People who love suspense or thriller genre films have a special place in their hearts for spy thrillers. As these films take us through some of the most unpredictable stories and have us hooked every second of the film. We see the witty, clever and charming detectives accomplish some of their most daring missions. Our hearts race with the narrative’s unpredictable nature, and we mostly keep praying that these men who take their lives in their hands remain safe and their mission hidden. These films shape our imagination of the realities of a spy’s world. And we can go on watching them for hours without getting bored.
If you are searching for some of the best spy thrillers, check our list of the 12 best spy thrillers, below:
1. The Spy: Mini-Series
The fast-moving drama is an engaging watch based on an Israeli spy, Eli Cohen. He is posted in Syria and gets massive success in his covert operation as he breaks into the top circle of military and administrative officers and passes classified information to Israel. Throughout the series, we keep wondering what if his cover is blown. The role is played by Sacha Baron Cohen, who transitions between his real and Syrian avatar Kamel just as easily as a chameleon, changing its look to adapt to its surroundings. Highly rated by critics and on IMDb, this miniseries on Netflix is one of the best spy thrillers you can stream now.
2. The Courier
The Courier is an old-school spy thriller based on the adventurous acts of a real-life spy, Greville Wynee. The national security agency of the UK approaches a businessman, Greville Wynee, to act as a spy for them as he frequently visits the Soviet Union. The historical drama shows Greville acting as a courier between UK intelligence and a Soviet agent. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Merab Ninidze in prime roles.
3. Operation Finale
Operation Finale is an American espionage drama set in the Cold War era. Mossad agents get intel about a Nazi member and Hitler’s aide, SS officer Adolf Eichmann.They plan a mission to get him back to Israel for his trial. The story unfolds beautifully as the team of agents have their personal conflicts, conflicts amongst themselves and yet they have come together for this mission. It stars Oscar Isaac, Ben Kingsley, Nick Kroll, Haley Lu Richardson, Melanie Laurent and Lior Riaz in prominent roles.
4. The Bridge of Spies
The Bridge of Spies is an old-school Hollywood spy thriller that dates back to the events around the Cold War that were conveniently forgotten by the world. Rudolf Abel, a USSR spy, is caught red-handed in the US. James B.Donovan, an American insurance lawyer, is assigned to fight Abel’s case. Donovan argues that Abel can be used in a prisoner exchange with the USSR and saves his life. He faces humiliation and disgrace for this. However, when Abel’s wife tells Donovan that an American pilot is captured by the Soviets, there seems to be scope for a prisoner exchange that could restore Donovan’s reputation. The Bridge of Spies is directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Tom Hanks as James B.Donovan.
Munich is a revenge spy drama based on the true accounts of the Palestine and Israel conflict. The narrative of the film is based on Israel avenging the death of 11 Israeli players killed by Palestinian terrorists involved in the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. Mossad Agent Avner Kaufman is tasked to carry out the dangerous mission. The gripping entertainer stars Daniel Craig, Eric Bana, Ciaran Hinds, Mathie Amalric and Hanns Zischler in prime roles.
Argo is an American suspense thriller based on the “Canadian Caper” operation. The story follows how US Agent Tony Mendez rescued US embassy staff who escaped Iranian Islamists by hiding in the Canadian Ambassador’s home. He forms a fake film company with a fake crew and dons the hat of a film director. Under the pretense of searching for an ideal location for his film, “Argo” they fly to Iran to rescue the 6 embassy staff. Argo was written and directed by Ben Afflick. In addition to him, the other star cast in the film includes John Goodman, Clea Du Vall, Alan Arkin and Bryan Cranston.
7. Zero Dark Thirty
Zero Dark Thirty is an American thriller story that uncovers what went behind finding the real Osama Bin Laden. The gripping and suspenseful drama shows the military and intelligence officers working side by side for years to locate the target. It summarizes a decade-long manhunt for the perpetrator in a thoughtful manner rather than being just sensational. It stars Jessica Chastain in the prime role. The gripping suspense drama shows you what the best spy thrillers are made of.
8. All the President’s Men
We see two young journalists, Woodward and Bernstein, working diligently on the mysterious case to connect the dots and uncover the truth behind the Watergate scandal. They go through phases of self-doubt, paranoia and courage as they discover influential people’s hands in it. It stars Robert Redford as Woodward and Dustin Hoffman as Bernstein.
Walkyrie is a historical political war thriller film that highlights the discord in the German army in Nazi-ruled Germany. During World War II, senior German army officers set a ploy to assassinate Adolf Hitler and activate Operation Valkyrie to take control of the country. The film stars Tom Cruise as von Stauffenberg, the chief mastermind behind this plan.
10. Fair Game
A CIA agent and her diplomat husband are dis-credited when they blame the Bush administration for manipulating the state intelligence for striking Iraq. This deeply affects their personal and professional lives as they fight the mighty people in the White House in pursuit of the truth. The film stars Naomi Watts and Sean Penn in the central roles.
11. Madras Cafe
Madras Cafe is an Indian action spy thriller based on the events around 1980s and 1990s. An Indian Special Forces Officer, Major Vikram Singh, is recruited by R&AW of the Indian intelligence to disrupt the LTTE in Sri Lanka. But, as he delves deep into his work, he discovers an even bigger conspiracy by the militants to assassinate the then PM, Rajiv Gandhi. The film stars John Abraham, Nargis Fakhri and Rashi Khanna in prime roles.
12. Red Sparrow
Red Sparrow is a fictional spy thriller inspired by a novel of the same name by Jason Matthews. The film is about an officer of Russian intelligence who contacts the CIA to identify a mole who’d been giving the CIA all crucial information. The action-packed film has brilliant performances by Jennifer Lawrence and Charlotte Rampling.
Spy thrillers feed our imagination and curiosity as they awaken our inner detective. We hope you watch the 12 best spy thrillers mentioned above. You’ll thoroughly enjoy them; that’s our promise.