The Spy Who Came in From the Cold 1965

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(84) IMDb 7.7/10
Available in HD

Oscar nominee Richard Burton* is the burnt-out British agent who refuses to "come in from the cold" to take a desk job - but instead launches into the most dangerous assignment of his career, stalking East German agent (and Golden Globe winner) Oskar Werner.**

Starring:
Richard Burton, Claire Bloom
Runtime:
1 hour 52 minutes

Available in HD on supported devices

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Thriller
Director Martin Ritt
Starring Richard Burton, Claire Bloom
Supporting actors Oskar Werner, Sam Wanamaker, George Voskovec, Rupert Davies, Cyril Cusack, Peter Van Eyck, Michael Hordern, Robert Hardy
Studio Paramount
BBFC rating Parental Guidance
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

138 of 139 people found the following review helpful By Cormac Farrell on 15 Nov 2006
Format: DVD
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Coobagal on 18 Dec 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Atmospheric; restrained and chilling. John Le Carre's plot is well treated here and Richard Burton gives an excellent performance. Unlike so many modern films, you can hear every crisp word delivered by a cast who know how to speak English.
This is a good story and the book too makes a very good read. Radio 4 also recently did an interesting adaptation with Brian Cox in the title role, for which he deserves commendation.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Fritz on 3 April 2009
Format: DVD
An excellent spy tale, set around the early cold war days.
Burton plays a salty intelligence commander who is used as the sharp end of a plot to discredit (and hopefully, execute!) a counter-part in East Germany.

This is a gritty tale; Burton is not Bond, casually picking up a false passport then jetting off to Bahama's business class with a suitcase full of fantastic secret gadgets.

This tells the story more like it is; spying is a long winded game of patiently and meticulously trying to trap the otherside through manipulation and deception. And ruthless they are too.

I wont spoil the story, but there is a twist at the end and overall its a sombre tale of dedicated deception, ruthlesness. Like all best laid plans things go amiss along the way and the whole outcome becomes uncertain.

The heart of this film is Burtons gritty, weary performance but everyone plays their part to give the film a realistic feel to a realistic spy story.

It is a bit dated in one or two aspects of the film, somthings being a little two dimensional. But this is still a thoroughly watchable drama encompassing a classic actor in a classic tale. Intriguing, gritty tale of the shadowy world of the spy and counter intelligence.
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