100 Best spy movies of all time

100 Best spy movies of all time

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By: Brianna Zigler
StudioCanal

100 best spy movies of all time

Since the silent era of film, spy films have been offering up a certain kind of escapism for movie-going audiences. Developing from the literary genre as early as the late 1800s, the first true piece of spy literature was a serial entitled “The Great War in 1897” by William Le Queux. The success of the serial inspired various other authors, such as Rudyard Kipling, to venture into this new written territory. From the success of the written works, spy films began as simple reenactments of real-life events in war, and increasing international tensions in the early 20th century laid the groundwork for the spy genre to become particularly successful, peak with World War I, then reach a lull.

Of course, spy films eventually saw a revival with the Nazi scourge in the 1940s, and these Nazi espionage films led to the classic Bond films, paving the way for modern blockbuster features like the “Mission Impossible” and “Bourne” series that many know and love today (although, the “Mission Impossible” series was actually borne out of a 1960s television series of the same name). And nowadays, the mystery, action, and thrills of spy movies can cross more genres; from comedies, to fantasy films, to biopics and superhero flicks, the excitement of espionage on the silver screen is not limited to solely the spy genre itself.

So, Stacker compiled data on all spy movies to come up with a Stacker score—a weighted index split evenly between IMDb and Metacritic scores. To qualify, the film had to have a Metascore and have at least 2,500 votes. Ties were broken by Metascore and further ties were broken by IMDb user rating. Every film on the list has been considered according to the cinematic history and development of spy movies. Starting at number 100, here are the best spy movies of all time.

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Warner Bros.

#100. Body of Lies (2008)

- Director: Ridley Scott
- Stacker score: 71
- Metascore: 57
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 128 min

In a plot to lure and capture a dangerous terrorist, a CIA agent crafts a fake terrorist organization, as he collaborates with a master strategist, all while keeping his actions hidden from the head of Jordanian intelligence. The action-thriller is based on author David Ignatius’s novel of the same name.

Columbia Pictures

#99. Salt (2010)

- Director: Phillip Noyce
- Stacker score: 71
- Metascore: 65
- IMDb user rating: 6.4
- Runtime: 100 min

A veteran CIA officer is accused of being a Russian spy and is forced to go on the run, using her years of training and experience to elude those on her tail. But in her efforts to prove herself innocent, she further implicates herself, causing her to question her own identity. The Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw praised the film as being “pacy, smart, subversive and knocked out with such verve and attack that you're not in the least bit bothered by how far-fetched it all is.”

Les Productions Artistes Associés

#98. Moonraker (1979)

- Director: Lewis Gilbert
- Stacker score: 71
- Metascore: 66
- IMDb user rating: 6.3
- Runtime: 126 min

The 11th “James Bond” installment sends 007 into space, as he investigates the seizing of an American space shuttle. This leads him and his beautiful CIA agent accomplice to the shuttle’s owner, a mysterious man with a villainous plan for the world at large. The studio originally intended to film an adaptation of Ian Fleming’s Bond novel “For Your Eyes Only” next, but ended up choosing “Moonraker” due to the success of “Star Wars.”

TaliaFilm II Productions

#97. Never Say Never Again (1983)

- Director: Irvin Kershner
- Stacker score: 71
- Metascore: 68
- IMDb user rating: 6.1
- Runtime: 134 min

Though an uncharacteristic mishap during routine training exercise at first brings M to believe 007 is finally past his prime, James Bond is once again forced to tussle with the nefarious criminal organization SPECTRE, when a group of its members steals nuclear missiles from the U.S. military. This was the last film in a seven-film run as Bond for actor Sean Connery.

BBC Films

#96. Shadow Dancer (2012)

- Director: James Marsh
- Stacker score: 71
- Metascore: 69
- IMDb user rating: 6.0
- Runtime: 101 min

When an IRA member is arrested after a failed terrorist attack in 1990s Belfast, she must choose between spying on her comrades for the government, or being sent to prison and leaving her young son. Andrea Riseborough was praised in particular for her leading performance, as described by critic Walter Addiego: “The film would not work nearly as well without Riseborough's fine performance. Collette is compelled to adopt an impassive mask, but the depths of sadness and pain she endures are unmistakable.”

United Artists

#95. Octopussy (1983)

- Director: John Glen
- Stacker score: 71
- Metascore: 63
- IMDb user rating: 6.6
- Runtime: 131 min

The 13th film in the “James Bond” saga, this installment sees 007 attempting to solve the murder of agent 009, killed mysteriously while holding a fake Faberge egg in East Germany. The trail leads our secret agent to India and a traveling circus—or is it a cover for something else? Though the plot of the film is original, the title (which also serves as the name of Maud Adams’s character) comes from a short story in a collection from “Bond” author Ian Fleming, entitled “Octopussy and the Living Daylights.”

Warner Bros.

#94. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

- Director: Guy Ritchie
- Stacker score: 71
- Metascore: 56
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 116 min

Based on the 1964 television show of the same name, this Guy Ritchie film stars Armie Hammer and Henry Cavill as a KGB agent and a CIA agent, respectively, forced to work together in order to stop a secretive criminal organization from using nuclear weapons to purposefully disrupt tensions during the Cold War. A sequel is currently in the works, the prospect of which excited critic James Berardinelli, who wrote in his review “that is one of those rare instances when a sequel wouldn't just be warranted—it would be welcomed.”

Warner Bros.

#93. The Informant! (2009)

- Director: Steven Soderbergh
- Stacker score: 72
- Metascore: 66
- IMDb user rating: 6.4
- Runtime: 108 min

When a star employee at an agricultural corporation suddenly decides to become a whistleblower to the FBI for the company’s price-fixing schemes, his own secrets, schemes, and instabilities derail his tattle-taling “heroism.” The film is based on the true story of business executive Mark Whitacre, whose exploits were detailed in the 2000 book of the same name by Kurt Eichenwald.

Associated General Films

#92. The Eagle Has Landed (1976)

- Director: John Sturges
- Stacker score: 72
- Metascore: 61
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Runtime: 123 min

This World War II film follows a group of Nazis scheming to kidnap Britain’s prime minister, who disguise themselves as Polish paratroopers in England in order to do so. An all-star cast of Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, Robert Duvall, and Donald Pleasence lead this film adaptation of the suspense novel of the same name by Jack Higgins.

