Favorite Spy Thrillers

by leftbanker-1 | created - 28 Nov 2015 | updated - 11 months ago | Public

I thought this would be an easy list to create but it turns out that there haven't been a lot of movies of this genre that I have enjoyed so I've had to include some TV series. Sorry, no James Bind movies (they are too stupid, all of them). These aren't in order of preference, just as they came to me.

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1. Three Days of the Condor (1975)

R | 117 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

63 Metascore

A bookish CIA researcher in Manhattan finds all his co-workers dead, and must outwit those responsible until he figures out who he can really trust.

Director: Sydney Pollack | Stars: Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Cliff Robertson, Max von Sydow

Votes: 52,231 | Gross: $41.51M

2. The Day of the Jackal (1973)

PG | 143 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

80 Metascore

In the aftermath of France allowing Algeria's independence, a group of resentful military veterans hire a professional assassin codenamed "Jackal" to kill President Charles de Gaulle.

Director: Fred Zinnemann | Stars: Edward Fox, Terence Alexander, Michel Auclair, Alan Badel

Votes: 39,334 | Gross: $16.06M

3. Marathon Man (1976)

R | 125 min | Crime, Thriller

64 Metascore

After the shocking murder of his older brother, a New York history student finds himself inexplicably hounded by shadowy government agents on the trail of a Nazi war criminal who is trying to retrieve smuggled diamonds.

Director: John Schlesinger | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier, Roy Scheider, William Devane

Votes: 60,903 | Gross: $21.71M

4. The Little Drummer Girl (1984)

R | 130 min | Drama

54 Metascore

An American actress with a penchant for lying is forcibly recruited by Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, to trap a Palestinian bomber, by pretending to be the girlfriend of his dead brother.

Director: George Roy Hill | Stars: Diane Keaton, Yorgo Voyagis, Klaus Kinski, Sami Frey

Votes: 2,096 | Gross: $7.83M

5. Nikita (1990)

R | 117 min | Action, Thriller

56 Metascore

Convicted felon, Nikita, isn't going to jail; she's given a new identity and trained, stylishly, as a top secret spy/assassin.

Director: Luc Besson | Stars: Anne Parillaud, Marc Duret, Patrick Fontana, Alain Lathière

Votes: 69,995 | Gross: $5.02M

6. Spy Game (2001)

R | 126 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

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: 152,353 | Gross: $0.03M

7. Homeland (2011–2020)

TV-MA | 55 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A bipolar CIA operative becomes convinced a prisoner of war has been turned by al-Qaeda and is planning to carry out a terrorist attack on American soil.

Stars: Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Damian Lewis, Rupert Friend

Votes: 326,464

A TV show, I know.

8. Syriana (2005)

R | 128 min | Drama, Thriller

76 Metascore

A politically charged epic about the state of the oil industry in the hands of those personally involved in and affected by it.

Director: Stephen Gaghan | Stars: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet, Kayvan Novak

Votes: 128,342 | Gross: $50.82M

9. The Bourne Identity (2002)

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

68 Metascore

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

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

Votes: 525,150 | Gross: $121.66M

10. The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997)

PG | 94 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

Wallace Ritchie is mistaken for a spy and must stop a plot to assassinate international leaders at a banquet.

Director: Jon Amiel | Stars: Bill Murray, Joanne Whalley, Peter Gallagher, Richard Wilson

Votes: 31,713 | Gross: $13.80M

Do you see how hard this is? I had to resort to comedy.

11. The Third Man (1949)

Approved | 93 min | Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller

97 Metascore

Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, Harry Lime.

Director: Carol Reed | Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Trevor Howard

Votes: 165,644 | Gross: $0.45M

12. The Americans (2013–2018)

TV-MA | 44 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

At the height of the Cold War two Russian agents pose as your average American couple, complete with family.

Stars: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Keidrich Sellati, Holly Taylor

Votes: 91,233

13. Homeland (2011–2020)

TV-MA | 55 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A bipolar CIA operative becomes convinced a prisoner of war has been turned by al-Qaeda and is planning to carry out a terrorist attack on American soil.

Stars: Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Damian Lewis, Rupert Friend

Votes: 326,464

14. Munich (2005)

R | 164 min | Action, Drama, History

74 Metascore

After the Black September capture and massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics, five men are chosen to eliminate the people responsible for that fateful day.

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

Votes: 219,871 | Gross: $47.40M

15. The Little Drummer Girl (2018)

TV-MA | 55 min | Drama, Thriller

As a Palestinian assassin is targeting prominent Israelis, a young English actress is recruited by Mossad to infiltrate the assassin's terrorist cell, requiring all of her acting talents but also putting her at considerable risk.

Stars: Simona Brown, Gennady Fleyscher, Clare Holman, Daniel Litman

Votes: 10,685

16. Sneakers (1992)

PG-13 | 126 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

65 Metascore

A security pro finds his past coming back to haunt him, when he and his unique team are tasked with retrieving a particularly important item.

Director: Phil Alden Robinson | Stars: Robert Redford, Dan Aykroyd, Sidney Poitier, Jo Marr

Votes: 56,543 | Gross: $51.43M



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