The ’90s were a golden age for movies and television. Furthermore, people around the world have always enjoyed and followed spy thrillers with bated breath. These films are appreciated for their unpredictable nature, suspense, and jaw-dropping storyline surprises. Here is a rundown of all the best spy thrillers of the ’90s, ranked:
1. Mission: Impossible by Brian De Palma (1996)
Even though it’s been a few decades, it’s essential to remember how the Mission: Impossible franchise originated. Brian De Palma’s original version of the 1960s TV series is still as gripping as ever, despite Ethan Hunt’s increasingly ridiculous exploits. Starting with a great diversion in which Tom Cruise’s Ethan watches as his entire crew is slain in an IMF sting, the secret agent flees, ultimately joining forces with Vanessa Redgrave’s sleazy arms dealer Max. The blowing fish tank, the plunge into Langley, and the train chase are the set pieces that end up making this thing spin.
2. Goldeneye by Martin Campbell (1995)
We can’t talk about spy movies from the 1990s without mentioning at least one James Bond film. Pierce Brosnan completely reimagined James Bond, giving him a new style and personality that was perfectly suited for the 1990s. The film follows 007 as he attempts to thwart a financial destruction plot that would be catastrophic for the world. GoldenEye is one of the most well-known James Bond movies, and its popularity has been enhanced by the 1997 video game GoldenEye 007, which was inspired by the movie.
3. Sneakers by Phil Alden Robinson (1992)
Sneakers is a fun hacker film with a methodical approach to hacking. The hackers are a ragtag crew of outcasts led by Robert Redford. They work as a security squad, breaking through bank and security company firewalls and alerting them to any flaws. When NSA agents learn of their dubious pasts, they are pushed into storming a dangerous facility and collecting a cyber weapon of Russian provenance. When the “sneakers” discover who they’re actually dealing with, they discover they’ll have to execute a near-impossible heist to keep the technology out of the wrong hands.
4. True Lies by James Cameron (1994)
The film follows Harry Tasker, a clandestine spy who is misunderstood by his family as a drab salesman. Tasker, on the other hand, is on the lookout for nuclear missiles held by Islamic terrorist Aziz. His quest becomes even more difficult when he discovers that Helen, his abandoned wife, is considering having an affair with Simon, a used-car dealer who claims to be a spy. When Aziz kidnaps Harry and Helen, the secret spy must simultaneously defend the world and mend his marriage.
5. Ronin by John Frankenheimer (1998)
Related: Greatest Cold War Spy Movies
This is one of the best and most underappreciated spy thrillers ever made. Deirdre assembles a team of specialists and assigns them the mission of stealing a precious briefcase whose contents are unknown. Sam, an ex-intelligence officer, is part of the international team, which also includes Vincent, Gregor, and others. As their operation begins, several teammates are discovered to be dishonest, and everyone must finish the task while keeping an eye on each other.