While James Bond and Jason Bourne often dominate the spy genre, there are plenty of hidden gems that deserve recognition. These underrated spy films offer thrilling espionage adventures, intricate plots, and memorable characters and are not on every other list!
1. Spy Game (2001)
Spy Game teams up Robert Redford and Brad Pitt as seasoned CIA operatives in a race against time to rescue a captured agent. Directed by Tony Scott, this film is a masterclass in espionage drama, blending intricate storytelling with captivating performances.
2. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
Guy Ritchie’s stylish adaptation of the 1960s TV series brings together Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer as rival spies forced to work together during the Cold War. With its retro charm and witty banter, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a delightful and underrated spy film.
3. Marathon Man (1976)
Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier star in this tense thriller about a graduate student unwittingly caught up in a web of espionage and Nazi war criminals. The film’s dental torture scene alone is enough to leave you on the edge of your seat.
4. Spies Like Us (1985)
Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd play bumbling government employees who are unwittingly thrust into a real espionage mission. This comedy classic is a hilarious take on the spy genre that often goes overlooked.
5. The Spy Who Came In From The Cold (1965)
Richard Burton delivers a stellar performance as a British spy sent on a dangerous mission in East Germany during the Cold War. This adaptation of John le Carré’s novel is a gritty and realistic portrayal of espionage.
6. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
Based on John le Carré’s novel, this film boasts an all-star cast led by Gary Oldman as George Smiley, a retired spy brought back to uncover a mole within the British Secret Service. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a slow-burning masterpiece of intrigue and betrayal.
7. Breach (2007)
Inspired by real events, Breach follows an FBI agent, played by Chris Cooper, who is revealed to be a mole within the agency. Ryan Phillippe plays the young operative tasked with exposing him in this gripping and underrated thriller.
8. Spy Hard (1996)
Leslie Nielsen takes on the spy genre in this slapstick comedy that parodies everything from James Bond to “Mission: Impossible.” While it’s not a typical spy thriller, Spy Hard provides plenty of laughs for fans of spy spoofs.
9. I Spy (2002)
Starring Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson as two mismatched spies tasked with retrieving a stolen fighter jet, I Spy combines elements of espionage and humor, with Murphy’s comedic talents and Wilson’s charming wit driving the plot.
10. The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997)
Bill Murray stars as a bumbling American who gets mistaken for a spy and unwittingly becomes embroiled in an international conspiracy. Murray’s trademark humor shines as he navigates a world of espionage while believing it’s all part of an elaborate theater experience.
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