11 best spy movies on Netflix

Get the Full StorySpy movies offer a special brand of excitement. Dashing agents strut into high-stakes scenarios, race through exotic locations, and tumble into sexy alliances, taking audiences along for every vicarious thrill. Eye-popping gadgetry, heart-racing action sequences, and mind-bending twists are all to be expected, yet are nonetheless enthralling. Even across these standards, the spy movie can take forms dynamic, dramatic, and downright hilarious. Whatever kind of spy story you re seeking, we ve got something for you. Here s the best spy movies now on Netflix: 1. Casino RoyaleFor decades, Bond James Bond has defined the espionage thriller. Following in the footsteps of the likes of Roger Moore, Sean Connery, and Pierce Brosnan, English leading man Daniel Craig took on the role of 007 in this 2006 hit that reimagined Bond for the modern age. Directed by Martin Campbell, Casino Royale jetted audiences back to the MI6 s operative s early days, when he was working toward achieving his license to kill. With blue eyes as steely as his demeanor, Craig made his mark on this storied franchise by hurling himself into exhilarating action, delivering sharp quips, and seducing a glamorous Bond Girl Eva Green . Bringing added oomph to this blockbuster are supporting performances from Mads Mikkelsen, Jeffrey Wright, and Judi Dench. And if you want to double down, hit play on Quantum of Solace next. But be sure to do so before August 31, that s when both will vanish. How to watch: Casino Royale is streaming on Netflix. 2. Austin Powers

Elizabeth Hurley andMike Myers in "Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery."

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What if James Bond had zero chill? Then you d have Austin Powers, a shag-obsessed English spy with a wild sense of style and a vintage worldview from the 1960s. Of course, so is he. In this hit 1997 action-comedy, Mike Myers stars as the titular secret agent, whose been thawed out of cryostasis to best his longtime nemesis Dr. Evil also played by Myers . However, in the thirty years since they last faced off, the world has changed drastically, turning both hero and villain into funny fish out of water. Joining Myers in scoring laughs is a cutup cast that includes Elizabeth Hurley, Michael Yorke, Mindy Sterling, and Seth Green. Director Jay Roach plays with espionage standards, like hi-tech tools, eccentric foes, busty femme fatales, and outrageously convoluted death traps, to create a parody that s sure to please. For bonus fun, create a DIY marathon, by following the first film with its sequels, Austin Powers The Spy Who Shagged Me and Goldmember. How to watch: Austin Powers International Man of Mystery is streaming on Netflix. 3. The Sum of All FearsWhen it comes to a steely secret agent played by a string of debonair men, the Brits have James Bond, and the Americans have Jack Ryan. Dreamed up by bestselling novelist Tom Clancy, Jack Ryan is an affable CIA agent who s been portrayed by the likes of Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Chris Pine, John Krasinski, and in this instance Ben Affleck. In this 2002 thriller, Ryan is an analyst, who is astoundingly intelligent but untrained for the field. However, when Neo-Nazis secretly scheme to push the US and Russia into renewed nuclear conflict, Ryan will dive in to action and political intrigue to save his nation from devastation. Director Phil Alden Robinson delivers teeth-clenching tension, which is rooted in stirring performances from an ensemble that includes Morgan Freeman, James Cromwell, Philip Baker Hall, Ciar n Hinds, and Liev Schreiber. How to watch: The Sum of All Fears is streaming on Netflix. 4. UnknownIs this one critically heralded? No. Still, this 2011 movie was a box office smash because it s an action-thriller starring Liam Neeson. So, if that s your jam, you won t want to miss this fast-paced flick, which has horror-director Jaume Collet-Serra House of Wax, Orphan, The Shallows dipping his toe into espionage. Based on a French novel by Didier Van Cauwelaert, Unknown stars Neeson as Dr. Martin Harris, who is traveling to Berlin with his picture-perfect wife January Jones . But then a forgotten briefcase and a taxi-cab crash spins him into a bizarre new reality: his wife says she s not his wife, and she insists he s not Dr. Martin Harris. Chasing down the truth, this anonymous man of action uncovers deception, conspiracy, and an assassination plot and that s just for starters. Lacing tension, terror, action and intrigue, Collet-Serra and Neeson create a juicy thriller that delivers. How to watch: Unknown is streaming on Netflix. 5. Red Joan

Sophie Cookson as Young Joan and Stephen Campbell Moore as Max Davis in "Red Joan."

