Best Spy Movies Of All Time
Which are the best spy films ever made?
Honorable Mention: The 39 Steps
Alfred Hitchcock's spy movie from the Golden Age of cinema and features great performances, a well-written story, and some excellent suspenseful chase sequences. It looks fantastic and should be seen by everyone who enjoys this genre. The film is also an interesting look at Hitchcock's early career and is one of his final films in England before he moved to the United States. Check it out for a fun time and a thrilling spy story.
10. True Lies
This movie is one of James Cameron's best and features a great story and characters in a film that balances spoofing the genre while telling a dramatic tale of romance, action, and comedy. It's one of the most unique films on the list and you're sure to have a blast watching it. There's plenty o action for the guys, romance for the ladies and comedy and drama for all to enjoy. It's also got a good score, excellent special effects, and wonderful performances from Arnold Schwarzenegger as the family man with a dark secret, Jamie Lee Curtis as the bored housewife seeking out adventure, Tom Arnold as the comedic sidekick, Bill Paxton as a sleazy car salesman, Tia Carrere as the gorgeous femme fatale, and Eliza Dushku as the troubled teenaged daughter. This one's a must see for fans of the genre.
9. Spy Game
Bringing him back to his glory days, Robert Redford stars in Spy Game which is director Tony Scott's twisty story of suspense. The film is set in the 1970s and has an American agent trapped while his CIA handler back in the States fights for his protege's life. The film has some great dialogue scene and exciting action scenes as well. It's got amazing production value and was shot in some great locales around the world. It's a political thriller which keeps you on the edge of your seat until the end credits roll.
8. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
This tense drama features an all-star ensemble cast all of whom are directed by Tomas Alfredson. Leading the film in the main role is Gary Oldman who never ceases to amaze me whatever role he disappears into and this is no exception. Rounding out the cast is Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Toby Jones, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Ciaran Hinds all of whom deliver brilliant performances. The dialogue is superb from screenwriters Bridget O'Conner and Peter Straughan too. It's a great film which doesn't have much in the way of action but still manages to keep you engaged.
7. Bridge of Spies
Another drama driven by characters and dialogue, Steven Spielberg's take on the Cold War is a fantastic film. Tom hanks gives audiences another stellar performance but Mark Rylance really stands out as the Russian spy he's tasked with defending in court. It's expertly shot by Janusz Kaminski and every scene has impact. Thomas Newman also manages to bring us an emotional musical score. It's all based on a true story which gives it extra meaning.
The true tale of a group of CIA agents who go undercover to rescue American hostages in Iran, Argo is such an intense and fun movie to watch. Ben Affleck somehow is able to deliver one of his greatest performances as actor and director in this film for which he deservedly won an Oscar for Best Picture. Winning best screenplay is Chris Terrio for his wonderful and believable dialogue and William Goldenberg for his wonderfully paced editing. The film is a must-see for anyone who likes true stories or just good movies
5. Patriot Games
Tom Clancy's character jack Ryan has been played by four different actors since his movie debut, but none of them have been as good as Harrison Ford in his two outings as the CIA agent. This one takes a unique approach as it focuses on Ryan's family as they are caught in the middle of a deadly terrorist attack. The villains are great with Sean Bean doing a great job of leading them to their goals. It's got a great supporting cast too with Anne Archer, Samuel L. Jackson, and James Earl Jones delivering some of their best work. It's got exhilarating action, intense character interactions, and a climactic and emotional finale.
4. Mission: Impossible
If you want a movie that's gonna make you sweat, the Mission: impossible franchise is the place to go. The first film from 1996 particularly is known for it's adrenaline fueled action sequences. Although, the stunts may seem quaint compared to what Tom Cruise does in the more recent films, this one still has the most complex and suspenseful narratives of them all. It's got a shocking ending, intense action, and dramatic character interactions throughout. The cast is also excellent with Jon Voight, Emilio Estevez, Ving Rhames, and Jean Reno and Brian De Palma helms the picture with poise.
3. The Bourne Identity
Doug Liman made the first film about amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne who wakes up without a memory of his past as a government operative who's now being hunted by the people who employed him. It's a great action movie but this one has a deeper story and characters you care about which helps set it apart. This is Matt Damon's best role ever and he delivers on every emotional scene and intense action beat throughout the movie giving us a believable and grounded hero. This is exhibit A when making any good action film.
2. Casino Royale
Bringing back James Bond for a modern audience, Martin Campbell and company crafted a story about a younger Bond who just got his license to kill. Casting Daniel Craig was a stroke of genius as he brings the devilish charms to a new level while also delivering a 007 who's much more dangerous. This flick features has the best villain in Mads Mikkelsen's Le Chiffre and a great relationship with Bond girl Vesper Lynd as played by the stunning Eva Green. It's got amazing action sequences, a solid score, and makes the fantasy of the James Bond series seem a little more real.
1. Three Days of the Condor
Three Days of the Condor represents the best the spy genre has to offer. It's a great story about a man accused of a crime he didn't commit who must find out who is framing him and why. It's a twisty story in which expectations are subverted and has a ending you'll never see coming. There's good action and suspense and incredibly intense character interactions. The relationship Redford's Condor has with Faye Dunaway's Kathy Hale is believable and meaningful while Max Von Sydow is horrifying as the sinister villain. It's the spy movie and is a must-see for any fan of these thrilling and complex kinds of movies.