Spies

The Best Spy Movies Based on Books  

Ranker Film
331 votes 42 voters 40 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite spy movies that are based on or inspired by literature.

From secret agents risking their lives to CIA operatives investigating global conspiracies, this list includes information about the best spy movies based on books. Some spy movies based on novels stay true to the source material while other spy films adapted from books create new storylines. Some of the best spy movies based on books have at award-winning directors at the helm.

What sagas will you find on this best spy movies based on books list? Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy has to be near the top. This 2011 Cold War spy thriller was based on John le Carre's novel of the same name. Double agent drama and spies investigating spies are at the heart of the film's mysterious story. Argo is another good spy movie based on a book.

CIA secrets worth killing for are found in The Bourne Identity. Other good spy movies based on books include The Third Man, The Lady VanishesThe Constant Gardener, and of course, Bond films.

Do you have a favorite spy movie based on a book? Vote the best films up to the top of this list and please add any good options we may have missed.

list ordered by
1
From Russia with Love is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
Sean Connery, Robert Shaw, Daniela Bianchi
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
2
Goldfinger is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
Sean Connery, Honor Blackman, Garry Marshall
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
3
The Spy Who Came in from the C... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
Richard Burton, Claire Bloom, Robert Hardy
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
4
Thunderball is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
Sean Connery, Luciana Paluzzi, Claudine Auger
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
5
On Her Majesty's Secret Servic... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
Diana Rigg, Joanna Lumley, Telly Savalas
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
6
The Bourne Supremacy is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Michelle Monaghan
The Bourne Supremacy is a 2004 American-German action and spy film starring Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne character. Though it takes the name of the second Bourne novel, its plot is entirely ...more
7
The Spy Who Loved Me is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
Roger Moore, Barbara Bach, Caroline Munro
The Spy Who Loved Me is the tenth spy film in the James Bond series, and the third to star Roger Moore as the fictional secret agent James Bond. It was directed by Lewis Gilbert and the ...more
8
Argo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
Ben Affleck, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston
Argo is a 2012 American political thriller film directed by Ben Affleck. The film is adapted from U.S. Central Intelligence Agency operative Tony Mendez's book The Master of Disguise and Joshuah ...more
9
The Third Man is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
Orson Welles, Trevor Howard, Joseph Cotten
The Third Man is a 1949 British film noir, directed by Carol Reed and starring Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Orson Welles, and Trevor Howard. It is considered one of the greatest films of all ...more
10
Casino Royale is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
Alessandra Ambrosio, Eva Green, Daniel Craig
Casino Royale is the twenty-first film in the Eon Productions James Bond film series and the first to star Daniel Craig as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. Directed by Martin Campbell and ...more
11
Dr. No is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Jack Lord
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
12
Clear and Present Danger is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
Harrison Ford, Willem Dafoe, James Earl Jones
Clear and Present Danger is a 1994 spy action thriller film directed by Phillip Noyce, based on Tom Clancy's book of the same name. It was preceded by the 1990 film The Hunt for Red October and ...more
13
The Bourne Identity is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
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
14
The Bourne Ultimatum is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Brian Cox
The Bourne Ultimatum is a 2007 American-German action spy thriller film directed by Paul Greengrass loosely based on the Robert Ludlum novel of the same title. The screenplay was written by Tony ...more
15
The Ipcress File is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
Michael Caine, Sue Lloyd, Gordon Jackson
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
16
Secret Agent is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
John Gielgud, Peter Lorre, Robert Young
Secret Agent is a British film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, loosely based on two stories in Ashenden: Or the British Agent by W. Somerset Maugham. The film starred Madeleine Carroll, Peter ...more
17
The 39 Steps is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
Alfred Hitchcock, Madeleine Carroll, Robert Donat
The 39 Steps is a 1935 British thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll. Loosely based on the 1915 adventure novel The Thirty-Nine Steps by John ...more
18
The Hunt for Red October is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
Alec Baldwin, Sean Connery, Tim Curry
The Hunt for Red October is a 1990 American submarine spy-thriller film directed by John McTiernan, based on the 1984 novel by Tom Clancy. In November 1984, the Soviet Union's best submarine ...more
19
Patriot Games is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
Harrison Ford, Samuel L. Jackson, James Earl Jones
Patriot Games is a 1992 action-suspense film directed by Phillip Noyce and based on Tom Clancy's novel of the same name. It is a sequel to the 1990 film The Hunt for Red October, but with ...more
20
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
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
21
The Lady Vanishes is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
Alfred Hitchcock, Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas
The Lady Vanishes is a 1938 British comic thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas and Dame May Whitty. Written by Sidney Gilliat ...more
22
Three Days of the Condor is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Max von Sydow
Three Days of the Condor is a 1975 American political thriller film directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Cliff Robertson, and Max von Sydow. The screenplay by ...more
23
The Constant Gardener is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
Rachel Weisz, Ralph Fiennes, Bill Nighy
The Constant Gardener is a 2005 drama thriller film directed by Fernando Meirelles. The screenplay by Jeffrey Caine is based on the John le Carré novel of the same name. The film follows ...more
24
The Tailor of Panama is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
Pierce Brosnan, Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Radcliffe
The Tailor of Panama is a 2001 Irish-American spy thriller film directed by John Boorman and starring Pierce Brosnan and Geoffrey Rush. Jamie Lee Curtis, Brendan Gleeson, Daniel Radcliffe, ...more
25
Our Man in Havana is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Spy Movies Based on Books
Maureen O'Hara, Alec Guinness, Burl Ives
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