12 Best Movies About CIA (2023)

The CIA is one of the favorite spy agencies on which movies are made. Their surveillance and presence in other countries is notable and makes for great movie content. Furthermore, it has been uncovered that the CIA actually influenced a lot of Hollywood directors to make movies on them, giving them access to the agency in order to have themselves portrayed in a good light in popular media in order to get more recruits. Taking all this into consideration it isn’t strange that there are so many movies on the CIA. Here’s the list of top movies about CIA and NSA ever made. You can stream some of these best CIA movies on Netflix or Amazon Prime.

12. Red (2010)

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Based on a comic book series, the film’s name is actually an acronym which stands for Retired, Extremely Dangerous. The movie stars Bruce Willis as Frank Moses a retired CIA Black Ops agent. The plot follows the ennui that grips his life until an assassination squad is sent to kill him. This gets the old legend back in the game and he uncovers a plot that is characteristic of the portrayal of the CIA – a massive conspiracy and a cover-up that involves the Vice President himself. Frank teams up with an oddball bunch of old mates and even a KGB contemporary and survives the conspiracy but the movie goes to show the far reach and ruthlessness of the CIA despite the director’s attempts to keep the movie strictly within an action-comedy genre of films.

Related: Best Bruce Willis Movies

11. Bad Company (2002)

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The CIA is known for being famously ruthless. This is best brought out in this movie. Kevin Pope an agent, played by Chris Rock, is killed while on a mission. So as not to compromise the mission, the agency brings in his twin brother Jake Hayes, an untrained and frankly immature twin of Pope. He is trained by Oakes(Anthony Hopkins) and undertakes the mission. However, Hayes’ weak point turns out to be his girlfriend and when she is kidnapped he gives himself up. In a series of twists and turns, the international criminal organization is defeated, the bomb defused and the good guys win. However, the film goes to show that the agency will stop at nothing the ends justify the means which is I think some secret CIA motto anyway. Bad Company for all its comic elements reveals this nugget of truth about the secretive agency and it was one of the last major productions to be shot inside the World Trade Center.

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10. Erased (2012)

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Following another example of CIA’s ruthlessness, this film is also a testament to how the agency operates and how efficient it can be at manufacturing the truth. Aaron Eckhart plays Ben Logan, an ex CIA agent who is united with his estranged daughter and living in Belgium together. However, he soon finds out that his employers are a front for the CIA. Haunted by the agency, an assassin, and the Belgian authorities, Logan is cornered on all sides and makes many narrow escapes using his daughter’s connections among undocumented immigrants with who she was friends. The film is a gripping tale of twists and turns right up to the climax where Logan bests the opponents. However, the cinema speaks to how the CIA has a global reach and the insidious way in which the agency cleans house.

9. The November Man (2014)

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Pierce Brosnan plays the role of Paul Devereaux or the November Man, a skilled CIA operative. He is pulled back in from retirement for one last mission. The last mission turns out to be the most twisted mission that will push the skilled operative to the edge. It involves a Cechnian war criminal who is running for the Russian presidency. Devereaux runs up against his old protege Mason and another assassin named Alexa. Keeping himself safe, he cannot, however, save the asset he was sent to protect. However, this drives him to reach the bottom of the matter and he uncovers a CIA plot to influence global politics by strongarming Russia to join the NATO against the middle-East. A thrilling movie, this speaks to CIA’s interference in global politics now and again.

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8. Safe House (2012)

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Starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, the film follows Tobin Frost, an ex CIA agent turned international criminal who is brought in by the CIA after an exchange is ambushed. He is brought to a safe house where Matt Weston (Reynolds) is in charge. As the interrogation is going on, the safe house is ambushed and Weston barely escapes with Frost. They then begin to doubt the CIA and Frost sows the seeds of doubt about conspiracies and determined they both try to get to the bottom of it, ultimately uncovering a plot to eliminate a whistleblower who would expose the wetwork of the agency. A film that shows the harsh nature of the CIA and how they will often eliminate one of their own to protect the agency’s secrets, this goes to show why they are one of the best spy agencies in the world but also speaks to the moral depravity that comes with the job.

