Must-Stream Movies and Series about Codes, Codebreakers & Spies

SPYSCAPE has put together the top, must-stream movies, series, and documentaries to give you a 360-degree view of the secretive world of codes and codebreaking. So get cracking.


Must-Stream Movies and Series about Codes, Codebreakers & Spies


Zodiac (2007)

A killer taunts the California police with symbols and cryptic messages as we follow the investigators, journalists, and a cartoonist desperate to hunt down the Zodiac killer. Mark Ruffalo, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Robert Downey Jr. are mesmerizing in this film based on the real-life story of a serial killer. (Netflix, Prime Video, Google Play, YouTube, Apple TV)

Must-Stream Movies about Codes, Codebreakers & Spies


Safe (2012)

Jason Statham and Catherine Chan star in this thriller about a cage fighter chased by the Russian mafia. Luke saves a Chinese girl from the same criminal mob and soon finds himself looking out for a math prodigy who knows a numerical code that the gangs want at any cost. (Netflix, Prime Video, Google Play, YouTube, Apple TV)

Must-Stream Movies and Series about Codes, Codebreakers & Spies

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SPYSCAPE has put together the top, must-stream movies, series, and documentaries to give you a 360-degree view of the secretive world of codes and codebreaking. So get cracking.


Must-Stream Movies and Series about Codes, Codebreakers & Spies


Zodiac (2007)

A killer taunts the California police with symbols and cryptic messages as we follow the investigators, journalists, and a cartoonist desperate to hunt down the Zodiac killer. Mark Ruffalo, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Robert Downey Jr. are mesmerizing in this film based on the real-life story of a serial killer. (Netflix, Prime Video, Google Play, YouTube, Apple TV)

Must-Stream Movies about Codes, Codebreakers & Spies


Safe (2012)

Jason Statham and Catherine Chan star in this thriller about a cage fighter chased by the Russian mafia. Luke saves a Chinese girl from the same criminal mob and soon finds himself looking out for a math prodigy who knows a numerical code that the gangs want at any cost. (Netflix, Prime Video, Google Play, YouTube, Apple TV)

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Must-Stream Movies and Series about Codes, Codebreakers & Spies

A Beautiful Mind (2001) 

Brilliant mathematician John Nash accepts secret work in cryptography but his life takes an unexpected turn. A Beautiful Mind is inspired by real events in the life of John Forbes Nash Jr. and stars Russell Crowe. (Apple TV, Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, Google Play, Brit Box)


Alien Code (2018)

Alien Code follows cryptographer Alex Jacobs who deciphers a satellite message and is stalked by government agents and (possibly) aliens in this suspenseful, stylish thriller starring Kyle Gallner. (Prime Video, Chili, iTunes)

Must-Stream Movies and Series about Codes, Codebreakers & Spies


The Imitation Game (2014)

British intelligence recruit Cambridge University graduate Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) to crack Nazi codes at the start of WWII. He’s joined by Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley) and builds the Bombe machine to help the team decipher enemy communications but his heroic efforts soon turn to disgrace. (Apple TV, Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, Google Play, Curzon)


Knowing (2009)

Fifty years after it was buried in a time capsule, a cryptic document written by a schoolgirl is discovered by Caleb Koestler, the son of MIT astrophysics professor John Koestlerprofessor (Nicolas Cage). Can the document really be a list of major disasters from the past five decades and predictions of more to come? Or is it all a devious hoax? (Apple TV, Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, Google Play)

Must-Stream Movies and Series about Codes, Codebreakers & Spies

National Treasure (2004)

Nicolas Cage is back as codebreaker Ben Gates who leads an expedition to find a treasure dating back to the creation of the US. The team finds an ice-locked Colonial ship in the Arctic Circle that may link the treasure to the Declaration of Independence. (Disney+, YouTube, Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play) 

Must-Stream Movies and Series about Codes, Codebreakers & Spies

Enigma (2001)

Another Bletchley codebreaking thriller, this time starring Kate Winslet as Hester Wallace. The setting is 1943 and the British cryptanalysts have a problem: the Nazi U-boats have changed their code reference books and the team must break the ‘Shark’ cipher once again. Meanwhile, a coworker has gone missing and Hester follows a trail of clues to discover her fate. (Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, Google Play)

CLASSIC FILMS

Must-Stream Movies and Series about Codes, Codebreakers & Spies

From Russia with Love (1963) 

Who can forget the Lektor, a Soviet cipher machine used to protect diplomatic and military communication? The device appeared (as Spektor) in Ian Fleming’s 1957 book and the film adaptation of From Russia with Love. Bond is sent to Istanbul as MI6 and SPECTRE scramble to get their hands on the machine. 

