Entertainment

The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives 

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Originally by Ranker Community
Updated November 15, 2019 46.4k votes 9.4k voters 1.8M views 75 items

List Rules Movies 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.

list ordered by
1
The Bourne Identity is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
Matt Damon, Clive Owen, Julia Stiles

Released: 2002

Directed by: Doug Liman

The Bourne Identity is a 2002 American-German action spy film adaptation of Robert Ludlum's novel of the same name. It stars Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, a man suffering from extreme memory loss ...more

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2
The Bourne Supremacy is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Michelle Monaghan

Released: 2004

Directed by: Paul Greengrass

The Bourne Supremacy is a 2004 American-German action and spy film starring Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne character. Though it takes the name of the second Bourne novel, its plot is entirely ...more

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3
The Bourne Ultimatum is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Brian Cox

Released: 2007

Directed by: Paul Greengrass

The Bourne Ultimatum is a 2007 American-German action spy thriller film directed by Paul Greengrass loosely based on the Robert Ludlum novel of the same title. The screenplay was written by Tony ...more

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4
Taken is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace

Released: 2008

Directed by: Pierre Morel

Taken is a 2008 French action thriller film directed by Pierre Morel. A former CIA operative (Liam Neeson) sets about tracking down his teenage daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) and her best friend ...more

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5
Clear and Present Danger... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
Harrison Ford, Willem Dafoe, James Earl Jones

Released: 1994

Directed by: Phillip Noyce

Clear and Present Danger is a 1994 spy action thriller film directed by Phillip Noyce, based on Tom Clancy's book of the same name. It was preceded by the 1990 film The Hunt for Red October and ...more

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6
Spy Game is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
Brad Pitt, Robert Redford, Charlotte Rampling

Released: 2001

Directed by: Tony Scott

Spy Game is a 2001 American spy film directed by Tony Scott and starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt. The film grossed $62 million in the United States and $143 million worldwide and received ...more

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7
Mission: Impossible is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Vanessa Redgrave

Released: 1996

Directed by: Brian De Palma

Mission: Impossible is a 1996 American action spy film directed by Brian De Palma, based on the 1960s television series. IMF Agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) must uncover the mole who has framed

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8
Argo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
Philip Moder added Ben Affleck, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston

Released: 2012

Directed by: Ben Affleck

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

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9
The Hunt for Red October... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
Alec Baldwin, Sean Connery, Tim Curry

Released: 1990

Directed by: John McTiernan

The Hunt for Red October is a 1990 American submarine spy-thriller film directed by John McTiernan, based on the 1984 novel by Tom Clancy. In November 1984, the Soviet Union's best submarine ...more

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10
Enemy of the State is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
Will Smith, Jack Black, Gene Hackman

Released: 1998

Directed by: Tony Scott

Enemy of the State is a 1998 American spy-thriller about a group of rogue U.S. National Security Agency agents conspiring to take out a U.S. Congressman and try to cover up. It was written by ...more

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11
Casino Royale is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
Alessandra Ambrosio, Eva Green, Daniel Craig

Released: 2006

Directed by: Martin Campbell

Casino Royale is the twenty-first film in the Eon Productions James Bond film series and the first to star Daniel Craig as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. Directed by Martin Campbell and ...more

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12
Zero Dark Thirty is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
evan2 added Jessica Chastain, Chris Pratt, Mark Strong

Released: 2012

Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow

Untitled International Thriller is a 2012 thriller film written by Mark Boal and directed by Kathryn Bigelow.

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13
Body of Lies is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Mark Strong

Released: 2008

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Body of Lies is a 2008 American action-spy film directed by Ridley Scott. Set in the Middle East, it follows the attempts of the CIA and Jordanian Intelligence to catch "al-Saleem", a ...more

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14
Ronin is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
Robert De Niro, Sean Bean, Ron Jeremy

Released: 1998

Directed by: John Frankenheimer

Ronin is a 1998 American spy thriller action film directed by John Frankenheimer and starring Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Natascha McElhone, Stellan Skarsgård, Sean Bean, and Jonathan ...more

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15
Three Days of the Condor... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Max von Sydow

Released: 1975

Directed by: Sydney Pollack

Three Days of the Condor is a 1975 American political thriller film directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Cliff Robertson, and Max von Sydow. The screenplay by ...more

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16
The Good Shepherd is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
Angelina Jolie, Robert De Niro, Alec Baldwin

Released: 2006

Directed by: Robert De Niro

The Good Shepherd is a 2006 spy film produced and directed by Robert De Niro and starring Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie and De Niro, with an extensive supporting cast. De Niro also produced it with ...more

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17
Patriot Games is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
wiabux added Harrison Ford, Samuel L. Jackson, James Earl Jones

Released: 1992

Directed by: Phillip Noyce

Patriot Games is a 1992 action-suspense film directed by Phillip Noyce and based on Tom Clancy's novel of the same name. It is a sequel to the 1990 film The Hunt for Red October, but with ...more

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18
Safe House is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Vera Farmiga

Released: 2012

Directed by: Daniel Espinosa

Safe House is a 2012 American action thriller film directed by Daniel Espinosa, starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds. It was released on February 10, 2012, in North America by Universal ...more

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19
Mission: Impossible – Gh... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
Tom Cruise, Paula Patton, Jeremy Renner

Released: 2011

Directed by: Brad Bird

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is a 2011 American action spy film directed by Brad Bird, and the fourth film in the Mission: Impossible series. The IMF is shut down when it's implicated in ...more

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20
Charlie Wilson's War is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
Julia Roberts, Amy Adams, Tom Hanks

Released: 2007

Directed by: Mike Nichols

Charlie Wilson's War is a 2007 American biographical comedy-drama film, recounting the true story of U.S. Congressman Charlie Wilson who partnered with CIA operative Gust Avrakotos to launch ...more

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21
The Bourne Legacy is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
Dbo878 added Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Jeremy Renner

Released: 2012

Directed by: Tony Gilroy

The Bourne Legacy is a 2012 American action thriller film directed by Tony Gilroy, and is the fourth installment in the series of films adapted from the novels originated by Robert Ludlum, and ...more

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22
Syriana is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
George Clooney, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet

Released: 2005

Directed by: Stephen Gaghan

Syriana is a 2005 geopolitical thriller film written and directed by Stephen Gaghan, and executive produced by George Clooney, who also stars in the film with an ensemble cast. Gaghan's ...more

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23
Mission: Impossible III ... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
OsamaKing added Maggie Q, Keri Russell, Michelle Monaghan

Released: 2006

Directed by: J.J. Abrams

Mission: Impossible III (stylized as M:i:III) is a 2006 American action spy film directed by J. J. Abrams, and the third film in the Mission: Impossible series. Retired from field work, IMF ...more
24
Red is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
AndrewW.Curley added Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren

Released: 2010

Directed by: Robert Schwentke

Red is a 2010 American action comedy film directed by Robert Schwentke, inspired by the comic book series by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner. When his peaceful life is threatened by a high-tech ...more

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25
The Recruit is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Movies About CIA Agents & Operatives
Al Pacino, Colin Farrell, Bridget Moynahan

Released: 2003

Directed by: Roger Donaldson

The Recruit is a 2003 American-German spy thriller film, directed by Roger Donaldson and starring Al Pacino, Colin Farrell and Bridget Moynahan. It was produced by Epsilon Motion Pictures and ...more

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