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7. Taken (2008)

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This movie series has been made famous by Liam Neeson’s lines about hunting and killing his daughter’s kidnappers. A member of the US military, Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) then went on to join the CIA and was part of their special ops teams where he was never really there, but became an adept killing machine and a very very lethal person. The man, now in retirement was trying to keep his family together and when his daughter got kidnapped, all hell broke loose. The weapon came out of retirement and he took down the entire trafficking ring singlehandedly, from the supplier to the consumer. A finely made movie with well-executed action scenes this movie shows us how the CIA training never leaves the agents, so technically once in, never out.

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6. The Recruit (2003)

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Directed by Roger Donaldson, the film stars Al Pacino and Colin Farrell. Pacino plays Burke a CIA recruiter who takes in James Clayton (Farrell) a young kid who designed a software called Spartacus that can hack computers remotely. Clayton is trained at the Farm with other agents and in the process is put in contact with another agent Layla Moore. Moore is accused of stealing the software and Burke warns Clayton to put a stop to it. However, it turns out that Moore was assigned by the CIA to see if the software could be removed and Burke turns out to be the real thief. Clayton is a final stroke of genius manages to convince Burke to incriminate himself. The movie goes on to show the general secrecy and varied layers of distrust that can creep into a spy agency where everyone is programmed not to trust the other person. A riveting film, it is one of the finest movies about the induction of a rookie into the agency.

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5. Bourne Series (2002-2016)

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Jason Bourne is a name that has lingered in cinema halls for a long time and Matt Damon plays Bourne in the series. He is a CIA operative who has insomnia and the CIA treats him as a loose cannon and attempts to cut ties with him. In their line of work, it means death. However, Bourne is more than up to the situation and evades capture and uncovers a conspiracy within the CIA and corruption as well. The series of movies takes a real close look at the vastness of corruption in the agency and a lack of accountability in certain people and shows how far the CIA’s reach is and how far they can go to silence people.

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4. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

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Directed by Guy Ritchie this film follows Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo and Armie Hammer as Ilya Kuryakin. Solo is a thief turned CIA operative and Ilya is a KGB agent. They lock heads in East Berlin but when a global threat poses itself, the CIA and KGB must come together reluctantly to face this threat. The film is made in typical Guy Ritchie style with moments of humor and action well balanced throughout the film and it goes to show us that in the spy business it is the greater good always and global threats make for strange bedfellows. A fine film though not one of Ritchie’s best, it is a fun watch and gives some insight about the CIA during the cold war days.

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3. Body of Lies (2008)

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Directed by Ridley Scott, this film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, and Mark Strong. The film follows a joint operation between the CIA and the Jordanian intelligence to capture a terrorist called Al-Saleem. Ferris (DiCaprio) is the agent on the ground and Hoffman (Crowe) is his supervisor. The film shows CIA interference in the middle east but also brings out the necessity of said intervention in certain parts because the apprehension of these terrorists affect global events as the film shows a parallel plot of a bombing in London being planned at the same time. A fine film with stellar cast and acting this is one of the best movies about the agency’s presence in countries where they have no business being.

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2. Spy Game (2001)

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Not everyone in the CIA is out to get the other’s blood. The agency has good people who will stick up for their friends. This is brought out best in this film starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt. Redford plays Muir an aging officer who recruited Bishop (Pitt). Bishop manages to get himself captured trying to rescue a Briton while the US and China are on verge of a trade agreement. The US government would rather see the deal go through than jeopardize it by acceding to the Chinese government’s demands that they claim Bishop as their own to save his life. When Muir is brought in as a pretext to give them enough reason to disavow Bishop, he stands up for his old friend and ultimately rescues him putting his own safety on the line. A fine film about genuinely good people in the agency this movie proves that not all CIA movies are conspiracy theories.

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1. Argo (2012)

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Directed by and starring Ben Affleck, this movie is about the Tehran hostage situation where US citizens were trapped in the embassy. Tony Mendez (Affleck) an exfiltration expert, comes up with a brilliant plan to rescue them posing as Canadian filmmakers. A tense situation follows after they make their way to Tehran and after a nailbiting series of events they eventually manage to rescue the hostages. The film shows the ingenuity of the CIA operatives and their sense of duty to the citizens of the country. A finely made film that won critical and public acclaim, this remains one of the best CIA movies of all time.

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What are CIA movies called? ›

Spy films show the espionage activities of government agents and their risk of being discovered by their enemies.

