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The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives

Updated November 15, 2019 35.9k votes 9.5k voters 1.8m views74 items

List RulesMovies must feature the CIA as a main theme or subject to be on the list.

These are films that focus on the United States Central Intelligence Agency, or its CIA agents, as ranked by spy-obsessed fans. We've tried to include all of the best CIA movies on this list, but if you believe we missed one, please feel free to add to the list yourself. If you want more awesome movie list ideas that you can watch right now on Netflix, then be sure to check out our lists of the best action movies on Netflix, best movies on Netflix and comedies on Netflix.

With its intrigue, espionage, and cloak and dagger politics, the CIA and its spies and operatives are a perfect setting and cast of characters for film making and storytelling. Spy dramas have been a favorite among moviegoers for decades. Let's face it, spies make great characters. And when it comes to the CIA, well, even James Bond had his CIA liaison, Felix Leiter.

Sure, FBI movies are also full of awesome action too, but there's just something totally riveting about watching the drama unfold against the backdrop of world politics, so give us a Matt Damon spy movie over those FBI dramas any day. 

Whether you prefer watching spy movies on Netflix or grabbing a CIA film from from Redbox, you're guaranteed to find something that'll give you your secret agent fix. This list includes all genres, although most are action, drama, or thrillers. If you enjoy good spy thrillers, then you're bound to enjoy many of the secret agent movies on this list.

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  • 1
    The Bourne Identity is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    2,550
    497

    The Bourne Identity

    Matt Damon, Clive Owen

    Released2002

    Directed byDoug Liman

    The Bourne Identity is a 2002 American-German action spy film adaptation of Robert Ludlum's... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 2
    The Bourne Supremacy is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    2,051
    394

    The Bourne Supremacy

    Matt Damon, Julia Stiles

    Released2004

    Directed byPaul Greengrass

    The Bourne Supremacy is a 2004 American-German action and spy film starring Robert Ludlum's... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 3
    The Bourne Ultimatum is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    1,982
    392

    The Bourne Ultimatum

    Matt Damon, Julia Stiles

    Released2007

    Directed byPaul Greengrass

    The Bourne Ultimatum is a 2007 American-German action spy thriller film directed by Paul... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 4
    Body of Lies is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    780
    208

    Body of Lies

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe

    Released2008

    Directed byRidley Scott

    Body of Lies is a 2008 American action-spy film directed by Ridley Scott. Set in the Middle... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 5
    Enemy of the State is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    776
    223

    Enemy of the State

    Will Smith, Jack Black

    Released1998

    Directed byTony Scott

    Enemy of the State is a 1998 American spy-thriller about a group of rogue U.S. National... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 6
    Spy Game is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    1,104
    338

    Spy Game

    Brad Pitt, Robert Redford

    Released2001

    Directed byTony Scott

    Spy Game is a 2001 American spy film directed by Tony Scott and starring Robert Redford and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 7
    Patriot Games is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    412
    80

    Patriot Games

    Harrison Ford, Samuel L. Jackson

    Released1992

    Directed byPhillip Noyce

    Patriot Games is a 1992 action-suspense film directed by Phillip Noyce and based on Tom... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 8
    Casino Royale is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    851
    287

    Casino Royale

    Alessandra Ambrosio, Eva Green

    Released2006

    Directed byMartin Campbell

    Casino Royale is the twenty-first film in the Eon Productions James Bond film series and the... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 9
    Zero Dark Thirty is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    648
    156

    Zero Dark Thirty

    Jessica Chastain, Chris Pratt

    Released2012

    Directed byKathryn Bigelow

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  • 10
    Taken is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    1,423
    507

    Taken

    Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen

    Released2008

    Directed byPierre Morel

    Taken is a 2008 French action thriller film directed by Pierre Morel. A former CIA operative... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 11
    Clear and Present Danger is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    669
    234

    Clear and Present Danger

    Harrison Ford, Willem Dafoe

    Released1994

    Directed byPhillip Noyce

    Clear and Present Danger is a 1994 spy action thriller film directed by Phillip Noyce, based... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 12
    Argo is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    736
    269

    Argo

    Ben Affleck, John Goodman

    Released2012

    Directed byBen Affleck

    If you like this movie, be sure to check out our list of the best political thriller movies.

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  • 13
    The Hunt for Red October is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    892
    335

    The Hunt for Red October

    Alec Baldwin, Sean Connery

    Released1990

    Directed byJohn McTiernan

    The Hunt for Red October is a 1990 American submarine spy-thriller film directed by John... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 14
    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    425
    86

    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

    Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch

    Released2011

    Directed byTomas Alfredson

    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a 2011 espionage film directed by Tomas Alfredson. The screenplay... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 15
    Munich is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    394
    104

    Munich

    Daniel Craig, Eric Bana

    Released2005

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Munich is a 2005 historical drama and political thriller film based on Operation Wrath of God,... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 16
    The Bourne Legacy is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    480
    138

    The Bourne Legacy

    Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton

    Released2012

    Directed byTony Gilroy

    The Bourne Legacy is a 2012 American action thriller film directed by Tony Gilroy, and is the... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 17
    Ronin is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    602
    200

    Ronin

    Robert De Niro, Sean Bean

    Released1998

    Directed byJohn Frankenheimer

    Ronin is a 1998 American spy thriller action film directed by John Frankenheimer and starring... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 18
    Safe House is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    437
    149

    Safe House

    Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds

    Released2012

    Directed byDaniel Espinosa

    Safe House is a 2012 American action thriller film directed by Daniel Espinosa, starring... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 19
    Mission: Impossible – Ghost Pr is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    640
    257

    Released2011

    Directed byBrad Bird

    Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is a 2011 American action spy film directed by Brad... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 20
    Mission: Impossible is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    880
    379

    Mission: Impossible

    Tom Cruise, Jon Voight

    Released1996

    Directed byBrian De Palma

    Mission: Impossible is a 1996 American action spy film directed by Brian De Palma, based on... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 21
    Salt is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    553
    216

    Salt

    Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber

    Released2010

    Directed byPhillip Noyce

    Salt is a 2010 American action thriller spy film directed by Phillip Noyce, written by Kurt... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 22
    Three Days of the Condor is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    505
    210

    Three Days of the Condor

    Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway

    Released1975

    Directed bySydney Pollack

    Three Days of the Condor is a 1975 American political thriller film directed by Sydney Pollack... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 23
    The Recruit is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    696
    288

    The Recruit

    Al Pacino, Colin Farrell

    Released2003

    Directed byRoger Donaldson

    The Recruit is a 2003 American-German spy thriller film, directed by Roger Donaldson and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 24
    The Good Shepherd is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    616
    256

    The Good Shepherd

    Angelina Jolie, Robert De Niro

    Released2006

    Directed byRobert De Niro

    The Good Shepherd is a 2006 spy film produced and directed by Robert De Niro and starring Matt... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 25
    Red is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
    419
    167

    Red

    Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman

    Released2010

    Directed byRobert Schwentke

    Red is a 2010 American action comedy film directed by Robert Schwentke, inspired by the comic... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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