Best Spy Movies of All Time

Best Spy Movies of All TimeTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Written by Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan,Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a 2011 Cold War espionage film directed by Tomas Alfredson based on the 1974 novel of the same name by John le Carré.Set in London in the early 1970s,it stars Gary Oldman as George Smiley, along with Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Toby Jones, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ciarán Hinds.The story follows the hunt for a Soviet double agent at the top of the British secret service. It was a critical and commercial success and was the highest-grossing film at the British box office. The film also received three Academy Awards nominations: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, and for Oldman, Best Actor.The novel had previously been adapted into the award-winning 1979 BBC TV miniseries Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy which is actually many times better than this movie.

The Kremlin Letter

The Kremlin Letter is an American spy film directed by John Huston, starring Richard Boone, Orson Welles, Max von Sydow, Bibi Andersson, Patrick O’Neal and George Sanders.Based on a Neol Bahn , the screenplay was co-written by Huston and Gladys Hill. Kremlin Letter is considered as one of the most intriguing complex and realistic espionage movies ever made. Set in the winter of 1969-1970 at the height of the US-Soviet Cold War, the movie was also noted for its sleek photography. Though became a commerical failure at release, Kremlin Letter later earned universal acclaim and many later considered this movie setting a new standard in wolrd cinema.


Skyfall which is the 23rd movie in the James Bond franchise is considered as one of the best spy movies as well as one of the best bond movies ever made. Unlike other Bond films that relies on super cool weapons and actions, Skyfall was noted for its realistic approach in story telling as well as its attempt to unreveal the character through his emotions. It was more like a spy drama than a spy action. Directed by Sam Mendes and written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan, Skyfall features Daniel Craig in his third performance as James Bond, and Javier Bardem as Raoul Silva, the film’s antagonist. The movie won two academy awards – one for best editing and other for the theme sung by Adele. The story centers on Bond going after a former M16 operative who is on a personal mission to kill M for betraying him. The movie was also noted for its Dark Knight references. In fact many called Sakyfall as James Bond’s Dark Knight.

Spione (Masters of Cinema)

Spione might be the first spy movie ever made in the world. Spione is a German silent espionage thriller written and directed by Fritz Lang in 1928. It had Rudolf Klein-Rogge in the lead who plays the role of a master criminal aiming for world domination along with Gerda Maurus ,

Willy Fritsch and Georg John. This movie was partially based on Thea von Harbou’s novel of the same name.

The Ipcress File

Based on The IPCRESS File written by Len Deighton, Sidney J. Furie directed a movie of the same name which was released in 1965 and had Micheal Caine in the lead. The movie also had Guy Doleman and Nigel Green in the supporting roles. Written by Bill Canawaym The Ipcress File won critical acclaim and BAFTA award fro best british film. In 1999, the movie was selected as one among the best british movies of 20th century by British Film Institute

Army of Shadows

Released in 1969, this french film which was directed by Jean-Pierre Melville based on Joseph Kessel’s 1943 book of the same name is considered as one of the best espionage movies of all time, though the response during it release was totally negative (mostly due to its perceived glorification of Charles de Gaulle – a french general statesman).The movie depicted a bleak , unromatic view of resistance even though the characters were depicted as heroic. Though the movie is partially based on the novel, it also includes Kessel’s own experiences as a member of the French Resistance with fictionalized versions of other Resistance members.Army of Shadows follows a small group of Resistance fighters as they move between safe houses, work with the Allied militaries, kill informers, and attempt to evade the capture and execution that they know is their most likely fate. The movie which was released in 1968 went to oblivion and was rerealed in 2006. The movie became an instant hit in 2006 and made it to the critics top 10 lists.


Notorious might be one of the best movies ever done by Alfred Hitchcock. Made in 1946, Notorious stars Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains as the lead three characters whose lives become intimately entangled during an espionage operation. Unlike other Hitchcokian movies noted for his artisticality, Notorious witnessed a heightened thematic maturity from the master of suspense. Beyond a spy thriller, Notorious is considered a serious triangle love story of two men in love with a woman.

From Russia With Love

Based on the 1957 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming, From Russia With Love is the second film the James Bond franchise and also the second movie to feature Sean Connery as James Bond. Directed by Terence Young, the movie features James Bond who is sent to assist in the defection of Soviet consulate clerk Tatiana Romanova in Turkey, where SPECTRE plans to avenge Bond’s killing of Dr. No. Released in 1936, From Russia with Love was a critical and commercial success, taking over $78 million in worldwide box office receipts, more than its predecessor Dr. No.

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is a 1965 British Cold War spy film directed by Martin Ritt and starring Richard Burton, Claire Bloom, and Oskar Werner. Based on the 1963 novel of the same name by John le Carré, the film is about a British agent who is sent to East Germany in order to sow disinformation about a powerful East German intelligence officer. The screenplay was written by Paul Dehn and Guy Trosper.The Spy Who Came in from the Cold did well at the box office, received positive reviews, and received several awards, including four BAFTA Awards for Best Film, Best Actor, Best Cinematography, and Best Art Direction.The film was named one of the top ten films of 1966 by the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures.

The Bourne Trilogy

The Bourne Trilogy might be the best spy movies of the modern times. Based on Robert Ludlum’s Bourne Trilogy of the same name, the movie follows the lives of a CIA agent who lost his memory regarding the past the people who are after him for reasons unknown to him. The movies had Matt Damon played the title character Jason Bourne. While the first movie – The Bourne Identity – was directed by Doug Liman , the second and the third titled as Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum respectively were directed by Paul Greengrass. All the three movies witnessed box office success as well as bagged Academy awards for technical expertise. A spin off called Bourne Legacy was made but it was met with disappointing reviews.