Is there a movie about rogue CIA agent? ›

Rogue Agent is a 2022 British mystery drama thriller film directed by Adam Patterson and Declan Lawn from a screenplay the pair co-wrote with Michael Bronner, based on the article "Chasing Agent Freegard" by Michael Bronner.

What is the movie about a Russian spy? ›

The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Greville Wynne, and is based on the true story of a British businessman who was recruited by the Secret Intelligence Service to be a message conduit with a Russian spy source Oleg Penkovsky (played by Merab Ninidze) in the 1960s.
The Courier (2020 film)
The Courier
Box office$26 million
14 more rows

What is the movie about Russian sleeper spies? ›

21. Telefon (1977) A Russian officer is sent to the U.S. to try and stop sleeper agents who will mindlessly attack government entities when they hear certain coded words.

What is a CIA spy job called? ›

Contrary to popular belief or what is seen in film and television series, US-born, professional employees trained to work as Intelligence Officers for the National Clandestine Service (CIA) are never referred to as "secret agents", "spies", "agents" or "special agents", they are known as 'Operations Officers' or 'Case ...

What are the 4 types of spies? ›

Local spies are hired from among the people of a locality. Inside spies are hired from among enemy officials. Reverse spies are hired from among enemy spies. Dead spies transmit false intelligence to enemy spies.

What movie has a retired CIA agent? ›

8. Taken (I) (2008) A retired CIA agent travels across Europe and relies on his old skills to save his estranged daughter, who has been kidnapped while on a trip to Paris.

Are there any realistic spy movies? ›

Films like Zero Dark Thirty tell the real stories of what spies do on their day-to-day basis. Their work is important, and it takes the brightest minds to carry it out. The world of espionage may be confusing to many but luckily, through cinema, we are given the chance to dive into what it means to be a spy.

What is the movie about the FBI spy? ›

The film is based on the true story of Robert Hanssen, an FBI agent convicted of spying for the Soviet Union and later Russia for more than two decades. It stars Chris Cooper as Hanssen and Ryan Phillippe as Eric O'Neill, the FBI Investigator who helped bring about his downfall.

Who was the biggest FBI traitor? ›

On January 12, 1976, Robert Philip Hanssen swore an oath to enforce the law and protect the nation as a newly minted FBI special agent. Instead, he ultimately became the most damaging spy in Bureau history.

What is the CIA agent series on Netflix? ›

A rookie lawyer at the CIA stumbles headlong into the dangerous world of international espionage when a former asset threatens to expose agency secrets. Watch all you want.

What is the new spy drama on Netflix? ›

'Treason' Review: Netflix's Derivative New Spy Series. Charlie Cox, Oona Chaplin, Olga Kurylenko and Ciaran Hinds star in the five-part London-set thriller.

What is the movie about selling secrets to Russia? ›

'Breach' Captures an FBI Traitor in the Act The story of FBI traitor Robert Hanssen, arrested for selling government secrets to Russia in 2001, is the subject of the movie Breach. It stars Ryan Phillippe and Chris Cooper.

What is the movie about the female Russian assassin? ›

Anna (stylized as ANИA) is a 2019 action thriller film written, produced and directed by Luc Besson. The film stars Sasha Luss as the eponymous assassin, alongside Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy, Helen Mirren, and Alexander Petrov.

What is the age limit for the CIA? ›

Most candidates are between 26 and 35 years old. Candidates for CIA agent jobs in clandestine services must: Be a citizen of the United States. Be at least 18 years old.

What is the highest position in the CIA? ›

The CIA is headed by a director and deputy director, only one of whom may be a military officer. The director of central intelligence (DCI) serves as the chief intelligence adviser to the president of the United States.

How long is CIA training? ›

These assignments help in the training and field deployment. The 26-35 year old group goes through The Clandestine Service (CST) Program. This is an 18 month long program. The applicant must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree.

What is the boss of a spy called? ›

Spymaster. You've made it to the top. You're a leader of an intelligence service.

What is a dead spy? ›

Sun Tzu's Dead spies: Spies you use to provide the enemy with false information. Dead spies are manipulated by you to spill bad information to the enemy. Once the enemy discovers the information is fraudulent, the spy will undoubtedly be killed.

