Special Report

30 Best Spy Films of All Time

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

15. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (61,519 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 84% (34,043 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 87% (39 reviews)
> Starring: James Stewart, Doris Day, Brenda de Banzie, Bernard Miles

An Alfred Hitchcock-directed suspense thriller classic, “The Man Who Knew Too Much” stars James Stewart and Doris Day as a married couple who (along with their son) get mixed up in an assassination plot while vacationing in French Morocco. It’s edge-of-your-seat suspenseful and Hitchcock is in fine form; Stewart and Day also turn in great performances as a man in over his head and a mother trying to protect her child, respectively. Also, for what it’s worth, this is the film in which Day’s “Que Sera, Sera” debuted.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

14. Dr. No (1962)
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (156,015 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 82% (111,697 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 95% (59 reviews)
> Starring: Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Bernard Lee, Joseph Wiseman

The James Bond film that started them all, “Dr. No,” based on Ian Fleming’s novel of the same name, introduced the world to Sean Connery’s iconic Agent 007. In the film, Bond travels to Jamaica to investigate a fellow agent’s disappearance, and while there he uncovers a plot by the villainous Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman) to disrupt a Cape Canaveral rocket launch with a radio-based weapon. It’s a clever, sexy, action-packed adventure, and essential viewing for Bond fans. Posters of Andress emerging from the sea in front of Connery in a white bikini ended up on dorm-room walls all over America.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Studios

13. The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
> IMDb user rating: 7.7/10 (446,431 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 90% (708,891 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 82% (197 reviews)
> Starring: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Joan Allen, Brian Cox

The second installment in the Jason Bourne film series based on Robert Ludlum’s novels, “The Bourne Supremacy” follows the amnesia-stricken former CIA assassin Bourne (Matt Damon) as he gets wrapped up in CIA conspiracies while continuing to attempt to learn more of his past. Joan Allen, Brian Cox, and Franka Potente lead the supporting cast in this action-packed thriller.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

12. The Hunt for Red October (1990)
> IMDb user rating: 7.6/10 (188,284 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 88% (172,798 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 88% (73 reviews)
> Starring: Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Scott Glenn, Sam Neill

An adaptation of Tom Clancy’s iconic novel and the first film to feature the character of CIA analyst Jack Ryan (here portrayed by Alec Baldwin, supplanted by Harrison Ford in later films), “The Hunt for Red October” largely takes place on a Soviet submarine during the Cold War. The sub’s commander (played by Sean Connery) wants to secretly defect to America, and Ryan must prove that to the U.S. Navy before they initiate a violent confrontation with the Soviets.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

11. From Russia with Love (1963)
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (125,534 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 84% (93,624 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 95% (60 reviews)
> Starring: Sean Connery, Robert Shaw, Lotte Lenya, Daniela Bianchi

The second James Bond film (and Sean Connery’s second appearance in the role), “From Russia with Love” follows Bond to Turkey, where he’s assisting in the defection of a Soviet consulate clerk (Daniela Bianchi); all the while, the shady organization called SPECTRE is trying to kill bond and avenge the death of Dr. No. Another huge Bond success, it’s a sharp, fast-paced Cold War thriller with a smartly-written script and plenty of exciting action sequences.

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