The world of espionage and intrigue is great fodder for the movies because of the inherent drama involved in movie spies sneaking around where you're not supposed to be. Add things like guns, gadgets, helicopter chases, and girls, and you practically have the secret formula for a good movie.  This message will self-destruct in, oh, half an hour or so. Take your time.

Mata Hari, "Mata Hari"

This is a movie about the real-life spy Mata Hari, who, according to legend, was a spy for Germany during World War I. Much of that "legend" was popularized by this movie, which was a smashing success in the 1930's thanks to Greta Garbo, who brings an intimidating seductiveness to the role.

Alicia Huberman, "Notorious"

In this spy thriller, Huberman, played by Ingrid Bergman is recruited by a government agent (Cary Grant) to infiltrate the home of a Nazi, played by Claude Rains. Since this is Hitchcock, you inevitably end up feeling a little bit sorry for the bad guy, even though he's a Nazi who wants to use Uranium to bomb the United States. He falls in love with Ingrid, of course, who puts her personal feelings aside to crack open the nest of Nazis. But still, poor Claude Rains.

James Bond, The James Bond Films

The most famous superspy of all is famous for a reason. He's survived car chases, shootouts, assassination attempts, hand-to-hand fights, colorful killers, and trainwrecks, and he always gets his man. He puts his own personal safety aside for the sake of the mission, and the mission usually involves taking down a villain trying to conquer the world. He even survived being played by George Lazenby. James Bond is the daddy of all movie spies, and it'll be a long time before a movie spy comes along that doesn't get compared to him.

Alec Leamas, "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold"

Spying in the real world doesn't usually come with the glitz and glamour associated with James Bond. So many novels and films attempt to deflate that famous world and replace it with something more realistic, something sadder. That's certainly the case with "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold," but the titular spy played by Richard Burton is one of the great movie spies. Where Bond is suave, Leamas is weary, beaten down by an environment in which good people die and love won't save anybody - in fact, it might get you killed. He doesn't have a nice tux or iconic theme music, but he's still one of the most memorable movie spies ever.

Derek Flint, "Our Man Flint" and "In Like Flint"

Taking a step out of the real world and then taking a dozen or so more steps for good measure, Derek Flint is conceived as a parody of Bond. But as played by James Coburn, the movie spy who's suave enough to communicate with dolphins takes on a life of his own. Flint has a sense of humor that most spies lack, and the "Flint" movies were made in an era when it was possible to be cool and funny at the same time. Plus, come on, he can talk to dolphins.

Ethan Hunt, "Mission: Impossible"

The original "Mission: Impossible" TV series was a tribute to teamwork, with each member of the espionage team playing a crucial role in taking down bad guys. The movie pretty much ditched that as soon as Tom Cruise was cast, but his Ethan Hunt is a movie spy to remember, performing dangerous stunts in both quiet and loud environments. Hunt's amazing feats stick in the brain, and are often parodied, but no movie spy can match their unbeatable coolness.

Agent WD-40, "Spy Hard"

Agent Dick Steele may be a fool, a nincompoop, and a boob. But don't tell him he doesn't love his country, damn it. The movie spy played by Leslie Nielsen puts everything on the line in a mission against a super-criminal—and don't let the fact that he's played by Andy Griffith fool you—General Rancor is plenty dangerous. But Dick gives him a lesson in espionage, with an assist from Dr. Joyce Brothers and Hulk Hogan, among others.