15 Best Spy Movies of All Time

POSTED BY Ali Raza, UPDATED ON June 2nd, 2022

15 Best Spy Movies Of All Time

The best kind of spy movie leaves you on the edge of your seat, demanding more by the time credits roll. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of 15 of the best spy movies you can watch today. So, let’s get started.

 

 

 

15. Body of Lies (2008)

Body of Lies 2008

 

 

Body of Lies had everything that you need in a blockbuster. A famous director, two famous actors on the front (DiCaprio and Crowe), and a good premise. However, over the years, this film has become known as an underrated spy film rather than the one that was missed.

It will keep you hooked to your seats as the C.I.A. agent uncovers a major plot in the Middle East. But, while DiCaprio and Crowe lead the film, it’s Mark Strong’s stellar performance as the Jordanian Intelligence chief that steals the show.

 

14. The Red Sea Diving Resort (2019)

The Red Sea Diving Resort 2019

The Red Sea Diving Resort is one of Chris Evans’s finest performances. Coming fresh off from being Captain America, this was Evans’ first role outside of the MCU. And, guess what? He delivered. As for the stories, it’s as real as they come.

It’s based on a true operation carried out by Mossad operatives back in the early 1980s. The story is a game of cat and mouse, as the main character Ari (Evans), tries to smuggle thousands of Jew refugees to Israel from the African border of Sudan.

 

13. Munich (2005)

Munich 2005

Munich is one of the best espionage movies of all time. It’s based on the true tragedy of the 1972 Munich Olympics and its aftermath. As revenge, the Israeli state plans government-sanctioned assassinations of the culprits involved.  

The film’s main character (Eric Bana) delivers an astounding performance, considering he’s in the mighty company of other great actors. However, what you’ll like the most about this film is Steven Spielberg’s ever-captivating direction.

 

12. Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)

Kingsman The Secret Service 2014

Kingsman: The Secret Service is a perfect blend of an age-old idea and modern cinematography prowess. When Eggsy (Egerton) is recruited into the secret service called the Kingsman, he must overcome an array of challenges to become their next 007-esque hero.

The premise takes an old idea of a secret service in the service of His Majesty. However, the way it’s delivered and portrayed on the skin is unlike anything before. It also features a star cast with Colin Firth and Taron Egerton at the helm, while Samuel L. Jackson plays the big baddie.

 

11. Clear And Present Danger (1994)

Clear And Present Danger 1994

Clear and Present Danger was adapted from Tom Clancy’s book of the same name. The film features Harrison Ford as one of Jack Ryan’s many incarnations in Hollywood cinema. When he (Ford) uncovers an illegal operation, things quickly go south.

The film is filled with double-crosses and an array of conspiracies.

 

10. The Hunt For Red October (1990)

The Hunt For Red October 1990

The Hunt For Red October is widely regarded as one of the best films of all time. Under all the star cast and a great story, it’s an espionage thriller. The story takes a turn when a Russian Nuclear sub’s commander decides to defect.

However, C.I.A. analysts go in a race against time to find and contact him before U.S.A. or Russia decide to blow up the submarine deep in the water.

(See Also: 15 Best Submarine Movies of All Time)

 

9. Spy Games (2001)

Spy Games 2001

Spy Games is a demonstration that Brad Pitt is at his best when he’s playing spy characters. This film is a Tony Scott special, as he helms yet another cult classic. The film doesn’t take the usual approach of following one neck-deep mission.

Instead, it’s in the perspective of Nathan D. Muir (Robert Redford) as he reminisces his time training Tom Bishop (Pitt) The trick? Bishop is incarcerated in China, and C.I.A. isn’t’ too keen on freeing him. However, Muir decides to fight his case while his friend is banged up.

 

8. Enemy of The State (1998)

Enemy of The State 1998 1

Enemy of The State was one of the finest films of 1998. The plot of this espionage thriller isn’t much different from what you’d see nowadays. The protagonist is planted or framed but then fights his way to the depth of the problems.

