The Most Popular Spy Movie: A Ranking of Top Choices

Choose the spy movie you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Mar 1, 2024 06:34
Unravel the world of espionage, secret agents, and undercover missions as StrawPoll takes you on a thrilling mission to discover the most popular spy movie of all time! We've assembled an extraordinary dossier of thousands of polls and rankings, and now it's time for you to break the code and cast your vote. From the suave charm of James Bond to the mind-boggling twists of Mission: Impossible, our elite list of spy movies will leave you shaken, stirred, and hungry for more! So put on your best tuxedo, grab your gadget-packed briefcase, and embark on this top-secret adventure by voting for your favorite spy movie or suggesting a hidden gem we may have missed. The fate of the cinematic spy world rests in your hands – will you accept the mission?

What Is the Most Popular Spy Movie?

  1. 1

    James Bond franchise

    Ian Fleming
    The Bond franchise remains the most popular spy movie series of all time, with over 20 films and a dedicated fan base.
    The James Bond franchise is a series of espionage films that revolve around the fictional character James Bond, a British MI6 agent. Known for its thrilling action sequences, sophisticated gadgets, and iconic characters, the franchise has become one of the most popular and enduring in the spy genre.
    • First Film: Dr. No (1962)
    • Number of Films: Over 25
    • Portrayed by: Various actors, including Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Daniel Craig
    • Gross Revenue: Over $7 billion
    • Theme Song Performers: Popular artists like Shirley Bassey, Paul McCartney, and Adele
  2. 2

    Mission: Impossible - The Mission

    Christopher McQuarrie
    Impossible series has become one of the most popular spy franchises in recent years, with six films and a seventh currently in production.
    Mission: Impossible - The Mission is an action-packed spy movie that follows the story of Ethan Hunt, a skilled operative who is part of the top-secret IMF (Impossible Mission Force) agency. Hunt and his team are tasked with taking on high-stakes missions and infiltrating dangerous organizations to prevent catastrophic world events. Filled with thrilling stunts, intense action sequences, and clever espionage tactics, the movie keeps audiences on the edge of their seats.
    • Release Year: 2018
    • Genre: Action, Thriller
    • Running Time: 147 minutes
    • Main Protagonist: Ethan Hunt (played by Tom Cruise)
    • Director: Christopher McQuarrie
  3. 3
    The Bourne series, based on the novels by Robert Ludlum, has become a modern classic in the spy genre, with five films and a dedicated fan base.
    The Bourne series is a popular spy movie franchise that follows the story of Jason Bourne, a former CIA assassin suffering from amnesia. Filled with intense action and thrilling espionage, the films showcase Bourne's quest to uncover his true identity while evading capture by various government agencies.
    • Genre: Action, Spy, Thriller
    • First Movie Release: The Bourne Identity (2002)
    • Number of Movies: 5
    • Main Protagonist: Jason Bourne (played by Matt Damon)
    • Based on: The Bourne Series novels by Robert Ludlum
  4. 4

    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

    Tomas Alfredson
    This critically acclaimed film adaptation of the John le Carré novel has become a classic in the spy genre, known for its complex plot and stellar performances.
    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a critically acclaimed spy movie released in 2011. It is a gripping and complex espionage thriller based on the novel of the same name by John le Carré. The movie is directed by Tomas Alfredson.
    • Release Year: 2011
    • Genre: Spy, Thriller
    • Based on: Novel by John le Carré
    • Director: Tomas Alfredson
    • Main Cast: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy
  5. 5

    The Manchurian Candidate

    Directed by John Frankenheimer
    This classic political thriller, based on the novel by Richard Condon, has become a cult classic in the spy genre, known for its suspenseful plot and memorable performances.
    The Manchurian Candidate is a 1962 American political thriller film. It depicts the story of a former Korean War prisoner of war who is brainwashed by a powerful corporation to become an unwitting assassin. The film explores themes of manipulation, power, and conspiracy in a dark and suspenseful manner.
    • Release Date: October 24, 1962
    • Running Time: 126 minutes
    • Genre: Thriller
    • Country: United States
    • Language: English
  6. 6