Must-Stream Movies and Series about Codes, Codebreakers & Spies

Sneakers (1992)

Two NSA officers approach computer hacker Martin (Robert Redford) and ask him to steal a decoder that can crack any encryption code. If it lands in the wrong hands, the machine could pose a grave threat, however. So who exactly are these agents and what trouble has Martin landed in? (YouTube, Google Play, Apple TV, Amazon Prime)

Must-Stream Movies and Series about Codes, Codebreakers & Spies

Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) 

The Oscar-winning Tora! Tora! Tora! tells the incredible story of the 1941 Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor. The plot revolves around US military intelligence who have broken the Japanese Purple Code, allowing them to intercept secret Japanese radio transmissions. The ‘Tora!’ of the title is the Japanese code word used to indicate that complete surprise had been achieved. (YouTube, Apple TV, Google Play, Prime Video) 

Must-Stream Movies and Series about Codes, Codebreakers & Spies


Sebastian (1968)

Oxford professor Sebastian (Dirk Bogarde) enlists an interior decorator (Susannah York) into his all-female Secret Service codebreaking department. Sebastian must break a new Russian code, which he does after hearing a baby rattle in this 60s throwback. Donald Sutherland and disc jockey Alan Freeman appear in cameos. Yeah, baby! (YouTube, Prime Video) 

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILMS


The Silent War (2012) 

The enemy has changed their coded communication channels so espionage organization 701 sends top spy Zhang Xue-ning to recruit a blind piano tuner with an exceptional sense of hearing. His job is to locate the enemy channels and copy their coded communications but it doesn’t all go according to plan. The Silent War, a Hong Kong thriller with English subtitles, is set in the 1950s. (Apple+) 

Must-Stream Movies and Series about Codes, Codebreakers & Spies

The Message (2009) 

China’s The Message has been described as a cat-and-mouse version of the board game Clue. A Japanese spy chief gathers suspects in a mansion house for questioning after a series of attempted assassinations on the Japanese-controlled puppet government in 1942 Nanjing (Nanking). Meanwhile, a Chinese codebreaker tries to send a crucial message while protecting their identity. Chinese with English subtitles. (Prime Video) 

Sekret Enigmy (1979)

WWII is raging and three Polish mathematicians crack the sophisticated Enigma code used by the Germans. They build replicas of the Enigma machines and deliver two of them to British and French codebreakers just before the German invasion of Poland in 1939. Undaunted, the Polish cipher bureau carries on decoding in Algeria and unoccupied France but can they survive? (YouTube in Polish)

SERIES

Must-Stream Movies and Series about Codes, Codebreakers & Spies


Cypher (2021) 

Will Scott, one of the FBI's leading crypto-analysts is hired to crack a heavily coded document which he soon discovers it's a hit list, putting him in the crosshairs of the gangsters who want it back. Starring Australian actor Martin Dingle Wall. (Roku in the US and Canada) 

Rubicon (2010)

Will Travers (James Badge Dale) is a brilliant man with an aptitude for pattern recognition. He leads a New York team of analysts at an intelligence think tank after losing his wife in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Will detects a pattern in the crossword puzzles of several US newspapers and unravels what seems to be a conspiracy based on the ‘go code’ discovered in the puzzles. (Prime Video)

Must-Stream Movies and Series about Codes, Codebreakers & Spies

The Bletchley Circle (2012) 

Four women who worked at the wartime codebreaking center Bletchley Park are reunited in the 1950s to track down a serial killer in The Bletchley Circle. The series was followed by a spin-off The Bletchley Circle San Francisco. (Prime Video, Netflix, Peacock) 

Must-Stream Movies and Series about Codes, Codebreakers & Spies

The Secret Code (1942)

A police detective goes undercover to join Nazi agents and uses every means possible - including explosive gases - to sabotage the war effort. He battles them in disguise as The Black Commando. The chapters of each serial end with a tutorial on cryptography. (Netflix in some countries, YouTube) 

DOCUMENTARIES / DOCU-DRAMAS

Must-Stream Movies and Series about Codes, Codebreakers & Spies

Codebreaker, The Alan Turing Story (2012)

The Codebreaker docu-drama stars Ed Stoppard and Henry Goodman and they track Alan Turing's life, accomplishments, and government persecution up to his 1954 death. Each therapy session shown in the docu-drama is based on a real event and the movie includes the testimony of people who knew Turing and tech experts including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. (Prime Video, Apple TV)


Breaking the Code (1996)

Derek Jacobi portrays Turing in this drama depicting various periods in the British mathematician's life including World War II and his life as an openly gay man living in a period of time when his sexual orientation was challenged by the establishment and legal sector. (Prime Video, BBC iPlayer) 

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