films The Best '50s Spy Movies  

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List Rules Vote up your favorite espionage films that were released in the 1950s

This collection of the greatest spy films of the 1950s represents some of the most beloved films of the genre. Set against the backdrop of the Cold War, the Red Scare, and a culture of betrayal and tension, the spy movies of the '50s are rife with secret pickups, double-crosses, surveillance, and murder.

 
What is the best 1950s spy film? Many fans of the espionage genre would make the case for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 masterpiece
North by Northwest. Featuring an all-star cast including Eva Marie Saint, Cary Grant, and James Mason, the film is regarded as one of the finest spy movies ever made. Hitchcock’s influence can be seen all over this list of the top 1950s spy movies, in such films as The 39 Steps, a remake of Hitchcock’s 1935 film of the same name.


Also on this list, you will find classics such as
Pickup on South Street, The Man Who Never Was, and My Favorite Spy. Vote up the best '50s spy movies below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section. 

1
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North by Northwest is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
North by Northwest Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock, Eva Marie Saint

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2
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The Man Who Never Was is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
The Man Who Never Was Clifton Webb, Stephen Boyd, Gloria Grahame

3
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Pickup on South Street is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
Pickup on South Street Richard Widmark, Thelma Ritter, Jean Peters

4
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5 Fingers is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
5 Fingers Michael Rennie, Danielle Darrieux, Walter Hampden

5
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Jungle Heat is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
Jungle Heat Lex Barker, James Westerfield, Mari Blanchard - Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

6
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Decision Before Dawn is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
Decision Before Dawn Richard Basehart, Hildegard Knef, Oskar Werner

7
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Knock on Wood is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
Knock on Wood Danny Kaye, Torin Thatcher, Leon Askin - Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

8
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Affair in Trinidad is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
Affair in Trinidad Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, Juanita Moore

9
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The 39 Steps is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
The 39 Steps Sid James, Kenneth More, Joan Hickson

10
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A Bullet for Joey is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
A Bullet for Joey Edward G. Robinson, George Raft, Peter Hansen

11
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Night People is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
Night People Gregory Peck, Buddy Ebsen, Broderick Crawford

12
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Big Jim McLain is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
Big Jim McLain John Wayne, James Arness, Harry Morgan

13
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China Gate is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
China Gate Nat King Cole, Angie Dickinson, Lee Van Cleef

14
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My Favorite Spy is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
My Favorite Spy Bob Hope, Hedy Lamarr, Marc Lawrence

15
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Ill Met by Moonlight is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
Ill Met by Moonlight Christopher Lee, Dirk Bogarde, Michael Gough

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16
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FBI Girl is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
FBI Girl Cesar Romero, Raymond Burr, Joi Lansing

17
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Betrayed is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
Betrayed Clark Gable, Lana Turner, Victor Mature

18
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The Scarlet Coat is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
The Scarlet Coat Anne Francis, George Sanders, Michael Wilding

19
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Sea Devils is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
Sea Devils Rock Hudson, Yvonne De Carlo, Bryan Forbes

20
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World for Ransom is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
World for Ransom Dan Duryea, Reginald Denny, Gene Lockhart

21
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I Was a Communist for the FBI is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
I Was a Communist for the FBI Frank Lovejoy, Dorothy Hart, Philip Carey

22
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The Shanghai Story is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
The Shanghai Story Edmond O'Brien, Richard Jaeckel, Philip Ahn

23
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Captain Carey, U.S.A. is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
Captain Carey, U.S.A. Alan Ladd, Russ Tamblyn, Francis Lederer - Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

24
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Foreign Intrigue is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
Foreign Intrigue Robert Mitchum, Ingrid Thulin, Lauritz Falk

25
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The Man Between is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
The Man Between Claire Bloom, Hildegard Knef, Geoffrey Toone

26
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I'll Get You is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
I'll Get You George Raft, Clifford Evans, Frederick Piper

27
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Stopover Tokyo is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
Stopover Tokyo Joan Collins, Robert Wagner, Edmond O'Brien

28
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I Was an American Spy is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
I Was an American Spy Philip Ahn, Mark W. Clark, Ann Dvorak

29
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Carve Her Name with Pride is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
Carve Her Name with Pride Michael Caine, Paul Scofield, Jack Warner - Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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Paris Playboys is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
Paris Playboys Huntz Hall, Leo Gorcey, David Gorcey

31
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Diplomatic Courier is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
Diplomatic Courier Charles Bronson, Tyrone Power, Karl Malden

32
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Shack out on 101 is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
Shack out on 101 Lee Marvin, Keenan Wynn, Terry Moore

33
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5 Steps to Danger is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
5 Steps to Danger Sterling Hayden, Werner Klemperer, Ruth Roman

34
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Orders to Kill is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
Orders to Kill Lillian Gish, Eddie Albert, Lionel Jeffries

35
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Counterspy Meets Scotland Yard is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
Counterspy Meets Scotland Yard Amanda Blake, John Dehner, Howard St. John

36
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My Son John is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
My Son John Helen Hayes, Dean Jagger, Van Heflin - Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

37
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Down Among the Z Men is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
Down Among the Z Men Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe

38
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David Harding, Counterspy is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
David Harding, Counterspy Howard St. John, Alex Gerry, Raymond Greenleaf

39
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This Can't Happen Here is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
This Can't Happen Here Alf Kjellin, Signe Hasso, Ulf Palme

40
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Clipped Wings is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
Clipped Wings Huntz Hall, Leo Gorcey, David Gorcey

41
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Bowery Battalion is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
Bowery Battalion Huntz Hall, Leo Gorcey, William "Billy" Benedict

42
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Fort Algiers is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best '50s Spy Movies
Fort Algiers Yvonne De Carlo, John Dehner, Henry Corden