- Director: Martin Ritt
- Writer: John le Carré; Paul Dehn
- Producer: Martin Ritt
The total antithesis to James Bond.
Here, the spies are seedy, squalid bastards...little men, drunkards, queers, hen-pecked husbands, civil servants - all playing Cowboys and Indians to brighten up their rotten little lives - no Martinis nor Martins.
This is a chillingly cold and controlled affair - simply stark and difficult.
Ritt displays true mastery - especially with Burton (who was nominated for an Oscar) and it is a must-see for those interested in the genre.
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.