Spy flicks have a certain kind of excitement. Dashing agents who strut into high-stakes situations, immerse in exotic locations, and become involved in sensual and risky partnerships captivate audiences. Even while mind-blowing twists, heart-pounding action sequences, and eye-popping technology are to be expected, they are all engrossing nonetheless. Despite all these espionage norms, thrilling diversity is still possible. Here are our recommendations for Best Spy Movies on Netflix, no matter you seek thrill, romance or even humor from your next favorite spy story.
The Best Spy Movies on Netflix
1. Casino Royale
The spy thriller has been characterized by Bond—James Bond—for decades. In this 2006 smash success that redefined Bond for the current day, English leading star Daniel Craig took on the character of 007 in the tradition of actors including Roger Moore, Sean Connery, and Pierce Brosnan. Casino Royale, which was directed by Martin Campbell, transported viewers back to the MI6 agent’s early years, when he was pursuing his license to kill.
Craig made his mark on this illustrious franchise by throwing himself into spectacular action, delivering witty one-liners, and seducing a stunning Bond Girl. He has blue eyes that are as steely as his manner (Eva Green). Supporting roles by Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, and Mads Mikkelsen give this movie extra punch. Quantum of Solace should thereafter be played if you wish to double down.
Ben Affleck performs dual roles in this acclaimed historical thriller from 2012. He both directs and plays the principal role. Argo, which was inspired by a surreal CIA plot, centers on an imaginative agent (Affleck) who poses as a sci-fi movie director in order to save Americans during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. A sardonic make-up artist (John Goodman) and a grumpy producer (Alan Arkin), both of whom inject spunk and humour into an otherwise heart-poundingly anxious situation, are required to work with him in order to make the ruse succeed.
Affleck’s masterful balancing act of drama, suspense, and sly Hollywood jabs was praised by the critics, and the Academy agreed, giving Argo three Oscars, including Best Picture.
You may also like: 21 Best Anime TV Series on Netflix (2023)
3. The Coldest Game
In the upcoming movie The Coldest Game, Bill Pullman plays Joshua Mansky, an American mathematician who is compelled to work as a government spy during one of the most perilous periods of the Cold War. The film, which takes place during the Cuban Missile Crisis, centers on the alcoholic Mansky as he trains for and participates in a chess match in Warsaw while secretly seeking to learn as much as he can about the Soviet Union.
Does this one have critical acclaim? well no. Nevertheless, this 2011 action-thriller featuring Liam Neeson was a financial success at the box office. So if that’s your thing, don’t miss this action-packed movie, which sees horror filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (House of Wax, Orphan, The Shallows) dipping his toe into the world of espionage. In Unknown, which is based on a French novel by Didier Van Cauwelaert, Neeson plays Dr. Martin Harris, who is taking his picture-perfect wife to Berlin (January Jones).
However, a forgotten briefcase and a taxi accident throw him into a surreal new reality in which his wife denies being his wife and insists that he is not Dr. Martin Harris. This unnamed man of action searches for the truth and discovers lies, conspiracies, and an assassination plot, just to name a few. Collet-Serra and Neeson produce a satisfying thriller by incorporating suspense, fear, action, and intrigue.
5. American Ultra
The sleeper agent, a mild-mannered character with the muscle memory and spycraft abilities of a lethal operative, is a common theme in spy films. They may not even know who they really are in some circumstances. Until a mysterious code word unlocks a cache of secrets, that is. The absurd delights of 2015’s American Ultra can be roughly compared to The Manchurian Candidate as a stoner comedy. A foolish convenience shop employee played by Jesse Eisenberg has a grand scheme to pop the question to his stylish fiancée (Kristen Stewart).
That is, until he is ambushed by adversaries who are well-armed, activating his hidden programming and exposing that he is Jason Bourne—if Jason Bourne were a stoner with panic attacks. An agent who goes rogue in order to save his lady is a well-worn plot device, but director Nima Nourizadeh injects it with a frenetic speed, explosive action, and an addictive goofiness. Topher Grace, Walton Goggins, John Leguizamo, and Connie Britton also appear.
