80s Movies The Best '80s Spy Movies  

Ranker Film
816 votes 207 voters 6.3k views 34 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite espionage films that were released in the 1980s

The best '80s spy movies feature plenty of thrills, deception, deep cover, and special operations. Spy movies can take two routes - they will either deal with espionage realistically, or through fantasy story telling. Some of the most popular '80s spy movies feature cool gadgets and gear that might not be realistic to use in real life, but make for great film content! 


So what are the greatest ‘80s spy movies? Any discussion of the spy genre has to start with the ultimate fictional spy: James Bond. 007 has been delighting audiences since the 1960s. The ‘80s saw three different Bonds. Sean Connery, often regarded as the best of them all, appeared in his final Bond film,
Never Say Never Again, in 1983. The other two ‘80s Bonds were Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton. Moore played the role well into his fifties, making him the oldest actor to play the super-spy.  

In addition to the ever-popular James Bond films, many of the top ‘80s spy movies centered around Cold War fears and anxieties. The Falcon and the Snowman is a prime example. Starring Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn, the film tells the story of two friends who get caught up in a scheme involving selling secrets to the Soviets.


Vote up the best spy movies from the 1980s, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section! 
list ordered by

1
55 10
For Your Eyes Only is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Roger Moore, Sheena Easton, Charles Dance For Your Eyes Only is the twelfth spy film in the James Bond series, and the fifth to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. It marked the directorial debut of John Glen, who ...more

2
48 12
The Living Daylights is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Timothy Dalton, John Rhys-Davies, J.J. Barry The Living Daylights is the fifteenth entry in the James Bond film series and the first to star Timothy Dalton as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film's title is taken from Ian Fleming's ...more

3
43 12
Octopussy is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Roger Moore, Maud Adams, Louis Jourdan Octopussy is the thirteenth entry in the Eon Productions James Bond film series, and the sixth to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film's title is taken from a short ...more

4
44 13
A View to a Kill is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Christopher Walken, Roger Moore, Grace Jones A View to a Kill is the fourteenth spy film of the James Bond series, and the seventh and last to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. Although the title is adapted from Ian ...more

5
37 13
Licence to Kill is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Benicio del Toro, Timothy Dalton, Talisa Soto Licence to Kill, released in 1989, is the sixteenth entry in the James Bond film series by Eon Productions, and the first one not to use the title of an Ian Fleming story. It is the fifth ...more

6
34 11
Top Secret! is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Val Kilmer, Omar Sharif, Peter Cushing Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Top Secret! is a 1984 action comedy film directed by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker, whose previous picture had been Airplane! It stars Val Kilmer, Lucy Gutteridge, Omar Sharif, ...more

7
31 11
Never Say Never Again is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Sean Connery, Kim Basinger, Rowan Atkinson Never Say Never Again is a 1983 spy film based on the James Bond novel Thunderball, which was previously adapted in 1965 under that name. Unlike the majority of Bond films, Never Say Never Again ...more

8
28 10
The Fourth Protocol is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Pierce Brosnan, Michael Caine, Ned Beatty The Fourth Protocol is a 1987 British Cold War spy film featuring Michael Caine and Pierce Brosnan, based on the novel The Fourth Protocol by Frederick Forsyth.

9
27 13
Remo Williams: The Adventure B... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Anthony Hopkins, Kate Mulgrew, Wilford Brimley Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, also released as Remo: Unarmed and Dangerous, is a 1985 American action-adventure-thriller film directed by Guy Hamilton. The film featured Fred Ward, Joel ...more

10
22 9
Spies Like Us is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Bob Hope Spies Like Us is a 1985 American comedy film directed by John Landis and starring Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Steve Forrest, and Donna Dixon. The film presents the comic adventures of two novice ...more

11
12 6
Little Nikita is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Sidney Poitier, River Phoenix, Loretta Devine Little Nikita is a 1988 American cult drama film directed by Richard Benjamin and starring River Phoenix and Sidney Poitier. The film marks the first collaboration between Phoenix and Poitier.

12
10 5
The Bourne Identity is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Jaclyn Smith, Richard Chamberlain, Denholm Elliott The Bourne Identity is a 1988 television movie adaptation of Robert Ludlum's novel The Bourne Identity. The film was directed by Roger Young for Warner Bros. Television with Richard Chamberlain ...more

13
12 9
The Falcon and the Snowman is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Sean Penn, Timothy Hutton, Michael Ironside The Falcon and the Snowman is a 1985 spy film directed by John Schlesinger about two young American men, Christopher Boyce and Daulton Lee, who sold U.S. security secrets to the Soviet Union. ...more

14
11 8
Gotcha! is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Linda Fiorentino, Anthony Edwards, Alex Rocco Gotcha! is a 1985 comedy-action film, starring Anthony Edwards and Linda Fiorentino and directed by Jeff Kanew, who also directed Anthony Edwards in Revenge of the Nerds in 1984.

