Entertainment

The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives  

Ranker Film
506 votes 145 voters 10.4k views 26 items

When highly trained spies set out to complete secret missions it's hard to know who to trust. The best movies about agents and operatives are action-packed thrillers that bring movie-goers on the edge of their seats. This is a list of the best special agent movies including everything from Point Break to The Bourne Identity to Burn After Reading.

What films will you find on this list of the best movies about agents? The big-screen adaptation of Mission: Impossible helped bring this genre back in the 1990s. Tom Cruise – who has been known to do his own stunts – stars as IMF agent Ethan Hunt in the first exciting film of the ongoing series. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is more of a cerebral thriller full of interest and intrigue. For his The Expendables series, Sylvester Stallone recruited an all-star cast of the best action actors in the business, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Jet Li, and more. Other good films featured on this best spy and secret agent movies list include RED, Spy Game, and The International.

Do you have a favorite spy thriller? Give your favorite movies a thumbs up and please add any exciting films that are missing.

list ordered by
1
The Bourne Identity is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Matt Damon, Clive Owen, Julia Stiles
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
2
Mission: Impossible is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Vanessa Redgrave
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
3
Skyfall is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem
Skyfall is the twenty-third James Bond film produced by Eon Productions. It features Daniel Craig in his third performance as James Bond, and Javier Bardem as Raoul Silva, the film's villain. It ...more
4
Red is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren
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
5
Spy Game is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Brad Pitt, Robert Redford, Charlotte Rampling
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
6
Ronin is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Robert De Niro, Sean Bean, Ron Jeremy
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
7
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Gary Oldman
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a 2011 espionage film directed by Tomas Alfredson. The screenplay was written by Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan, based on the 1974 novel of the same name by ...more
8
North by Northwest is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock, Eva Marie Saint
North by Northwest is a 1959 American spy thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason. The screenplay was written by Ernest Lehman, who ...more
9
Salt is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Salt is a 2010 American action thriller spy film directed by Phillip Noyce, written by Kurt Wimmer, and starring Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Daniel Olbrychski, August Diehl and Chiwetel ...more
10
Homefront is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
James Franco, Winona Ryder, Kate Bosworth
Homefront is a 2013 American action thriller film directed by Gary Fleder and released nationwide in theaters on November 27. Based on Chuck Logan's novel of the same name and adapted into a ...more
11
The Expendables is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis
The Expendables is a 2010 American ensemble action film written by David Callaham and Sylvester Stallone, and directed by Stallone, who also starred in the lead role. The film co-stars Jason ...more
12
A Good Day to Die Hard is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Bruce Willis, Patrick Stewart, Anne Vyalitsyna
This film is a 2013 action thriller film written by Roderick Thorp and Skip Woods and directed by John Moore.
13
The Double is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Richard Gere, Stana Katic, Odette Annable
The Double is a 2011 action-drama film written by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas and directed by Michael Brandt.
14
Red 2 is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren
Red 2 is an American action comedy film and sequel to Red. It was inspired by the limited comic book series of the same name, created by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner, and published by the DC ...more
15
The International is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Naomi Watts, Clive Owen, Ben Whishaw
The International is a 2009 German–American action thriller film directed by Tom Tykwer. The film follows an Interpol agent and an American district attorney who investigate corruption within ...more
16
The Punisher is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
John Travolta, Rebecca Romijn, Kevin Nash
The Punisher is a 2004 American comic book vigilante action film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, starring Thomas Jane as the antihero Frank Castle / The Punisher and John ...more
17
Point Break is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey, Patrick Swayze
Point Break is a 1991 American action film directed by Kathryn Bigelow, starring Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, Lori Petty and Gary Busey. The title refers to the surfing term point break, where ...more
18
The Matador is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Adam Scott
The Matador is a 2005 American-German-Irish-British dark comedy film written and directed by Richard Shepard and starring Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear. The film grossed a total of $12.6 ...more
19
The November Man is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Pierce Brosnan, Olga Kurylenko, Eliza Taylor
November Man is an upcoming spy thriller film based on the novel There Are No Spies by Bill Granger, which is canonically the seventh installment in "The November Man" series of books, ...more
20
Hanna is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana, Saoirse Ronan
Hanna is a 2011 action thriller film that contains prominent fairy tale elements, directed by Joe Wright. The film stars Saoirse Ronan as the title character, a girl raised in the wilderness of ...more
21
Fair Game is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Naomi Watts, Sean Penn, Ty Burrell
Fair Game is a 2010 biographical spy drama film directed by Doug Liman and starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. It is based on Valerie Plame's memoir, Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by ...more
22
Who Am I? is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Jackie Chan, Ed Nelson, Kane Kosugi
Who Am I? is a 1998 Hong Kong action film directed by Benny Chan and Jackie Chan, who also starred in the lead role. The film was released in the Hong Kong on January 17, 1998.
23
MacGruber is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Val Kilmer, Kristen Wiig, Chris Jericho
MacGruber is a 2010 American action comedy film based on the Saturday Night Live sketch of the same name, itself a parody of action-adventure television series MacGyver. Jorma Taccone of the ...more
24
Hobbs & Shaw is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is a 2019 action film directed by David Leitch and written by Chris Morgan, and a spin-off from The Fast and the Furious series. Two years after the ...more
25
Johnny English Strikes Again is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Rowan Atkinson, Olga Kurylenko, Ben Miller
Johnny English Strikes Again is a 2018 action comedy film directed by David Kerr, and the third film in the series. After a cyber-attack reveals the identity of all of the active undercover ...more