James Bond, or agent 007, is no doubt one of the most widely known fictional spy characters. Bond’s first appearance was in 1953 in a series of novels by Ian Fleming, and it soared since then, becoming one of the largest and most popular franchises which included several series, films, books and video games.
Although Bond has been played by many actors including Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton, the most famous Bond is played by Daniel Craig, who, despite his statement regarding quitting the franchise, has been announced to put on his Bond tuxedo once again for the upcoming Bond 25.
So if you can’t wait for the next installment of the spy series, have a look at some of these films that will give you definite Bond vibes.
10. Atomic Blonde (David Leitch, 2017)
If you’re tired of women only playing ‘Bond girls’ or femme fatales in spy films, “Atomic Blonde” is a great film to add some variation to the genre. Starring Charlize Theron as the ruthless MI6 spy Lorraine Broughton, the plot follows her through a dangerous mission to the centre of Berlin. There, with the collapse of the wall taking place, she has to use all of her skills and powers to take down a deadly espionage group.
The film has been called a mixture of James Bond, “Mission: Impossible” and “John Wick,” with Theron living up to every one of her male spy competitors. Although “Atomic Blonde” received mixed reviews with particular criticism toward the plot, the movie is no doubt entertaining and filled to the brim with action as well as beautifully choreographed fight scenes, showing that girls can do it too.
9. Kingsman: The Secret Service (Matthew Vaughn, 2014)
The first film of the new potential franchise, “Kingsman: The Secret Service” follows Gary Unwin (Taron Egerton) who is about to spend the rest of his life behind prison bars. What he doesn’t know is that his father worked for a secret spy organisation, which puts him on the radar for agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth), as he sees the promising abilities of the young man. Saved from prison, Gary is put into training to follow his father’s footsteps and become a member of the secret service.
Gary’s first mission is a dangerous one – as the world has come under threat of a crazy global warming fighter named Richmond Valentine, played by no other than Samuel L. Jackson, who goes on a mass-killing spree for his cause. The film is full of dark humour and impressive action sequences as well as violence.
8. True Lies (James Cameron, 1994)
In “True Lies,” Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Harry Tasker who is a secret spy, hiding his identity from everyone, including his family, as he pretends to be a common, boring salesman. Ironically, Harry discovers that his wife is falling into an affair with a car salesman who declares to be a secret spy. With his marriage falling apart, danger finds Harry at the right time as he and his wife (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) are kidnapped by Salim Abu Aziz (Art Malik) – an Islamic terrorist who has taken possession of nuclear missiles that threaten to destroy the United States.
“True Lies” is one of the more humorous spy films, but that doesn’t stop it from having great fight and action scenes typical of Schwarzenegger.
7. Three Days of Condor (Sydney Pollack, 1975)
“Three Days of Condor” is a classic spy thriller, beginning with a casual day gone wrong when Joe Turner (Robert Redford), who works as a codebreaker for the CIA – a seemingly action-less job – comes into his office to find that all of his co-workers have been assassinated.
When he finds out that it was an inside job executed by officials from the CIA itself, Turner ends up being on the run from his organisation as he tries to figure out why his life is in danger, and the reason for the murders.
Full of betrayal and conspiracies, this thrilling film put people on edge at the time of its release only three months after the Watergate incident.
6. Patriot Games (Phillip Noyce, 1992)
One can’t have a great spy film list without including a film with Harrison Ford, who has given us so many thrilling action experiences throughout his career. One of such is “Patriot Games,” based on Tom Clancy’s novel of the same name, where Ford plays Jack Ryan, a former CIA agent. Retired or not, action seems to follow spies everywhere.
While on a family holiday in London, Ryan is injured in the process of interfering with a terrorist attack, ending up saving the day by killing one of the terrorists. This causes him and his family to fall into danger when the terrorist’s brother, played by Sean Bean, escapes from his arrest and pledges revenge.
The film is in fact a sequel to the 1990 “A Hunt for Red October,” but due to the different cast, the association misses for most unaware audiences. The next installment, “Clear and Present Danger,” does keep Ford as Ryan, making it another great spy franchise.