Offering a combination of exciting escapism, technological thrills, and exotic locales, many spy films combine action and sci-fi, with epic heroes and villains. If you love this genre, then for your consideration we have curated a list of thrilling Spy movies on Netflix to watch on the weekend. Check it out.
The best spy films make you feel like you’re a real-deal special agent, even if it is only for a few hours. Of course, many of us won’t actually be involved in such missions around the world, have to do scary action sequences ( like Tom Cruise) or even have top-notch tech and high-speed cars. But it feels nice to escape into such thrilling adventures through fantastic Hollywood flicks. The stakes in these movies are usually high, the agents are well-trained, and you are constantly guessing what they will do next. So whether you’re watching Jason Bourne being pursued by assassins or Bond tackling his latest assignment — The only thing you can trust is that you’ll be entertained until the final credits roll.
List of Spy Movies on Netflix
- Body of Lies
- Munich- The Edge of War
- The Man from U.N.C.L.E
- Johnny English Reborn
- Mission Impossible- Rogue Nation
- Bourne Identity
- The Coldest Game
- The Sum of All Fears
- The Angel
IMDB ratings: 7.3/10
Cast: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki
Director: Christopher Nolan
Who isn’t a fan of a talented director like Christopher Nolan? However, while his 2020 project Tenet was highly anticipated by fans, it went underappreciated upon its release. Tenet is a science fiction spy movie that centres around an unnamed protagonist. He is a CIA operative recruited by a secret organisation called Tenet. Nolan introduces the concept of time travel through the eyes of the protagonist when he is briefed about specific bullets that move backwards in time.
Along with his handler, Neil, the protagonist traces the origin of bullets. The plot of Tenet is even more complex and complicated than Nolan’s other films. It’s the kind of film that might need a rewatch to understand, but once you do, it genuinely holds up. Tenet is an excellent option for CIA and spy movies on Netflix. Check it out.
2. Body of Lies (2008)
IMDB ratings: 7/10
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Mark Strong
Director: Ridley Scott
Body of Lies is a 2008 spy thriller film featuring Leonardo DiCaprio as CIA agent Roger Ferris. When Roger uncovers a lead on a prominent terrorist leader, he devises a plan with the help of his boss, Ed Hoffman. Secretly, they create a fake terrorist organisation in hopes of prompting the terrorist leader from hiding. But, unfortunately, everything quickly goes south.
Body of Lies is one the rare Hollywood films that focuses on a CIA agent who’s not the most intelligent person in the room. The protagonist is susceptible to realistic and complex war-ravaged situations. Body of Lies is a terrific and amongst the best spy films on Netflix.
Also Read: Whodunit Movies
3. Munich- The Edge of War (2021)
IMDB ratings: 6.8/10
Cast: Jannis Niewöhner, George MacKay, Jeremy Irons
Director: Christian Schwochow
World War 2 films have always intrigued viewers; consequently, the sub-genre has delivered some iconic hits like ‘Schindler’s List’ and ‘Saving Private Ryan.’ The movie Munich – The Edge of War is a recent WW2 German-British spy thriller made from a screenplay based on the 2017 novel Munich by Robert Harris.
Munich – The Edge of War sets in the fall of 1938, Hitler prepares to invade Czechoslovakia, and the government of Neville Chamberlain desperately seeks a peaceful solution. A British civil servant and his former German classmate are chosen for secret espionage to uncover Hitler’s plans. And without giving too much away, I can confidently tell you this film is so gripping that it will keep you on the edge of your seats. Munich – The Edge of War is currently one of the best spy movies on Netflix. I’d highly recommend you check it out.
4. The Man from U.N.C.L.E (2015)
IMDB ratings: 7.2/10
Cast: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki
Director: Guy Ritchie
I have to admit, The Man from U.N.C.L.E is one of my favourite underrated spy films, so much so that I still hope it gets a sequel. Based on the 1960s TV series of the same name, the film set itself in 1963. A CIA agent and KBG operative participate in an unlikely joint mission against a criminal organisation along with the daughter of an alleged Nazi scientist.
Full of action, witty dialogues, humour, and clever plot twists, The Man from U.N.C.L.E is a genuinely refreshing part-Bond, part-Russian Spy, and part-CIA film. Every single actor has done a terrific job. Every single interaction is pure entertainment. The Man from U.N.C.L.E is easily at the top of my recommendations for spy movies on Netflix. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
5. Johnny English Reborn (2011)
IMDB ratings: 6.3/10
Cast: Rowan Atkinson, Rosamund Pike, Gillian Anderson
Director: Oliver Parker
Johnny English Reborn is a spy action-comedy sequel to the 2003 Johnny English. Much like the predecessor, it parodies the James Bond series and the clichés of the spy genre. This second installation follows former agent Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) recovering in Tibet from the shame of his previous mission’s failure. However, English’s luck shines when MI7 calls him again, this time to bring down a criminal organisation called Vortex. A junior, Colin Tucker, is assigned to be his assistant.
