The Little Drummer Girl

The 5 Most Ingenious Spy Adaptations of All Time

With the recent release of AMC’s amazing adaptation of John le Carre’s ‘The Little Drummer Girl’, we’re in the mood for all things espionage, and we bet you are, too! And if you’re not, you will be once you read this list of the most ingenious spy adaptation of all time. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to enter our competition to win $1,000 getaway money of your own!


1. The Little Drummer Girl 


Image Via AMC

Image Via AMC


Based on John le Carré’s novel of the same name, AMC’s three-night event, beginning November 19th, is receiving absolutely rave reviews, and currently holds an 80% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It follows an Israeli agent, who uses a pro-Palestinian U.S. actress, Charlie, as a spy to catch a terrorist bomber.


In a review of the six-part series, The Guardian notes Charlie “is played by Florence Pugh with such authentic pugnacity, compressed energy and intelligence…surrounded by such stalwarts as Shannon and…Alexander Skarsgård.” This is far from the first le Carré adaptation, but has quickly taken its place among the best. Don’t forget to enter our competition to win $1,000! 



2. The 39 Steps 


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Image Via Whidbey Island Center for the Arts 


In 2003 John Buchan’s novel made it onto the BBC’s The Big Read poll of the UK’s “best-loved novels,” however the story is best known in the form of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 film, which follows Richard Hannay, a man who becomes involved in trying to prevent an organization of spies called the 39 Steps from stealing British military secrets. He is wrongly accused of the murder of a counter-espionage agent, and flees to Scotland, hoping to stop the spy ring and clear his own name. 


It was voted the best British film of 1935 by The Examiner in a public poll.

3. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy 


Image Via The New York Times

Image Via The New York Times


The second John le Carré adaptation to feature on this list, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is famously brilliant. Set in the 1970s, it follows an agent who is dispatched to meet with a Hungarian general and find out the identity of a Soviet spy within the organization’s ranks. However, the mission goes wrong, and the general dies before the information is revealed. Veteran agent George Smiley is called upon to find the interloper and stop the Russians stealing of vital British secrets. It won the BAFTA for Best Film, and was nominated for three Oscars. 


4. The Hunt for Red October


Image Via

Image Via


The first of five Jack Ryan films, based on the novels by Tom Clancy, The Hunt for Red October follows Soviet submarine captain Marko Ramius, played by Sean Connery, who goes against orders and heads for the United States. His submarine, Red October, is highly equipped and practically undetectable. However, it is briefly noticed by an American submarine, and CIA agent Jack Ryan, played by Alec Baldwin, is tasked with discovering Ramius’s intentions and deterring a potential attack on the USA.  The Hunt for Red October is 


Recently, the Ryanverse has found a home as an Amazon series, which follows Ryan as he discovers a series of suspicious bank transfers, linked to a rising Islamic terrorist named Suleiman. It has been renewed for a second season. 


5. Goldfinger


Image Via YouTube

Image Via YouTube


It’s practically impossible to pick just one of the movies based on Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, and critics have battled it out time and time again, however the general consensus does seem to be that the reigning champion of Bond movies is Goldfinger. 


The plot follows James Bond as he attempts to defeat powerful tycoon Auric Goldfinger who has initiated Operation Grand Slam, a cataclysmic scheme to raid Fort Knox and obliterate the world economy. It was the first Bond film to receive an Academy Award. 


The Little Drummer Girl’s Three Night Event begins November 19th on AMC. Don’t miss it! 




Featured Image Via The Evening Standard