Spy movies are the perfect blend of action movies and extreme thrillers. This combination creates a story that is much deeper than most action movies and at the same time, with the high stakes and fast pace, it is a lot of fun to watch. This is one of the reasons why these kinds of stories have been popular for so long. One of the most famous spies in the history of cinema? He loves martinis that are shaken, not stirred.

You don’t need to particularly like the sub-type to know the character James Bond. With 25 films (or 26, incl Never say never again), the British spy franchise has accomplished something no one has accomplished before. However, because this character is so popular and continues to reinvent herself in every movie (sometimes quite literally when she changes the actor playing him), not many viewers get to experience other equally good spy novels.

Here are some of the best spy movies that don’t involve Agent Licensed to Kill.

8 Kingsman: The Secret Service

Twentieth Century Fox

Not all spy stories and movies are serious, and some are incredibly funny. Make fun of 007 franchise and subgenre as a whole, Kingsman: The Secret Service It takes all the lovable (which can be a little silly at times if you really think about it) and explores them.

The chemistry and story line between Colin Firth and Taron Egerton make this a more than satirical approach to the genre. Also, there was no better actor than Samuel L. The action, high stakes, and impeccable suits delighted audiences so much that a second movie, Kingsman: The Golden Circleto make.

7 argo

Ben Affleck on the phone at Argo
Warner Bros.

Some of the best spy movies blend action, political thriller, and Oscar-winning thriller argo do that. Ben Affleck directs and stars as the agent who has the best bad idea (as told in the movie) to get the six American prisoners hostage in Iran – they’ll pretend they’re shooting a movie to get into the country.

Related: Alex Rider: The Spy Boy Who Deserves More Recognition

With a killer cast, it’s an intense movie that also doesn’t shy away from how ridiculous the plan is, and uses a little comedy when it’s most needed. While the film is based on a true story, it has been criticized for altering some facts, such as the statement that the British and New Zealand embassies turned down American ambassadors when they helped them obtain the prisoners.

6 BlacKkKlansman

BlacKkKlansman movie by Spike Lee
Focus features

Directed and written by Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman It may not fall under every category of spy movies. However, it does dive into one of the most extreme and extreme situations that spy and police officers have to do: go undercover. Lee won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay because the movie is based on a memoir called Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth.

Dealing with apartheid and the Ku Klux Klan is a heavy subject matter that Lee deftly manages to balance with humor. A black police officer, Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), infiltrates the KKK with the help of Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), a white Jewish man who ends up infiltrating the Klan.

5 Tinker Tailor Spy Soldier

Gary Oldman as George Smiley

Based on the John Le Carre novel, Tinker Tailor Spy Soldier Inspired by the author’s experiences in the Special Investigations Division. There was a lot the film needed to do to outpace the 1979 miniseries by the BBC.

The film is directed by Tomas Alfredsson, who brings the same cool and tense style he perfected in the vampire film, Let the right one. This movie is set in the Cold War when an agent (Mark Strong) has a mission to find out who is the Soviet spy who infiltrated MI6. The cast is all-stars, including Gary Oldman, who now plays yet another spy on the Apple TV+ show slow horses. This is a much more sane thriller than an action-packed one.

4 Spies Bridge

Tom Hanks in Bridge of Spies
Walt Disney Studios

2015 spy film directed by Steven Spielberg, Spies Bridge It is based on a true story. There are a lot of spy stories set in the Cold War, so it can be hard to get creative and stand out from the rest. However, the skilled director tells an emotional and thrilling story in this movie starring Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance.

The United States and the Soviets negotiate a prisoner exchange. From the government’s assessment of how much information and how valuable its citizens are to the actual picture of the Bridge of Spies, a bridge with snipers on both sides where the exchange took place, it’s an intense and well-written screenplay by the Coen Brothers.

3 Three days of condor

Three Days of the Condor with Robert Redford
Paramount Pictures

The protagonists of these types of spy movies are usually very charming and physical men who can wipe everyone out in seconds. However, when CIA researcher Joseph Turner (Robert Redford) returns from lunch to find all of his office colleagues murdered, he must quickly learn who he can trust. Directed by Sydney Pollack, Three days of condor He dives into the mistrust and betrayal of the American people regarding the government in the 1970s.

Related: The 12 Greatest Spy Thriller Movies Of All Time, Ranked

The movie stands out from other spy movies, as most of them like to idolize and see the government through rose-tinted glasses and always make other countries the bad guy. The film is based on the novel by James Grady and Richard Elms, the former director of the CIA, who served as a consultant.

2 Conversation

Gene Hackman in conversation
Paramount Pictures

Written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Conversation is a stifling tale of obsession and moral dilemmas. The movie was released when the Watergate scandal was winding down. The film is a dark thriller that dives into morality when a surveillance expert is paid to record a conversation between a married couple.

Haunted by an old case gone wrong when the tape revealed a possible murder, the expert (played to perfection by Gene Hackman) begins to wonder what to do. It could be argued that the ’70s were Coppola’s decade, eg Conversation It lost the Academy Award for Best Picture The Godfather Part Two – Another of his productions – before his masterpiece End of the world now.

1 North northwest

Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint in North by Northwest

It can be debated whether anyone has changed cinema, especially one genre, like Alfred Hitchcock. North northwest is his spy movie that contains one of the most iconic scenes in film history: the crop duster chase.

The Master of Suspense creates a thriller about mistaken identity and being chased across the country. The movie was released in 1959, so it’s safe to say that it may have influenced, in one way or another, the spy movies that came out after that – especially the ones on this list.


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