Watchworthy

The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s 

Ranker Film
Updated October 7, 2019 2.3k votes 437 voters 13.3k views 54 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite espionage films that were released in the 1960s

The best ‘60s spy movies are a diverse group of films, featuring suave super-spies, dangerous and beautiful femme fatales, and flashes of Cold War paranoia. Many of these espionage classics were box office hits when they were released, and several have transcended to legendary status.


What are the best ‘60s spy movies? Allow me to introduce you to Bond. James Bond. The British gentleman-spy was ubiquitous in the 1960s. For most of the decade, Sean Connery inhabited the role, appearing in such Bond favorites as Goldfinger and From Russia with Love. In 1969, Connery was replaced by George Lazenby, the only actor to have only appeared in one Bond film: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Here, you’ll also find The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, an adaptation of the 1963 John le Carré novel of the same name. Le Carré is one of the most prolific espionage novelists of all time, and many of his books have been adapted for the screen.


Some of the top ‘60s spy movies take a comedic approach to the genre. For example, you’ll see What’s Up, Tiger Lily?, a 1966 Woody Allen comedy. Allen overdubbed a Japanese spy film with all new dialogue, transforming the plot into a quest for the world’s best egg salad recipe. Vote up the best '60s spy movies below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section.

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
Goldfinger is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
Sean Connery, Honor Blackman, Garry Marshall

Released: 1964

Directed by: Guy Hamilton

Goldfinger is the third film in the James Bond series and the third to star Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. It is based on the novel of the same name by Ian Fleming. The film ...more

More Goldfinger 

#141 of 367 The Best Movies Based On Books #993 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

2
From Russia with Love is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
Sean Connery, Robert Shaw, Daniela Bianchi

Released: 1963

Directed by: Terence Young

From Russia with Love is the second James Bond film made by Eon Productions and the second to star Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. Released in 1963, the film was produced by ...more

More From Russia with Love 

#181 of 367 The Best Movies Based On Books #1,083 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #165 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies

3
Dr. No is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Jack Lord

Released: 1962

Directed by: Terence Young

Dr. No is a 1962 British spy film, starring Sean Connery; it is the first James Bond film. Based on the 1958 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming, it was adapted by Richard Maibaum, Johanna ...more

More Dr. No 

#149 of 367 The Best Movies Based On Books #1,002 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #163 of 581 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

4
On Her Majesty's Secret ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
Diana Rigg, Joanna Lumley, Telly Savalas

Released: 1969

Directed by: Peter R. Hunt

On Her Majesty's Secret Service is the sixth spy film in the James Bond series, based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming. Following the decision of Sean Connery to retire from the ...more

More On Her Majesty's Secret Service 

Why 'On Her Majesty’s Secret Service' Is - And Always Will Be - The Weirdest Bond Movie Ever #1,079 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #180 of 581 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

5
Thunderball is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
Sean Connery, Luciana Paluzzi, Claudine Auger

Released: 1965

Directed by: Terence Young

Thunderball is the fourth spy film in the James Bond series starring Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. It is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Ian Fleming, which ...more

More Thunderball 

#289 of 367 The Best Movies Based On Books #1,132 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
You Only Live Twice is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
Sean Connery, Donald Pleasence, Lois Maxwell

Released: 1967

Directed by: Lewis Gilbert

You Only Live Twice is the fifth spy film in the James Bond series, and the fifth to star Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film's screenplay was written by Roald Dahl, and ...more

More You Only Live Twice 

#1,144 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #197 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #345 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys

7
Charade is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
weik added Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Coburn

Released: 1963

Directed by: Stanley Donen

Charade is a 1963 Technicolor American romantic comedy/mystery film directed by Stanley Donen, written by Peter Stone and Marc Behm, and starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. The cast also ...more

More Charade 

#177 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #540 of 1,027 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Filmslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
The Ipcress File is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
Michael Caine, Sue Lloyd, Gordon Jackson

Released: 1965

Directed by: Sidney J. Furie

The Ipcress File is a 1965 British espionage film directed by Sidney J. Furie, starring Michael Caine and featuring Guy Doleman and Nigel Green. The screenplay by Bill Canaway and James Doran ...more

More The Ipcress File 

#191 of 331 The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History #81 of 195 The Best Movies of the '60s #38 of 163 The Best Spy Movies

9
Where Eagles Dare is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
weik added Clint Eastwood, Richard Burton, Michael Hordern

Released: 1968

Directed by: Brian G. Hutton

Where Eagles Dare is a 1968 WWII action film starring Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood and Mary Ure. It was directed by Brian G. Hutton and shot on location in Austria and Bavaria. Alistair ...more

More Where Eagles Dare 

#46 of 375 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #25 of 222 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time #450 of 1,294 The Best Novels Ever Written

10
The Spy Who Came in from... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
Richard Burton, Claire Bloom, Robert Hardy

Released: 1965

Directed by: Martin Ritt

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 ...more

More The Spy Who Came in from the Cold 

#76 of 195 The Best Movies of the '60s #3 of 13 The Most Accurate Movies About Espionage #18 of 163 The Best Spy Movies

11
Our Man Flint is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
James Coburn, James Brolin, Lee J. Cobb

Released: 1966

Directed by: Daniel Mann

Our Man Flint is a 1966 American action film that parodies the James Bond genre. The film was directed by Daniel Mann, written by Hal Fimberg and Ben Starr, and starring James Coburn as master ...more
12
Arabesque is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
Sophia Loren, Gregory Peck, Alan Badel