Comedy at its best, Johnny English Reborn also does well to carry the spy suspense. While Rosamund, Gillian, and Daniel do a fantastic job, Atkinson’s performance is pure GENIUS. Johnny English Reborn is an excellent choice if you want to see spy movies on Netflix that will make you laugh till your stomach hurts.
6. Mission Impossible- Rogue Nation (2015)
IMDB ratings: 7.4/10
Cast: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Tom Cruise has been making Mission Impossible movies since the time most of us were kids, quite literally. Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation is the 5th instalment in the series and follows Tom as Ethan Hunt, an agent of the Impossible Mission Force. The story opens up with the IMF disbanded and the CIA hunting him. Ethan and his team race against time to prove the existence of the Syndicate, a highly skilled terror organisation, before they plan their next attack.
Generally, the movies in this series easily work as standalone films, so considering you haven’t seen any other films, you won’t have problems beginning with this one. In addition, Tom Cruise is famously known for doing his own (highly dangerous) stunts, so if you love action and want to see espionage movies on Netflix, this one’s for you.
7. Bourne Identity (2002)
IMDB ratings: 7.9/10
Cast: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Brian Cox
Director: Doug Liman
Ever wondered what it would be like for a spy to wake up with no memory? The main character (Matt Damon) of the 1980 spy thriller Bourne Identity is shot, but due to his remarkable survival abilities, he wakes up only to have retrograde amnesia. His name is Jason Bourne, and he seeks to discover his true identity, unaware of the dangers ahead of him.
Bourne Identity is intense, thrilling, and quite entertaining for action fans. Like other action spy films in this list, this one also has 5 parts, with the 6th in the making. So for all looking for popcorn flick spy movies on Netflix, this one is worth checking out.
Also Read: Movies like Coherence
8. The Coldest Game (2019)
IMDB ratings: 6.2/10
Cast: Bill Pullman, Lotte Verbeek, Maria Konarowska
Director: Lukasz Kosmicki
The Coldest Game is a spy thriller that cleverly attempts to stitch actual historical events as a part of its story. The film refers to The Cuban crisis, the Cold War, and a politically laden chess match between a Russian and an American. The movie is set during 1962’s Cuban missile crisis. It follows a troubled maths genius who finds himself drafted to play in a U.S.-Soviet chess match, turning into a deadly game of espionage.
On the whole, The Coldest Game is a gripping and well-created film. As a Netflix user, I consider this movie’s production quality to be right up there with Queen’s Gambit and The Crown. Your watchlist for spy thriller movies on Netflix is incomplete without a superb wartime movie like The Coldest Game.
9. The Sum of All Fears (2002)
IMDB ratings: 6.4/10
Cast: Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman, Tom Clancy
Director: Phil Alden Robinson
The Sum of All Fears is a film adapted from a Tom Clancy novel. It features his infamous character, Jack Ryan, a CIA historian. When the President of Russia unexpectedly dies, a man whose politics are virtually unknown succeeds. This change in political head sparks paranoia among American CIA officials.
CIA’s Director Bill Cabot (Morgan Freeman) recruits a young analyst, Jack Ryan (Ben Affleck), to provide insight and advice on the matter. The Sum of All Fears is a well-directed film. There is a lot of action, drama, and suspense. Hence, it is a nice option for CIA and spy movies on Netflix for you. If you weren’t already, I’m sure you will become a fan of Tom Clancy’s work after watching this one.
10. The Angel (2018)
IMDB ratings: 6.7/10
Cast: Toby Kebbell, Simon Istolainen, Marwan Kenzari
Director: Ariel Vromen
The Angel is an Israeli spy thriller about a real-life Egyptian man, Ashraf Marwan, who spied for Israel in the 1970s. The movie is set in the middle east during the turbulent times when Israel was at war with almost all of its neighbours surrounding them. Only a few more provocative or accidental steps would prevent the rest from entering the fray.
Based on actual life events, this event highlights how one individual (Ashraf) in the higher echelons of the Egyptian regime had to risk everything he cared for his family. He was, in fact, branded as a traitor- to pull his country out of the oblivion facing them. With a tight script, sound editing, and crisp direction, this movie will be memorable for years. As a movie buff, The Angel is one of the most thrilling spy movies on Netflix you can watch.
Extra: The Iconic James Bond movies are not currently on Netflix ( and hence not a part of this list) but if you want to watch them, not to worry, some or the other Bond film appears on Netflix every now and then.
Here are a few espionage movies on Netflix that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless:
- Jack Ryan
- The Spy