15
10 9
The Osterman Weekend is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
John Hurt, Dennis Hopper, Burt Lancaster The Osterman Weekend is a 1983 suspense thriller film directed by Sam Peckinpah, based on the novel of the same name by Robert Ludlum. The film stars Rutger Hauer, John Hurt, Burt Lancaster, ...more

16
9 8
Hopscotch is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Walter Matthau, Sam Waterston, Ned Beatty Hopscotch is a 1980 American film directed by Ronald Neame and produced by Edie Landau and Ely A. Landau. It was written by Bryan Forbes and Brian Garfield, based on Garfield's novel of the same ...more

17
9 9
Invasion U.S.A. is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Chuck Norris, Billy Drago, Eddie Jones Invasion U.S.A. is a 1985 action film made by Cannon Films starring Chuck Norris. It was directed by Joseph Zito. Both Chuck Norris and his brother, Aaron, were involved in the writing. It was ...more

18
11 12
Jumpin' Jack Flash is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Whoopi Goldberg, Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz Jumpin' Jack Flash is a 1986 spy comedy film starring Whoopi Goldberg. The film was directed by Penny Marshall in her theatrical film directorial debut. The film was one of the first to feature ...more

19
10 11
Eye of the Needle is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Donald Sutherland, Bill Nighy, Kate Nelligan Eye of the Needle is a 1981 American spy film directed by Richard Marquand and starring Donald Sutherland and Kate Nelligan. Based on the novel of the same title by Ken Follett, the film is ...more

20
6 7
Target is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Gene Hackman, Matt Dillon, Josef Sommer Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Target is a 1985 film directed by Arthur Penn. It stars Matt Dillon and Gene Hackman.

21
6 8
The Little Drummer Girl is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Diane Keaton, Bill Nighy, Klaus Kinski The Little Drummer Girl is a 1984 American spy film directed by George Roy Hill and adapted from the 1983 novel The Little Drummer Girl by John le Carré. It starred Diane Keaton, Yorgo ...more

22
6 8
Trenchcoat is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Margot Kidder, David Suchet, Jennifer Darling Trenchcoat is a 1983 American action/comedy film starring Margot Kidder and Robert Hays.

23
3 5
The Scarlet Pimpernel is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Ian McKellen, Jane Seymour, Anthony Andrews The Scarlet Pimpernel is a 1982 British romantic adventure film set during the French Revolution. It is based on the novels The Scarlet Pimpernel and Eldorado by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, and ...more

24
7 10
Condorman is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Oliver Reed, Barbara Carrera, Michael Crawford Condorman is a 1981 American adventure/comedy superhero film from Walt Disney Productions starring Michael Crawford, Barbara Carrera and Oliver Reed. Inspired by Robert Sheckley's The Game of X, ...more

25
5 8
Outrageous Fortune is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Bette Midler, George Carlin, Shelley Long Outrageous Fortune is a 1987 American film written by Leslie Dixon, directed by Arthur Hiller, and stars Shelley Long and Bette Midler. The title is taken from Shakespeare's Hamlet. The film was ...more

26
3 7
The Experts is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Brian Doyle-Murray The Experts is a 1989 American comedy film starring John Travolta, Arye Gross and Kelly Preston. It was written by Steven Greene, Eric Alter, and Nick Thiel and directed by Dave Thomas. During ...more

27
3 7
Picasso Trigger is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Roberta Vasquez, Cynthia Brimhall, Hope Marie Carlton Picasso Trigger is a 1988 action adventure film starring Steve Bond, Dona Speir, Hope Marie Carlton, Roberta Vasquez, Cynthia Brimhall, and Harold Diamond. It was written and directed by Andy

28
3 7
The Soldier is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Klaus Kinski, Alberta Watson, Ken Wahl The Soldier is a 1982 American Cold War action film directed by James Glickenhaus and starring Ken Wahl. The film also features Klaus Kinski, Alberta Watson and a cameo by country music ...more

29
2 7
Another Country is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Colin Firth, Rupert Everett, Cary Elwes Another Country is a 1984 British romantic historical drama written by Julian Mitchell, adapted from his play of the same name. Directed by Marek Kanievska, the film stars Rupert Everett and ...more

30
2 7
Real Men is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
John Ritter, Jim Belushi, Barbara Barrie Real Men is a 1987 comedy/science fiction film starring James Belushi and John Ritter as the heroes: suave, womanizing CIA agent Nick Pirandello and weak and ineffectual insurance agent Bob

31
1 6
Hard Ticket to Hawaii is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Cynthia Brimhall, Patty Duffek, Hope Marie Carlton Hard Ticket to Hawaii is a 1987 action adventure film starring Ronn Moss, Dona Speir, Hope Marie Carlton, Cynthia Brimhall, and Harold Diamond.

32
2 8
Best Defense is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Eddie Murphy, Dudley Moore, Kate Capshaw Best Defense is a comedy film starring Dudley Moore and Eddie Murphy. The original music score was composed by Patrick Williams. It was released in 1984 by Paramount Pictures.

33
1 8
Daniel is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Ellen Barkin, Ed Asner, Mandy Patinkin Daniel is a 1983 film which was adapted by E. L. Doctorow from his novel The Book of Daniel. It was directed by Sidney Lumet. The film was based on the life story of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, ...more

34
1 8
Black Eagle is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best '80s Spy Movies
Jean-Claude Van Damme, Sho Kosugi, Kane Kosugi Black Eagle is a 1988 American martial arts film set on the Mediterranean island of Malta.