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87Eleven

#91. Atomic Blonde (2017)

- Director: David Leitch
- Stacker score: 72
- Metascore: 63
- IMDb user rating: 6.7
- Runtime: 115 min

The MI6’s most elite spy travels to Berlin, mere days before the fall of the Berlin Wall, to investigate the murder of one of her own and retrieve an important dossier, all while taking down a ring of ruthless double agents. Starring Charlize Theron as the seductive and deadly Lorraine Broughton, the actress performed all of her own brutal stunts which required two months of five-hour-a-day training.

Argos Films

#90. Until the End of the World (1991)

- Director: Wim Wenders
- Stacker score: 72
- Metascore: 63
- IMDb user rating: 6.7
- Runtime: 158 min

A man on the run for stealing the prototype of a secret scientific project gets wrapped up with a woman named Claire, who joins the hunt across Europe for the mysterious “Sam” after he continues to double-cross her. The film was poorly received by critics and the box office alike upon initial release, but has since seen a reappraisal, especially with its nearly five-hour-long cut restored in 4K and released in 2014. Critic Sam Weisberg reflected on the extended cut, writing, “before, one left the theater befuddled; one now leaves the theater equally befuddled but also moved, even genuinely disturbed.”

Eon Productions

#89. You Only Live Twice (1967)

- Director: Lewis Gilbert
- Stacker score: 72
- Metascore: 61
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Runtime: 117 min

The fifth James Bond feature follows the famous MI6 agent, played by Sean Connery, as he travels to Japan. There, he investigates a mysterious spacecraft that has captured space capsules from Russia and America—seemingly, in an attempt to bring the two countries to war. The screenplay was written by acclaimed children’s author Roald Dahl, who wrote such beloved tales as “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and “The BFG.”

Universal Pictures

#88. Cloak & Dagger (1984)

- Director: Richard Franklin
- Stacker score: 72
- Metascore: 64
- IMDb user rating: 6.6
- Runtime: 101 min

A neglected 11-year-old boy finds solace in video games and his imaginary friend—a secret agent, who comes in handy when the boy accidentally gets his hands on some real-life spy intel and is forced to go on the run. The film is the second cinematic adaptation of Cornell Woolrich’s short story “The Boy Who Cried Murder,” the first being 1949’s “The Window,” directed by Ted Tetzlaff.

Fourth Protocol

#87. The Fourth Protocol (1987)

- Director: John Mackenzie
- Stacker score: 72
- Metascore: 64
- IMDb user rating: 6.6
- Runtime: 119 min

A recently demoted British spy, played by Michael Caine, accidentally uncovers a plot by a KGB agent to build and detonate a bomb in England and blame it on Americans. Now, he requires the help of superiors he is still at odds with in order to stop the plot. The film is based on the Frederick Forsyth novel of the same name, and was praised by Roger Ebert as being “first-rate.”

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Summit Entertainment

#86. RED (2010)

- Director: Robert Schwentke
- Stacker score: 72
- Metascore: 60
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Runtime: 111 min

A retired CIA agent returns to the fold after an attempt on his life by a group of hit men, reassembling his old team and uncovering a massive, life-threatening conspiracy. The film is loosely based on the comic book series of the same name, and received a nomination for Best Musical or Comedy Film at the 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

Paramount Pictures

#85. Mission: Impossible (1996)

- Director: Brian De Palma
- Stacker score: 72
- Metascore: 59
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 110 min

The first installment in the classic Tom Cruise-led action spy series sees his character, Ethan Hunt, accused of the murder of his own mentor as he becomes a fugitive and is forced to break into a CIA building in order to retrieve a document that proves his innocence. It was the only “Mission Impossible” film to be directed by the legendary Brian De Palma, and was universally loathed by the original TV show’s cast, despite the film’s success.

KrautPack Entertainment

#84. Snowden (2016)

- Director: Oliver Stone
- Stacker score: 72
- Metascore: 58
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 134 min

Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the titular CIA whistleblower, the film tracks Snowden’s path from a top computer security expert to exposing the government’s plans to track digital communication of American citizens. Along with Gordon-Levitt, the film features an ensemble cast including Shailene Woodley, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, and Lakeith Stanfield. Critic Peter Bradshaw described the film as “a tense, taut drama with heart-stopping moments.”

Paramount Pictures

#83. Allied (2016)

- Director: Robert Zemeckis
- Stacker score: 72
- Metascore: 60
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 124 min

During a mission in Casablanca in 1942, two undercover World War II operatives meet and fall in love, hoping to start a new life together—but their plans are tested by the war. The film stars Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard as the leading lovebirds, and was praised by critic Sam Adams as being “technically immaculate from stem to stern.”

Stratus Film Co.

#82. The Matador (2005)

- Director: Richard Shepard
- Stacker score: 73
- Metascore: 65
- IMDb user rating: 6.7
- Runtime: 96 min

When traveling salesman Danny meets contract killer Julian at a dive bar in Mexico, the two become friends and form an unlikely bond—but when Julian, desperate, shows up at Danny’s house months later asking for help, the two of them are flung into a series of events that changes their lives. Pierce Brosnan was praised for his performance as Julian, nominated for a Saturn Award and a Golden Globe.

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Warner Bros.

#81. Michael Collins (1996)

- Director: Neil Jordan
- Stacker score: 73
- Metascore: 60
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 133 min

Based on the titular real-life Irish revolutionary and patriot, the film centers on Michael Collins leading the Irish Republican Army in its battle for the country’s independence from Britain—until fear forces him to negotiate with the enemy. The film received two Academy Award nominations, for Best Cinematography and Best Original Dramatic Score, and lead actor Liam Neeson was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama.

Kings Road Entertainment

#80. Eye of the Needle (1981)

- Director: Richard Marquand
- Stacker score: 73
- Metascore: 61
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 112 min

Donald Sutherland stars as a German spy, who’s just retrieved information while undercover for Hitler on Britain’s D-Day plans. On his way home from England, however, he becomes stranded on an island with a woman—and her disabled husband—who begins to fall for this ruthless enemy. Roger Ebert wrote that he “admired the movie” noting that “it was made with quiet confidence.”

