This week sees the release of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, a hard-nosed spy thriller adapted from an equally hard-nosed spy novel by author John le Carré. But it’s not for everyone—Tinker, Tailor a mature film, methodically paced and twisted with complexity.
If that doesn’t sound up your alley, or you know you’ll never convince company to join in on this particular espionage adventure, we present to you a slate of alternatives. Between these movies, there should be at least one match.
A Spy Movie for People Who Think James Bond Invented Spies
Yes, yes, yes, the Bond movies are a mainstay, but there are so many options out there! Recommended only for people who can’t differentiate between fiction and reality. Or have downed too many martinis to know the difference.
A Spy Movie for the Kids-These-Days Grouch Who Wants Those Brats Off His Lawn
Much like this week’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Robert Redford’s classic thriller is a serious look into the world of American espionage. There’s nothing glamorous about being a spy—as Redford’s Joseph Turner aka Condor quickly finds out when he’s hunted down by Alsatian assassins. That and he had to walk eight miles in the snow in BARE FEET to the Pentagon…
A Spy Movie for the Vocal Gender Equality Proponent
Films centering on spies generally focus on the men of the business, but that’s nonsense. Women kick ass. Specifically, Evelyn Salt, who has never seen a fire extinguisher she can’t rig into a bazooka. She makes the world a better place on so many levels.
A Spy Movie for the Guy Who Just Can’t Take Anything Seriously, Even Spy Work
Leslie Neilsen upgrades his occupation from detective (Naked Gun) to full-blown secret agent. The movie has the same joke-barrage style as his previous franchise, but ups the ante by adding Andy Griffith as a villain and featuring an opening musical number by “Weird” Al Yankovic.
A Spy Movie for the French Guy Who Just Can’t Take Anything Seriously, Even Spy Work
Pretty much the same as Spy Hard, but replacing the creative team with all the guys who made this year’s The Artist. It’s French, which means it’s artsier!
A Spy Movie for the Lucky Charms-Addicted Manchild
Robert Rodriguez’s foray into the spy genre came in pint size form, but that doesn’t mean its just for kids. For those children at heart, or people with severe sugar addictions and penchants for Saturday morning cartoons, the CG-ified Spy Kids franchise is right up their alley. You may not realize it, but there are people who’ve been wondering for decades, “when will there be a movie where the bad guys are giant, anthropomorphic thumbs?”
A Spy Movie for the Nihilist Who Needs Fuel
One of the biggest criticisms of the Coen Bros. zany “spy” movie was that all of its characters were awful people doing awful things that accomplish nothing. The movie itself might be a paradox for a true nihilist—they’ll agree with everything in the movie, but does that make the movie successful thus defying nihilist notions? Eh, even thinking about it is meaningless.
A Spy Movie for the Oxford Scholar Who Finds Movies to Be a Lower Artform
Spielberg proves that history and tense spy movies mix with his brilliant 2005 film Munich. The movie would be a terrifying look at serious undercover politics if it were completely fiction, but the layer of realism helps pile on the paranoia. A spy movie that could be easily followed by an 8-part lecture series.
A Spy Movie for an Actual Spy
Real spies don’t want to watch movies about spies. They want razzle dazzle!