Almost all kids have a nostalgic childhood playing a spy. We shot imaginary enemies down in from the shadows of our corridors; we jumped from one roof to another pretending we’re chasing an international drug trafficker; we traded the old and cheap beads of mom’s ornament collection as if they were precious diamonds from Africa. Who doesn’t want to pretend as a spy in the crowd? No other character in the history of cinema has been as alluring as a spy. It’s not about girls, guns and martini, but the cloak of invisibility, vanity, megalomania, and the sheer thrill of adrenaline rushing the body that tempt us to watch the espionage movies again and again.
“He that has eyes to see and ears to hear may convince himself that no mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore,” writes Sigmund Freud. Let’s take a walk through the underbelly of intelligence networks, secret agents and deadly spies. Here’s the list of really good spy movies on Netflix that are available to stream right now.
15. Dr. No (1962)
Sean Connery and Ursula Andress mesmerize us in this vintage tour of espionage classic. Connery cemented his reputation as the best Bond ever played in the 007 franchise. An investigation about a mysteriously missing colleague in Jamaica lands James Bond at the center of a lethal conspiracy. The trail leads him to the secrets buried in the island owned by ‘Dr. No.’ What lies beneath the seemingly calm island is a deadly scheme to blast out the US space program. The U.S. intelligence arms have no other way but to rely on the mercurial Bond and his out-of-the-way methods on the field. And, as all the Bon fetishists know, he’s not going to eliminate the threat of ‘Dr. No’ without the help of the seductress, Honey Ryder.
14. The Lives of Others (2006)
‘The Lives of Others‘ is director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s stunning feature debut and a heartbreaking story of love and loss in the backdrop of the Cold War theatre of East Berlin. The plot follows the Stasi Capt. Gerd Wiesler, played by Ulrich Mühe, who is assigned to shadow famous East German playwright Georg Dreyman, played by Sebastian Koch. The notorious East German state security service, Stasi, believes that the writer may pause a security threat to the Republic. But, as Wiesler digs deep into the life of Dreyman, he discovers the writer is one of the few East German loyalists in the republic, on the contrary to the political leadership and Stasi chiefs are using their power for sexual exploitation and other wicked motives.
Being a loyalist who genuinely believes in his leaders, the realization was really shocking for Wiesler. In the meantime, Dreyman discovers a blackmail scheme that turns into a sexual relationship related to Wiesler’s chief. When one of Dreyman’s friends, stage director Albert Jerska, played by Volkmar Kleinert, is forced to kill himself by the blackmailing policy of the of the government, the rebel in him starts asking questions. By then, Weisler becomes deeply and emotionally attached to Dryman’s persona. He starts doubting the system for which he is working.
13. Enter the Dragon (1973)
‘Enter the Dragon‘ marks Bruce Lee’s kung fu masterpiece delivered at the peak of his career. The martial art saga features Lee’s martial-arts expert who signed on as a spy to capture the narcotics don who was responsible for his sister’s tragic death. Lee infiltrates the fortified island headquarters of the don and enrolls himself in an upcoming kung fu competition as a contestant. The plot is there for a namesake as the movie is an out-and-out Lee ultimatum with unbelievably choreographed action sequences. Lee mesmerizes us with his body moves and diversity of fighting styles.
12. Body of Lies (2008)
‘Body of Lies‘ has Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe fights hand-in-hand to prevent a terrorist mastermind from waging a wave of deadly attacks in the innocents. DiCaprio’s Roger Ferris is the man on the ground assigned by his chief at the CIA, Crowe’s Hoffman. As Ferris edges close to his target in Syria, following Hoffman’s directions, things take an ugly turn. Ferris finds himself helpless in the midst of fabricated kidnappings, fake captive videos and shrewd mind games in one of the world’s most dangerous battlegrounds.
11. Goldfinger (1964)
‘Goldfinger’ introduces one of the most iconic villains in the history of Bond franchise, Auric Goldfinger, played by Gert Frobe. The business tycoon develops an ingenious scheme to blow up Fort Knox, the U.S. Army post in Kentucky and the nearby United States Bullion Depository, where a large amount of the country’s gold reserve has been kept. Sean Connery’s agent 007 must intervene in the scheme of events to save the world economy from collapse. While steering his Aston Martin along narrow roads bordering gorges and fighting raw with two lethal beauty queens, Bond delivers some exciting action sequences. The movie is considered to be one of the best among the James Bond flicks.
10. The Spy Who Went Into the Cold (2013)
‘The Spy Who Went Into the Cold‘ is a documentary feature exploring the life of one the notorious double agents in the espionage history. The documentary follows Kim Philby’s life which begins as an MI6 agent. He worked as a spy for the Soviet Union throughout World War 2. Philby’s secret life was well covered by the Soviet Intelligence until he was missing for an official dinner at the British Embassy in Beirut in January 1963. Philby was on a, on his way to the Soviet Union at that time. While his mother nation convicted him as a defector, Philby lived in Moscow until his death in 1988.
9. Spy Hard (1996)
When Leslie Nielsen’s Dick Steel, aka agent WD-40, stands in between, no villains can execute their evil scheme for world domination! ‘Spy Hard’ features the slightly twisted, James Bond-esque secret agent Dick Steel and his adventures. Known as WD-40 in the intelligence circles, Dick is recalled from retirement on the face of the threat of the megalomaniac evil man General Rancor. The vengeful ex-nemesis of Dick is determined to take over the world at any cost. Agent WD-40, with the help of the sexy Russian agent Veronique Ukrinsky, must locate the evil mastermind’s headquarters, where Veronique’s father is being held as a hostage. Moreover, they had to disable the electrical circuit of the missile the General plans to fire. ‘Spy Hard’ spoofs many popular hits like ‘Pulp Fiction,‘ ‘True Lies,’ ‘Sister Act,’ ‘Home Alone,’ and ‘Jurassic Park,’ Dick and his partner deal with the General’s evil plans.
