Top ten spy films

by Hausmannsgate | created - 22 Apr 2012 | updated - 22 Apr 2012 | Public
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1. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979)

TV-14 | 290 min | Drama, Thriller

8.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced out of semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6's echelons.

Stars: Alec Guinness, Michael Jayston, Anthony Bate, George Sewell

Votes: 6,069

Possibly a bit boring for most, but nonetheless the most interesting and intelligent spy story you will ever see. If you manage to pay attention. And you should definitely see this before you see the 2011 version.

2. Spy Game (2001)

R | 126 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
63 Metascore

Retiring CIA agent Nathan Muir recalls his training of Tom Bishop while working against agency politics to free him from his Chinese captors.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Robert Redford, Brad Pitt, Catherine McCormack, Stephen Dillane

Votes: 129,213 | Gross: $0.03M

Same as above, but a lot friendlier to the average viewer.

3. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

PG | 120 min | Drama, Thriller

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A family vacationing in Morocco accidentally stumble on to an assassination plot and the conspirators are determined to prevent them from interfering.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: James Stewart, Doris Day, Brenda de Banzie, Bernard Miles

Votes: 47,704 | Gross: $10.25M

Don't let the fact that it's black and white and from 1956 stop you. You will find this film just as exciting as a modern spy film.

4. Munich (2005)

R | 164 min | Drama, History, Thriller

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
74 Metascore

Based on the true story of the Black September aftermath, about the five men chosen to eliminate the ones responsible for that fateful day.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Marie-Josée Croze, Ciarán Hinds

Votes: 189,745 | Gross: $47.40M

A spy film with a broader message, a great soundtrack and the perfect locations.

5. The Russia House (1990)

R | 123 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

6.1
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An expatriate British publisher unexpectedly finds himself working for British intelligence to investigate people in Russia.

Director: Fred Schepisi | Stars: Sean Connery, Michelle Pfeiffer, Roy Scheider, James Fox

Votes: 12,522 | Gross: $23.00M

A neglected gem in the cold war spy genre. Sean Connery is perfect in his role and the soundtrack is mesmerizing.

6. North by Northwest (1959)

Not Rated | 136 min | Action, Adventure, Mystery

8.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
98 Metascore

A hapless New York advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Jessie Royce Landis

Votes: 246,848 | Gross: $13.28M

Not as good as "The Man Who Knew Too much", but nonetheless another worthy addition to the spy genre by Hitchcock.

7. The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

PG-13 | 108 min | Action, Mystery, Thriller

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
73 Metascore

When Jason Bourne is framed for a CIA operation gone awry, he is forced to resume his former life as a trained assassin to survive.

Director: Paul Greengrass | Stars: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Joan Allen, Brian Cox

Votes: 386,374 | Gross: $176.24M

This is the second film in the Bourne series and my personal favorite. The locations and action is a bit better than in the first film. But the story is not the easiest to follow.

8. From Russia with Love (1963)

PG | 115 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

7.5
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85 Metascore

James Bond willingly falls into an assassination ploy involving a naive Russian beauty in order to retrieve a Soviet encryption device that was stolen by SPECTRE.

Director: Terence Young | Stars: Sean Connery, Robert Shaw, Lotte Lenya, Daniela Bianchi

Votes: 98,730 | Gross: $24.80M

I could have had more Bond films in this list, but since everyone knows about Bond I will let the best Bond film represent them all.

9. The Bourne Identity (2002)

PG-13 | 119 min | Action, Mystery, Thriller

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
68 Metascore

A man is picked up by a fishing boat, bullet-riddled and suffering from amnesia, before racing to elude assassins and regain his memory.

Director: Doug Liman | Stars: Franka Potente, Matt Damon, Chris Cooper, Clive Owen

Votes: 450,359 | Gross: $121.66M

The film that started the nouvelle vague of spy films. It's the Bourne film with the best story, but there is still something missing.

10. The Tailor of Panama (2001)

R | 109 min | Comedy, Drama, Thriller

6.1
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66 Metascore

A tailor living in Panama reluctantly becomes a spy for a British Agent.

Director: John Boorman | Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Geoffrey Rush, Jamie Lee Curtis, Leonor Varela

Votes: 25,352 | Gross: $13.73M

Another film base on a le Carre book. Not as good as "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" or "The Russia House", but still an exciting and funny thriller.