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10 Spy Movies on Netflix To Watch If You Enjoy CIA and Espionage Films

spy movies on netflix

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

  1. Tenet
  2. Body of Lies
  3. Munich- The Edge of War
  4. The Man from U.N.C.L.E
  5. Johnny English Reborn
  6. Mission Impossible- Rogue Nation
  7. Bourne Identity
  8. The Coldest Game 
  9. The Sum of All Fears
  10. The Angel

Tenet (2020)

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. 

Honourable Mentions 

Here are a few espionage movies on Netflix that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. Jack Ryan 
  2. Snowden
  3. The Spy

When Lost aired over a decade ago, its successful narrative created a pop culture impact and changed the landscape of television. If you are a fan and want to watch shows like Lost then you can have a look at this list we made just for you.


The hugely successful television series Lost aired in 2004. The premise, as we know, deals with a group of people surviving a commercial passenger plane crash on a remote island. The show masterfully explores supernatural and sci-fi elements on this mysterious south Pacific island.

The use of cliffhangers at the end of each episode of Lost kept the viewers on the edge of their seats, desperately craving for the next episode to come. Even though it's a large ensemble cast, most of the characters receive a justifiable personal arch. Lost was inspired by the movie Castaway and became one of the most expensive pilots to be shot at the time! Lost continues to be appreciated for its originality in storytelling and dynamic character arcs. 

List of TV Shows Like Lost

  1. The Leftovers
  2. Manifest
  3. Lost Room
  4. Twin Peaks
  5. The Prisoners
  6. Battlestar Galactica
  7. The New People
  8. Flight 29 Down
  9. Fringe
  10. Alcatraz
  11. Under the Dome
  12. Dark

1. The Leftovers (2014)

IMDB ratings: 8.3/10

Cast: Carrie Coon, Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman and Margaret Qualley

Creator: Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta

The director of Lost, Damon Lindel also created a supernatural drama series called The Leftovers. The show begins 3 years after an unexplainable global event called ‘Sudden Departure’  where almost 2 per cent of the population, nearly 140 million people, disappear. The Leftovers isn't about WHY people are gone, it's about how the ones who remain dealt with their loss, people often try to comfort themselves with dreams, angels, gods, or even death.

The Leftovers will leave you with so many questions but beyond words, you have to feel it and savour its unanswered questions to find peace. The Leftovers is an incredible television series that starts incredibly well but loses its way by the series's end. I have to say though, Carrie Coon has brilliant moments in the end. The Leftovers is so weird, fragmented and nonsensical at times that it reminds me of Lost. If you are looking for shows like Lost, I recommend that you give The Leftovers a try.

2. Manifest  (2018) 

IMDB ratings: 7.1/10

Cast: Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas and J.R. Ramirez 

Creator: Jeff Rake

The Manifest is a supernatural drama show about a bunch of people who discover that they lost 5 years of their lives when they landed in New York after their aeroplane faced severe turbulence. All the people on the plane were presumed to be dead. Now, these people have to find a way to adjust themselves to a new life around their loved ones. Mild spoiler! They learn their loved ones and the rest of society is not as they left it.

I found that the show’s premise was very intriguing and the actors give a very convincing performance. The narrative details of the show, however, in my opinion, are a bit sloppy and inconsistent. The writers surely have room for improvement but their concept is incredibly thrilling. Every episode of Manifest keeps you on your toes. Manifest has completed 3 seasons up until now and continues to be on air. Manifest is a pretty good choice if you want to watch TV shows like Lost.

3. Lost Room (2006)

IMDB ratings: 8.1/10

Cast: Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies and Peter Jacobson

Creator: Christopher Leone, Laura Harkcom

This lesser-known show The Lost Room is an American Sci-fi television miniseries which only had 3 episodes of 90 mins each and no follow-up seasons. The show was based on a very unique idea where the room in question (known as the ‘Lost Room’) and the objects in the said room had supernatural powers. This strange room is set in a 1960s motel along the iconic U.S. Route 66.