Granada Films

#79. Horror Express (1972)

- Director: Eugenio Martín
- Stacker score: 73
- Metascore: 68
- IMDb user rating: 6.5
- Runtime: 88 min

A British anthropologist aboard the Trans-Siberian Express with his newest specimen unwittingly becomes a part of a mysterious conspiracy, as his travel from China back home to Europe is plagued by passengers turning up dead. The film was led by performances from famous horror actors Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, and was made on a low budget of only $300,000.

Mace Neufeld Productions

#78. Patriot Games (1992)

- Director: Phillip Noyce
- Stacker score: 73
- Metascore: 64
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Runtime: 117 min

A sequel to the film “The Hunt for Red October,” Harrison Ford takes over for Alec Baldwin as CIA agent Jack Ryan, whose interference with an IRA assassination causes him and his family to be targeted by one of the terrorists who committed the attack. Both films are adaptations of the popular Tom Clancy novels.

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Gaumont

#77. OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (2006)

- Director: Michel Hazanavicius
- Stacker score: 73
- Metascore: 62
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 99 min

This French parody of spy films stars Jean Dujardin as the titular OSS 117, who is tasked with investigating the disappearance of a fellow agent and humorously uncovers an entire international conspiracy—while undercover as a wholesale chicken company head. Though the film is based on Jean Bruce’s serious “OSS 117” novel series, the story is adapted as a comedy.

TPS Company

#76. The Front Line (2011)

- Director: Jang Hoon
- Stacker score: 73
- Metascore: 59
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 133 min

This cinematic account of the Korean War depicts the final battle between the North and the South, as a ceasefire has been declared but the border between the nations has yet to be determined. Though it didn’t end up making the shortlist, South Korea selected the film as its submission for the 84th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. Critic V.A. Musetto described the film as “a potent anti-war movie with breathtaking battle sequences.”

Eon Productions

#75. Thunderball (1965)

- Director: Terence Young
- Stacker score: 74
- Metascore: 64
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Runtime: 130 min

The fourth film in the Bond series follows 007 as he travels to the beautiful Bahamas, sent to retrieve a couple of stolen nuclear warheads from the terrorist group SPECTRE, which is threatening to detonate if they don’t receive 100 million pounds in diamonds. The film received positive reviews but was at the center of an infamous, 50-year-long legal dispute between author Ian Fleming and producer Kevin McClory.

Paramount Pictures

#74. The Hunt for Red October (1990)

- Director: John McTiernan
- Stacker score: 74
- Metascore: 58
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 135 min

An adaptation of the eponymous Tom Clancy novel, Sean Connery stars as Marko Ramius, the captain of a Soviet submarine named “Red October” who abandons his directive and heads to America, where CIA agent Jack Ryan fears Raimus may have something underhanded planned for the country. The film was the first in a series starring Clancy’s Jack Ryan character.

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Universal Pictures

#73. Spy Game (2001)

- Director: Tony Scott
- Stacker score: 74
- Metascore: 63
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 126 min

Robert Redford and Brad Pitt star in this action thriller concerning a CIA operative just about to retire, who discovers that, not only has his protege been taken prisoner in China, but that he has been sentenced to die and the CIA is considering allowing it. Critic Peter Canavase called it “a neatly plotted espionage thriller.”

Paramount Pictures

#72. Mission: Impossible III (2006)

- Director: J.J. Abrams
- Stacker score: 75
- Metascore: 66
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Runtime: 126 min

From sci-fi director J.J. Abrams, the third “Mission Impossible” installment follows agent Ethan Hunt, who has retired from active duty, until a ruthless arms dealer emerges as a major threat and he must protect his girlfriend, Julia. At the time, the film was the most well-received of the “Mission Impossible” movies, and was the feature directorial debut for Abrams.

Universal Pictures

#71. Despicable Me 2 (2013)

- Directors: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
- Stacker score: 75
- Metascore: 62
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 98 min

Supervillain Gru and his squad of minions abandon their life of crime, in this sequel to the well-received family film. As Gru struggles to raise his three adoptive daughters Agnes, Edith, and Margo, he is called upon by the Anti-Villain League to stop the heist of an emerging new supervillain. Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers praised the film as being “irresistible fun.”

Twentieth Century Fox

#70. True Lies (1994)

- Director: James Cameron
- Stacker score: 75
- Metascore: 63
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 141 min

Unbeknownst to his family, salesman Harry Tasker is an undercover operative for the U.S. government, and is forced to fix his strained marriage while saving his wife and himself from an Islamic jihadist. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis, the movie was an awards winner. Curtis nabbed Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globes along with Best Actress at the Saturn Awards. Director James Cameron also won a Saturn Award for Best Director.

Aspen Film Society

#69. Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982)

- Director: Carl Reiner
- Stacker score: 75
- Metascore: 67
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Runtime: 88 min

This parody of noir films follows Steve Martin as a detective hired to investigate the freak death of a famous cheese maker, whose daughter believes he was murdered over his enviable recipes. The film incorporates clips from various classic films with various famous actors, weaving them together as part of a brand-new story.

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Hemdale

#68. The Falcon and the Snowman (1985)

- Director: John Schlesinger
- Stacker score: 75
- Metascore: 68
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Runtime: 131 min

A recent hire for the CIA becomes disillusioned after seeing a less admirable side of the American government, and he decides to sell the documents he finds to the Russians in a half-baked scheme. The film is an adaptation of the book “The Falcon and the Snowman: A True Story of Friendship and Espionage” by Robert Lindsey, which is based on a true story.

Dune Entertainment

#67. The East (2013)

- Director: Zal Batmanglij
- Stacker score: 75
- Metascore: 68
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Runtime: 116 min

An undercover agent is tasked with infiltrating a group of ecoterrorists, but her association with the group causes her to start sympathizing with the enemy—and falling for one of its members. The film was produced by directors Ridley Scott and Tony Scott, and was described by critic Myles Aronowitz as “a slick, grungy espionage thriller so in tune with the times it's almost uncanny.”

