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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy / Smiley's People Double Pack [DVD] [1979]

Alec Guinness , John Irvin , Simon Langton    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (245 customer reviews)
Price: £7.61 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy / Smiley's People Double Pack [DVD] [1979] + A Perfect Spy: Complete BBC Series (3 Disc Box Set) [DVD] + The Spy Who Came In From The Cold [DVD] [1965]
Price For All Three: £17.51

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Product details

  • Actors: Alec Guinness
  • Directors: John Irvin, Simon Langton
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: 2entertain
  • DVD Release Date: 22 Aug 2011
  • Run Time: 650 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (245 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005CW117C
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,325 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Double bill of BBC espionage drama mini-series based on the novels by John Le Carré and starring Alec Guinness as master spy George Smiley. In 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' (1979), Smiley has been in 'retirement' for some time, some say owing to his mishandling of the Czech scandal. However, the retiring superspy finds himself summoned back to the 'Circus' (British secret service) when it transpires that an enemy infiltrator is at work in the department. Smiley returns once again to his old department in 'Smiley's People' (1982) following the murder of his friend, General Vladimir, a Russian who once worked for British Intelligence. When it transpires that Vladimir was in fact a double agent, Smiley becomes engaged in a battle of wills with his old adversaries at the Moscow Centre.

Product Description

'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy stars Alec Guinness as George Smiley, John Le Carré's familiar, ageing British Intelligence agent, called out of retirement to discover the identity of the high-ranking Russian mole who has burrowed deep into "The Circus"--codename for the British secret service. This slow-burning, complicated and ultimately rewarding BBC adaptation, dramatised by Arthur Hopcroft and directed by John Irvin, perfectly captures Le Carré's own insight into the shady underworld of spies and the political climate during the Cold War. The second of the BBC's well-regarded serialisations of John Le Carré's espionage bestsellers, Smiley's People is slightly less compulsively watchable than Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy if only because Tinker, Tailor had a much stronger plot premise (who is the mole in British Intelligence?) than Smiley's People, which takes a very long time to come into focus. Retired spymaster George Smiley (Alec Guinness) wanders around Europe and visits a succession of desperate or eccentric characters as he plays a game which finally leads to another confrontation with and a possible victory over his Moriarty-like Soviet arch-nemesis Karla (an expressive but silent Patrick Stewart)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
171 of 179 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars could do with a remaster on BluRay! 18 Sep 2011
By feline1
I'd personally rate these two 6-part serials as some of the best drama the BBC *ever* produced. The acting and direction is outstanding, BAFTA-winning stuff. Alec Guinness is superb, but there's over a dozen other cast members with hardly a duff performance between them - Beryl Reid for instance is excellent. The stories themselves are great, with complex plots that knit together perfectly by the final episodes, and really repay repeated watching on DVD (heaven knows how viewers kept up when this was originally broadcast once episode per week! If you missed one you'd be stuffed!)

As other reviewers have noted, however, this "box set" is simply the BBC's existing DVD releases from 2003/2004 put in a new carboard box. The sound and picture quality really are a bit mediocre at times. Given that this is one of the jewels in the crown of the BBC's output, and there's interest from the film version, you'd think one of the suits at BBC Enterprises would see fit to have this material remastered. The sound could definately benefit from a clean-up with modern techniques... the picture was all shot on 16 mm film, so it's not capable of being "high definition" resolution, but other releases have shown that nonetheless, the superior compression codecs on BluRay make 16 mm film look considerably better than MPEG munging imparted by DVD (particularly if the original film negatives are still available...?)

Considering the BBC regular undertake this kind of remastering work for dodgy old episodes of Doctor Who, you'd think they'd make the effort for this!

So - 5 stars for the content, but only 3 for this repackaging, which smacks of the BBC trying to just flog a few quid out of their back catalogue without giving it the artistic respect it deserves.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I saw this TV programme back in the 1970's and was impressed then, but watching again this time on DVD made the programme (and the books - which I read before seeing these progammes), all the more incredible. Actually to my mind you really need to watch both progammes: "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy & Smiley's People," to ascertain how these (fictional) Spies were involved in their machinations - that was part and parcel of the "Cold War."
The most relevant feature of this DVD is, the marvellous, glorious acting of Sir Alec Guiness - he brings John Le Carre's character of George Smiley to life. If these programme are new to you, or you weren't born in the 1970/1980's you are best advised to watch them especially for the very fine dramatic acting of Sir Alec Guiness, and the other associated great actors of this time period. If like me you like Espionage type thrillers (with very complex/convulted plots) this is the film for you. Its very dated time period is its key element - capturing a time of our pasts who great relevance to the contemporary world - because don't forget Spies work for goverments.
Good films to me are about showing you an alternative time periods - because the past is important. If spies and government plots interest you, then this is the DVD for you, because DVD's can be watched over-and-over again - without being boring. In my opinion this DVD is 20 out of 10 - truly magnificent. Seemleesly superb great acting - always watchable, and always engaging. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy & Smiley's People - brilliant, exciting, interesting and enticing - buy this DVD now!Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley's People Double Pack [DVD] [1979]
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reprise on an old favourite 19 Sep 2011
I bought this copy in DVD as a replacement for a tape recording made some several years ago. The quality of reproduction is so very much better and the original suspense is still there even after some thirty years. Well worth the investment. I'm also looking forward to the new version just released to cinemas. The reviews are splendid.
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69 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new in this double pack 6 Sep 2011
Just a quick note for the curious: This is simply a boxed set of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy : Complete BBC Series [DVD] [1979] and Smiley's People [1982] [DVD] in those exact editions and cases (see the scan of the back of the slipbox for proof) from 2003 and 2004, respectively. There is nothing new here except the cardboard slipbox. A shame that the BBC didn't see fit to at least produce new packaging for this release, let alone new discs, remastered presentations or new extras.

At least the price is right.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great series which deserves more BBC respect 17 Nov 2011
I agree with other reviewers who have commented on the packaging and presentation of this double-set; it should have had a little more time spent on presenting it properly, rather than the feeling of cheapness it exudes.

These are two classic serials and the quality of the DVDs reflects the times in which they are made, not the quality modern audiences expect. There are many classic films, television programmes and audio recordings which have been digitally remastered to improve the quality and these deserved that treatment; although the graininess and older video quality do seem to suit the world of the stories, I doubt it was a deliberate stylistic choice not to re-master. The novels are classics of the genre and the BBC's original choice to make the serials was inspired, so much so that it has spawned a modern cinema version playing to large houses.

Two great serials which deserved better treatment at the hands of the advertising people and technicians to bring them up to today's market standard. Having written all of that, in the absence of anything better, I'd buy them.
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