What are the best spy films

Spy Movies: The 35 Best Agent Movies of All Time

The world of espionage is a real classic for Hollywood. No wonder, since the stories of the agents have been a fascination for many people all over the world for centuries. All sorts of big names play a role in this. First and foremost, it was probably James Bond who caused a boom in the industry in the 20th century. Even today, the actors and many of the films are real classics. Over the years, however, many films have tried their hand at the genre and enjoy great popularity among film fans. But what are the best agent films? Which agent thrillers and spy action films have fought for the rank of among the best 35 spy films of their kind because of their popularity and their craft?

1. The Bourne Identity


Among the agent films of modern times, the Bourne trilogy is arguably the best that Hollywood has produced. The film has everything you could want. Matt Damon plays the confused and amnesiac agent Jason Bourne who suddenly finds himself in the middle of a thriller. When trying to remember something, he is hunted by various secret services around the world and has to make his way through a foreign Europe.

A film that in just a few years has probably become the best work of the agent films in the past few decades. Not without reason, five parts of the series have now appeared.

2. Casino Royale


Eva Green and Daniel Craig on the search for an investor swindle that is also connected to a terrorist attack. The perfect combination. It was the first film under Daniel Craig and arguably his best work so far as James Bond. The different locations, the typical James Bond action but the specialty in the action scenes ensure that not a minute of boredom arises. Especially the poker tournament in the middle of the film is a great change and Mads Mikkelsen is probably one of the best Bond villains of the modern age and proves this impressively in the film.

3. Argo


The best stories don't need talented writers, they are still written by reality. Ben Affleck's “Argo” is an excellent example of this. The story of the American members of the embassy who had to be hidden in this country at the time of the Iranian Revolution has proven to be a real agent thriller in real life. In Argo, that is exactly what is filmed again.

With a great cast and high tension, a gripping finale and many twists, the film knows how to come to terms with the fascinating story. It is not for nothing that Affleck has received a large number of prizes for this.

4. Munich


The assassination attempt on the Jewish athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich is an eyesore in history. And it is known that the State of Israel had the backers hunted down. This story is shown in "Munich". A group of Israeli agents who are looking for those responsible for the cowardly attacks and who do not shy away from murder, their own assassinations and military interventions. With forged passports and a high level of complexity in their work as spies, they try to bring supposed justice.

A dark film with a great atmosphere and a gripping story that knows how to convince over the entire duration of the film.

5. Goldfinger


Another James Bond - but arguably the best work ever created under this name. Goldfinger, as befits its name, is the gold standard for every Bond film and the benchmark for almost every agent film that is released. Sean Connery, again, is chasing Goldfinger, setting the standard for action, story and romance in agent films. To this day, the film can be found at the top of almost every list of the best James Bond films. Often copied but no one ever got the original - that's the reason why the film has been able to stick to a list that is dominated by action and modern technology to this day.

6. Zero Dark Thirty


It is far too rare for the agent films to have a female protagonist. It is known that many of the greatest spies and agents in recent history were women. The somewhat underrated and little-known film Zero Dark Thirty pays tribute to this. The CIA agent Maya, played by Jessica Chastain, sets out to find Osama Bin Laden and the people behind the many attacks that took place in the western world at the beginning of the 21st century.

So the story plays with a real background and offers many interesting insights into the story of how Osama bin Laden was captured in the end. Action and constant tension are guaranteed with this film - you should definitely see it.

7. Syriana


When George Clooney is involved in a spy film, it is almost always a guarantee that it will be a real success. Syriana is no exception. Unusually gripping, even for a film of this genre, the work tells the story of a CIA agent who loses a dangerous weapon to the enemy on a mission. Depressed by his own mistake, he tries to correct it again. He meets some interesting characters who accompany him on his way.

The film convinces not only with the actual storyline, but also with various interesting side scenes that play a special role in the further course of the film.

8. Danger and desire


There are few agent films that primarily impress in the Asian region and also with Asian actors and are still successful in Hollywood. Unlike danger and desire. The mixture of agent film and a tricky love story has fascinated many viewers and has developed into a real insider tip of the genre. The film is set at the time of the Japanese occupation of China in World War II and accompanies the chief of the secret police.

Great costumes, a unique atmosphere and a special romance make this film a work that should be seen.

9. The Bourne Conspiracy


Among fans of the genre, the first trilogy of Bourne films is arguably the most popular series next to James Bond to this day. The second part, The Bourne Conspiracy, tells the story of what happens after Jason Bourne's escape. Of course, he can't just enjoy his life on the beach with his great love. First he is shadowed, then his girlfriend is killed - and Bourne is drawn back into the action.

The Bourne Conspiracy easily follows on from the first work and continues the story of Jason Bourne. In the meantime, the series has rightly become a real classic and if you want to understand it completely, you should of course have seen the first part.

10. Dr. No


For many people, the young Sean Connery is still regarded as the James Bond par excellence. Alongside Roger Moore, he is the founder of the myth surrounding the agent who ensures law and order in the world on Her Majesty's behalf. Among all the many films that have been released under the James Bond brand, Dr. No to this day as one of the absolute classics. For the conditions at the time - after all, the film was shot in 1963 - the action scenes are very well developed. The story describes itself quickly and can hardly be distinguished from other Bond films. Above all, it is Connery who makes all the difference in this work.