Entertainment One

#66. Official Secrets (2019)

- Director: Gavin Hood
- Stacker score: 75
- Metascore: 63
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 112 min

This docu-drama tells the real-life story of whistleblower Katharine Gun, a British intelligence specialist who, in 2003, comes into possession of a memo which details a plan between the U.S. and the U.K. to gather information on U.N. Security Council members in order to blackmail them. Critic Andrea Gronvall’s review of the film praises Keira Knightley’s lead performance in particular, noting that “Knightley shines brightest, in a performance that balances conviction and soul baring, and is all the more genuine for its lack of showiness.”

Haishang Films

#65. Lust, Caution (2007)

- Director: Ang Lee
- Stacker score: 75
- Metascore: 61
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 157 min

An erotic thriller from Ang Lee, the film follows a World War II secret agent sent on a mission to seduce and kill a Japanese government official for Shanghai’s puppet government—that is, until she finds herself falling in love with the man she was sent to murder. Lee won his second Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival for this film, the first being for “Brokeback Mountain.”

Parkes/Lasker productions

#64. Sneakers (1992)

- Director: Phil Alden Robinson
- Stacker score: 75
- Metascore: 65
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 126 min

A computer hacker and his ragtag team of security specialists are blackmailed by two NSA agents into stealing a newly invented code-breaking device. The device’s highly effective capacities lead them to discover that the intelligence agents who approached them aren’t all that they seem, and the team must save both the world and themselves. The film features an ensemble cast including Robert Redford, Dan Aykroyd, Sidney Poitier, River Phoenix, and Ben Kingsley.

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River Road Entertainment

#63. Fair Game (2010)

- Director: Doug Liman
- Stacker score: 76
- Metascore: 69
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Runtime: 108 min

When a wife and mother leading a double life as a CIA operative has her identity leaked, her family and others become endangered and her life begins to undo itself. The film stars Naomi Watts and Sean Penn in the lead roles and was based on two books: “Fair Game,” a memoir by Valerie Plane and “The Politics of Truth,” a memoir by Joseph C. Wilson.

Miramax

#62. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)

- Director: George Clooney
- Stacker score: 76
- Metascore: 67
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Runtime: 113 min

A successful producer for television game shows leads a double life as an assassin for the CIA, and purports to have a body count of 33—or at least, that’s what he claims is true. The movie is based on the real-life allegations/confessions by game-show host Chuck Barris, and though the CIA has denied ever having recruited him, some still believe his wild stories could be true.

Universal Pictures

#61. Charlie Wilson's War (2007)

- Director: Mike Nichols
- Stacker score: 76
- Metascore: 67
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Runtime: 102 min

This bio-drama is based on the real-life story of U.S. Representative Charlie Wilson, whose attempts to provide assistance to the rebels in Afghanistan fighting the Soviets in the 1980s, through the program Operation Cyclone, led to the end of the Soviet Union, along with the Cold War. The film stars Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Philip Seymour Hoffman and was nominated for five Golden Globes. Hoffman garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Twentieth Century Fox

#60. Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)

- Director: Matthew Vaughn
- Stacker score: 76
- Metascore: 60
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 129 min

Lowlife British teen Gary “Eggsy” Unwin never knew his father, but when he’s suddenly recruited by the underground spy organization that employed his dad in London, his unrealized potential is put to the test by an international threat. The movie features an infamous church scene in which a mass of people are absurdly and comically slaughtered by Colin Firth’s character Harry Hart, set to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” and shot to look like one long, nearly continuous take.

Wildwood Enterprises

#59. Three Days of the Condor (1975)

- Director: Sydney Pollack
- Stacker score: 76
- Metascore: 63
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 117 min

When quiet CIA codebreaker Joe Turner arrives to work one day to find all of his coworkers slaughtered, he discovers that the higher-ups he goes to for help were in on the murders. With a ruthless hitman tailing him, he must figure out why the agency is out to get him. The success of the Robert Redford-fronted film eventually spawned a TV series remake in 2018.

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Eon Productions

#58. GoldenEye (1995)

- Director: Martin Campbell
- Stacker score: 76
- Metascore: 65
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 130 min

In Pierce Brosnan’s first turn as the famous Agent 007, he is tasked with retrieving a powerful satellite system that could destroy the world, and which has fallen into the possession of Agent 006—his former ally, gone rogue. The film was the first in the Bond series to use CGI.

Israeli Film Fund

#57. Walk on Water (2004)

- Director: Eytan Fox
- Stacker score: 76
- Metascore: 65
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 103 min

In this Israeli drama film, a Mossad agent is tasked with tracking down and killing an elderly ex-Nazi officer who might still be alive, and befriends the man’s grandson under the guise of a tourist. As they set out on a tour of Israel, the agent’s values are challenged by his new friend. Critic Dana Stevens of The New York Times writes that “this movie's quiet intelligence sneaks up on you, marking the director as a talent to watch.”

Gemini Films

#56. Marcel Proust's Time Regained (1999)

- Director: Raoul Ruiz
- Stacker score: 77
- Metascore: 72
- IMDb user rating: 6.7
- Runtime: 169 min

As famous French novelist Marcel Proust lies on his deathbed, he looks at old photographs to revel in the happy memories of his past. Soon the fictitious characters of his stories begin to intersect with his recollections, overlapping the real and imaginary as life and art combine. The film is an adaptation of Marcel Proust’s final volume of “In Search of Lost Time.”

Gershwin-Kastner Productions

#55. Where Eagles Dare (1968)

- Director: Brian G. Hutton
- Stacker score: 77
- Metascore: 63
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 158 min

When an American general is captured and held prisoner at a nearly impenetrable Bavarian castle during World War II, a group of Allied soldiers must disguise themselves as Nazis in order to save him—but soon they discover there’s a traitor among them. Based on author Alistair MacLean’s novel of the same name, the film differs from its source material in its focus on violence.

Kingsmere Properties

#54. Top Secret! (1984)

- Directors: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker
- Stacker score: 77
- Metascore: 68
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 90 min

This slapstick spy movie parody from the guys who brought you “Airplane!” stars Val Kilmer as an American rock and roll heartthrob who travels to East Germany for a concert performance, and becomes embroiled in an underground resistance movement. He must rescue the father of one of its members. The film was Val Kilmer’s very first acting credit.