8. Burn After Reading (2008)
Coen Brothers’ turns the public perception of spy movies upside down with their hilarious ‘Burn After Reading.’ The movie is full of dark humor bearing the typical Coen mark. The movie follows the events after two empty-headed gym employees find a secret disc containing memoirs of a former CIA analyst. The duo decides to trade the secrets in the disc to pay for a for an upcoming extensive cosmetic surgery. But, several people with different secret plans to execute intervene their plan and things go out of control. A series of darkly humorous encounters follow while the movie races to a bombastic climax.
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7. Traitor (2008)
‘Traitor‘ is a breathtaking journey of FBI agent Roy Clayton who becomes equally suspicious and obsessed with the operations of a former U.S. Special Operations officer, Samir Horn. When all the threads of a dangerous international conspiracy lead to Horn, Clayton forms an inter-agency task force to keep an eye on Horn. The force meets Carter, a veteran CIA contractor, and a Max Archer, a fellow FBI agent. A bombing incident in Nice and a raid in London help to edge themselves close to Horn’s nexus. But as Clayton digs deeper, more contradicting and perplexing evidence emerge. Clayton realizes that Horn is not just a mole, but something more dangerous and bigger than that.
6. The Angel (2018)
Ariel Vromen’s Israeli-American spy thriller, ‘The Angel‘ is based on the non-fiction book ‘The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel’ written by Uri Bar-Joseph. The movie is an edgy thriller unfolds in the backdrop of the Six Days War between Israel and Egypt. The movie follows the true-life incidents of Ashraf Marwan, who was the son-in-law of Egyptian President Nasser. The man was the special adviser and confidante of Nasser’s successor Anwar Sadat. As Egypt goes on a war with Israel. Marwan extends a secret hand across the border towards the enemy state, Israel. While walking along the corridors of the Egyptian government’s top secrets as a top-ranking government official, Marwan plays a double game as a spy for Israel.
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5. Killer Elite (2011)
‘Killer Elite‘ is one of the most thrilling espionage ultimatums based on a true story. The plot features two of the world’s most skilled secret agents, Danny, an ex-special ops agent, played by Jason Statham, and Hunter, his mentor played by Robert De Niro, who lock horns with the mastermind, played by Clive Owen, behind a secret military brotherhood. The movie covers key places and people spanning across Australia, France, UK, and the Middle East, as Danny and Hunter find themselves neck-deep in the mess of an international conspiracy. What follows is a cat and mouse game in which their lives are at stake.
4. Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002)
Mike Myers‘ ‘Austin Powers in Goldmember’ is the third instalment of the highly successful spy spoof franchise ‘Austin Power Series,’ which has a cult following. ‘Austin Powers in Goldmember’ follows Austin Powers who travels to 1975 to set free his kidnapped father. While transporting back to the 70s, he must beat the titular villain Goldmember and who collaborating with Dr. Evil and his trusty clone Mini-Me, who are plotting for world domination. When Austine comes across the seductress and superspy Foxxy Cleopatra, played by Beyonce Knowles, he returns to the present, bringing along his father. While getting ready for the war of all wars, Austin feels more powerful with his dad and girlfriend on both sides.
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3. Survivor (2015)
Pierce Brosnan and Milla Jovovich pair up in the spy thriller ‘Survivor.’ The plot follows a London-based Foreign Service Officer who is on a mission to stop a deadly terrorist attack targeting New York City. But things turn ugly when she is framed for a mysterious terrorist bombing. She is on the run to evade the capture, with a deadly assassin, played by Pierce Brosnan, at her trail. In order to expose and stop the real masterminds behind the plot, she must keep her head above her neck and prove she is innocent in the crimes she has been charged for.
2. Smoke & Mirrors (2016)
‘Smoke & Mirrors’ is a tale of a former Spanish secret agent, Francisco Paesa, played by Eduard Fernández, who is forced to flee the country by his own men, the Spaniards. Being a key figure in the intelligence operation against the Basque terrorist group ETA, he is framed and by the time he returns to Spain, Paesa has been broken with his life turns out to be a mess. When Paesa realizes that he was framed by his own government and forced to leave the country, he craves for vengeance. The moment comes when he is hired by Luis Roldan, a powerful man in the government, to safeguard a huge chunk of illegal money. Paesa plans his revenge scheme of playing with Roldan’s money. But in a world of deception and lies, things are not going as they seem.
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1. The Age of Shadows (2016)
‘Age of Shadows‘ is a breathtaking take on the espionage network during the Korean Independence movement against colonial Japan. Lee Jung-chool is a Korean police captain in the Japanese police force, When he is assigned to a secret mission to spy on the armed resistance group of the Korean independence movement, he stumbles upon an identity crisis. Anyway, he has no other options but to infiltrate the insurgent group with its leader Kim Woo-jin. But destiny draws other plans for the two men; even knowing the identity and intentions of the other become close.
While secrets are leaking to and from both sides, The Resistance members and Japanese secret police prepare for a final showdown in Shanghai. The two enemies-turned-friends must face other and fire their guns now. Lee Jung-school is divided between diverse emotions of his duty, friendship and love for his motherland. When both sides find themselves locked each other in Shanghai, a heroic chapter of Korean independence movement under Japanese occupation culminates in a grand finale of gun-powder fireworks.
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