The Most Famous Fictional Spy, Ranked

Choose the fictional spy you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 27, 2024 07:43
When it comes to the thrilling world of espionage in fiction, each spy character brings a unique blend of cunning, charm, and intelligence. Deciding who tops the list as the most iconic can be a real challenge due to the diverse skills and memorable adventures these characters experience. By voting for your favorite fictional spies, you contribute to forming a consensus on which of these characters stands out the most. Your participation helps generate a dynamic leaderboard that reflects the collective opinion and admiration for these masters of mystery and intrigue.

Who Is the Most Famous Fictional Spy?

  1. 2

    Harry Palmer

    A British secret agent in a series of films based on the novels by Len Deighton.
    • First Appearance: The Ipcress File (1962)
    • Portrayed by: Michael Caine
  2. 3

    George Smiley

    A British intelligence officer in John le Carré's novels.
    • First Appearance: Call for the Dead (1961)
    • Creator: John le CarrĂ©
  3. 4

    Jason Bourne

    A CIA assassin suffering from dissociative amnesia created by author Robert Ludlum.
    • First Appearance: The Bourne Identity (1980)
    • Creator: Robert Ludlum
  4. 5

    Sydney Bristow

    An American double agent for the CIA posing as an operative for SD-6 in the TV series Alias.
    • First Appearance: Alias (2001)
    • Creator: J.J. Abrams
  5. 6

    Ethan Hunt

    The main protagonist of the Mission: Impossible film series.
    • First Appearance: Mission: Impossible (1996)
    • Portrayed by: Tom Cruise
  6. 7

    Maxwell Smart

    The bumbling secret agent in the American comedy series Get Smart.
    • First Appearance: Get Smart (1965)
    • Creators: Mel Brooks and Buck Henry
  7. 8


    A spy and assassin in the French film La Femme Nikita and its adaptations.
    • First Appearance: La Femme Nikita (1990)
    • Creator: Luc Besson
  8. 9

    Jack Ryan

    A fictional character in the Ryanverse novels by Tom Clancy.
    • First Appearance: The Hunt for Red October (1984)
    • Creator: Tom Clancy
  9. 10

    Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow

    A superhero and spy in the Marvel Comics universe.
    • First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #52 (1964)
    • Creators: Stan Lee, Don Rico, and Don Heck

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About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous fictional spy. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or spy is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 142 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each spy once every 24 hours. The rank of each spy is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

Additional Information

More about the Most Famous Fictional Spy

James Bond
Rank #1 for the most famous fictional spy: James Bond (Source)
Spies in fiction have captured the public's imagination for decades. They often live in a world of intrigue, danger, and excitement. These characters are skilled in combat, fluent in many languages, and masters of disguise. They navigate complex plots with ease, outsmarting their enemies at every turn.

The most famous fictional spy often works for a secret government agency. This agency sends the spy on missions around the world. The missions can involve stopping a criminal mastermind, thwarting a terrorist plot, or retrieving stolen technology. These stories usually unfold in exotic locations, from bustling cities to remote islands.

The spy's gadgets are a key part of their success. These tools can include anything from a pen that doubles as a weapon to a car with hidden features. The gadgets are often ahead of their time, showcasing the creativity of their creators. They add an element of surprise and keep the audience engaged.

Despite the danger, the spy remains calm under pressure. They think quickly and act decisively. This cool demeanor is part of their charm. They often have a sharp wit and a knack for getting out of tight spots. Their ability to stay one step ahead of their enemies makes them seem almost superhuman.

The spy's personal life is often complex. They may have a love interest who gets caught up in their dangerous world. This relationship adds depth to the character and raises the stakes of their missions. The spy's loyalty to their country and their loved ones often comes into conflict, creating tension in the story.

The spy's enemies are just as important to the narrative. These villains are usually powerful and intelligent, posing a real threat. They have their own motivations and plans, which the spy must uncover and thwart. The battle between the spy and their enemy drives the plot forward.

Training and background are crucial elements of the spy's character. They often have a military or intelligence background, giving them the skills needed for their missions. Their training is rigorous, preparing them for any situation. This background adds credibility to their abilities and makes their feats more believable.

The spy's moral code sets them apart from their enemies. They operate in a world where the lines between right and wrong are often blurred. Despite this, they adhere to a personal code of ethics. This sense of right and wrong guides their actions and decisions, making them a hero in the eyes of the audience.

The appeal of the fictional spy lies in their ability to combine brains and brawn. They use their intelligence to outwit their enemies and their physical skills to overcome obstacles. This combination makes them a formidable force and a compelling character.

In conclusion, the most famous fictional spy embodies a blend of intelligence, skill, and charm. They navigate a world of danger with ease, using their wits and gadgets to complete their missions. Their complex personal lives and moral codes add depth to their characters, making them enduring figures in popular culture. The allure of their adventures continues to captivate audiences, ensuring their place in the pantheon of great fictional heroes.

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