The Angelina Jolie American spy film “Salt” comes out on DVD and Blu-ray tomorrow (Tuesday, 12/21) so we thought we’d count down the 7 greatest American spy films of all-time. We love spies, plain and simple. They’re cool, suave, slick, and they always get the girl. They have the best gadgets in the world, they drive the coolest cars, they know how to do all the things that we want to do but can’t. Thankfully, Hollywood has given us plenty of great spy flicks throughout the years, so we can live vicariously. Here’s the 7 best featuring red blooded patriots…
7.) Spy Game (2001)
Any movie with two titans of Hollywood in it is going to be a good one. Starring Robert Redford as the veteran handler and Brad Pitt as his idealistic young protégé. What makes this movie a top pick is that it depicts the seedy side of the spy game without making us hate what these guys are doing.
6.) The Falcon and the Snowman (1985)
There is nothing like some realism to make a movie stand out. Sean Penn before he got weird and over involved with political issues starred with Timothy Hutton in this tale of two friends that decide that America is not worth fighting for and decide to sell out to the Russians. The movie is a different look into the spy world and what gets one involved with it. The fact that it was based on a true story makes it just a little scary.
5.) The Bourne Identity (2002)
It’s hard to come up with something different and new these days in Hollywood, especially in the spy genre. With the Bourne Identity they did just that. Matt Damon seemed like an interesting choice for an action role, but one you see the movie you can’t picture anyone else doing it. Bourne takes the typical spy (who still gets the girl, of course) and takes him from suave and cool to brooding and moody. Then again, if you woke up one day, had your memory wiped clean, lots of people were trying to kill you, and you knew how to kick ass in a variety of ways you might be moody too.
4.) No Way Out (1987)
This one will always be one of my favorites even though Kevin Costner starred in it. You have political intrigue, sex, conspiracies, and murder all rolled into one. I was on the edge of my seat the whole way the first time watching it and was absolutely floored to find out that Costner really was the mythical Russian spy that Gene Hackman wanted to blame for killing his dead mistress (whom he killed). Since it was made prior to the downfall of the Soviet Union the whole concept of a sleeper agent like Costner’s character was a great twist.
3.) Spies Like Us (1985)
While spies can be incredibly cool they can also be incredibly hilarious. Watch this Dan Akroyd/ Chevy Chase classic and you will find yourself quoting lines for weeks. Instead of being Sean Connery type spies these guys were like what most of us would be if we (by some freak twist of fate) actually became spies. Plus, you have to love that they had their priorities in line when they thought the world was going to end (in case you have not seen it: imminent death and hot Russian babes; you figure out the rest).
2.) Three Days of the Condor (1975)
Sydney Pollack’s 1975 political thriller was adapted from the James Grady novel Six Days of the Condor. Robert Redford plays a CIA researcher who returns from lunch to find the entire staff of his small New York office assassinated. When he meets his boss at another location to tell him what happened, someone tries to shoot him.
1.) The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Some folks may not know but ole Blue Eyes did some acting as well as singing. In this 1962 classic later remade with Denzel Washington in the lead role, the bad guys use soldiers as weapons, brainwashing them and turning them into killers on command with the target a presidential candidate. It was almost not released by United Artists back then for fear that it may give people ideas. Studio execs must have been wondering a year later when the President was shot.
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