The Gray Man & 25 Other CIA Spy Movies to Watch Right Now

With Ryan Gosling’s smoldering turn as a black ops mercenary in The Gray Man, SPYSCAPE thought it was high time to catch up on some of our other favorite blockbusters and slow-burn thrillers involving the CIA.

The Gray Man & 25 Other CIA Spy Movies to Watch Right Now
Ryan Gosling stars in The Gray Man



Here are 25 of SPYSCAPE’s top CIA movies and black bag operations you won’t want to miss. 

The Gray Man & 25 Other CIA Spy Movies to Watch Right Now

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With Ryan Gosling’s smoldering turn as a black ops mercenary in The Gray Man, SPYSCAPE thought it was high time to catch up on some of our other favorite blockbusters and slow-burn thrillers involving the CIA.

The Gray Man & 25 Other CIA Spy Movies to Watch Right Now
Ryan Gosling stars in The Gray Man



Here are 25 of SPYSCAPE’s top CIA movies and black bag operations you won’t want to miss. 

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Zero Dark Thirty (2012) 

Maya (Jessica Chastain) is a CIA analyst tasked with finding Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks. She’s stationed at the US Embassy in Pakistan, which enables her to attend an interrogation with a man suspected of having links to the hijackers. Chastain deservedly won the Academy Award for Best Actress. (Prime Video, (YouTube, Google Play, Apple TV, Netflix in some countries) 

 

The Gray Man & 25 Other Must-Watch CIA Spy Movies to Binge Right Now


Syriana (2005)

Veteran CIA agent Bob Barnes (George Clooney) uncovers an assassination plot as various storylines unfold amid the backdrop of the oil industry. Matt Damon also stars. “It shows how espionage is an integral component of geopolitical systems with myriad micro and macro ripple effects,” said SPYEX Consultant Lindsay Moran, an ex-CIA operations officer. (YouTube, Google Play, Apple TV, Prime Video)

The Gray Man & 25 Other Must-Watch CIA Spy Movies to Binge Right Now


The Bourne franchise (2002 - )

The Bourne Franchise revolves around Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), a spy on the run from CIA hit squads who is trying to uncover hidden truths about his past. The movies are a modern take on Robert Ludlum's Cold War-era novels, with Bourne still struggling with self-discovery. (Peacock, Max GO, Prime Video, Google Play, YouTube, Netflix in some countries)

The Gray Man & 25 Other Must-Watch CIA Spy Movies to Binge Right Now

Tenet (2020)

Christopher Nolan’s time-bending Tenet begins with an undercover operation at the Kyev opera house where a masked man saves the life of a CIA agent (John David Washington) by ‘un-firing’ a bullet. Washington embarks on a mission involving an algorithm, a Russian oligarch (Kenneth Branagh) and a plot to start World War III. Unmissable. (Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, Chili, Microsoft, YouTube, Rakuten TV, Chili) 

 

The Gray Man & 25 Other Must-Watch CIA Spy Movies to Binge Right Now

 

Mission Impossible - Fallout (2018)

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team are assigned to buy three stolen plutonium cores from eastern European gangsters, but they must work with the CIA to save the world from nuclear devastation. August Walker (Henry Cavill) is the CIA assassin monitoring Hunt. The film grossed $790m, the highest in the franchise, elbowing out Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol. (Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, YouTube, Microsoft, Rakuten TV, Chili, Microsoft, Sky Store, Netflix in some countries)

The Gray Man & 25 Other Must-Watch CIA Spy Movies to Binge Right Now

 

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Batman (Christian Bale) returns from exile to save Gotham City from guerrilla terrorist Bane. As the movie unfolds, three men with bags over their heads are loaded onto a plane and we are introduced to a character named CIA (Aidan Gillen). He takes the name and face of the government Agency yet CIA’s drastic behavior and bodyguards leave us wondering who his employer might really be. (Prime Video, YouTube, Apple TV, Google Play)


Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014)

Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Chris Evans) tries to adjust to modern times following cataclysmic events in New York with his fellow Avengers. An attack on a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague brings Rogers into a new intrigue. Dominic Rains stars as a CIA instructor. Keep an eye out for Lucas Lind as a CIA recruit. (Disney+, Google Play, Apple TV, YouTube, Prime Video)

