One great thing about the spy movie genre is that it really does not have a golden age. While some might argue that the best time for James Bond movies was the 1960s, spy movies are more than just 007. Spies have been intriguing to Hollywood producers and audiences for many years and it seems that interest in these types of movies has never waned.
If you consider yourself to be a fan of the spy movie genre, here are nine movies listed chronologically that you should not hesitate to watch. North by Northwest
From 1959, this is a classic spy flick directed by the master of horror Alfred Hitchcock. It’s a classic case of mistaken identity when Cary Grant’s character is mistaken for someone he isn’t and has to flee for his life. There’s even a scene in which he fights on Mount Rushmore. It’s a great cross-genre flick that combines the mistaken identity/spy angle with some dark comedy to boot.
If you are not sure which James Bond movie to start with, check out Goldfinger first. It is the quintessential Bond movie, starring Sean Connery, who most people consider to be the best Bond ever to grace the big screen. All of the makings of a perfect Bond movie are here, the gadgets, the great escapes, and of course the hot chicks. How could forget the sexiest henchwoman of all time and her not-so-subtle name, Pussy Galore. In Like Flint
The sequel to Our Man Flint is even better than the original. This is one of the more peculiar stories you’ll see from the genre – a group of women tycoons who are brainwashing other females through hair salon hair drying devices. It gets pretty weird, but it’s hard to be if you are looking for a spy or detective movie that is original and a little out in left field. Three Days of the Condor
One of the best movies you’ll find in the “everyone is out to get me” paranoia genre of films. Robert Redford is a CIA researcher who comes to the office to find all of his colleagues dead and is forced to flee for his life in order to escape their fate. This movie turned such “trust no one” films into a virtual genre of their own. Spies Like Us
Just because it’s a spy movie, doesn’t mean it has to be a serious action movie. While there are many great spy spoofs, the best is still probably Spies Like Us, starting Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd. They star as incompetent CIA office guys that have never really done any field work before, but are suddenly put in a position where they must save the world from nuclear disaster. It’s one of the funniest Cold War-related movies ever. La Femme Nikita
The spy game isn’t a guy’s only club. The best example of this is La Femme Nikita, the greatest spy femme fatale of all time. It follows the story of a street junkie that is recruited by a top secret government agency and turned into a weapon of espionage. This movie was later turned into a popular television show and was remade for American movie audiences as Point of No Return, starring Bridget Fonda.
The Man Who Knew Too Little
Another gripping story of strange circumstances in which a mistaken identity leads and unknowing man into the world of international espionage. Bill Murray’s character is a lowly video store worker who enters realms he would never have expected. It’s a great thrill ride, but the fact that Murray is the main star gives it a nice air of humor as well. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
This might go down as the most iconic spy spoof of all time when all is said and done. Mike Myers does a great job poking fun of the entire genre of Bond movies, taking every genre stereotype and turning it into a big bucket of laughs. The Bourne Identity
The best “identity theft” film in recent memory is the original Bourne Identity, even though the entire series of movies is worth watching. Matt Damon’s character is running for his life and trying to learn who he is while avoiding assassins.