One might say that Ian Fleming’s legacy, the James Bond series, has been one of the most popular fictional espionage stories, as well as the template for fictional spies in some of today’s media. It’s about British Secret Service agent James Bond, famously known as 007, and his missions to save the world.
The action, suspense, thrill, and the occasional romance are just some of the reasons why James Bond is loved by anyone, regardless of age. With the advancements in technology like motion sensors already available in the Philippines or locked-room escape games, it is no wonder why James Bond is who people channel to finish a game.
But Bond is not the only fictional spy you can watch in action. If you are one of many Bond fans, here is a list of spy films that are perfect you.
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)
The 1960’s was an era where military tension was palpable between powerful nations. It was no surprise that spy films have come to adopt this as an effective plot device. The film The Spy Who Came in from the Cold War is based on a book of the same title written by John le Carré. The protagonist, Alec Leamas, is very much unlike James Bond. He doesn’t have the sophistication Bond seems to exude; instead, his manner is very straightforward. He shows contempt both for his enemies and for his job. Unlike James Bond who relies on gadgets, he makes use of skill and cunning to get out of a situation.
The Quiller Memorandum (1966)
The Quiller Memorandum is based on a spy novel written by Trevor Dudley-Smith called The Berlin Memorandum. It’s also set in the Cold War era where agent Quiller was sent to Berlin to investigate a neo-Nazi organization. This spy, just like Alec Leamas from The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, is not like Bond. He doesn’t like guns, believing that it gives a person a false sense of security. He relies on wit and his knowledge of the martial arts. The film depicts what undercover missions can do to a man.
The story follows the story of ex-special operatives turned mercenaries who were hired to steal a suspiciously heavily guarded package, wanted by the Russians and the IRA. It has every element that you expect in a spy film: loads of dialogue, thrilling car chases, and action-packed scenes. However, one its appeals isn’t in their treatment of the spy film formula, but of the use of practical effects. The car chases were done practically, none of the visual effects that are overused in today’s films.
Body of Lies (2008)
The film is based on the novel of the same name written by David Ignatius. The story is set in the Middle East where the CIA and the Jordanian Intelligence were looking to catch a jihadist by the name of Al Saleem. Roger Ferris, a lone ranger type, concocted a plan that involved making up a fictional rival terrorist organization and use it to get to Al Saleem.
A French espionage film originally titled L’affaire Farewell, literally The Farewell Affair, was adapted from the novel Bonjour Farewell: La vérité sur la taupe française du KGB by Serguei Kostine. It follows the story of a high-ranking KGB officer and a Frenchman who smuggled Soviet Secrets to the United States, hoping to end military tensions between powerful nations. As you may have already guessed from the plot, it’s set in the Cold War. The film was applauded not just because of how it’s written, but also because of its beautiful and striking cinematography.
Recent films that you might want to check out are Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015) and The Man from U.N.C.L.E (2015), which shows us that spy shouldn’t always follow the same the formula, that they can deviate to gallows humour that a lot of people are starting to appreciate nowadays.
The films listed above are some of the most recommended spy films that are perfect, not just for the avid Bond film, but also for those wanting a rush of adrenaline.