Released: 1966

Directed by: Stanley Donen

Arabesque is a 1966 Technicolor thriller starring Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren filmed in Panavision. The film is based on Gordon Cotler's novel The Cypher and directed by Stanley Donen.
13
Funeral in Berlin is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
Michael Caine, Marthe Keller, Oskar Homolka

Released: 1966

Directed by: Guy Hamilton

Funeral in Berlin is a 1966 British spy film directed by Guy Hamilton and based on the novel of the same name by Len Deighton. It is the second of three 1960s films starring Michael Caine as the ...more

More Funeral in Berlin 

#63 of 163 The Best Spy Movies #56 of 136 The Best Political Thriller Movies #34 of 93 The Best Cold War Movies

14
In Like Flint is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
James Coburn, Lee J. Cobb, Anna Lee

Released: 1967

Directed by: Gordon Douglas

In Like Flint is a film directed by Gordon Douglas, the sequel to the parody spy film Our Man Flint. It posits an international feminist conspiracy to depose the ruling American patriarchy with ...more
15
Ice Station Zebra is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
Jim Brown, Rock Hudson, Ernest Borgnine

Released: 1968

Directed by: John Sturges

Ice Station Zebra is a 1968 suspense film directed by John Sturges, starring Rock Hudson, Patrick McGoohan, Ernest Borgnine, and Jim Brown. The screenplay by Alistair MacLean, Douglas Heyes, ...more

More Ice Station Zebra 

#12 of 50 The Best Submarine Movies Of All Time #145 of 305 The Best Military Movies Ever Made #26 of 93 The Best Cold War Movies

16
36 Hours is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, Rod Taylor

Released: 1965

Directed by: George Seaton

36 Hours is an American suspense film, based on the short story "Beware of the Dog" by Roald Dahl. The picture stars James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, and Rod Taylor and was directed by ...more
17
The Quiller Memorandum ... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
Alec Guinness, Max von Sydow, George Sanders

Released: 1966

Directed by: Michael Anderson

The Quiller Memorandum is an Anglo-American Eurospy film adapted from the 1965 spy novel The Berlin Memorandum, by Elleston Trevor under the name "Adam Hall", screenplay by Harold ...more

More The Quiller Memorandum 

#1,590 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #85 of 163 The Best Spy Movies #27 of 52 The Best Alec Guinness Movies

18
Deadlier Than the Male ... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
weik added Elke Sommer, Sylva Koscina, Richard Johnson

Released: 1967

Directed by: Ralph Thomas

Deadlier Than the Male is a 1967 British crime and mystery film featuring the character of Bulldog Drummond. It is one of the many take-offs of James Bond produced during the 1960s, but is based ...more
19
That Man from Rio is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
weik added Jean-Paul Belmondo, Françoise Dorléac, Adolfo Celi

Released: 1964

Directed by: Philippe de Broca

That Man From Rio is a 1964 adventure film directed by Philippe de Broca and starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Françoise Dorléac. It was the first film to be made by the French ...more
20
Operation Crossbow is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
Sophia Loren, George Peppard, John Mills

Released: 1965

Directed by: Michael Anderson

Operation Crossbow, later re-released as The Great Spy Mission, is a 1965 British spy thriller and WWII film, directed by Michael Anderson and written by Emeric Pressburger, under the pseudonym ...more

More Operation Crossbow 

#173 of 222 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time #235 of 305 The Best Military Movies Ever Made #107 of 163 The Best Spy Movies

21
Torn Curtain is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
Paul Newman, Julie Andrews, Alfred Hitchcock

Released: 1966

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Torn Curtain is a 1966 American political thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Paul Newman and Julie Andrews. Written by Brian Moore, the film is about an American scientist who ...more

More Torn Curtain 

#73 of 81 The Most Patriotic Movies of All Time #165 of 195 The Best Movies of the '60s #29 of 33 The Scariest Alfred Hitchcock Movies

22
Our Man in Havana is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
Maureen O'Hara, Alec Guinness, Burl Ives

Released: 1959

Directed by: Carol Reed

Our Man in Havana is a 1959 British film shot in CinemaScope, directed and produced by Carol Reed and starring Alec Guinness, Burl Ives, Maureen O'Hara, Ralph Richardson, Noël Coward and ...more
23
The Prize is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
Paul Newman, Britt Ekland, Elke Sommer

Released: 1963

Directed by: Mark Robson

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial The Prize is a 1963 spy film starring Paul Newman, Elke Sommer and Edward G. Robinson. It was directed by Mark Robson, produced by Pandro S. Berman and adapted for the screen by Ernest Lehman ...more
24
The Deadly Affair is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
Lynn Redgrave, Simone Signoret, David Warner

Released: 1966

Directed by: Sidney Lumet

The Deadly Affair is a 1966 British espionage–thriller film, based on John le Carré's first novel Call for the Dead. The film stars James Mason, Harry Andrews, Simone Signoret and ...more
25
The Silencers is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Spy Movies of the 1960s
Dean Martin, Stella Stevens, Cyd Charisse

Released: 1967

Directed by: Phil Karlson

The Silencers is an American spy film spoof motion picture released in 1966 and starring Dean Martin as agent Matt Helm. It is loosely based upon the novel The Silencers by Donald Hamilton, as ...more