    Spy Game

    Tony Scott
    This action-packed spy thriller, starring Brad Pitt and Robert Redford, has become a fan favorite in the genre, known for its intense action scenes and suspenseful plot.
    Spy Game is a 2001 American spy film directed by Tony Scott. It follows the story of CIA operative Nathan Muir, played by Robert Redford, as he tries to save his protégé Tom Bishop, played by Brad Pitt, who is held captive in a Chinese prison. The film is known for its thrilling plot, intense action sequences, and standout performances by the lead actors.
    • Release Date: November 21, 2001
    • Genre: Spy/Thriller
    • Running Time: 126 minutes
    • Budget: $115 million
    • Box Office: $143.1 million
  7. 7
    This classic James Bond film has become one of the most popular entries in the franchise, known for its iconic theme song and memorable performances by Roger Moore and Barbara Bach.
    The Spy Who Loved Me is a British spy film released in 1977. It is the tenth film in the James Bond series and is based on the novel of the same name by Ian Fleming. The movie follows British secret agent James Bond as he teams up with Russian agent Anya Amasova to investigate the disappearance of nuclear submarines. As they uncover a plot to start World War III, Bond and Amasova find themselves in a thrilling adventure across Egypt and Sardinia.
    • Release Date: 7 July 1977
    • Director: Lewis Gilbert
    • Screenplay: Christopher Wood, Richard Maibaum
    • Producers: Albert R. Broccoli, William P. Cartlidge
    • Music: Marvin Hamlisch
  8. 8
    Bridge of Spies
    Tobias-Maverick Neumann · CC BY-SA 3.0

    Bridge of Spies

    Steven Spielberg
    This critically acclaimed film, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks, tells the true story of a Cold War spy exchange and has become a modern classic in the genre.
    Bridge of Spies is a 2015 spy movie directed by Steven Spielberg. Set during the Cold War, the film follows an American lawyer who is recruited to negotiate the exchange of a captured U.S. pilot for a Soviet spy. As he navigates the dangerous world of espionage, he must confront political tensions and moral dilemmas. Bridge of Spies is known for its suspenseful storyline, compelling characters, and exceptional performances.
    • Release year: 2015
    • Director: Steven Spielberg
    • Genre: Spy, Drama, Historical
    • Running time: 141 minutes
    • Main cast: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan
  9. 9

    True Lies

    James Cameron
    This action-comedy spy film, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis, has become a cult classic in the genre, known for its over-the-top action scenes and hilarious performances.
    True Lies is an action-comedy spy film that was released in 1994. It follows the story of Harry Tasker, a secret agent living a double life as a suburban family man, who must stop a terrorist group from detonating nuclear weapons. The film combines elements of comedy, romance, and high-octane action, creating an entertaining blend of genres. Directed by James Cameron, the movie boasts a star-studded cast including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Tom Arnold.
    • Release Year: 1994
    • Genre: Action, Comedy
    • Director: James Cameron
    • Leading Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold
    • Running Time: 141 minutes
  10. 10

    Casino Royale

    Martin Campbell
    This James Bond film, starring Daniel Craig, has become one of the most popular entries in the franchise, known for its gritty tone and memorable performances.
    Casino Royale is a popular spy movie that was released in 2006. It is the 21st film in the James Bond franchise and serves as a reboot of the series. The movie follows the story of James Bond, a British secret agent, as he is assigned to participate in a high-stakes poker game against a terrorist financier to disrupt his operation. Casino Royale is known for its intense action sequences, sophisticated plot, and the introduction of Daniel Craig as the new James Bond.
    • Film Release Year: 2006
    • Genre: Spy/Action
    • Director: Martin Campbell
    • Writer: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis
    • Starring: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen

Missing your favorite spy movie?


Ranking factors for popular spy movie

  1. Critical acclaim
    Critical acclaim is another factor to consider. Movies that have been well-reviewed by critics are generally considered to be of higher quality, and may be considered more popular.
  2. Cultural impact
    The cultural impact of a movie is also important to consider. Movies that have had a lasting impact on the industry, or that have become cultural touchstones, are generally considered to be more popular.
  3. Awards and nominations
    Awards and nominations are also a factor to consider. Movies that have won major awards, such as the Academy Awards or Golden Globes, are generally considered to be of higher quality and more popular.
  4. Fan following
    The fan following of a movie is also important to consider. Movies that have a dedicated fanbase are generally considered to be more popular, especially if they have achieved cult status.
  5. Performances
    The performances of the actors in a movie can also impact its popularity. Movies with strong performances from their leads are generally considered to be of higher quality and more popular.

About this ranking

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


  • 169 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

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

More information on most popular spy movie

Spy movies have been a popular genre in Hollywood for decades, captivating audiences with their thrilling action sequences, suspenseful plot twists, and charismatic spy characters. From the iconic James Bond series to the more recent Mission: Impossible franchise, spy movies have become a staple in the film industry. But what makes a spy movie truly great? Is it the gadgets and technology used by the spies, the exotic locations they travel to, or the intense espionage missions they undertake? Perhaps it's the charismatic actors who bring these spies to life on the big screen, or the clever and intricate plots that keep audiences on the edge of their seats. Whatever the reason, there's no denying that spy movies have a special place in the hearts of moviegoers around the world. And with so many classic spy films to choose from, it can be difficult to determine which one is the most popular. That's where StrawPoll comes in, providing a platform for fans of the genre to vote for their favorite spy movie and see how it stacks up against the competition.

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