11. Mission: Impossible III


The Mission Impossible series is one of those franchises that have become one of the most important classics of spy films over the years. For almost 20 years, the various films in the series have been an important part of the genre, especially due to the presence of Tom Cruise. In this part, Cruise has to face his enemies again.

What makes the work so special compared to other parts of the series is not just the physical strength of Tom Cruise, which impresses again. In this part you get to know a little more of the main character and get an important insight into the prehistory that has been a little neglected in the previous films.

12. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind


Contract killers, double agents, betrayal and a lot of action - all of these things combine in "confessions". Compared to the big names, the film is one of the few well-known works from Hollywood, with the agent film next to one excellent cast also another great story to offer.

Based on a true story, it tells the story of a show master who is recruited by the CIA on the side and leads a double life from there. It was George Clooney's debut as a maker behind the camera and has garnered some good reviews from the critics. If you are looking for a film that works through life as a spy for Hollywood, you have come to the right place.

13. James Bond: Skyfall


Granted, at the point where an order for the James Bond films has to be agreed upon, it becomes controversial. If you look at the more recent works, i.e. those with Pierce Brosnan or Daniel Craig as 007, it is the latter works in particular that attract special attention. Skyfall is mostly about the Mi6 itself.

The 23rd film in the James Bond franchise will be one with more action and intriguein which the agent not only has to protect M, but also goes on a trip into his own past. This film is crowned by a unique soundtrack that is firmly anchored in the history of film music.

14. Red Sparrow


The Red Sparrow agent work was rather mixed with the critics. Jennifer Lawrence was able to convince in the film. It shows the dark side of the agents' time. The protagonist does not voluntarily become part of the Eastern European machine, but is blackmailed.

There is everything in the film: betrayal, intrigue, action and sex - a good mix of ingredients that has made almost every spy film successful over the past few decades. What is particularly noticeable about Red Sparrow is the fact that the film is kept very dark. That differentiates him a little and lets the viewer enter deeper into the dark matter that can be associated with life as a spy.

15. The days of the Condor


Even if it's the oldest film on this list, you can't talk about the best spy film without at least mentioning the Condor days. For many fans it fits easily into works like "The Godfather" when it comes to the absolute classic of the film world goes. It's about a code breaker who discovers that all of his colleagues have been murdered. From here begins a hunt for the perpetrators and leads Robert Redford in his parade role on a tightly winding path of intrigue and betrayal in his own service.

16. Queen, King, Ace, Spy


Hardly any agent film can boast such an impressive cast as the one with the somewhat awkward name. It's about a group of spies who are actually already retired but have to be reactivated for a particularly spicy mission. A little confusing, very loud, very exciting - the film can offer all of that. Above all, they are acting performanceswho have favourited Queen, King, Ace, Spy a lasting success in the field of spy films. An exciting hunt that is rewarded with a great ending at the end - you have to see this movie if you like this genre.

17. The lives of others


It is rare that German productions leave a lasting impression in Hollywood. With his debut work, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck made a footprint in Hollywood that later brought him to fame in the city of dreams. The epic about the Stasi time in Germany is convincing not only because of its excellent actors, but also because of its deep insight into an almost unknown time of the agents, especially in America. The work has received countless prizes - including the Oscar for the best foreign language film. Even today, the film is considered to be one of the best agent films that have ever been produced in Europe.

18. Public enemy No. 1


In 1998, Will Smith made his breakthrough in serious movies with his role as Public Enemy Number 1. The film impressively shows what happens when the USA uses all its intelligence power to hunt down a single citizen. One or two spies and agents are about to destroy someone's life because they saw something they shouldn't have seen.

This insight into the power of the secret services in the United States, which was already great at that time, was impressive and so the film rightly earned a place in the ranking as a must-have agent film.

19. Spy Game


Robert Redford had a lasting impact on the genre with "Die Tage des Condor" as early as the 1960s. At the side of Brad Pitt, he returned once more to the big screen and the genre of agent films. As the mentor of another spy - who is also one of the best in his field - the film shows how a secret service works. The entire story is processed in just 24 hours and offers an unusual depth of acting for a spy film. Action is secondary in the film. It's about manipulation, about espionage, and about the real power an agent can have. Another proof that Redford is one of the masters of the genre.

20. Kingsman


As a rule, there is little comedy in the genre of agent films. Quick-wittedness can be found in one or the other spy film, but Kingsman has changed the industry with the two films. The work combines the classic aspects of action-heavy agent films with a fine trace of humor. One or the other viewer, who is mainly used to the classic Bond films, will be amazed. In any case, you should give the work a chance.

Here the balancing act was achieved between a good story and a special pinch of humor that was previously not found in spy films. Incidentally, this applies to both parts of Kingsman, which have since been released.

21. Ronin

22. Mission: Impossible - Phantom Protocol

23. True Lies - True lies

24. 96 hours

25. The man who never lived

26. Code name U.N.C.L.E.

27. The hour of the patriots

28. No Way Out - There is no going back

29. James Bond 007: Specter

30. Salt

31. The fourth protocol

32. The invisible third

33. James Bond 007: Quantum of Solace

34. R.E.D. - Older. Harder. Better.

35. The Bourne Legacy

Of course, the agent films are also marked by their own taste. There are also works - for example Burn after Reading - that are classics without really counting as spy films.