One day the protagonist (Peter Krause) Joe Miller’s daughter disappears inside the room. Joe, with the help of objects present in the room, tries to find his daughter Anna (Elle Fanning). The story of Lost Room was intensely engaging. I found the direction and the actor’s performances to be absolutely brilliant. It baffles me that the creators did not return to make another short season within the same concept. If you have been searching for TV series like Lost then I can assure you that Lost Room will be worth a watch.

4. Twins Peaks (1990) 

IMDB ratings: 8.8/10

Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Mädchen Amick, Sherilyn Fenn and David Lynch

Creator: David Lynch

David Lynch, the well-known director of weird and captivating films such as Eraserhead and Blue Velvet created an iconic show called Twin Peaks. It is a hauntingly eccentric show about the investigation of the mysterious murder of a small-town homecoming queen named Laura Palmer. Believe me, as odd as the show may seem at first, you will grow to love it, after all, it is considered to be one of the best mystery shows ever created.

With the mysteries, the supernatural elements and the list of bizarre characters, Twin Peaks has it all. In my opinion, the cinematography of the show was truly ahead of its time. Kyle’s Dale Cooper was especially entertaining. Twin Peaks’ experimental formula of the satirical soap opera is extremely unsettling yet rewarding to watch, I must warn you, it’s not for the faint-hearted!  If you are in search of TV shows like Lost then Twin Peaks won’t disappoint you.

The Prisoners (1967)

IMDB ratings: 8.5/10

Cast: Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat and Geroge Markstien

Creator: Patrick McGoohan

The Prisoner centres around an unnamed British agent (Patrick McGoohan) who tries to flee his country after abruptly quitting his high-ranking government job. He is abducted and held captive in a strange ‘sea-side’ village that is isolated from the rest of the world. This village is a highly secure and monitored place filled with weird technology. There are only 17 episodes to this late 60s show but it manages to bring up such surreal surprises, it's sure to leave a great impact on the viewer.

The Prisoner’s unique concept influenced many popular shows including Lost. The creators of Lost even cited the show. I was very impressed by how ahead of its time The Prisoners proves to be. If you want to watch more shows similar to Lost the Prisoners should definitely be on your list.

6. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Katee Sackhoff, Edward James Olmos and Tricia Helfer 

Creator: Glen A. Larson

The 2004 Battlestar Galactica is a reboot of the original 1978 miniseries of the same name. Do not be mistaken by the title, the show is not related to Star Trek.  Battlestar Galactica is set in the 7th millennium AD and follows Cylons, the robot enemy of humanity that resurfaces to destroy the 12 colonies of Mankind. Only a few survive and are able to escape on ships led by a powerful warship called Battlestar Galactica. Mankind struggles to fight the Cylons and work their own political agendas and disputes while finding their long-lost 13th colony Earth.

The show is a dark, intense and gritty socio-political commentary with EPIC cinematic value. The script is especially clever and as a huge fan of sci-fi shows, this show ticks the boxes in all the right categories. When the show was released, it blew the viewers and critics away. As far as an obsessive and gripping story goes, Battlestar Galactica is one of the most similar to shows like Lost. 

7. The New People (1969)

IMDB ratings: 7.3/10

Cast: David Moses, Zooey hall and Tiffany Boiling

Creator: Larry Gordon Aaron Spelling

The New People is an American Tv series that aired only for 1 season and is focused on a couple of college students who survive a plane crash. The incident takes place while they were returning from a trip to Southeast Asia, their plane crashes on an island in the south of the Pacific ocean. 

By now this show must already be sounding a lot like Lost to you, and it surely is. The remaining group of people discover an unusual truth about the island: there’s an above-ground unused nuclear test site filled with supplies for the survivors. If you want to see more plane survival stories like Lost then The New People should definitely be on your list.

