The 22 Best Spy Movies Ever Made

The 22 Best Spy Movies Ever Made

Shaken, stirred, or even streamed, spy movies make up many of the most exciting, edge-of-your-seat stories the movies have to offer. From the harrowing heights of the “Mission: Impossible” franchise to the suave savvy of six James Bonds, espionage has become the thematic ground on which some of cinema’s most epic dramas, thrillers, and comedies (hello, “Austin Powers”) are built. Even films primarily centered on other subject matter make frequent use of spy drama beats (see Star Wars and Marvel, for starters), proving it’s a bedrock source for onscreen entertainment.

The espionage genre is as old as filmmaking itself with silent spy movies set against the backdrop of World War I (1914’s “The German Spy Peril” is on YouTube) testing the medium’s limitations early in the 20th century. Literary works inspired many more of the spy movies to follow. Over the years, filmmakers have repeatedly adapted the works of John le Carré, Robert Ludlum, Ian Fleming, and more spy novelists imagining the covert operations of local, national, and international enemies. Great spy stories may make use of the genre’s irresistible tropes — fast cars, strong drinks, double-crosses, etc. — but they do so while rendering unique portraits of the complex characters caught in their tale’s crosshairs.

Alfred Hitchcock, Francis Ford Coppola, and the Coen brothers are just a handful of the legendary auteurs who have put their talents toward the art of the spy…

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The post “The 22 Best Spy Movies Ever Made” by Alison Foreman was published on 04/10/2024 by