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The Best Movies About Agents and Operatives

Updated November 27, 2020 979 votes 183 voters 11.9k views35 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.

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  • Skyfall1
    54
    19

    Skyfall

    Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes

    Released2012

    Directed bySam Mendes

    Skyfall is the twenty-third James Bond film produced by Eon Productions. It features Daniel... more on Wikipedia
  • The Bourne Identity2
    57
    22

    The Bourne Identity

    Matt Damon, Clive Owen

    Released2002

    Directed byDoug Liman

    The Bourne Identity is a 2002 American-German action spy film adaptation of Robert Ludlum's... more on Wikipedia
  • Mission: Impossible3
    49
    16

    Mission: Impossible

    Tom Cruise, Jon Voight

    Released1996

    Directed byBrian De Palma

    Mission: Impossible is a 1996 American action spy film directed by Brian De Palma, based on... more on Wikipedia
  • Salt4
    40
    23

    Salt

    Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber

    Released2010

    Directed byPhillip Noyce

    Salt is a 2010 American action thriller spy film directed by Phillip Noyce, written by Kurt... more on Wikipedia
  • Ronin5
    29
    11

    Ronin

    Robert De Niro, Sean Bean

    Released1998

    Directed byJohn Frankenheimer

    Ronin is a 1998 American spy thriller action film directed by John Frankenheimer and starring... more on Wikipedia

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  • Spy Game6
    30
    13

    Spy Game

    Brad Pitt, Robert Redford

    Released2001

    Directed byTony Scott

    Spy Game is a 2001 American spy film directed by Tony Scott and starring Robert Redford and... more on Wikipedia

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  • Red7
    34
    21

    Red

    Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman

    Released2010

    Directed byRobert Schwentke

    Red is a 2010 American action comedy film directed by Robert Schwentke, inspired by the comic... more on Wikipedia
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy8
    28
    15

    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

    Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch

    Released2011

    Directed byTomas Alfredson

    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a 2011 espionage film directed by Tomas Alfredson. The screenplay... more on Wikipedia

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  • Point Break9
    24
    12

    Point Break

    Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey

    Released1991

    Directed byKathryn Bigelow

    Point Break is a 1991 American action film directed by Kathryn Bigelow, starring Patrick... more on Wikipedia

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  • North by Northwest10
    22
    11

    North by Northwest

    Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock

    Released1959

    Directed byAlfred Hitchcock

    North by Northwest is a 1959 American spy thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and... more on Wikipedia

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  • The Expendables11
    21
    13

    The Expendables

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone

    Released2010

    Directed bySylvester Stallone

    The Expendables is a 2010 American ensemble action film written by David Callaham and... more on Wikipedia
  • The Punisher12
    19
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    The Punisher

    John Travolta, Rebecca Romijn

    Released2004

    Directed byJonathan Hensleigh

    The Punisher is a 2004 American comic book vigilante action film based on the Marvel Comics... more on Wikipedia

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  • GoldenEye13
    8
    0

    GoldenEye

    Pierce Brosnan, Famke Janssen

    Released1995

    Directed byMartin Campbell

    GoldenEye is the seventeenth spy film in the James Bond series, and the first to star Pierce... more on Wikipedia

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  • Mr. & Mrs. Smith14
    8
    0

    Mr. & Mrs. Smith

    Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt

    Released2005

    Directed byDoug Liman

    Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a 2005 American action comedy film directed by Doug Liman. Bored... more on Wikipedia

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  • Homefront15
    19
    15

    Homefront

    James Franco, Winona Ryder

    Released2013

    Directed byGary Fleder

    Homefront is a 2013 American action thriller film directed by Gary Fleder and released... more on Wikipedia
  • Goldfinger16
    7
    0

    Goldfinger

    Sean Connery, Honor Blackman

    Released1964

    Directed byGuy Hamilton

    Goldfinger is the third film in the James Bond series and the third to star Sean Connery as... more on Wikipedia

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  • Licence to Kill17
    5
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    Licence to Kill

    Benicio del Toro, Timothy Dalton

    Released1989

    Directed byJohn Glen

    This film, released in 1989, is the sixteenth entry in the James Bond film series by Eon... more on Wikipedia

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  • True Lies18
    7
    0

    True Lies

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Eliza Dushku

    Released1994

    Directed byJames Cameron

    True Lies is a 1994 American action-comedy film written and directed by James Cameron, and... more on Wikipedia

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  • Hanna19
    14
    10

    Hanna

    Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana

    Released2011

    Directed byJoe Wright

    Hanna is a 2011 action thriller film that contains prominent fairy tale elements, directed by... more on Wikipedia

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  • The Matador20
    15
    11

    The Matador

    Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear

    Released2005

    Directed byRichard Shepard

    The Matador is a 2005 American-German-Irish-British dark comedy film written and directed by... more on Wikipedia
  • Mission: Impossible II21
    5
    0

    Mission: Impossible II

    Tom Cruise, Anthony Hopkins

    Released2000

    Directed byJohn Woo

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  • The Ipcress File22
    1
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    The Ipcress File

    Michael Caine, Sue Lloyd

    Released1965

    Directed bySidney J. Furie

    The Ipcress File is a 1965 British espionage film directed by Sidney J. Furie, starring... more on Wikipedia

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  • The Expendables 223
    2
    2

    The Expendables 2

    Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham

    Released2012

    Directed bySimon West

    The Expendables 2 is a 2012 American action film directed by Simon West, and the sequel to the... more on Wikipedia
  • RED 224
    13
    12

    RED 2

    Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bruce Willis

    Released2013

    Directed byDean Parisot

    Red 2 is an American action comedy film and sequel to Red. It was inspired by the limited... more on Wikipedia
  • The International25
    15
    14

    The International

    Naomi Watts, Clive Owen

    Released2009

    Directed byTom Tykwer

    The International is a 2009 German–American action thriller film directed by Tom Tykwer. The... more on Wikipedia

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