Let’s be real. Everyone loves a good spy movie. What’s not to like? The best spy movies make all our dreams come true, it can make us feel like we are a real-deal secret service agent. You can jet around the world, solve cryptic codes, take part in a car chase, or even jump out of a plane! Not to forget, you always get the girl you want!
What does a good spy movie consist of? Christopher Nolan? Spycraft? Fancy cars? Jason Bourne? No. It’s unpredictability. Every spy movie has unpredictability. That’s what makes them so good, right?
On that note, here is a list of the 10 Best Spy Movies of all time (in no particular order, of course)! From Armie Hammer’s Russian accent to wiretaps, state surveillance, and federal prisons, we have it all. Whether you’re watching the gorgeous Matt Damon as Jason Bourne being pursued by hitmen or Daniel Craig as James Bond solving his latest assignment, the only thing you can trust is that you’ll be hooked to the edge of the seats till the credits start rolling!
10 best spy movies of all time
1.Bridge of Spies (2015)
A Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg collaboration? We’re convinced it’s the best spy movie ever. Well, if that doesn’t convince you, the Bridge of Spies has been nominated for and even won some Academy Awards. In this movie, Spielberg makes a comeback of his Cold War politicking. And, this time Mark Rylance joins him along with Tom Hanks. The movie revolves around American lawyer James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) who has to defend a Soviet KGB spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) by sticking to his principles and trying his best to avoid the death sentence. But, the fun clock begins when a few years later, US airman Gary Powers’s U2 spy plane is unfortunately shot down over Soviet Russia and James Donovan has been tapped up by the Soviets to assist in a possible prisoner swap for Abel.
The Bridge of Spies is one of Spielberg’s finest and it’ll keep you hooked till the last scene.
2.Enemy of the State (1998)
Will Smith as a lawyer who brings all the action. Can you believe it? Enemy of the State is undoubtedly one of the top spy movies of all time and it is refreshing to see Will Smith play this role!
Plot: The National Security Agency has murdered a congressman but the whole thing has been caught on tape. Now, the footage is planted on district attorney Robert Dean Clayton (Will Smith) while the NSA sets about destroying his life. A classic political thriller, you will love Enemy of the State!
3.Mission: Impossible- Fallout (2018)
Tom Cruise AND Henry Cavill? Count us in! Apart from being a total eye-candy of a spy movie, Fallout has one of the most refined plots in the history of spy movies and action thrillers. That makes it one of the top spy movies of all time. While the M: I series has peaked from being a spy movie trilogy with one great film to an all-conquering action juggernaut over the years, Fallout arguably can be the best one. The plot is simple yet action-packed. While a group of terrorists set out to detonate a massive nuclear attack on three cities, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) assembles his team to stop the carnage. If not for anything else, watch the movie to see Tom Cruise fling from the Burj Khalifa!
We know that the jury’s still out on Ben Affleck, but no one can deny that the guy can act and direct. And, Argo is just more proof that he’s one of the finest in Hollywood! What makes Argo one of the best spy movies of all time is that the plot is extremely convincing. Yes, it is based on a true story! There’s a reason why Argo beat Lincoln and won Best Picture at the 85th Academy Awards. The story is about a CIA agent who goes undercover as a Hollywood producer to rescue six American diplomats during the 1979 hostage crisis of Tehran, Iran. A great must-watch spy movie!
5.Burn After Reading (2008)
Burn After Reading might not be a critic’s top choice for a spy movie, but it is definitely ours! Not to mention, this movie has the best ensemble for a spy movie cast. Who knew that Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton, George Clooney, Frances McDormand, and John Malkovich would make one of the most satirical spy movies in Hollywood’s history? The plot of Burn After Reading is overly complicated, but that’s the point. The movie looks at how something completely pointless can spiral out of control when the parties don’t realize what information they have or don’t have. This has to be one of the most hilarious spy movies to bless the screen!
6.The Bourne Identity (2002)
How could we not mention Jason Bourne in a list of the best spy movies of all time? Based on Robert Ludlum’s novel of the same name, what makes The Bourne series so great is that the hero, Jason Bourne (played by none other than Matt Damon) is an amnesiac spy. Can you believe it? Watch Jason Bourne save the world as he journeys from a man with extreme memory loss to learning that he is a trained operative spy.
7.Atomic Blonde (2017)
A spy movie where a woman is playing the lead? Atomic Blonde is every man’s dream come true! Watch Charlize Theron get the job done as an undercover elite MI6 agent, Lorraine Broughton. A badass female movie, Atomic Blonde definitely passes the Bechdel Test!
8.The Good Shepherd (2006)
Another Matt Damon spy movie but this time it’s directed by the great Robert De Niro (oh, even Angelina Jolie joins the cast)! A clean plot and a semi-autobiographical film, Matt Damon plays Edward Wilson one of the founding fathers of the CIA. However, as the Cold War begins, Edward Wilson might have to pay a huge price. The Good Shepherd is extremely underrated but definitely one of the best spy movies of all time with a smooth, thick plot!
9.North by Northwest (1959)
We just had to throw in a classic Hitchcock spy movie in the list. North by Northwest is a classic spy movie starring Cary Grant. Tied with Vertigo for the title of ‘Hitchcock’s greatest film’, North By Northwest is the original anti-spy spy film. The story is an espionage tale told from the perspective of the innocent advertising executive Roger Thornhill as goes on the run from a shadowy organization in the case of a lost mistaken identity. Action-packed, North by Northwest comes with the most polished dialogues in a spy movie!
How could we not mention Tenet? With everything going on in 2020, Tenet is probably the best and the only good thing that happened this year! A classic Christopher Nolan mind-bender, Tenet is about a secret agent who embarks on a deadly, dangerous, and most importantly a time travel mission to prevent World War III. The cast is as good as the movie: Robert Pattinson and John David Washington! Tenet is a must watch and one of the best spy movies.
That concludes our list for the best spy movies of all time! A man is the movies he watches, and these are some of the top spy movies to ever grace the screen.