If you’re anything like me, you probably enjoy kicking back at the end of the day, putting your feet up and getting deep into a decent movie or TV series. So, I’ve compiled my Favourite Intelligence Television and Movies About Spies, Spying, Intelligence and Espionage for you to enjoy – let me know what you think?
My All Time Top 5 Movies About Spies, Spying, Intelligence and Espionage
Spy Game (2001)
- Awesome movie showing the CIA training of Brad Pitt’s character (Tom Bishop), and the operation Robert Redford’s character (Nathan Muir) undertakes to free him from the Chinese after a mission goes wrong.
- Great for insight into Intelligence Training, Tradecraft, CIA Politics and Spy Recruitment
The Recruit (2003)
- Colin Farrell is recruited into the CIA and taken to ‘the farm’ for his CIA training. After graduation, he is tasked to find an agency mole.
- Good movie showing spy training, and tradecraft such as surveillance, and deception.
Body of Lies (2008)
- You know when you read the book and people say it’s not as good as the movie. This is not true for Body of Lies – the movie is Frick’N awesome!
- Don’t want to give it away, but the Intelligence Operation is clever, well executed but realistic.
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
- Depicts a fictional representation of the hunt for Osama Bin Ladan, and shows the intelligence process and lead generation developed from different aspects of intelligence collection.
- Interrogation, Source Recruitment, Intelligence Analysis and Special Forces DA at the end! What more could you ask for?
- Sweet Intelligence Operation set in Tehran Iran during the U.S. Hostage Crisis in 1980.
- Use of Intelligence deception, tradecraft, cover stories, and well executed!
Other Movies You’ll Like
Bridge of Spies (2015)
- Spy Movie with Tom Hanks, and directed by Steven Spielberg.
Bourne Series (2002 – 2016)
- Personally, I prefer the earlier two movies, The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy but across the board, the series is pretty good. I like how the story line develops throughout.
- CIA Action Flick(s) with Intelligence Tradecraft, use of surveillance, dead-drops, and some great action scenes packed in for good measure.
Bond Series (1964 – Present)
- Yea obviously the Bond movies fit the bill here, I think Casino Royal, & Skyfall I are the best of the more recent Daniel Craig series.
V For Vendetta (2005)
- Clever & Political, ‘V for Vendetta’ is one of my favourite all time movies. Less about Intelligence (per se), but certainly one to watch for the story about
- Jet Li’s character (Nameless) is an assassin warrior intent on killing the Chinese Emperor. Although kinda slow, the movie it chronicles his defeat of three Chinese Warriors to advance closer to the emperor who he plans to kill.
- I haven’t seen this for a while, but I remember loving the concept.
Vantage Point (2008)
- The movie starts with the assassination attempt on the President. The story is then told and re-told again from the vantage point of the different characters each time revealing more details about the incident.
- I love movies that are clever, and well made. Vantage Point is no exception. As the movie plays out you discover little pieces of information which helps you to understand the whole picture…perfect for intelligence professionals.
Old ‘Classics’ (pre 2000)
Look, to be honest, I’m a little bias.
I Generally I don’t like ‘old movies’, and I tend to consider anything pre-2000 as old. There’s not a lot of classics ‘I love’, but those I’ve enjoyed I’ll put here.
Kinda Boring Movies About Spies (but still worth watching):
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
- Adapted for film from the the famous John Le Carre novel, I loved this movie, but my wife thought it was boring as hell.
- Less ‘Jason Bourne’ type action, and more intelligence theory, there is a lot to enjoy in this movie, from spycraft, cold-war intelligence and counter-intelligence theory.
- What’s’ in the suitcase!!! Dammit, this part killed me at the end of the movie! Ok, I get it, it’s not about what’s in the suitcase, but still.
- Good movie, a little slow (in parts), but still worth watching.
TV Series About About Spies, Spying, Intelligence and Espionage
Homeland (2011 – 2016)
- Yep, not too sure how Carrie Matheson passed the initial CIA screening process, but still, she does make for an interesting (yet, at times frustrating) CIA character.
- Well researched spy series, set in modern times.
The Assets (2014)
- Details the investigation into Soviet Control CIA Mole Aldrich Aims during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
- Aims was possibly one of the Russians best spies and was responsible for providing classified intelligence on American CIA Assets in Russia.
The Game (2015)
- Brittish spy series about MI5 agents and the Russians during the cold war.
- Starts a little slow, and might seem dry (in parts), but that’s just British television.
Other TV Series Worth Watching
House of Cards (2013 – Current)
- Probably my favourite television series. Clever, cunning and very well written.
- Watch Frank Underwood go from house ‘whip’ to American President through well planned, and often violently executed political moves.
Designated Survivor (2016 – Current)
- Kiefer Sutherland is back, this time as President of the United States. Half ‘24’, half ‘West Wing’ drama, I’ve enjoyed watching Designated Survivor while waiting for rating season to begin.
- Political Intrigue meets Counter-Terrorism and FBI Action. Enjoyable, easy viewing.
So that’s it…so far!
But what’s missing? What’s your favourite Movie or TV series that I haven’t included here?
Post in the comments below, and if I haven’t seen it, I’ll check it out and review it for this page.