Top 10 Kick Ass Female Fictional Spies in Movies
VOICE OVER: Lisa Yang
Script written by Dan Deeprose
Top 10 Fictional Spies in Movies
Secret agents, double agents, spies, private eyes. Whatever you want to call them, make show you keep your secrets safe. In this countdown we take a look at the best female fictional spies in movies! On our roster is Vanessa Kensington from Austin Powers, Carmen Cortez from Spy Kids, Bridget von Hammersmark from Inglorious Basterds, Rachel Singer from the Debt, Susan Cooper from Spy, Ilsa Faust from Mission Impossible or Evelyn Salt from Salt.
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Top 10 Fictional Female Spies in Movies
Forget about “The Spy Who Loved Me,” and make way for the spy who broke the glass ceiling. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Fictional Female Spies in Movies.
For this list, we’ll be looking at the most memorable, badass female spies from films. While they may not be officially known as secret agents, at least part of their jobs must include the act of espionage. We won’t be including assassins like Jane Smith from “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” even if they do have a lot in common with spies, and we’ll be excluding characters based on real people, like Mata Hari, a suspected double agent spy from WWI.
#10: Vanessa Kensington
She’s a parody of a Bond girl, with her amazing good looks, unrealistic fighting skills, and improbable attraction to Austin Powers, but she’s also smart and an excellent spy. Austin has been frozen, to be unthawed should his nemesis Dr. Evil ever return, and Vanessa is the one who helps him re-adjust when that event comes to pass. With her weapon of choice, a Desert Eagle, and her shiny futuristic silver outfit, Vanessa saves the day more than once and proves she isn’t just eye candy. Nor is she the only Austin Powers girl to make a kickass spy – Felicity Shagwell and Foxxy Cleopatra are right up there with her.
“Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” (1997)
#9: Carmen Cortez
Carmen and her little brother Juni grow up without knowing that their parents are spies. But when their parents go missing, it’s up to them to save the day – and Carmen definitely steps up to the role. Despite her youth, she fights, makes plans, and figures out how to defeat the enemy, and learns to work with her brother along the way. In the sequels, she continues become an accomplished spy, going undercover, learning how to hack, and going on to train other spy kids after she grows up. Intelligent, confident, resourceful, a quick learner, and a natural leader, Carmen is an excellent spy no matter the situation she’s thrust into.
“Spy Kids” franchise (2001-11)
#8: Bridget von Hammersmark
Bridget von Hammersmark is a glamorous, elegant German film star, maintaining her life of luxury and fame even during the deadliest war in history. She’s also feeding information to the Allies and plotting to bring down the Nazis. She meets the heroes, the titular Basterds, to help them plan an attack and is– not to put too fine a point on it– way more competent undercover than any of them. And her skills aren’t limited to finding information and maintaining her cover – she’s also perfectly capable of fighting her way out of danger. Most importantly, she’s the one who came up with Operation Kino, the plan to assassinate a group of Nazi leaders including Hitler during a movie premiere.
“Inglourious Basterds” (2009)
#7: Rachel Singer
In this intense, psychological film about the legacy of the Holocaust, Rachel Singer is an undercover Mossad agent. Rachel is on a mission to capture a Nazi war criminal, who performed medical experiments on Jews during the Second World War. In 1965, Rachel goes undercover with two other agents and though she manages to sedate her target and take him prisoner, he escapes. Rachel and her partners, however, decide to lie and pretend that they killed him, leading them to become national heroes, and Rachel spends the next thirty years dealing with the consequences of that lie, while the war criminal goes free. Smart, strong, and skillful undercover, Rachel is not only an accomplished spy, but an incredibly nuanced and human character.
“The Debt” (2010)
#6: Ilsa Faust
Ilsa Faust is aptly named, because Ethan’s Hunt’s deal with her sure seems Faustian. Early on, she arrives to torture him, but then ends up rescuing him, and that’s just the beginning – through the film, you never really know whose side she’s on. Is she here to help save the day, or did Ethan make a deal with the devil? Brave and brilliant, she can handle any amount of pressure, drive a motorcycle with the best of them, fool anyone she wants to fool, and fight like a ninja. She’s also not afraid to go up against a man with a gun, armed only with a knife – and she knows how to use it, too!
“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” (2015)
#5: Giacinta ‘Jinx’ Johnson
When we think of Bond girls, we often think of eye candy in unrealistic costumes – but Halle Berry’s NSA agent Jinx Johnson is savvy, tough, and an exceptional spy. She teams up with James Bond to investigate the nefarious Agent Zao and his dealing with Gustav Graves, a diamond magnate. Her espionage skills include things like breaking and entering, using laser beams and sword fighting. She’s smooth and sharp undercover, and when things get rough, she definitely knows how to make a dramatic exit. All in all, Jinx more than keeps up with 007.
“Die Another Day” (2002)
#4: Susan Cooper
In this hilarious spy comedy, Susan Cooper – despite her impressive training – works a desk job providing support to James Bond-esque Agent Bradley Fine. Even though she qualifies as a full agent, the most excitement she ever sees is when the office has a bat infestation – in large part because she doesn’t think she could do what Fine does. But when there’s a nuclear bomb on the black market, Susan has to be the spy she never thought she could be–and no one else thought she could be, either. From her amazing combat skills to her fantastic ability to adapt to a situation and maintain her cover, no matter how ridiculous, Susan is a phenomenal agent through-and-through.
#3: Natalie Cook, Dylan Sanders, & Alex Munday
In the film based on the series of the same name, the three private investigators, or “Angels,” need to find a missing software genius. They need to use their wits, espionage skills and, of course, advanced gadgets to infiltrate top security locales, gain information, and rescue Charlie’s assistant, Bosley. The Angels all have their own strengths and weaknesses, but as a team they are unstoppable, whether they’re fighting bad guys in four-inch heels or escaping from helicopters in the nick of time. Evidently, the film and the characters toy around with a lot of spy movie tropes, and they come out on top as three amazing private eyes.
“Charlie's Angels” (2000)
#2: Evelyn Salt
In a role that was originally designed for Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie stars as CIA agent Evelyn Salt, who is accused of being a Russian spy. She escapes from custody to try to prove her innocence, with nothing but her wits, her speed, and her unbelievable fighting skills, and sometimes spider venom. Salt is an undeniable badass with a complex past and an inscrutable face, as well as a resourceful mind and an uncompromising moral compass. Throughout the film, she remains consistently unpredictable to both the audience and her enemies.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
“Despicable Me 2” (2013)
“Get Smart” (2008)
#1: Natasha Romanova /Black Widow
As a member of the spy agency SHIELD and the superhero team The Avengers, Black Widow is quite naturally at the top of our list. Whether she’s going undercover to help Tony Stark, teaming up with Captain America to overcome corruption within SHIELD itself, or joining the other Avengers to battle the Norse god Loki or the artificial intelligence Ultron, Black Widow is strong, fast, smart, and resourceful. She’s an excellent liar and an even better fighter, and what really makes her an amazing spy is her ability to get the information she needs and figure out how to use it.
Marvel Cinematic Universe (2008-)
Do you agree with our list? Who’s your favorite female spy in film? For more exciting Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.