From the Bourne thrillers to Kingsman and beyond, we’ve always been captivated by spy movies. The gadgets, the exotic locations, the double crossing, the secrecy and often-unbearable levels of suspense – it’s easy to see why we love them.
Next year sees the release of the intriguing-looking Red Sparrow starring Jennifer Lawrence (pictured below), a thriller that promises top-notch, edge-of-your-seat espionage action. Reuniting Lawrence with her Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence, Red Sparrow is the story of a ballerina who is recruited to 'Sparrow School': a Russian intelligence service for elite spies.
We can’t wait to see Jennifer Lawrence give 007 a run for his money when the movie is released in March. But in the meantime, we've decided to whet your appetite with our selection of five classic movie spies who aren’t James Bond.
Jason Bourne – the Bourne series
Played by Matt Damon
Influencing everything from Sam Mendes’ Bond films to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, amnesiac spy Jason Bourne restored a harder, grittier edge to the genre. His brutal, close-up fighting style mixed with atmospheric locations was a welcome reminder of what these movies used to be like. Even without an identity to his name, Jason Bourne could still take out a bunch of bad guys without so much as breaking a sweat. When his memories did eventually come flooding back, he only got more dangerous.
Evelyn Salt – Salt
Played by Angelina Jolie
Jolie kicks plenty of ass as a deadly CIA operative forced to clear her name when she’s accused of being a Russian spy. Fleeing across Washington while evading her former colleagues Jolie unleashes all manner of breathtaking stunts, and she also manages to keep us in the dark (at least until midway through) about the motivations of her character.
Lorraine Broughton – Atomic Blonde
Played by Charlize Theron
With her peroxide-blonde locks, flowing white trench coat and icy manner, Theron’s frosty MI6 agent storms through cold war-era Berlin aiming to thaw out a mole in the system. Along the way Theron stakes her claim to being a modern-day action icon, unleashing some of the most brutally violent and brilliantly choreographed fight sequences in recent memory.
Eggsy – the Kingsman series
Played by Taron Egerton
In the first Kingsman movie, Eggsy was a new recruit to the suave Kingsman spy agency, schooled by the dapper Harry Hart (Colin Firth) in the art of becoming an elite agent. In this year’s sequel The Golden Circle, he is a fully-fledged spy who must take it upon himself to save the world. But Eggsy never forgets his tough roots on a London council estate, nor is he as completely calm and collected as your standard British agent. These traits are what differentiate him from the quintessential spy: he isn’t cut from the same cloth as his colleagues, and he’s all the more compelling because of it.
Ethan Hunt – the Mission: Impossible franchise
Played by Tom Cruise
Much more than America’s answer to James Bond, Ethan Hunt is a spy up there with the best of them. So far he’s catapulted us across five world-saving adventures with a sixth due for release in 2019. From the brain-twisting betrayals of the original 1996 movie to the daredevil aeroplane stuntwork of 2015’s Rogue Nation, Hunt is both a reckless maverick and a loyal team player, who has proven time and time again that not matter how impossible the job, he will get it done.
Red Sparrow is unleashed on 2nd March 2018. Tweet us your favourite movie spies @Cineworld.
Andy Furlong is an Unlimited card holder who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.