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Lionsgate

#53. A Most Wanted Man (2014)

- Director: Anton Corbijn
- Stacker score: 78
- Metascore: 73
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Runtime: 122 min

Based on John le Carré’s novel of the same name, this espionage thriller centers on a covert team for the German government tracking potential terrorists, who follow a Chechen Muslim’s movements into Hamburg as he is suspected of helping terrorists. The film was the last film featuring actor Philip Seymour Hoffman that was released before his death in 2014.

CJ E&M Film Financing & Investment Entertainment & Comics

#52. The Spy Gone North (2018)

- Director: Yoon Jong-bin
- Stacker score: 78
- Metascore: 69
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 137 min

A South Korean NSA agent must pose as a businessman in order to infiltrate a nuclear facility in North Korea, in order to obtain information about North Korea’s nuclear program. The movie is based loosely on the real-life story of double agent Park Chae-seo, who met then-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

Twentieth Century Fox

#51. X-Men: First Class (2011)

- Director: Matthew Vaughn
- Stacker score: 78
- Metascore: 65
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 131 min

The first film in the prequel saga of young X-Men, this installment is set during the Cuban Missile Crisis and follows Professor Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto) as they first meet—and eventually fall apart. The pair brings together a band of other young mutants who are soon tasked with stopping another mutant bent on starting nuclear war. The film’s director, Matthew Vaughn, took inspiration from James Bond, and wanted it to “feel like a ‘60s ‘Bond’ film.”

Mace Neufeld Productions

#50. Clear and Present Danger (1994)

- Director: Phillip Noyce
- Stacker score: 79
- Metascore: 74
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Runtime: 141 min

The sequel to “Patriot Games,” this installment in the Jack Ryan saga sees the famous CIA agent become acting deputy director after his admiral is diagnosed with cancer. Jack is soon wrapped up in the case of a businessman murdered on a yacht who has links to drug dealers. It was the last Jack Ryan film to feature Harrison Ford in the role as Ryan.

Lucasfilm

#49. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

- Director: Gareth Edwards
- Stacker score: 79
- Metascore: 65
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 133 min

In the first “Star Wars Story” spinoff film, a young woman named Jyn Erso—whose scientist father was kidnapped when she was young and forced to become an engineer for the Death Star—teams up with a spy and a band of resistance fighters to find her father and retrieve the plans for the galaxy’s most powerful weapon. The film received two Academy Award nominations, in Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Mixing.

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Universal Pictures

#48. Breach (2007)

- Director: Billy Ray
- Stacker score: 80
- Metascore: 74
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Runtime: 110 min

When low level FBI surveillance expert Eric O’Neil is promoted to work with the renowned senior agent Robert Hanssen, he is under the impression that it's an investigation into Hanssen’s sexual habits. But really, he’s being tasked with finding proof that Hanssen is a traitor and double agent for Russia. The film is based on the real-life story of Hanssen, who was convicted of spying on the United States for the Soviet Union and Russia for over 20 years.

Twentieth Century Fox

#47. Spy (2015)

- Director: Paul Feig
- Stacker score: 80
- Metascore: 75
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Runtime: 120 min

In this comedy spy film starring Melissa McCarthy and Rose Byrne, a desk-working CIA analyst named Susan plays second fiddle to a real agent. But when her agent ends up assassinated, Susan finesses her way into an undercover job to capture his killer and enact revenge. The film was nominated for both Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy and Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy for Melissa McCarthy at the Golden Globes.

Raindog Films

#46. Eye in the Sky (2015)

- Director: Gavin Hood
- Stacker score: 81
- Metascore: 73
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 102 min

When a colonel and a lieutenant general order a drone strike on suicide bombers in Kenya, a young girl winds up in the kill zone, prompting an international dispute over the moral and ethical implications of drone warfare. The film was the final live-action appearance for actor Alan Rickman, who died in January the following year.

Paramount Pictures

#45. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)

- Director: Brad Bird
- Stacker score: 81
- Metascore: 73
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 132 min

In the fourth “Mission Impossible” installment, Ethan Hunt is implicated in a terrorist attack on the Kremlin, leading to the entire IMF agency being disavowed by the United States government. Ethan is forced to regain the good graces of the government and prevent a second attack, aided by a suspect group of IMF fugitives. Critic David Edelstein praised the film as being both “nonsensical” and “wonderful.”

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Universal Pictures

#44. The Bourne Identity (2002)

- Director: Doug Liman
- Stacker score: 81
- Metascore: 68
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 119 min

In the first film of the Bourne series, a man named Jason Bourne recovers after being stranded in the middle of the ocean. He suffers from amnesia, but his apparent grasp of a set of very dangerous skills leads him to believe his past is less than savory. His quest to uncover his identity is marred by assassins on his tail. The film is adapted from the novel of the same by Robert Ludlum.

Beijing Film Studio

#43. Red Cliff (2008)

- Director: John Woo
- Stacker score: 81
- Metascore: 73
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 148 min

In the Han Dynasty’s final days, the prime minister convinces Emperor Han to unite China by declaring war on rebellious provinces, but the southern warlords form an alliance to fight back against Han’s forces. This Chinese film is loosely based on the real-life Battle of Red Cliffs which took place in A.D. 208.

Shin Corporation

#42. The Emperor and the Assassin (1998)

- Director: Kaige Chen
- Stacker score: 81
- Metascore: 75
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 162 min

This historical romance set in pre-unified China tells the story of the King of Qin, who sends his concubine to a rival kingdom to find an assassin for the emperor’s political plot. The king’s cruelty causes her loyalty to waver. At the 1999 Cannes Film Festival, the film competed for the Palme d’Or and won the Technical Grand Prize.

Nimbus Film Productions

#41. Flame & Citron (2008)

- Director: Ole Christian Madsen
- Stacker score: 81
- Metascore: 74
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 130 min

In the time following the Nazi invasion of Denmark, partners Flame and Citron work for the Dutch resistance assassinating Nazi collaborators, but are eventually given orders to start killing Nazis themselves. They begin to question their morality further as doubt settles in over the legitimacy of their assignments. The film is mostly fiction but based on real events, including real Danish resistance movement fighters nicknamed “Flammen” and “Citronen.”