8. Flight 29 Down (2005)

IMDB ratings: 7.2/10

Cast: Allen Alvarado, Halle Hirsh and Corbin Bleu

Creator:  Stan Rowgow D. J. MacHale

The show Flight 29 Down is a drama series about a group of pre-teens/teens who are stranded on a South Pacific island after their plane crashes in a tropical storm while they were flying from an eco-adventure camping trip in Palau. The show is in many ways a younger version of the Adult-centred show Lost but sans the supernatural elements. I’d say that the show draws inspiration from the show The New People.

Flight 29 Down uses the technique of a video diary as a plot device for the viewers to keep up with the story of these children. It was very engaging to watch young intelligent characters finding their way on the island. The first two seasons of the show are quite engaging but I seemed to lose interest in its 3rd and final season. Regardless, Flight 29 Down is a really good series to watch if you want to see TV shows like Lost.

9. Fringe (2008)

IMDB ratings: 8.4/10

Cast: Anna Torv, John Noble and Joshua Jackson

Creator: J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci

Fringe is a popular Sci-fi crime drama television series. It may seem like a standard procedural drama at first, but the show actually explores the parallel universe, alternate versions of people filled with crazy scientific experiments. I personally had a great time watching this show.

Fringe is actually inspired by shows like Lost, The X-files and The Twilight Zone. The 3 main characters of the show work with a special division called Fringe. There are so many brilliant twists and turns in Fringe that in my opinion, the show is at the top of its category. If you are searching for TV series like Lost, I strongly recommend you watch Fringe

10. Alcatraz (2012)

IMDB ratings: 6.9/10

Cast: Sarah Jones, George Garcia and Jonny Coyne 

Creator: Elizabeth Sarnoff, Steven Lilien, Bryan Wynbrandt

This American fiction show is based on the infamous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary built on Alcatraz island in San Francisco Bay. The prison is now closed but once kept some of the most dangerous criminals of America. The show takes the liberty to make a show around the conspiracies of the place.

In the interesting premise we see that under unknown circumstances, 256 inmates and 46 guards of the prison disappear without a trace. Later the disappeared ones start to appear one by one without ageing a day and resume their criminal activities with no realisation of disappearance. A special government unit is dedicated to finding and putting those criminals back in prison. If you are looking for mystery shows similar to Lost, try watching Alcatraz. 

11. Under the Dome (2013)

IMDB ratings: 6.5/10

Cast: Alexander Koch and Rachelle Lefevre

Creator: Stephen King

Based on a novel written by the sci-fi legend Stephen King, Under the Dome tells the story of the residents of the fictional small town called Chester's Mill, when a huge, transparent and indestructible dome suddenly cuts them off from the rest of the world.

Now the trapped residents try to find a way to discover the truth, origin and purpose of these domes. This journey forces them into situations where they learn more about each other than they ever knew. Under the Dome may not be on the top of this list but it’s quite a decent watch if you’re looking for mystery shows similar to Lost

12. Dark (2017)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Louis Hofmann, Lisa Vicari and Gina Stiebitz

Creator: Baran bo Odar, Jantje Friese

The German-language Netflix series Dark is an interesting blend of Science fiction and Mystery. Truly a compelling and mind-bending story to watch. At the beginning of Dark, many children suspiciously start disappearing in the German town of Winden. The dark past of generational mysteries of 4 families living in the town namely, Kahnwald, Nielsen, Doppler, and Tiedemann is brought to light.

After the discovery of a wormhole, the lives of the families intertwine more than one can imagine. I believe every element of the show is top-notch, especially Dark’s cinematography, which is a TRUE masterpiece. If you are looking for TV series similar to Lost then the intense and gripping story of Dark is sure to keep you engrossed.

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few TV shows like Lost that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. Carnivale
  2. Yellowjackets
  3. Game of Thrones
  4. Black Mirror
  5. Flashforward
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