Which is the No 1 suspense thriller movies? ›

All Time Worldwide Box Office for Thriller/Suspense Movies
22006The Da Vinci Code
32014The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
67 more rows

What is the best psychological thriller ever? ›

The best mind-blowing psychological thrillers to watch
  • Seven (1995) Film. ...
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991) Film. ...
  • Get Out (2017) Film. ...
  • Stranger by the Lake (2014) Film. ...
  • Open Your Eyes (1997) Film. ...
  • Fatal Attraction (1987) Film. ...
  • What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) Film. Thrillers. ...
  • Donnie Darko (2002) Film. Drama.
Aug 31, 2022

Which is the number 1 thriller movie? ›

Best Thriller Movies 2021
  • #1. Azor. 98% #1. Critics Consensus: An uncommonly patient thriller, Azor elegantly slips the viewer into its cool grasp and never lets go. ...
  • #2. Riders of Justice. 96% #2. ...
  • #3. Boiling Point. 99% #3. ...
  • #4. No Sudden Move. 92% #4. ...
  • #5. The Novice. 93% #5. ...
  • #6. Titane. 90% #6. ...
  • #7. The Beta Test. 92% #7. ...
  • #8. Nobody. 84% #8.

What movie is the CIA agent in Iraq? ›

Fair Game is a 2010 biographical political drama film directed by Doug Liman and starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn.

What is the new ex CIA agent movie? ›

THE GRAY MAN (2022) Movie Trailer: Former CIA Operative Ryan Gosling is hunted Across the Globe by Chris Evans.

Who is the longest serving CIA director? ›

Allen Welsh Dulles (/ˈdʌləs/, /ˈdʌlɪs/; April 7, 1893 – January 29, 1969) was the first civilian Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), and its longest-serving director to date.

Who is the greatest spy in US history? ›

Robert Philip Hanssen (born April 18, 1944) is an American former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) double agent who spied for Soviet and Russian intelligence services against the United States from 1979 to 2001.
Robert Hanssen
Espionage activity
AllegianceSoviet Union Russia
13 more rows

What is the most realistic space film? ›

Apollo 13 is arguably the most realistic movie about space out there. The Ron Howard-directed film chronicles the challenges that the real-life crew of NASA's Apollo 13 mission faced when they had to turn around from their lunar destination after one of their oxygen tanks malfunctioned.

Who is the most famous female spy? ›

And there is one spy whose story stands out from all the others: Virginia Hall. Though her name may not sound familiar to most people, Hall is regarded as America's greatest female spy. Hall was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1906.

Who is the most famous spy in movies? ›

With the iconic line, “Bond, James Bond,” James Bond – also known as Agent 007 – has established himself as one of the most recognizable spy figures in cinema.

What spy movie is based on a true story? ›

Argo (2012)

It's almost hard to believe that Argo is based on a true story, as the premise is just so outrageous. In 1979, 66 Americans were taken hostage by militants in the U.S. embassy in Iran. A professional extractor was hired to rescue the hostages, and he had the most outside-the-box thinking possible.

Which Hollywood movie is based on KGB? ›

1. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) In the early 1960s, CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin participate in a joint mission against a mysterious criminal organization, which is working to proliferate nuclear weapons.

Who is the most wanted by the CIA? ›

Most Wanted Fugitives
  • $1M Reward. Oleksandr Vitalyevich IEREMENKO. View More.
  • $1M Reward. Artem Viacheslavovich RADCHENKO. View More.
  • Roman Sergeevich. KOTOV. View More.
  • Rashawd Lamar. TULLOCH. View More.
  • Danil. POTEKHIN. View More.

Who is the most famous FBI agent? ›

Joaquín "Jack" García (born 1952) is a Cuban-American retired FBI agent, best known for his undercover work infiltrating the Gambino crime family in New York City. García is regarded as one of the most successful and prolific undercover agents in the history of the FBI.

Who is the youngest FBI agent ever? ›

Richard Wershe Jr.

Born: July 18, 1969, Detroit, Michigan, U.S. What is this? Richard Wershe Jr. is the youngest FBI agent to date. Wershe became an FBI informant by chance when he was just 14 years.

What CIA movie is on Netflix 2022? ›

The Gray Man (2022)

While on a mission, CIA agent Six (Ryan Gosling) learns his supervisor Carmichael (Regé-Jean Page) is running unsanctioned assassination operations.