Ghoulardi Film Company

#40. Inherent Vice (2014)

- Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
- Stacker score: 82
- Metascore: 81
- IMDb user rating: 6.7
- Runtime: 148 min

It’s 1970 in Los Angeles and hippie private detective Larry “Doc” Sportello is flung into a convoluted series of mysteries and mayhem on behalf of his ex-girlfriend Shasta Fay Hepworth, who believes her real-estate tycoon boyfriend is about to be committed to a mental hospital by his wife. Then both Shasta and her boyfriend disappear. The film, based off of Thomas Pynchon’s eponymous novel, was nominated for a slew of awards, including two Academy Awards and Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy for Joaquin Phoenix at the Golden Globes.

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Orion Pictures

#39. No Way Out (1987)

- Director: Roger Donaldson
- Stacker score: 82
- Metascore: 77
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 114 min

A Navy lieutenant discovers that the woman he shared a passionate fling with is romantically entangled with his superior. When she turns up dead, he’s put in charge of her case, but he soon becomes his own suspect. Starring Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman, Will Patton, and Sean Young, the movie is the second film adaptation of “The Big Clock” by Kenneth Fearing. The first 1948 film was directed by John Farrow.

Fu Works

#38. Black Book (2006)

- Director: Paul Verhoeven
- Stacker score: 82
- Metascore: 71
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 145 min

In 1944, a young Jewish woman escapes near death and becomes a part of the resistance during World War II as an undercover spy. But when she’s tasked with seducing a Gestapo officer, she begins to fall for him. At the time, the film was the most expensive Dutch film ever made.

Grimm Pictures

#37. The Age of Shadows (2016)

- Director: Kim Jee-woon
- Stacker score: 82
- Metascore: 78
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 140 min

Set in the 1920s during the Korean independence movement, Korean resistance fighters attempt to smuggle explosives from Shanghai in order to destroy important Japanese-controlled facilities in Seoul. All the while, agents of Japan try to stop them. Though it was submitted as the South Korean entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards, it did not secure a nomination. It did, however, win the Action Features category Best Picture award at the 2016 Fantastic Fest.

Paramount Pictures

#36. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015)

- Director: Christopher McQuarrie
- Stacker score: 82
- Metascore: 75
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 131 min

The fifth “Mission Impossible” installment sees Ethan Hunt and his now-disbanded IMF team on a mission to eradicate a dangerous criminal organization known as The Syndicate, who are enacting terrorist attacks in an effort to create a new world order. The film features a now-famous plane scene, in which Tom Cruise performs his own stunt dangling on the side of an actual, moving plane as it ascends into the air.

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Universal Pictures

#35. The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

- Director: Paul Greengrass
- Stacker score: 83
- Metascore: 73
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 108 min

While living in India, Jason Bourne is framed by a Russian agent for theft of millions from the CIA. The agent begins his pursuit of Bourne with the intent to kill him, but murders his girlfriend by accident in the process. Bourne must now prove his innocence and get revenge. Time Out praised the sequel to “The Bourne Identity” in its review as being “a relentlessly paced, non-stop chase movie that culminates in a breathless foot and car pursuit across a frozen Moscow.”

Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR)

#34. Europa Europa (1990)

- Director: Agnieszka Holland
- Stacker score: 83
- Metascore: 75
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 112 min

When a Jewish boy is separated from his family during World War II, he poses as a German teenager in Russia, unintentionally becoming a valuable German asset and a war hero. After becoming a member of the Hitler Youth, he begins to find his cover increasingly harder to maintain. The film is based on the real-life story of Solomon Perel, adapted from his autobiography “I Was Hitler Youth Salomon.”

CJ Entertainment

#33. Lady Vengeance (2005)

- Director: Park Chan-wook
- Stacker score: 83
- Metascore: 75
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 115 min

A woman is put in prison for a murder she didn’t commit, but she emerges over a decade later with revenge solely on her mind. With a group of friends, she goes on the hunt for the real killer as she searches for the daughter she left behind. The film is the third in a trilogy from director Park Chan-wook dubbed “The Vengeance Trilogy,” preceded by “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” and “Oldboy.”

Eon Productions

#32. Dr. No (1962)

- Director: Terence Young
- Stacker score: 83
- Metascore: 78
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 110 min

In the first film which launched the James Bond franchise, dashing MI6 agent 007 must battle a mysterious scientist named Dr. No, traveling to his lair in Jamaica to stop him from his plans to destroy the United States space program. Among the litany of influences the film has had on spy films and pop culture to this day, it spawned “Global James Bond Day” 50 years after the film’s release.

Universal Pictures

#31. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

- Director: Quentin Tarantino
- Stacker score: 84
- Metascore: 69
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 153 min

In Nazi-occupied France, a Jewish-owned cinema becomes the unwitting site of a Nazi movie night with an appearance by the Fuhrer himself. The covert Jewish woman who owns it has a scheme to kill both the Nazi movie-goers and Hitler during the screening, but elsewhere, Jewish soldiers in collaboration with a resistance movement make their own plans for the cinema’s big night. The action/comedy hybrid film received widespread acclaim and received eight Academy Award nominations, with Christoph Waltz winning for Best Supporting Actor.

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Black Bear Pictures

#30. The Imitation Game (2014)

- Director: Morten Tyldum
- Stacker score: 85
- Metascore: 73
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 114 min

It’s 1939 and British intelligence agency MI6 has just been formed. One of the first recruits is a Cambridge mathematician named Alan Turing, enlisted to crack an unbreakable Nazi code called Enigma in a race against time. The historical drama is based on the real life of Alan Turing, whose breakthroughs were responsible for the invention of computers, but who was maligned by the British government for his sexuality. The film was adapted from Andrew Hodges’s biography “Alan Turing: The Enigma.”

Paramount Pictures

#29. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 85
- Metascore: 78
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 120 min

In this Alfred Hitchcock suspense thriller, a vacationing family accidentally witnesses a murder, and becomes privy to information about an assassination plot planned for America. When their son is captured as collateral to keep them quiet, they have to find a way to get him back. The film stars Doris Day and Jimmy Stewart, and is a remake of Hitchcock’s own 1934 film of the same name.

Miramax

#28. The Quiet American (2002)

- Director: Phillip Noyce
- Stacker score: 85
- Metascore: 84
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Runtime: 101 min

During the First Indochina War, a love triangle forms between an American, an English journalist, and a Vietnamese woman, the latter of whom is the journalist’s mistress. Betrayal and uncertainty abound as the three of them fall down a dangerous rabbit hole. The film, starring Brendan Fraser, Michael Caine, and Ð? Th? H?i Y?n, is adapted from the best-selling novel of the same name by Graham Greene.