However, many hail this film as the pioneer of this particular plot device. Therefore, if you’re looking to pass your time watching a thrilling spy adventure, then this film should surely be one of your considerations.

 

7. Tenet (2020)

Tenet 2020

Tenet is yet another unique and thought-provoking film by Christopher Nolan. The Inception mastermind takes us on a journey against time in this futuristic espionage. A spy thriller that puts the world at risk isn’t unheard of.

However, if it’s a Nolan film, then you know it’s going to deliver something special. Moreover, the story of this film is the kind that you cannot explain, except for the fact that the villain is from the future. So, watch it for yourself and be prepared to get your mind boggled.

 

6. The Imitation Game (2014)

The Imitation Game 2014

The Imitation Game is widely considered the best acting job by Benedict Cumberbatch. Now, when you look at his grand resume, you could judge that this film was something special.

Focusing on the real story of the mathematician Alan Turing, he joins the British espionage to try and solve the infamous German Enigma code. While you may not find gunfights or high-speed chases, this film is as close as it gets to World War II-era espionage.

 

5. Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018)

Mission Impossible Fallout 2018

Mission Impossible: Fallout is one of the best spy thrillers of the modern era. It’s not often that the 6th installment in a franchise turns out to be its best one. However, it’s a pattern for Mission Impossible series since Ghost Protocol that it keeps getting better.

The success of this film isn’t only attributed to a remarkable story but also its star power. You know people will love a spy thriller with Tom Cruise in it, but when you add Henry Cavil to the mix, it just gets more exciting—and this film is a testament to this.

(Check out: 15 Movies We Can’t Wait to See in 2022)

 

4. Bridge of Spies (2015)

Bridge of Spies 2015

Bridge of Spies is one of the best espionage films, as well as one of the best biographical movies of all time. This Steven Spielberg masterpiece took the audience by surprise when the famed director brought this famed exchange between U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. back in the cold war era.

Once again, don’t start watching this film expecting a lot of thrilling drama or gunfights. However, the film does deliver an astounding drama that leaves you thinking and wanting more by the time credits roll. 

 

3. Skyfall (2012)

Skyfall 2012

Skyfall is perhaps the best Bond movie ever made—unless you’re someone who prefers older James Bond films and can’t get over the fact that Daniel Craig is the best Bond ever. But, jests aside, this film is one of the greatest Bond films ever and an enthralling espionage movie.

The story pushes Bond to his limits, as he faces foes unlike he’s ever faced before—someone of their own gone rogue. The premise puts all of the MI6 agents at risk, as Bond must complete dubious tasks to save himself, MI6, and his mentor, M.

 

2. Argo (2012)

Argo 2012

Argo is proof that the best kind of spy films are the ones that tell us a true story. This film tells the famous extraction operation of 1979, during the Iranian revolution when American ambassadors are stranded abroad.

An exfiltration specialist (Ben Affleck) must deliver his most challenging task to date and take out the stranded Americans from the newly revolutionized Iranian state. The film does deliver on the promise of a thrilling adventure as this Oscar-winning film takes the 2nd spot on our list.

 

1. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

The Bourne Ultimatum 2007

The Bourne series is widely regarded as one of the best action film series. Therefore, the third installment, “The Bourne Ultimatum,” takes the cake as the best out of the three. We know, we know, that people have their preferences and a lot prefer the first one.

But, in terms of cinematic prowess, delivered story, action, dialogue, and on top of all that, great acting makes this film the best spy thriller on our list. Needless to say, you’ll have to watch the first two, but by the time you get to this one, this will take you by surprise.

 

 

 

Honorable Mentions

  • The Man From U.N.C.L.E (2015)
  • Sum of All Fears (2002)
  • Syriana (2006)
  • Casino Royale (2006)
  • The Courier (2020)

Did we miss any noteworthy title on our list of the best spy movies of all time? Let us know in the comments below!


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