Entertainment

The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives 

Ranker Film
Updated March 9, 2020 753 votes 170 voters 11.5k views 34 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

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
Skyfall is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem

Released: 2012

Directed by: Sam Mendes

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

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3
Mission: Impossible is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and 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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4
Spy Game is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and 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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5
Salt is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor

Released: 2010

Directed by: Phillip Noyce

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

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6
Red is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
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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7
Ronin is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and 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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8
Tinker Tailor Soldier Sp... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Gary Oldman

Released: 2011

Directed by: Tomas Alfredson

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
9
North by Northwest is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock, Eva Marie Saint

Released: 1959

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

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

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10
Point Break is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey, Patrick Swayze

Released: 1991

Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow

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

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11
The Expendables is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis

Released: 2010

Directed by: Sylvester Stallone

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

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12
The Punisher is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
John Travolta, Rebecca Romijn, Kevin Nash

Released: 2004

Directed by: Jonathan Hensleigh

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

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13
Homefront is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
James Franco, Winona Ryder, Kate Bosworth

Released: 2013

Directed by: Gary Fleder

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
14
The International is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Naomi Watts, Clive Owen, Ben Whishaw

Released: 2009

Directed by: Tom Tykwer

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
15
Hanna is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana, Saoirse Ronan

Released: 2011

Directed by: Joe Wright

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

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16
GoldenEye is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Jody added Pierce Brosnan, Famke Janssen, Judi Dench

Released: 1995

Directed by: Martin Campbell

GoldenEye is the seventeenth spy film in the James Bond series, and the first to star Pierce Brosnan as the fictional MI6 officer James Bond. The film was directed by Martin Campbell and is the ...more

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17
Red 2 is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren

Released: 2013

Directed by: Dean Parisot

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
18
A Good Day to Die Hard ... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Bruce Willis, Patrick Stewart, Anne Vyalitsyna

Released: 2013

Directed by: John Moore

This film is a 2013 action thriller film written by Roderick Thorp and Skip Woods and directed by John Moore.

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19
Goldfinger is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Jody added 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

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20
Licence to Kill is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Jody added Benicio del Toro, Timothy Dalton, Talisa Soto

Released: 1989

Directed by: John Glen

This film, 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 consecutive ...more

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21
The Double is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Richard Gere, Stana Katic, Odette Annable

Released: 2011

Directed by: Michael Brandt

The Double is a 2011 action-drama film written by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas and directed by Michael Brandt.
22
Mission: Impossible II ... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Jody added Tom Cruise, Anthony Hopkins, Thandie Newton

Released: 2000

Directed by: John Woo

Mission: Impossible 2 (also stylized as Mission: Impossible II and abbreviated as M:I-2) is a 2000 American action spy film directed by John Woo, and the second film in the Mission: Impossible ...more

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23
The November Man is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Pierce Brosnan, Olga Kurylenko, Eliza Taylor

Released: 2014

Directed by: Roger Donaldson

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
24
Mr. & Mrs. Smith is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Jody added Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Morrison

Released: 2005

Directed by: Doug Liman

Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a 2005 American action comedy film directed by Doug Liman. Bored upper-middle class married coupleJohn (Brad Pitt) and Jane Smith (Angelina Jolie) learn that they are ...more

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25
True Lies is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives
Jody added Arnold Schwarzenegger, Eliza Dushku, Jamie Lee Curtis

Released: 1994

Directed by: James Cameron

True Lies is a 1994 American action-comedy film written and directed by James Cameron, and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis in the lead roles with Tom Arnold, Bill Paxton, ...more

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