Universal Pictures

#27. A Beautiful Mind (2001)

- Director: Ron Howard
- Stacker score: 85
- Metascore: 72
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 135 min

This bio-drama tells the story of brilliant but arrogant and asocial mathematician John Forbes Nash. The film chronicles his time at Princeton University, his work as a codebreaker at the Pentagon, and his eventual struggles with paranoid schizophrenia which strain his relationships with his wife and friends. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won four, including Best Picture.

Media Asia Films

#26. Infernal Affairs (2002)

- Directors: Andrew Lau, Alan Mak
- Stacker score: 86
- Metascore: 75
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 101 min

This hit Hong Kong thriller spawned two sequels and an equally successful American remake in "The Departed." The movie follows two moles — one, a cop infiltrating the mob and the other, a mobster infiltrating the police — as they struggle to keep their identities under wraps and stay alive. The Atlantic praised it for for its "mind-teasing ingenuity" and "emotional richness," as well as its "top-flight cast."

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StudioCanal

#25. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

- Director: Tomas Alfredson
- Stacker score: 86
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 122 min

In 1970s England, a Soviet Union mole is suspected within MI6, but a mission to uncover the mole’s identity goes awry, and the whistleblower is killed. An espionage veteran is called out of retirement in order to weed out the spy. The film won Best British Film at the 2012 BAFTAs and was nominated for three Academy Awards.

Kôdansha

#24. Ghost in the Shell (1995)

- Director: Mamoru Oshii
- Stacker score: 86
- Metascore: 76
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 83 min

In the year 2029, a cyborg federal agent in Japan is tasked with hunting down a man known as “The Puppet Master,” who illegally hacks into the minds of cyborg humans. But the agent finds herself questioning her own half-human identity in the process. It is considered by some to be the greatest anime film of all time.

Focus Features

#23. The Constant Gardener (2005)

- Director: Fernando Meirelles
- Stacker score: 86
- Metascore: 82
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 129 min

A quiet British diplomat is relocated to Kenya with his activist wife, but when she turns up murdered in the wilderness, the grief-stricken diplomat sets out to find out who killed her—and ends up inserting himself into a dangerous conspiracy. The screenplay was based on the novel of the same name by John le Carré and the film was nominated for four Academy Awards, with Rachel Weisz winning for Best Supporting Actress.

DreamWorks

#22. Bridge of Spies (2015)

- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Stacker score: 87
- Metascore: 81
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 142 min

A U.S. pilot is captured by the Soviet Union during the Cold War and sentenced to a decade in prison. His only hope is a New York lawyer named James Donovan recruited by the CIA, who plans to negotiate an exchange for a convicted Soviet spy whom Donovan once defended. The film is based on true events and won Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards for Mark Rylance.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#21. Skyfall (2012)

- Director: Sam Mendes
- Stacker score: 87
- Metascore: 81
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 143 min

The 23rd James Bond installment sees undercover agents exposed around the world as MI6 is compromised, after 007’s latest assignment goes horribly awry. With the agency now relocated, Bond and Eve Moneypenny follow the trail to a mysterious man named Silva, who has a score to settle with M. The film received widespread critical acclaim, and critic Tom Charity wrote that the film “reinvigorated” the franchise in his review.

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Eon Productions

#20. From Russia With Love (1963)

- Director: Terence Young
- Stacker score: 87
- Metascore: 84
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 115 min

Bond is back and battling criminal organization SPECTRE in the second film of the franchise, in which Russians are out to steal a decoding device. They attempt to seduce Bond into helping them with the help of a ravishing woman, whom Bond meets in Istanbul. Actor Desmond Llewelyn made his debut as Q in this film, a role he would go on to play in 17 films over the course of 36 years.

Columbia Pictures

#19. Casino Royale (2006)

- Director: Martin Campbell
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 80
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 144 min

The first Bond movie to star Daniel Craig as the famous spy, “Casino Royale” features Bond on his first mission as a 00 agent, heading to Madagascar in order to find information about a terrorist financier. When he learns that the man will be attempting to win the money in a high-stakes poker game, Bond is sent to play against him and win. Writing for The Atlantic, Christopher Orr praised the film as “presenting a Bond both leaner and meaner than any that has come before,” and going even further to say that “this is the best Bond flick in nearly four decades” and “is beyond reasonable dispute.”

Warner Bros.

#18. Enter the Dragon (1973)

- Director: Robert Clouse
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 83
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 102 min

Bruce Lee stars as a martial-arts expert who agrees to spy on the crime lord responsible for his sister’s death, entering in a kung-fu competition with the hope of winning his way into the man’s headquarters. Many consider it one of the greatest martial-arts movies of all time, with some even considering it to the best.

Miramax

#17. The English Patient (1996)

- Director: Anthony Minghella
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 162 min

During World War II, a man dying of burns is tended to in an Italian monastery, and his past as a cartographer charting the Sahara for the Royal Geographical Society is revealed, along with politics, betrayal, and his affair with a married woman. At the 69th Academy Awards, the film received 12 nominations and took home nine, including Best Picture.

Paramount Pictures

#16. Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018)

- Director: Christopher McQuarrie
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 147 min

Joining forces with a CIA assassin, Ethan Hunt and his IMF team must stop a terrorist group from committing an attack on four cities with nuclear weapons. When the weapons turn out to be missing, Ethan and the team are caught in a race against the clock to retrieve them. The most recent “Mission Impossible” installment, it is considered by some to be the best in the franchise.

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The Directors Company

#15. The Conversation (1974)

- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 113 min

This mystery thriller from Francis Ford Coppola stars Gene Hackman as a surveillance expert named Caul, hired by a mysterious client to track a young couple. When Caul records a cryptic conversation between the two of them, he becomes obsessed with it, determined to figure out if the couple is in trouble, and trying to make up for the failed cases of his past. The film won the highest honor at the 74th Cannes Film Festival, the Grand Prix, and lost Best Picture at the Academy Awards to another one of Coppola’s films, “The Godfather Part II.”

Beijing New Picture Film Co.

