10 Underrated Spy and Conspiracy Movies, Ranked

Whether it is a realistic spy film The spy who came in from the cold or a fictional secret agent with a license to kill, spy thrillers and conspiracy films have enjoyed great popularity among film lovers for decades. Timeless classics like The third man, Greetings from Russia, And The man who knew too much are just a few of the most important films in the genre, but dozens of spy and conspiracy films are sometimes overlooked by audiences.

Die-hard fans of the genre will surely enjoy iconic spy and conspiracy thrillers The Bourne Identity And Bridge of Spiesbut underrated movies like Murder around 1600, body of lies, And Kill the messenger are just a few that film fans often miss. Out of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind To public enemythese are 10 underrated spy and conspiracy movies every spy fanatic should put on their watch list!


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10 “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” (2002)

George Clooney and Sam Rockwell are on a plane in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
Image via Miramax

After the huge success of his game show The Dating Game, television producer Chuck Barris (Sam Rockwell) is hired to host his latest show, The Gong Show. During the day he seems like your average everyday guy, but what the network and the audience don’t know is that Barris is also a covert assassin for the CIA.

RELATED: The 10 best conspiracy thrillers of the 20th century, ranked by IMDb

George Clooney made his directorial debut Confessions of a Dangerous Mind based on the game show pioneer’s unauthorized autobiography, Chuck Barris. The film offers a superb blend of dark humor and drama, as well as vivid imagery from the 1960s and ’70s that bring an authentic sense of nostalgia to Clooney’s fascinating story.

9 “Zeros and Ones” (2021)

Ethan Hawke behind a row of lit candles in Zeros and Ones
Image via Lionsgate

An American soldier (Ethan Hawke) is sent on a mission to Rome to prevent a possible terrorist attack on the Vatican. Once there, he tries to find his imprisoned twin brother who may be the key to preventing the attack, and must navigate a series of dangerous encounters and events to protect the capital.

zeros and ones is an American-Italian spy thriller written and directed by Abel Ferrerra which had a limited release in US cinemas.While the film has its flaws and a somewhat chaotic narrative, Hawke’s solid dueling performance and the film’s stunning cinematography are both compelling reasons to watch the film zeros and ones.

8th “Body of Lies” (2008)

Russell Crowe sits across the table from Leonardo DiCaprio in Body of Lies
Image via Warner Bros.

Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a CIA agent who devises a dangerous plan to capture terrorist Al-Saleem and enlists the help of Chief Agent Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe). They create a fake terrorist organization to lure their target out of hiding while trying to keep the plan a secret from Ferris’s superiors.

body of liesis an action spy thriller directed by Ridley Scott that also stars Mark Strong And Oscar Isac. The film pays homage to the classic spy genre, made up of traditional tropes such as intense action, drone surveillance footage and thrilling car chasesthe master of tension proud. Movie review, Roger Ebertpraised Crowe and DiCaprio for their top-notch performances, noting that the film’s plot resembled something out of a movie James Bond Movie.

7 Allied (2016)

Brad Pitt stars alongside Marion Cotillard in Allied
Image via Paramount Pictures

During World War II, Canadian Air Force pilot Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) receives the order to assassinate a German ambassador, where he is with the French resistance fighter Marianne Beauséjour (Marion Cotilard). The two fall in love and decide to start a new life together, but the marriage is soon clouded by suspicions and fears that could destroy their relationship and have global consequences.

RELATED: “Bullet Train” and 9 of Brad Pitt’s messiest performances

Allied is a romantic war film written and directed by Robert Zemeckis Who is best known for directing classic films like? Back to the Future, Who tricked Roger Rabbit?And Forrest Gump. The film’s romance isn’t particularly strong, but Pitt and Cottilard are captivating as agents torn between a world war and their resulting loyalties Allied a strong spy film.

6 “The Manchurian Candidate” (2004)

Denzel Washington stands in a crowd in The Manchurian Candidate
Image via Paramount Pictures

During the Gulf War, Bennett Marco (Denzel Washington) and his unit were ambushed, and the terrifying event has recently reappeared in Marco’s nightmares, causing him to ponder what exactly happened that day. He begins to wonder about his former squad member Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber), who is running for vice president, and wonders if he’s the hero he remembers or a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

The Manchu Candidate is a modernized remake of the 1962 film of the same name Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, And Janet Leigh. Unlike most remakes, it’s hard to say which version is better as both films are tailored for their time. Washington is phenomenal like the admirable Marcos and has excellent support from other notable stars as well Meryl Streep And Jon Voight.