 

The Gray Man & 25 Other Must-Watch CIA Spy Movies to Binge Right Now


Bridge of Spies (2015)

Soviets shoot down a CIA U-2 spy plane during the Cold War and arrest American pilot Gary Powers. A Brooklyn attorney is then tapped to negotiate a prisoner exchange, offering KGB spy Rudolf Abel in a spy swap on Germany’s Glienicke Bridge. Steven Spielberg’s historical thriller stars Tom Hanks, Amy Ryan, and Alan Alda. Mark Rylance won the Oscar for portraying Abel. (Prime Video, Apple TV, Chili, YouTube, Google Play)

The Gray Man & 25 Other Must-Watch CIA Spy Movies to Binge Right Now

 

Sicario (2015)

Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) is a CIA Paramilitary Operations Officer, working with the CIA's Special Activities Division to thwart the operations of Mexican drug cartels. (Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, Google Play, Apple TV

 

The Gray Man & 25 Other Must-Watch CIA Spy Movies to Binge Right Now

 

Rogue Agent (2015)

Alex (James Floyd) is a rookie spy recruited by a CIA contractor and sent to Serbia for training. Alex’s team is killed during his first assignment, however, and the CIA is suspicious about why Alex is the only survivor. He flees and pieces together what happened using the only evidence he has: an audiotape of the mission. A local woman, Anja (Noémie Merlant) wants to help him, but was their meeting purely by chance? (Netflix, Prime Video & Hulu)

The Gray Man & 25 Other Must-Watch CIA Spy Movies to Binge Right Now


Man on Fire (2004)

A former CIA operative in Mexico City (Denzel Washington) swears vengeance on those who committed an unspeakable act against the family he was hired to protect. Tony Scott directs the action thriller. (Prime Video, Google Play, YouTube, Apple TV, Netflix).

The Gray Man & 25 Other Must-Watch CIA Spy Movies to Binge Right Now

 

The Good Shepherd (2006)

In The Good Shepherd, Edward Wilson (Matt Damon) finds his calling at the US Office of Strategic Services and later as a founder of the CIA. But duty has a price. SPYEX Consultant Lindsay Moran, an ex-CIA operations officer, told SPYSCAPE that the movie captures the inherent loneliness and alienation of being an intelligence officer, as well as the toll it takes on personal and familial relationships. (Prime Video & Hulu)

The Gray Man & 25 Other Must-Watch CIA Spy Movies to Binge Right Now

Snowden (2016)

Edward Snowden’s co-worker nicknames him ‘Snow White’ when he joins the National Security Agency as a contractor. That’s because Snowden thinks the NSA only tracks enemies of the state rather than eavesdropping on every mobile phone in the US. Nicolas Cage stars as Snowden’s CIA instructor and Rhys Ifans (Berlin Station) is a spooky CIA recruiter who mutters edicts like: ‘Secrecy is security and security is victory.’ (YouTube, Apple TV, Google Play, Prime Video, Netflix)

The Gray Man & 25 Other Must-Watch CIA Spy Movies to Binge Right Now


Red (2010)

Ex-black ops CIA agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) reunites with his former team (Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren) to find out if the assassins tailing him are the same group that killed a New York Times reporter. Moses suspects the CIA may know more than they are willing to tell a smirking retiree deemed RED (retired, extremely dangerous). (Netflix, Apple TV, Google Play, YouTube, Prime Video, Chili, Sky Store, Microsoft, Rakuten TV, GO) 

The Sum of All Fears (2002)

CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Ben Affleck) must stop Neo-Nazis intent on starting a US-Russia war by detonating a nuclear weapon during America’s Super Bowl. Morgan Freeman steps up as Bill Cabot, a CIA official with a Kremlin back channel. (Netflix, Prime Video). Based on Tom Clancy’s novel, this is Affleck’s first outing as Ryan, stepping in to fill the shoes of Harrison Ford who stars in A Clear and Present Danger (Prime Video).