#14. House of Flying Daggers (2004)

- Director: Yimou Zhang
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 119 min

A rebel group in Tang Dynasty China, known as the Flying Daggers, acts as Robin Hoods stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When two government officers are tasked with investigating a potential member of the elusive group, they fall under her seductive spell and eventually help her. The Chinese fantasy martial-arts film (called “wuxia”) was highly praised by Roger Ebert, who wrote that “the film is so good to look at and listen to that, as with some operas, the story is almost beside the point, serving primarily to get us from one spectacular scene to another.”

Paramount Pictures

#13. Stalag 17 (1953)

- Director: Billy Wilder
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 84
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 120 min

Two prisoners try to escape a German POW camp in 1944, but are killed, and suspicions begin to mount among the other men that there’s a traitor in their midst. When one man who often confers with the guards is targeted, he makes it his mission to find the true rat. The film was adapted by writer-director Billy Wilder and screenwriter Edwin Blum from Donald Bevan and Edmund Trzcinski’s Broadway play of the same name, based on their true experiences as prisoners in Austria.

Eon Productions

#12. Goldfinger (1964)

- Director: Guy Hamilton
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 110 min

When faced with one of the all-time most notorious villains, James Bond must prevent the tycoon’s scheme to raid Fort Knox and topple the world economy. The third installment of the franchise was the first Bond film to win an Academy Award, for Best Sound Effects Editing.

Universal Pictures

#11. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

- Director: Paul Greengrass
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 115 min

While Jason Bourne still tries to piece together his past, a reporter on his trail finds an opportunity to blow open a black-ops brigade called Blackbriar, running the risk of exposing some very powerful and very dangerous people who want Bourne dead. As they plot to destroy him, Bourne must evade the assassins sent to get rid of him for good. The film is considered by some critics to be the best in the series, and won all three of its technical award nominations at the 80th Academy Awards.

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DreamWorks

#10. Letters From Iwo Jima (2006)

- Director: Clint Eastwood
- Stacker score: 93
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 141 min

Directed by Clint Eastwood, this war drama tells the story of the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II, waged between the Americans and the Japanese, from long-buried messages discovered by modern archaeologists. The film is meant as a companion piece to Eastwood’s film “Flags of our Fathers,” which tells the same story of the war from different perspectives: American versus Japanese.

Columbia Pictures

#9. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

- Director: Kathryn Bigelow
- Stacker score: 93
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 157 min

This war thriller chronicles the hunt for and capture of long-elusive terrorist Osama bin Laden by the United States government, depicting the female operative who proved the key to finally tracking him. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won one, for Best Sound Editing. It received a total of 130 nominations and won 60 in total.

Les Productions Georges de Beauregard

#8. Le Petit Soldat (1963)

- Director: Jean-Luc Godard
- Stacker score: 93
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 88 min

From acclaimed French director Jean-Luc Godard, this film takes place during the war for Algeria’s independence from France. It follows two young people living in Geneva and belonging to two very different ends of the political spectrum, who meet and fall in love. But one of them is suspected of being a traitor to their cause. The film was banned by the French government until 1963 because of its torture scenes.

Peregrine

#7. Barry Lyndon (1975)

- Director: Stanley Kubrick
- Stacker score: 94
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 185 min

A cunning Irish rogue works his way up 18th-century social classes in England. Starting out as a homeless man and prisoner of the Prussians, he eventually crosses paths with a spy, which ultimately leads him to marry a wealthy, high-class woman. Lowly Redmond Barry is now titled Barry Lyndon. The film was based off of William Makepeace Thackeray’s novel “The Luck of Barry Lyndon,” and won four Academy Awards.

Warner Bros.

#6. The Departed (2006)

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Stacker score: 94
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Runtime: 151 min

A Boston cop goes undercover in order to infiltrate Boston’s Irish Mafia—meanwhile, one of the mobsters is working his way up through police ranks. But both organizations eventually realize there’s a rat among them, and they must figure out who the other one is to save their lives. The film, which won Best Picture at the 79th Academy Awards, is a remake of the 26th movie on this list.

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Paramount Pictures

#5. Duck Soup (1933)

- Director: Leo McCarey
- Stacker score: 94
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 69 min

In a fictional nation called Freedonia, a wacky man named Rufus T. Firefly is tapped by Freedonia’s wealthy benefactor to lead the bankrupt country. But when a rival nation senses the weakened leadership, spies are sent over to enact revolution. The classic Marx Brothers comedy film is considered by some to be the very best of their films.

Wiedemann & Berg Filmproduktion

#4. The Lives of Others (2006)

- Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
- Stacker score: 96
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Runtime: 137 min

Set in East Berlin in 1983, this German drama film follows a Stasi officer who gains approval to spy on a famous playwright and his girlfriend, suspecting them of being disloyal to the Communist party. As the officer begins to sympathize with the couple, his task becomes further complicated—especially once his superior orders him to get rid of the playwright. The film was the debut feature for director Florian Henckel von Donnersmark.

RKO Radio Pictures

#3. Notorious (1946)

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 99
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 102 min

When a U.S. government agent recruits the daughter of a German war criminal in order to help track down Nazis, the two begin to fall for each other. At the same time, she becomes romantically ensnared by a Nazi during her time undercover. Roger Ebert included it in his list of the ten greatest films of all time.

Estudios Picasso

#2. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

- Director: Guillermo del Toro
- Stacker score: 99
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 118 min

In this magical realism, historical-fiction hybrid film, a young girl and her sickly, pregnant mother relocate during Francoist Spain with the mother’s new husband—a sadistic captain intent on hunting down republican rebels, some of whom have already infiltrated their new place of residence. Meanwhile, young Ofelia becomes wrapped up in a world of real-life fairy-tales. Director Guillermo del Toro has stated that the film is meant as a spiritual companion to his 2001 film “The Devil’s Backbone,” as the films share themes of the otherworldly.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#1. North by Northwest (1959)

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 100
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 136 min

The classic Hitchcock suspense thriller follows a New York ad executive mistaken for a government agent, on the run from a ruthless spy and his agents of chaos. Along his journey, he becomes wrapped up with a mysterious and beautiful woman. The film is considered by some to be one of the greatest films of all time, and was adapted into a stage play in 2015.

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