When we talk of spy films, we immediately think of action, suspense, and drama. Yes, they typically run that way; although, there are cases when the storyline is made in such a manner to make it light and funny.
As much as we want to limit our list of spy movies, we can help it choose a couple of films from film franchises. Nevertheless, here are at least top 10 of the best spy movies that I think Hollywood has made throughout its inception.
Top 10 Spy Movies of All Time1 of 10
#10 – Charade (1963)
This romance and suspense-filled movie about a widowed woman pursued by men interested in her late husband’s stolen fortune, is truly a funny adventure a spy movie can produce. The pairing of Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn is perfect for this film. Or, was the film specifically tailored for the two? Whatever the case is, they were able to justify their roles so well.
#9 – Goldfinger (1964)
The Goldfinger is, indeed, a great movie. Oh, are my biases for Sean Connery showing here? I hope not. I would not say it’s the greatest movie yet because this also has its own share of flaws. Nevertheless, the film was able to pull off with ease as it contains several durable images com-pared with the previous titles of James Bond series.
#8 – Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol brings its audiences to new heights – as high as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, literally - with its fast-paced and more intense action. The film is said to be a big-budget production, and it is indeed justified considering the extravagant visual effects and the different scene locations. The story, too, is meatier this time, injecting into it a tricky concept.
#7 – Mission: Impossible (1996)
Intense action! That was my first impression when I first saw the film. Al-though, I find the plot a little complicated with those various twists and turns, I was specifically drawn to the special effects that were well-coordinated. And, true to its title, the Mission: Impossible story is, I think, an almost impossible mission.
#6 – Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
I like the way the screenwriter handles this spy story - making it light, funny, and goofy instead of having the typically serious setting. The director and screenwriter worked on the same vibration so much so that they were able to perfectly bring out the mood and the kind of fun that the 1960s was typically known for, without a hint of exaggeration.
#5 – From Russia with Love (1963)
Of all the James Bond actors, I love Sean Connery the best. Even though I was able to watch From Russia with Love only a few decades after its re-lease, I was impressed with the intense action, the meaty dialogue be-tween and among characters, and the commendable visual display of this movie. To think that the film was shot when technology has not much to offer yet, the production team was able to pull off very good visual effects.
#4 – North by Northwest (1959)
What could be more tragic than being mistaken for somebody wanted by foreign spies? And who would like to become a secret agent against his will? North by Northwest brings a lot of twists, making it intense and filled with suspense. Cary Grant, who plays the role of the innocent victim, Roger Thornhill, carries his role so perfectly.
#3 – The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
I did not see the 1934 original of this film, and so I will speak only about this (1956) version of The Man Who Knew Too Much. The first thing I noticed in this film is the colorful, scenic view. Its cinematography was care-fully executed. This is also the first time I saw James Stewart act (I never heard about this actor before), and he was brilliant in his performance, adeptly putting himself into his character as Dr. Ben MacKenna. The story is intense.
#2 – The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
I don’t want to talk about the musical score here because what the film has was just timely during that period. It would be unfair to base the standard on today’s technology. Now, for its overall presentation, I should say that although the film was made decades ago, the story of The Manchurian Candidate is still applicable in the present political situation of any country. If one is keen enough to read between the dialogue and the movements of the characters, you can notice a biting political satire. The film is worth watching again.
#1 – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
I have not read the novel, but I would like to believe that the film gave justice to the story. It was complicated and yet very compelling. I was attentive to the dialogue and anticipated each succeeding moves of the characters because, I must admit that at first, I did not understand the story. Everything seemed to be on a “high level of confidentiality and I was an outsider to it” kind of atmosphere. I did not bother to give attention to the visual effects nor to the soundtrack anymore as the story was, in itself, enough for me to focus on. No wonder, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy drew a lot of viewers!