Top 10 Movie Spies



Top 10 Movie Spies

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
There's no hero who can attract as much suspense or intrigue than one who goes undercover to learn about the enemy. Covert agents, they are deadly, highly skilled, intelligent and capable of blending in and dismantling criminal organizations. Well, most anyways, some let the globe trotting and womanizing lifestyle go to their heads. Join as we count down our picks for the top 10 greatest movie spies.

Top 10 Movie Spies

These are the screen’s greatest masters of espionage, whether or not they pack a license to kill. Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 greatest movie spies.

#10 – Derek Flint: “Our Man Flint” (1966)

Kicking off our list is America’s answer to Britain’s James Bond. Portrayed by James Coburn, this master-spy is charged with stopping a trio of mad scientists from blackmailing the world with their powerful weather-altering machine. While his skills and shenanigans may be a tad over-the-top, he intrigues us with his use of private spy codes, and his refusal to use standard weapons.

#9 – Austin Powers: “Austin Powers Trilogy” (1997-2002)

Speaking of over-the-top, this international man of mystery is a ‘60s super-spy who ends up in the ‘90s after being cryogenically frozen. This James Bond spoof is both hilarious and unique as a spy, since he showcases his appreciation for free love, a stylish fashion sense, bad teeth and excess mojo. There are few things this exceptionally hairy spy won’t do to stop Dr. Evil.

#8 – Nikita: “La Femme Nikita” (1990)

Okay, now we’re getting serious. Next up is the film heroine whose death is faked by a shadowy French government organization so she can fully assume an alternate identity. Transformed from a drug addict, robber and cop killer, to spy and assassin, she accepts missions against her will. Nikita is rare in the spy world since she was forced into servitude, but she uses her newly acquired skills to regain her freedom.

#7 – Sam: “Ronin” (1998)

Played by Robert De Niro, this former CIA agent and Cold War spy will stop at nothing to keep a mysterious briefcase away from the Russian government. Relentlessly paranoid and quick with witty comebacks, Sam’s job is to keep his eyes on the prize. His greatest distinguishing feature is that he doesn’t believe in self-doubt, or in entering a location from which he can’t escape.

#6 – Jack Ryan: “Jack Ryan Film Series” (1984)

Starting as a simple covert CIA analyst, this intelligence gatherer distinguishes himself from the tuxedo wearing and physically imposing spies with his unmatched ability to piece things together. A John Clancy staple, this character has been portrayed by several actors on the big screen, including Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck. What defines him is that, with each appearance, he climbs another rung of the espionage ladder.

#5 – Bryan Mills: “Taken” (2008)

This standout on our list is a retired CIA operative who doesn’t take kindly to the abduction of his family members. A spy with exceptional terrorist tracking skills, he makes use of a finely tuned memory for sights and sounds, and can learn what he needs to from minute details. Deadly and amoral, he has no problem resorting to torture. So when he threatens you, you better listen.

#4 – Harry Tasker: “True Lies” (1994)

Didn’t expect to see Arnie here? Well, he’s only pretending to be a boring computer salesman. In reality, he’s leading a double life as a spy for the U.S. counter-terrorism task force, which means he’s actually a well-travelled agent who can tango, speak foreign languages, ride a horse and even pilot a jet fighter! But, unlike others on this list, he always takes the time to apologize to bystanders.

#3 – Ethan Hunt: “Mission Impossible Series” (1996-)

This spy is a point man and senior field operations agent for an elite top-secret espionage and covert operations agency called the IMF, or if you prefer the ‘Impossible Missions Force.’ He’ll tackle the missions others deem crazy or flat-out impossible, and that requires a mastery of rubber disguises, stealth, martial arts training, the power to dangle from ceilings and buildings, and the ability to run really fast.

#2 – Jason Bourne: “The Bourne Identity Trilogy” (2002-2007)

Under his true name David Webb, this spy was captain of the Army Special Forces when he volunteered for a top-secret CIA program that used behavioral modification to make him the ultimate unquestioning agent, spy and assassin. A specialist in martial arts, firearms and explosives, he can also fluently speak countless languages and is incredibly resourceful. Unfortunately, a case of amnesia makes him a liability.

#1 – James Bond: “James Bond Series” (1962-)

Was there any doubt? Taking the top spot on our list is the 00 Agent with a license to kill who loves shaken Martinis, outlandish gadgets, sports cars and beautiful women. The ultimate spy, Bond’s style is only matched by his love of queen and country and his ludicrous villains. Strangely, he isn’t shy about sharing his true identity with everyone he meets. How does that work, exactly?

Do you agree with our list? Who’s your favorite movie spy? For more entertaining top 10s, be sure to subscribe to