Netflix has the perfect movie for Slow Horses fans... and it even stars Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman in Slow Horses
(Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

If you're craving the release of Slow Horses season 4, Netflix has the perfect spy movie for you while you wait and it even stars Gary Oldman.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sees Gary Oldman play spy catcher George Smiley in this riveting thriller, based on John le Carré's classic novel and released in 2011. On the surface Smiley and Oldman's Slow Horses’ character, Jackson Lamb, share many similarities. They're both spy chiefs with a long history in espionage who are damaged by their past failings and face bosses who are trying to oust them. It's fair to say, though, that Smiley has rather better table manners than Lamb and he certainly farts less audibly!

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman as Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Image credit: Focus Features)

The movie opens with Smiley being removed from the Secret Service along with his boss Control (John Hurt). But Smiley is secretly brought back into its ranks to hunt for a Soviet mole at the heart of British intelligence. 

Helped by younger agent Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch), Smiley aims to find out who leaked details of an operation in Hungary that led to British spy Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong) being shot. 

Smiley must discover if the traitor is the power-hungry Tinker (Toby Jones), the dapper Tailor (Colin Firth), the reliable Soldier (Ciarán Hinds) or the Hungarian Poor Man (David Dencik).

Like Slow Horses, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy boasts a wonderful script that keeps you hooked right up to the big reveal of who the traitor is. 

Smiley has his moments, but he doesn't quite have the sharp wit of Lamb. But both parts see Gary Oldman on top form and if you're looking for something to fill a void before Slow Horses returns then you should certainly catch this thriller while it's available on Netflix. It really does have an incredible cast. We've not even mentioned that Tom Hardy turns up as a spy with a huge secret who eventually becomes the bait in Smiley's trap to catch the traitor. The film was widely critically acclaimed and ended up topping the British box office for three weeks in a row. 

Alec Guinness in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Sir Alec Guinness in the 1970s TV version (Image credit: Alamy)

While it's a great movie, it doesn't quite reach the heights of the BBC's 1970 series. That featured a remarkable performance by Sir Alec Guinness as Smiley, which is why it made our Top 100 TV shows of all-time list.

As for Slow Horses season 4, it's likely to air on Apple TV Plus in late 2024. And the makers have teased that the new season opens "with a bombing that detonates personal secrets, rocking the already unstable foundations of Slough House".

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years working for TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer for TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!