With movies spanning over half a decade, James Bond is undoubtedly one of the most loved and popular fictional characters. With high-octane escapades and epic monologues, Agent 007 has left an indelible mark on the spy genre.
With multiple actors donning the role from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig, the beloved spy’s films have never failed to intrigue us and are truly binge-worthy.
But you need not feel sorrowful if you have already completed watching every James Bond movie. There are plenty of films like the ones of James Bond that undeniably pacify your craving for spy-thrillers. In this article, we shall talk about the 15 best movies like James Bond.
Tenet unquestionably makes its way to the list of the best spy-thrillers. Directed by the legendary Christopher Nolan, Tenet presents a never-seen-before experience. The story follows a CIA agent in a literal race against time as he ventures out to save the world.
The film received critical acclaim for its unique concept. It collected $363.7 million during its theatrical run in 2020.
Tenet is one of those movies that can’t afford to miss if you adore inventive storytelling.
- The Man from U.N.C.L.E
Comprising of a premise as interesting as its name, The Man from U.N.C.L.E is a pure entertainer. The plot follows the exciting pair of a CIA agent and a KGB operative on a mission to stop a terrorist organization from using nuclear weapons.
The film features Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer in the lead. It is directed b Guy Ritchie and was released in 2015. Incorporating slick action and jaw-dropping stunts, the film is one of the best spy movies out there.
- Mission Impossible Franchise
The Mission Impossible franchise is a cult in itself. The first movie Mission Impossible was released in 1996 and ever since the franchise has produced 5 more movies.
With incredible stunt feats, fast-paced action, and memorable monologues, the Mission Impossible movies have surely turned into a cult.
Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt- an intelligent, agile, and seasoned spy in each installment.
The franchise has grossed over $3.57 billion with its 6 movies till now.
- North by Northwest
Hands down one of the best spy movies of all time is North by Northwest. Directed by legendary director Alfred Hitchcock, the film was released all the way back in 1959.
The plot revolves around an innocent man who is mistaken to be a secret operative and is chased by mysterious organizations across the country. The film boasts a near-perfect rating of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.3 on IMDb.
In spite of action sequences that might seem dated in the present day, North by Northwest is an experience that you cannot miss at any cost. It stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the best James Bond films in every aspect.
- Three Days of the Condor
Carrying an exceptional rating of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes and .44 on IMDb, Three Days of the Condor remains a classic in the world of spy cinema. Since its release in 1975, the film has been praised for its brilliant storytelling.
The film is about a CIA researcher who is on the hunt by a deadly assassin who murdered all his colleagues. It is directed by Sydney Pollack and adapted from the 1974 novel Six Days of Condor by James Grady.
Featuring Robert Redford in the lead, the movie presents a gripping experience.
- Bourne Franchise
Another reputed franchise in the spy genre is the Bourne series. It comprises 5 films with the first installment, The Bourne Identity coming out in 2002.
The films star Matt Damon in the lead who plays the titular role of Jason Bourne except in 2005’s The Bourne Legacy which features Jeremy Renner.
The franchise has been highly acclaimed for delivering intriguing screenplays across the 5 movies.
The series is adapted from the novel The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum.
- The Ipcress File
Released back in 1965, The Ipcress File has retained its name in the list of best spy movies. Starring the revered Michael Caine in the lead, The Ipcress File depicts the mission of British spy Harry Palmer who is tasked with the rescue of a scientist Dr. Radcliffe. The film is directed by Sidney J. Furie.
Even after more than 50 years since its release, The Ipcress File is still regarded as one of the best espionage thrillers. It is a go-to watch after witnessing the phenomenal James Bond.
Next up is the Angelina Jolie starring action thriller Salt. Released in 2010, the film is directed by Philio Noyce. Salt portrays Evelyn Salt who is mistaken to be a Russian sleeper agent. The movie enthralls the audience with the depiction of the protagonist’s journey to clear her name.
Jolie was appreciated for her deliverance as an action heroine while the film received praise for the incorporation of practical stunts.
IMDb rates Salt at 6.4 and the film grossed $293.5 million a the box office.
- Atomic Blonde
We have another female-led film in this list of best espionage thrillers. Directed by David Leitch and features the celebrated Charlize Theron as the protagonist. The film offers an interesting premise of an MI6 spy being assigned a mission in Berlin just before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The movie came out in 2017 and collected a total of $100 million in its theatrical run. Atomic Blonde is based on the graphic novel The Coldest City.
- The Raid
The predecessor of The Raid, The Raid displays Rama and his team’s exploits with limited ammunition in a 15-storey building belonging to a drug lord. Crisp in its screenplay and action choreography, the film is an entertainer by all means.
Rotten Tomatoes rates the film 87% and IMDb gives it a 7.6 out of 10. The Raid is a must-watch if you enjoy all-out action.
- Jack Reacher
Tom Crusie is well-known for playing veteran spies and Jack Reacher is one such character. Released in 2012, Jack Reacher was applauded for its flabbergasting fight scenes and the brilliant writing by Christopher McQuarrie who is also the director.
It is adapted from Lee Child’s novel One Shot. The movie grossed over $136 million and remains a favorite among Tom Cruise fans.
A second part of the movie was also released in 2016 butt didn’t quite land on the expectations that Jack Reacher had set.
- The Raid 2
A sequel to the 2011 film The Raid, The Raid 2 is a stirring cop film that delivers epic fight scenes and a crisp screenplay. It is an Indonesian film written and directed by Gareth Evans.
It was released in 2014 and stars Iko Uwais in the lead. Rotten Tomatoes rates the film with a noteworthy 82% while IMDb gives it a 7.9.
- Our Kind of Traitor
Directed by Sussana White, Our Kind of Traitor follows the protagonist Perry, who along with his wife, find themselves amongst the mafia after they go on a holiday to save their marriage. The film stars Ewan Mcgregor as Perry.
Our Kind of Traitor was released in 2016 and is rated at 6.2 and 72% on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes respectively.
- Kingsman Series
Kingsman: The Secret Service came out in 2014. It received critical acclaim for its stylized storytelling and gripping storyline which motivated the makers to produce 2 more films carrying the plot forward. Kingsman: The Golden Circle was released in 2017 and The King’s Man in 2021.
The series belongs to the genre of spy comedy rather than a spy thriller. However, the action sequences are nothing less than what a good action film offers. The series is based on the comic book that shares the same name as the first movie.
- Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy revolves around George, a retired spy who is tasked by the Government to investigate a secret case. The film stars Gary Oldman and Colin Firth and is directed by Tomas Alfredson.
It hit the theatres in 2011 and collected a revenue of $ 80 million. With captivating storytelling, the film does not fail in keeping the audience engaged throughout its runtime.