realize why should anyone remember it? This was made during the Golden Age of Bond, which this film acts as a dark mirror to. More's the pity, actually, as this was one of Richard Burton's finest performances. Burton is cast as Alex Leamas, a nerve-dead, aged secret operative operating out of West Berlin. After a routine assignment goes awry, Leamas is sent home and out of the service. He struggles to try to live a normal, average life as a librarian's assistant, but he can't make it work for him (something that is not helped by his chronic alcoholism). This fact is made forcefully clear when he winds up beating a local grocer and is sentenced to jail time. Slowly but surely, he allows himself to be pulled back into the Cold War he operated in, not suspecting or maybe not even caring that his superiors are setting him up for a fall. One will never mistake Alex Leamas' grey, rainy world for the sunlight universe of James Bond. It offers what is probably the ugliest depiction of the Great Game on film: drunkards, ex-Nazis, Jews, and die-hard Communists swimming like sharks through a fish pond, all of them devouring any who get in their way. None have any more than lip-service loyalty to their fellow operatives, their countries, or maybe even their own ideologies. At it's center stands Burton, playing Leamas as a walking dead man, festering with hate, resentment, and cynicism at the system that eventually sends him into the gutter. His devastating parked car monologue alone is worth the price of renting this one from the local video store. It's bitter cynic tone may have been the film's undoing, rarely have I seen a film so downbeat in it's depiction of humanity. Still, it is not one that deserves to be forgotten.
poster for "Spy Who Came In from the Cold, The"
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Spy Who Came In from the Cold, The (1965) - Martin Ritt
poster for "Spy Who Came In from the Cold, The"
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Spy Who Came In from the Cold, The (1965) - Martin Ritt