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  • Spy Who Came in From the Cold [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Spy Who Came in From the Cold [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]


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Product details

  • Actors: Richard Burton, Oskar Werner, Claire Bloom, Sam Wanamaker, George Voskovec
  • Directors: Martin Ritt
  • Writers: Guy Trosper, John le Carré, Paul Dehn
  • Producers: Martin Ritt
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Colour, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: 13 July 2004
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000228EK4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 182,813 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

142 of 144 people found the following review helpful By Cormac Farrell on 15 Nov. 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This movie is a faithful rendition of one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century. The acting is superb, the sets are suitably austere and atmospheric and the plot is simply a work of genius. Forget all the cliches about this being the real thing compared to Bond movies etc. This is quite simply a different genre. It is a story of brutality and of hopelessness.It illustrates how the exploitation of human weakness can be used as an effective weapon of war. The Cold War is in the throes of being forgotten by all but the academics who study the era, but the manner in which it was fought is fascinating, and as evidenced in later adaptations of Le Carres work by the BBC(Smileys People and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)it required minds of rare intelligence and deviousness. The charachter, Smiley, which is expanded upon in the BBC dramas mentioned above has only a small part to play in this movie. But it is a pivotal part because it is he who displays the ultimate ruthlessness which epitomises the Cold Warriors.

The plot in this movie concerns an attempt by British Intelligence to undermine a dangerous East German Abteilung officer by planting a defector, Leamass, played superbly by Richard Burton, into East Germany. But as the plot unfolds we begin to see the real subtlety and manipulation at play that is charachteristic of Le Carre at his stunning best. If you are interested in this era and this type of film it is obviously the classic of its kind.

One thing I find interesting about the Cold War is that it was largely fought without weapons, and yet, as perfectly illustrated in this movie, even stripped of their weapons, men still found a way to fight a war!!

I owned it on VHS and waited for along time for a region 2 compatible DVD. No extras, but I don't care, it's a work of art which doesn't need embellishing.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Darren Harrison VINE VOICE on 25 April 2006
Format: DVD
Based on the novel by the acclaimed British author John Le Carre (who gave us the excellent SMILEY'S PEOPLE and the less steller CONSTANT GARDENER) this bleak look at Cold War espionage is actually compulsive viewing. I started watching the movie late one night fully expecting to stop about halfway through yet, there I was at 1 a.m. still transfixed at the unfolding drama.

Starring Richard Burton in perhaps one of his most impressive roles and co-starring Burton's one-time girlfriend the entrancing Claire Bloom, this movie is a complex, intricately woven movie that keeps one guessing. It starts in Germany and ends in Germany with stops in England and Holland inbetween. Burton plays Alec Leamas, a former head of British intelligence in Berlin who poses as a washed up agent as a means of implanting seeds of doubt about the loyalty of a communist spy in the minds of that spy's superiors. After beating up a grocer he is approached by East German intelligence and persuaded to "defect" to the East. Once there during the debriefing stage he begins to lay subtle clues in the hope that they will be picked up by the authorities, who will then p[iece together the clues and come to the conclusion that one of their star agents is a traitor. Sounds simple enough right?! Well, all is not as it seems and the real motive behind Leamas' ruse is one of those twists you don't see coming until it's too late.

Burton is ably supported by a brilliant supporting cast, from the aforementioned Bloom to Michael Horden as Ashe, a gay communist agent, Sam Wanamaker as Peters, Oskar Werner as the ambitious Fiedler and Robert Hardy as Dick Carlton to name just a few.

Released in 1965, this movie was made at a time when color was available for use, however the makers decided (wisely) to film it in black and white, a decision which really helps build atmosphere and drama.

I recommend this movie to everyone who likes complex plotting and espionage thrillers.
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Liz Wright on 26 Nov. 2006
Format: DVD
This film is a faithful adaption of the book, makes a welcome change. The two leads Burton and Bloom share a third star, that is London itself. For a feel of the greyness of London in this period, this film is tremendously evocative. It is a bleak story indeed but the two hours passes quickly, following the twists and turns but for me also following the striking filming. There is no way this should ever be in colour, it is a masterpiece and the ending, though I expected it, was as much of a shock as ever. It is a film of London when it truly was an old boy network, more so than now but also a London which was questioning and not afraid to do so. I could ramble on, but watch it. Don't expect James Bond, expect an intelligent and thought provoking story with filming that is almost art house. I kept thinking about the London of Hangover Square and Patrick Hamilton as I watched this. Unmissable.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By NIMROD on 3 Nov. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Richard Burton was perhaps not the obvious choice to portray John LeCarré's antihero Alec Leamas, since such a performance would have to be much more subtle than the way Burton preferred to act in films. Indeed, it took some effort to tone down his hot-levelled performing, and the mutual antagonism that existed between director and star may have successfully influenced the outcome. This is one of Burton's best performances on film, and well worth a look just for his sake.
As for the DVD, Criterion does not disappoint. The packaging is beautiful in its minimalistic design. No pictures of cast members on the cover, no reviews or words of praise, etc. - just an abstract image of the Wall which so encapsulates the feeling of the film. The supplements (interesting interviews and a little documentary) also make this a standout in anyone's DVD collection.
"The Spy..." arrived in 1965, at the height of newly-born James Bond-mania. Yet, unlike it's spy movie cousins, "The Spy..." has aged more gracefully. Simply because it is an intelligent and humane story that does not rely at all on fancy-for-it's-time special effects, cars, semi-naked pin-ups and 007 gadgets. It has a captivating story, a subtle plot, which requires a little more attention than, say, "Dr. No." In fact, one does not even have to be a fan of the genre to be enthralled by the superb acting, taut directing, clever writing and beautiful cinematography that are on display in these one hundred minutes of classical art cinema.
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