6. The Bourne Ultimatum
In the 2002 film The Bourne Identity, Matt Damon’s interpretation of a super-agent was so potent that it not only competed with Bond. But it also marked the beginning of the Jason Bourne-centered franchise of action-packed spy thriller movies.
The third film in the series, The Bourne Ultimatum, which stars Matt Damon as a charming assassin on the run and is based on the Robert Ludlum novel of the same name. While trying to learn more about his past as a covert agent, Bourne has come into conflict with his former CIA superiors, whose Operation Blackbriar appears to be focused on either catching him or permanently taking him out. However, this handsome hero finds a companion in an “inner guy” behind the icy demeanor. Paddy Considine, Julia Stiles, and David Strathairn all appear.
78. Red Joan
A charming elderly woman (Judi Dench) is abruptly arrested for treason while she is cutting shrubbery in a picturesque English garden where this spy thriller opens. Flashbacks transport us to England during World Armageddon II, where Sophie Cookson’s character Joan Smith was a bright young woman with lofty ideas who marched into a world of political intrigue, passionate love, and possibly nuclear war. Red Joan tells the tale of a complex and divisive woman who broke all the rules—and in some ways betrayed her country—in the aim of saving the world.
Red Joan was inspired by Melita Norwood, an English civil worker who divulged confidential knowledge concerning atomic weapons to the KGB. Trevor Nunn, the director of the theater, leads his cast through subtle but compelling interpretations. The film’s incisive espionage sequences, however, which are added with a woman’s touch for entertainment and range from men’s queasiness over a bag of sanitary napkins to fur robes and baby strollers, are the best part.
8. The Penguins of Madagascar
I saw anything suitable for families, especially one of best spy cartoon tv shows ever! The Penguins of Madagascar, released in 2014, provides this zany waddle their own espionage-filled spinoff after proving to be covert scene-stealers in the Madagascar films. The four-penguin squad of Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private’s origin tale is revealed by directors Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith. Then, they assign these foolish spies a global mission that sets them against an irate octopus who is very expert at disguising himself.
This animated adventure also gives a ton of laughs, incorporating satire, pratfalls, and fart jokes with equal glee. It also features the traditional elements of an espionage thriller, such as rich settings, insane technology, and crazy action. Celebrity dramatic actors John Malkovich, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Peter Stormare, as well as filmmaker Werner Herzog, add vigor to the voice ensemble.
9. Quantum of Solace
In Quantum of Solace, which begins exactly an hour after Casino Royale, James Bond seeks retribution for the death of a loved one. This is one of the best spy movies on Netflix. In his search for the murderer, 007 comes upon the mysterious Quantum organization. It is Bond’s responsibility to stop Quantum and Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), one of the shadow members, from attempting to overthrow the government of Bolivia in order to seize control of the country’s water supply.
In keeping with the grim tone of Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace is an action-packed, gory movie that features James Bond pushing himself further than ever in combat scenes as he takes on a personal mission as opposed to a strictly professional one.
10. The Angel
An Egyptian ambassador named Ashraf Marwan (Marwan Kenzari), who was married to the daughter of Egyptian President Nasser, is the subject of the 2018 Netflix film The Angel. Ashraf Marwan later became a secret agent for the Israeli Mossad. The Angel, which is based on the book by Israeli academic Url Bar-Joseph entitled The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel, examines Marwan’s time spent working as a spy for Israel as well as the emotional problems he encountered while trying to keep the peace between the two nations.
The movie, which is set in 1967 following the Six-Day War between the two nations, is rife with double-crossings and loose ends that make it abundantly evident how logistically and morally challenging being a spy can be.
It’s not required for the finest spy movies on Netflix to feature conventional secret agency spies. That’s because they sometimes deal with hired help, like Tyler Rake from the movie Extraction. The film is unusual in that it follows an underground mercenary who has been hired rather than a spy. What is Tyler’s job? to locate the hostile soldiers that kidnapped the son of an Indian drug lord. Therefore, rather than focusing on clandestine activities, the movie is more of an action/thriller.