Are there any good detective series on Netflix? ›

Best crime dramas on Netflix right now
  • Giri/Haji. This story follows the ripple effect one mystery murder has across two cities, London and Tokyo. ...
  • Luther. Luther is a well-known British crime drama series which stars Idris Elba as homicide detective John Luther. ...
  • Mindhunter. ...
  • Making a Murderer. ...
  • Line of Duty.

What is the new spy series on HBO? ›

The eponymous protagonist of the new TV series ¡García!, a genetically engineered spy created in the 1950s to serve and protect the interests of the Franco regime, wakes after spending 60 years in cryogenic hibernation to find himself in a profoundly different Spain.

Are there any TV shows about the CIA? ›

When it comes to TV shows about the CIA, NBC's Chuck is one of the first to come to mind and it's a small break of comedic relief from the drama genre of the shows previously mentioned.

What is the new Russian thriller on Netflix? ›

1st of February 2022 - Netflix announces its next Russian series - a neo-noir detective drama 'ZATO'.

What is the movie about a corrupt CIA agent? ›

The Good Shepherd is a 2006 American spy film produced and directed by Robert De Niro and starring Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, and De Niro, with an extensive supporting cast.

What is The Secret movie on Netflix? ›

The Secret: Dare to Dream is a 2020 American drama film based on the 2006 self-help book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. Directed by Andy Tennant, from a screenplay he wrote with Bekah Brunstetter and Rick Parks, it stars Katie Holmes, Josh Lucas, Jerry O'Connell, and Celia Weston.

What is the movie about Russia invading America? ›

Red Dawn is a 1984 American action drama film directed by John Milius with a screenplay by Milius and Kevin Reynolds. The film depicts a fictional World War III centering on a land invasion of the continental United States by an alliance of Soviet, Warsaw Pact and Latin American states.

What are investigative movies called? ›

A mystery film is a genre of film that revolves around the solution of a problem or a crime. It focuses on the efforts of the detective, private investigator or amateur sleuth to solve the mysterious circumstances of an issue by means of clues, investigation, and clever deduction.

What is the spy genre called? ›

Spy fiction is a sub-genre of mysteries and thrillers. For a novel to be considered spy fiction, some form of espionage must be present in the plot. This can include one person as a spy, or a whole agency of spies. Spy fiction can be set in the present day, past, and future.

What are criminal movies called? ›

Crime thrillers focus on the exciting elements of both successful and unsuccessful crimes. Unlike police procedurals, they focus on a criminal or a group of criminals rather than law enforcement. These films tend to focus on conspiracies and psychopathology of criminals, and are often violent and nihilistic.

What are military movies called? ›

War film is a film genre concerned with warfare, typically about naval, air, or land battles, with combat scenes central to the drama. ...

Who is the best detective movie? ›

'Glass Onion': 10 Best Movie Detectives, Ranked
  1. 1 Philip Marlowe - 'The Big Sleep' (1946)
  2. 2 Harry Callahan - 'Dirty Harry' (1971) ...
  3. 3 Loki - 'Prisoners' (2013) ...
  4. 4 David Mills and William Somerset - 'Se7en' (1995) ...
  5. 5 Rick Deckard - 'Blade Runner' (1982) ...
  6. 6 Jake Gittes - 'Chinatown' (1974) ...
Dec 13, 2022

What is considered the best mystery movie of all time? ›

The 13 Best Mystery Movies of All Time
  • Knives Out (2019) Where to Watch: Rentable on most platforms. ...
  • The Big Sleep (1946) ...
  • The Maltese Falcon (1941) ...
  • Rear Window (1954) ...
  • Murder on the Orient Express (1974) / Death on the Nile (1978) ...
  • Chinatown (1974) ...
  • Memento (2001) ...
  • Gosford Park (2001)
Dec 21, 2022

Who is the greatest fictional spy of all time? ›

James Bond - James Bond Franchise (1962–present)

Undoubtedly the most famous fictional spy of all time, James Bond is an MI6 agent. He has also had more screen time than any other spy, having debuted in the early '60s.

Who is the most famous fictional spy? ›

James Bond

Probably the most famous fictional spy ever, Bond is effective but also very good at getting caught and causing huge swaths of destruction.


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