5. Munich (Steven Spielberg, 2005)
If you can’t get enough of Daniel Craig in the spy movie genre, “Munich” is a great film to watch. It’s based on the real events of “Operation Wrath of God,” commissioned by the Israeli government against the Palestine Liberation Organisation after the murder of members of the Israeli team at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Mossad agent Avner Kaufman decides to lead an unofficial mission against the 11 Palestinian murderers, taking matters into his own hands. He hires a professional team, amongst whom is Craig, playing the driver.
As the team commence the murders, they begin to question their actions. But while they think over the morality of killing so many innocent bystanders to get to their targets, they become targets themselves as members of their team begin to get assassinated one by one.
4. Mission: Impossible (Brian De Palma, 1996)
Perhaps as famous as the James Bond franchise is the spy thriller movie series of “Mission: Impossible,” based on the TV series of the same name. Starring Tom Cruise, the franchise has released five movies since 1996, with the sixth one coming out sometime next year. Unlike the Bond franchise, however, Cruise has firmly stuck to the role of Ethan Hunt as the top-notch government operative working for the Impossible mission force.
In the various films, Hunt is forced to lead his team on truly impossible missions to save the world, facing villains, betrayal and heartbreak in the process. The films are always full of crazy expeditions with Cruise, who has become highly associated with the role, never failing to impress us with his bravery, from jumping off tall buildings to hanging off of flying planes. Unlike most film franchises, “Mission: Impossible” seems to maintain its quality status even as the years go by, taking full advantage of the new CGI techniques, amazing us with a more impossible mission every time.
3. Ronin (John Frankenheimer, 1998)
Betrayal and mistrust tends to be a common trope in most spy movies, making things more difficult for the good guys than they already are. In “Ronin,” a team of A-list stars playing ex-operatives who are out of work after the Cold War, including Robert De Niro, Jean Reno and Stellan Skarsgard, are hired by Deirdre (Natascha McElhone) to carry out a secret mission of stealing a briefcase that contains something highly valuable but unknown to the team.
As the mission progresses, it seems like some team members are working against others and it is unclear as to who can or can’t be trusted, as each man is forced to fend for himself while completing the task.
2. The Bourne Identity (Doug Liman, 2002)
Another incredible and action-packed film is “The Bourne Identity” and its installments. Based on the novels by Robert Ludlum of the same name, the series is famous for its real-life action stunts that are equally as impressive as the CGI used in other spy franchises. Beginning in 2002, the franchise revolves around Jason Bourne, played by Matt Damon, an assassin working for the CIA who has lost his memory.
Bourne is forced to follows clues to find out his identity while escaping several threats and killers that are determined to destroy him.
Damon appears in all the movies apart from the fourth installment, “The Bourne Legacy,” which focuses around another protagonist, Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), who suffers the consequences of Bourne’s actions in the previous film. And although the franchise has a huge fanbase, earlier this year Damon hinted that it’s time for the series to come to an end.
1. North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)
Although we’re more used to having spy and action films filled with incredible CGI, we cannot forget Hitchcock’s masterpieces like “North by Northwest” that initiated the thrilling genre we know today. Made in 1959, “North by Northwest” shows us the true art of action thrillers, being filled with some of the most iconic action sequences of all time, and a Hitchcockian plot that will have you on the edge of your seat.
The story follows Roger Thornhill, played by Cary Grant, who ends up on the run from a secret spy organisation led by Phillip Vandamm (James Mason) after being mistaken for an agent working for the government who is a threat to their operation. While escaping from the police, he ends up on a cross-country train where he meets Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint) who helps him hide and also becomes his romantic interest. But as the plot twists ensue, Thornhill faces betrayal as he finds out new information about Eve and the mess he has unknowingly gotten into.