Nevertheless, it is one of the best espionage films available on Netflix thanks to its sequences bursting with action, betrayal, and sympathy.
12. The Gray Man
Fans of the genre must watch The Gray Man, one of the new spy films on Netflix. This is mostly because two well-known actors from Hollywood play opposing characters. Ryan Gosling portrays the role of CIA agent Six, who learns that Carmichael, his boss, was assembling an assassination squad. Carmichael is forced to send Chris Evans, who portrays Lloyd Hansen, because agency Six won’t give in to his demands. Lloyd is a professional killer, and his mission is to eliminate agent Six at any cost and with no regard for the consequences.
Now, the movie didn’t generally receive high marks from the critics. However, if you’re interested in watching two prominent actors play adversarial characters, it’s one of the best espionage movies on Netflix. It is amusing and entertaining to watch Chris Evans play a violent child kidnapper. If you’ve only seen him as the stiff Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s even more appealing.
13. Red Notice
One of the best spy films available now is Red Notice. Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot, and Dwane Johnson are three of its well-known stars. It’s undoubtedly one of Netflix’s biggest and most expensive projects given its all-star cast. Furthermore, since James Bond movies aren’t available on the platform, it makes a respectable stand-in. What is the Red Notice? Dwayne Johnson’s character, an FBI agent, is the protagonist.
Ryan Reynolds, who portrays a thief of works of art, must collaborate with him. His objective is to find and capture Gal Gadot, who plays the largest and most notorious art thief in the world. With that said, it’s undoubtedly among the most captivating and excellent espionage films you’ll watch on Netflix this year.
14. The Sleepover
This Netflix original action-comedy will appeal to you if you prefer your spy stories to be loaded with kid-friendly humor. The Sleepover, a film directed by Trish Sie and written by Sarah Rothschild, is reminiscent of the Spy Kids in that it follows a group of cunning children who must use their cunning to defeat evil forces that have kidnapped their secret-keeping parents. Malin kerman portrays a devoted mother whose background as a skilled burglar has resurfaced to interrupt what ought to have been a routine sleepover. She is under pressure to complete one more task, teaming up with her former crime partner (Joe Manganiello) and her dimwitted husband (Ken Marino).
Sadie Stanley, Maxwell Simkins, Lucas Jaye, and Cree Cicchino, her children’s friends, are preparing a rescue strategy in the meantime. Yes, theoretically no one is a spy. The Sleepover, however, adheres to the espionage script with action, revelations, and reversals, as well as cutting-edge technology, hidden passageways, and glitzy glow-ups.
I was exhausted after watching The Gray Man – if you love action packed movies it’s for you even if a tad “over-packed”! The question remains though. Do you claim to be an espionage illuminati without having read either the “Trout Memo” or Bill Fairclough’s Beyond Enkription?
Now reviews of The Gray Man are mixed but if you liked the intermittently fast and furious pace of Bill Fairclough’s epic fact based spy novel Beyond Enkription in The Burlington Files series then you will love Anthony Russo’s The Gray Man provided that you last the relentless pace. They both make parts of Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne series look like slow horses! The Gray Man is about a renegade CIA agent on the run and stars Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans; it’s based on Mark Greaney’s debut novel of the same name. Fairclough’s factual stand-alone thriller Beyond Enkription is about a (real life) MI6 agent on the run from international organised crime gangs and Haiti’s TonTon Macoute from London to Nassau and Port au Prince to Miami.
The Gray Man and The Burlington Files are both musts for espionage aficionados. The difference between them is that The Burlington Files series has had mainly five star reviews, it’s full of real life characters and was written for espionage cognoscenti some of whom won’t have even heard of the ingenious spycraft tricks featured in this electrifying novel. So, if you are an espionage illuminati best visit theburlingtonfiles.org and read Beyond Enkription.