Spy movies have existed almost as long as the art of espionage. But as with all genres, most of the movies within the spy category aren't exactly masterpieces. But if you're in the mood for a good spy movie, here are four of the best. Just remember to keep both eyes open during the retinal scan - it's easier that way.


Fritz Lang's silent spy thriller is perhaps the first of its kind, combining espionage and intrigue with high-impact suspense and action sequences. Many of the familiar spy movie tropes were introduced here: An action scene involving a train, a ticking time bomb, and secret cloak-and-dagger messages between agents. And Lang's visual mastery is so sharp it might be hard to believe that the movie came out in 1928.

"North By Northwest"

Alfred Hitchcock was a master of the spy thriller, and this is arguably his best work in the genre. It's the story of a Manhattan advertising man played by Cary Grant who is mistaken for a spy by enemy agents and is embroiled in a cross-country chase after he's wrongfully accused of murdering someone at the United Nations. Hitchcock fills the movie with his trademark suspense, humor, and romance - it almost seems like it would be fun to be confused for a spy and be on the run from the police. That's probably only the case if you're Cary Grant, though.

"From Russia With Love"

The spy movie just wouldn't be the same without James Bond, and Sean Connery's second showing as Agent 007 is generally considered to be the best of the bunch. "From Russia With Love" has all the elements of a great Bond thriller - great villains (the best being Robert Shaw as assassin Red Grant), a great MacGuffin (a LEKTOR cryptographic device), and great action scenes (the helicopter chase and the climactic train fight between Grant and Bond are two standouts). The only thing this movie DOESN'T have is a great Bond title song, although some may disagree on that point.

"Fair Game"

Real-life spy action can be just as exciting as the movies, as this film about CIA agent Valerie Plame, who was famously outed as an agent by the Bush administration in retaliation for her husband Joe Wilson's anti-war activism. The facts of the case make for an exciting and thought-provoking film. There may not be any helicopter chases, but what you have instead is two actors (Sean Penn and Naomi Watts) at the top of their game. Not a bad trade-off.