- Cast: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Graham, Mark Strong, Ciarán Hinds, Simon McBurney, Konstantin Khabenskiy, Laura Carmichael, Amanda Fairbank-Hynes, Roger Lloyd-Pack, Jamie Thomas King, Kathy Burke, Christian McKay, Philip Martin Brown, David Dencik, Russell Balogh, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Layla Amir, David Frost, Katrina Vasilieva, Sarah Linda, Patrick Moorhouse, Tomasz Kowalski, Mick Slaney, John Robinson, Oleg Dzhabrailov
- Director: Tomas Alfredson
- Writers: Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughan, John le Carré
- Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Robyn Slovo
- Co Producer: Alexandra Ferguson
- Executive Producers: Liza Chasin, Debra Hayward, John le Carré, Peter Morgan, Douglas Urbanski
- Art Direction: Tom Brown
- Casting: Jina Jay
- Costume Design: Jacqueline Durran
- D.O.P.: Hoyte Van Hoytema
- Editor: Dino Jonsäter
- Makeup: Felicity Bowring
- Music: Alberto Iglesias
- Production Design: Maria Djurkovic
Based on the classic novel of the same name, the international thriller is set at the height of the Cold War years of the mid-20th Century. George Smiley (Gary Oldman), a disgraced British spy, is rehired in secret by his government - which fears that the British Secret Intelligence Service, a.k.a. MI-6, has been compromised by a double agent working for the Soviets.
- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
- Filming Locations: Budapest, Hungary; Istanbul, Turkey; London, UK
- MPAA Warning: Violence, some sexuality/nudity and language
- Production Budget: $30 million
- Production Companies: Studio Canal, Working Title Films
- Production Schedule: 29 September 2010 - January 2011
2011 Guide Analysis: "Like several of his contemporaries, le Carre's take on the spy world is done with a realistic and downbeat tone. Spies are shown as middle management types stuck in offices and playing politics rather than galavanting around the world like their portrayals in the films of the period. This particular book was also a thinly veiled answer to the real life 'Cambridge Five' incident in the 50's and 60's when five KGB moles were found to have been employed by the SIS.
Yet le Carre also allowed himself some leeway when it came to his characters to make them more interesting than their real life contemporaries. His main character of George Smiley is fiercely intelligent and a master of playing the game. Yet he's also very unassuming, middle class and has a wife who routinely cheats on him. This isn't a man of fine suits like James Bond or running action like Jason Bourne, George Smiley is a chess player - a man who strikes with his wits in a world dominated by bureaucracy, betrayal and oneupmanship.
The late Alec Guinness portrayed the role in an acclaimed 1979 mini-series based on the work. Now, Gary Oldman slips on the trademark glasses and there's already talk of a possible Oscar nomination following a screening of footage in Berlin the other month. Oldman himself, famously humble and blunt about the roles he takes, calls this part "proper work, and I haven't done that for a long time. I've played some amazing roles and I've had a good run, but this is something else."
The rest of the cast is equally impressive, including some famous names who were linked but ultimately dropped out like MIchael Fassbender, David Thewlis and Colin Farrell. Those who made it in include "Sherlock" star Benedict Cumberbatch as Smiley's assistant in the hunt; John Hurt as the former head of the agency; Tom Hardy as the agent who first learns of the Soviet mole; Marc Strong as an agent wounded in duty by the traitor, and the likes of Colin Firth, Toby Jones, Ciaran Hinds and David Dencik as the four key suspects.
Those who've worked on it or seen pieces of the production call it complex, strange and filmed in a unique way unlike many films in this genre that we've seen before. Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan's script is relatively faithful to the book but contains a few surprises, certainly it seems different enough to escape the shadow of the previous TV mini-series adaptation. Arguably my single most anticipated film of the year."