5 Kill the Messenger (2014)

Jeremy Renner sits in a courtroom in Kill the Messenger
Image about focus features

When journalist Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner) delves into a story about the origins of the crack epidemic in America and also finds information about the CIA profiting from the smuggled drugs and using the funds to arm Nicaraguan rebels. Despite being asked to restrain himself, Webb continues his investigation and uncovers a major national conspiracy.

Renner delivers a breathtaking performance Michael Cuestaspy thriller, Kill the messengerin which also plays the main role Ray Liotta, Oliver Platt, And Andy Garcia. The film stumbles at times, but between Renner’s performance and the dark but thought-provoking theme, Kill the messenger is a marginalized conspiracy film that deserves a little more credit.

4 “Secret Agent” (1936)

John Gielgud and Madeline Caroll stick together in Secret Agent
Image via Associated British Picture Corporation

British Intelligence fakes the death of one of its agents, Edgar Brodie (John Gielgud) to send him on a mission to Switzerland where he must locate and kill a German spy. He is managed by agent Elsa Carrington (Madeline Carroll) and The General (Peter Lore) and when they track down the spy on a train, they start thinking about their mission when an American (Robert Young) on board and tries to befriend them.

RELATED: Ranked the top 10 Alfred Hitchcock films shot outside of America

secret agent is an early British spy thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock who was a key pioneer of the spy counter and genius behind several classic spy films Notorious And From north to northwest with Cary Grant. Like most Hitchcock films secret agent deals with blondes, mix-ups and of course moves, making for an exciting game of cat and mouse.

3 Burn After Reading (2008)

Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins as gym staff in Burn After Reading (2008)
Image about focus features

Two gym employees, Linda (Frances McDormand) and Chad (Pitt) eventually find a CD containing the memoirs of a former CIA agent (John Malkovich), but instead of trying to return it, they decide to use the situation to their advantage. While planning to make enough money to afford cosmetic surgery, Linda and Chad soon find that it’s getting to be too much as the situation spirals out of control.

joel And Ethan Coenis the dark comedy Burn after reading, makes the Coen brothers laugh out loud, at the expense of some colorful characters and their sheer stupidity. The film’s wild humor and rather creative acts of violence make this conspiracy film taste a lot akin to the brothers’ early films Raising Arizona And Fargo.

2 “Murder Circa 1600” (1997)

Alan Alda and Wesley Snipes go outside in Murder at 1600
Image via Warner Bros.

During an international crisis, Detective Harlan Regis (Wesley Snipes) is assigned to investigate the murder of a secretary found in the White House bathroom. Regis agrees to work the case with Secret Service agent Nina Chance (Diane Lane) and as political tensions peak, Regis and Chance discover the senseless crime is a possible government cover-up.

Murder around 1600 is one of the most underrated conspiracy movies of all time, which also stars Alan Alda best known for his iconic role as Hawkeye on the hit television series, MASH. Snipes and Lane are a powerful duo in this profound political thriller that takes the audience through the twisted and corrupt inner workings of politics.

1 “Enemy of the State” (1998)

Will Smith stands on a city street in Enemy of the State
Image via Touchstone Pictures

When a videotape of the murder of a congressman falls into the hands of a family man, Robert Clayton Dean (Will Smith) he becomes the main suspect of the authorities in the murder case. With the help of a former intelligence officer (Gene Hackman) Dean tries to prove his innocence while bringing the real killer, a corrupt NSA officer (Voight) to justice.

Smith cements himself as a headlining action star Tony Scott‘S public enemy. The film cultivated a fascinating effect fan theory to be a sequel to Hackman’s 1974 psychological thriller, The conversationin which he plays a paranoid surveillance expert who overhears a conspiracy to murder.

NEXT: 10 Movies About Surveillance That Are Not Spy Movies Ranked By Rotten Tomatoes

Dustin Huang

Dustin Huang is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Dustin Huang joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: dustinhuang@24ssports.com.

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