The Gray Man & 25 Other Must-Watch CIA Spy Movies to Binge Right Now

Three Days of the Condor (1975)

CIA codebreaker and researcher Joe Turner (Robert Redford) returns from lunch to find all of his co-workers dead. ‘Condor’ must outwit the assassins until he can figure out who is trustworthy and whether he might be a target. “Three Days of the Condor paints a very interesting picture on CIA’s involvement in covert influence operations and making every effort to compartmentalize,” SPYEX consultant Timothy Patrick Gill Sr, an ex-FBI senior officer and CIA deputy chief, told SPYSCAPE. (Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, Apple TV, Google Play, YouTube)

The Gray Man & 25 Other Must-Watch CIA Spy Movies to Binge Right Now


The Amateur (1981) 

In The Amateur, CIA agent Charles Heller (John Savage) hunts down the terrorists who killed his wife in Germany even though he’s a code specialist with no combat expertise. (Mubi, Plex TV)


Salt (2010)

Salt was reportedly written with Tom Cruise in mind but the lead role was transformed into Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie), a CIA agent suspected of being a KGB sleeper spy. Jolie performs many of her own stunts. (Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu)

The Gray Man & 25 Other Must-Watch CIA Spy Movies to Binge Right Now


Spy Game (2001)

CIA operative Nathan Muir (Robert Redford) learns China has arrested his protégé Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt) for espionage and sets out to free him. “The story shows how cruel the world of spying can be,” said SPYEX consultant Ulrich Larsen. “The main thing here is never to trust other people than yourself.” (Prime Video, Apple TV)


X-Men: First Class (2011)

At the height of the Cold War in the ‘60s, a mutant named Charles (James McAvoy) meets a fellow mutant Erik (Michael Fassbender) and they become close friends as the world teeters on the brink of a nuclear war. Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, CIA officer Moira MacTaggert follows US Army Colonel Hendry into the Hellfire Club where she finds intrigue. (Disney+, Amazon Prime, Google Play, YouTube, Apple TV)

The Gray Man & 25 Other Must-Watch CIA Spy Movies to Binge Right Now


Argo (2012)

CIA agent Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) rescues American hostages in Iran in 1979 by posing as a Hollywood producer scouting locations. “In addition to being an excellent movie, it provides the public with great insight into one of the most important operations conducted against the Iranians with the support of the Canadian government,” said ex-CIA undercover officer Peter Warmka.(Apple TV, Prime Video, Google Play, YouTube)


Fair Game (2010)

The US government leaked the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame as payback for an article her husband wrote criticizing George W. Bush’s administration over the 2003 Iraq War. What happened next is chilling. “It was sad because I wasn't ready to leave. I still loved what I did,” Plame told SPYSCAPE’s True Spies podcast. (YouTube, Google Play, Prime Video, Apple TV)

The Gray Man & 25 Other Must-Watch CIA Spy Movies to Binge Right Now

The Hunt for Red October (1990)

A Soviet sub captain (Sean Connery) abandons his orders and heads for the US east coast using stealth technology for cover. But an American sub briefly detects the Russians' presence, and CIA agent Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) sets out to discover if an attack is imminent. The film is adapted from Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October. (Netflix, Apple TV, Google Play, YouTube, Prime Video, Chili, Sky Store, Microsoft, GO) 

The Gray Man & 25 Other Must-Watch CIA Spy Movies to Binge Right Now

My Spy (2020) 

CIA operative JJ (Dave Bautistal) is caught in the midst of routine surveillance by nine-year-old Sophie (Chloe Coleman) who threatens to blow his cover if he doesn’t teach her about espionage. This light-hearted comedy has action, romance, and a few saucy lines but, on balance, it is a family film. (Prime Video, Netflix, YouTube, Google Play)

The Gray Man & 25 Other Must-Watch CIA Spy Movies to Binge Right Now


Charlie Wilson’s War (2007)

In Charlie Wilson’s War, a US politician (Tom Hanks), a socialite (Julia Roberts), and CIA agent Gust Avrakotos (Philip Seymour Hoffman) plot to fund Afghan fighters to defeat the Soviet Union and end the Cold War. (Prime Video, Google Play, Chili, Microsoft, YouTube, Rakuten TV, Apple TV, Sky Store)

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