Special Report

30 Best Spy Films of All Time

Source: Courtesy of Focus Features

25. Lust, Caution (2007)
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (39,691 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 84% (51,356 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 72% (148 reviews)
> Starring: Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Tang Wei, Joan Chen, Leehom Wang

An erotic spy film set in both 1938 Hong Kong and 1942 Shanghai, “Lust, Caution” is about Chinese university students who plot to assassinate a high-ranking government special agent by luring him into a honey trap. It won director Ang Lee the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival, and was widely praised for its tenseness and sensuality.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

24. GoldenEye (1995)
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (245,610 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 83% (285,758 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 78% (79 reviews)
> Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, Izabella Scorupco, Famke Janssen

Pierce Brosnan excelled in his James Bond debut, revitalizing the series with a fast-paced, action-packed film in which he must stop a rogue former MI-6 agent, played by Sean Bean, from unleashing a global financial meltdown via a satellite weapon. The first Bond film to not use any elements of any Ian Fleming novels, the first to use CGI, and the first to cast a female as M (a spot-on Judy Dench), “GoldenEye” was a critically-praised smash hit, grossing far more than the Bond films starring Brosnan’s predecessor, Timothy Dalton, and spawning an iconic Nintendo 64 video game.

Source: Courtesy of Orion Pictures

23. No Way Out (1987)
> IMDb user rating: 7.1/10 (37,905 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 72% (20,795 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 91% (46 reviews)
> Starring: Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman, Sean Young, Will Patton

Based on the 1946 novel “The Big Clock” by Kenneth Fearing, “No Way Out” is a stylish neo-noir suspense film in which Navy lieutenant Kevin Costner has a fling with Susan Atwell (Sean Young), who’s also involved with the Secretary of Defense, played by Gene Hackman. When Atwell turns up dead, Costner is placed in charge of the investigation, and intrigue abounds. The film made a star out of Costner, and the suspense builds to a shocking twist ending.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

22. Spies in Disguise (2019)
> IMDb user rating: 6.8/10 (42,428 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 92% (8,319 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 77% (124 reviews)
> Starring: Will Smith, Tom Holland, Rashida Jones, Reba McEntire

An underappreciated computer-animated spy comedy from 20th Century Fox, “Spies in Disguise” boasts a star-studded cast. The plot involves a secret agent (played by Smith) who is accidentally turned into a pigeon by a young scientist (Holland); the duo then have to work together to not only turn Smith’s character back into a human, but also stop a terrorist from destroying the world with a fleet of weaponized drones. It underperformed at the box office, but received generally good reviews for its family-friendliness.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

21. Munich (2005)
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (219,261 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 83% (330,282 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 78% (211 reviews)
> Starring: Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Marie-Josée Croze, Ciarán Hinds

Steven Spielberg’s “Munich” follows the Israeli government’s secret revenge mission against the Palestine Liberation Organization in the wake of their murder of 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team during the 1972 Munich Olympics. The film made more than 20 top-10 lists of the year’s best films, and was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

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