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This espionage drama begins in a picturesque English garden, where a sweet old lady Judi Dench is pruning shrubbery when she s abruptly arrested for treason. Flashbacks whisk us to World War II-era England, when Joan Smith Sophie Cookson was a bright young woman with high ideals, who strode into a world of international intrigue, torrid romance, and potential nuclear war. Inspired by Melita Norwood, an English civil servant who gave classified atomic weapons information to the KGB, Red Joan reveals a story about a complicated and controversial woman, who broke all the rules--and arguably betrayed her nation--in hopes of saving the world. Theater director Trevor Nunn guides his cast through portrayals that are restrained but riveting. But best of all are stinging sequences of spy craft, injected with a woman s touch for diversion, from fur coats and baby carriages to men s squeamishness over a box of sanitary napkins. How to watch: Red Joan is streaming on Netflix. 6. The NetThis 1995 film is a wonderful and entertaining time capsule about the early days of the internet and Americans emerging fears about online spying. With the intensity and vulnerability that made her an A-lister, Sandra Bullock stars as a reclusive hacker who follows a mysterious glitch down a rabbit hole of conspiracy, identity theft, and a ruthless syndicate that s wants to delete her. To best her sinister foes, she ll have to use her computer savvy, her fast-dwindling friend list, and her wits. Pitching his protagonist out from behind the comfort zone of her computer screen, director Irwin Winkler creates a web that s world-wide and full of threats, from Cancun beaches, to sterile retirement homes, to sprawling convention centers, and the arms of a handsome stranger Jeremy Northam . The look of the old-school internet might cause chuckles, but the chills of this espionage thriller still hold up. How to watch: The Net is streaming on Netflix. 7. The SnowdenWant something more harrowing than fictional speculation that something wicked lurks online? Then, check out this 2016 biopic thriller about the eponymous American CIA subcontractor, who leaked highly classified information about how the U.S. government employed the internet to spy on its own citizens. Some believe Edward Snowden is a hero or a whistleblower. Others see him as a spy and a traitor. Oliver Stone, the heralded filmmaker behind Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Wall Street, and JFK, has never shied away from provocative political content and he makes bold swings here. With Snowden, he brings his signature gravitas and pulls together a star-studded cast that includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Olyphant, and Nicolas Cage. In this suspenseful offering, they declassify the personal story of the man and the myths behind the global headlines. How to watch: Snowden is streaming on Netflix. 8. The AmericanThis 2010 film combines elements of espionage-thriller and the Revisionist Western to create a uniquely captivating story. George Clooney stars as a contract killer looking to get out of the life without losing his. Following a gruesome catastrophe in Sweden, his handler promises one last job in picturesque Italy. Soon, this dashing death dealer has crossed paths with a beguiling local, a patient priest, and an enigmatic assassin. Each of these blossoming relationships for better or nerve-racking spur him to reflect on his life, which is written in blood. Can he truly just walk away? Director Anton Corbijn brings a steamy atmosphere, sharp edge, and a hint of Hitchcockian glamor to this tense tale of hit men, deception, double-crosses, and second chances. Violante Placido, Thekla Reuten, Paolo Bonacelli, and Johan Leysen co-star. How to watch: The American is streaming on Netflix.9. The Penguins of Madagascar

Benedict Cumberbatch voices a smug wolf spy in "Penguins of Madagascar."

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I spy something family-friendly! After proving stealthy scene-stealers in the Madagascar movies, 2014 s The Penguins of Madagascar gives this wacky waddle an espionage-stuffed spinoff of their own. Directors Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith crack open the origin story of how the four-penguin squad of Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private came together. Then, they give these silly spies a globe-trekking mission that pits them against an ornery octopus, who is a master of disguise. Along with espionage drama standards like lush locations, wild tech, and gonzo action this animated romp also offers tons of laughs, working in parody, prat falls, and fart jokes with equal relish. Bringing verve to the voice cast are celebrated dramatic actors John Malkovich, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Peter Stormare, as well as documentarian Werner Herzog. How to watch: Penguins of Madagascar is streaming on Netflix. 10. American UltraA popular trope in spy movies is the sleeper agent, a mild-mannered person who contains the muscle memory and spycraft skills of a deadly operative. In some cases, their true identity is a mystery even to themselves. That is until a cryptic code word unlocks a treasure trove of secrets. Imagine The Manchurian Candidate as a stoner comedy, and you ll have some sense of the wacky pleasures of 2015 s American Ultra. Jesse Eisenberg stars as a hapless convenience store clerk, whose big plan is to propose to his cool girlfriend Kristen Stewart . That is until an ambush by heavily armed foes turns on his hidden programming, revealing he s Jason Bourne if Jason Bourne was a pothead with anxiety issues. Director Nima Nourizadeh brings a frenzied pace, explosive action, and an intoxicating goofiness to the familiar premise of an agent gone rogue to save his girl. Connie Britton, John Leguizamo, Walton Goggins, and Topher Grace co-star. How to watch: American Ultra is streaming on Netflix. 11. The LosersCritics loathed this 2010 offering, writing it off for its endless stunt sequences, mindless entertainment, and abject absurdity. But sometimes all of the above is exactly what you want. Plus despite its insulting title this action flick is full of big names in butt-kicking, including Pacific Rim s Idris Elba, The Walking Dead s Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Guardians of the Galaxy s Zoe Saldana, and the MCU s Captain America, Chris Evans. Director Sylvain White harnesses all this star power into an unhinged adaption of the Andy Diggle and Jock s Vertigo Comic series, The Losers. This fast-paced film follows an eccentric but elite black-ops team, who must fight for their lives once they ve been betrayed and disavowed. Their path to potential salvation involves explosive action, lots of swagger, and plenty of smirking one-liners. Simply put, it s a perfect pick for Netflix and Veg. How to watch: The Losers is streaming on Netflix.