In conjunction with yesterday’s release of The Bourne Legacy, the fourth of the popular Bourne series, Loong Wai Ting takes a look at hit celluloid espionage flicks
1. James Bond (from 1962)
The 23rd instalment of the popular spy film, Skyfall, to screen in November, marks the series’ 50th anniversary and is a celebration of other Bonds who are now Hollywood icons, such as Sean Connery, Sir Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan. Daniel Craig as 007 in 2006’s Casino Royale gives the franchise a contemporary and cool reboot.
2. Mission: Impossible (1996, 2000, 2006 and 2011)
In the recent instalment, Ghost Protocol, Tom Cruise reprises his role as Ethan Hunt where he is seen scaling the world’s tallest building, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. With a fifth instalment currently underway, there is no telling if Hunt’s role will be given to another actor in the future.
3. Spies Like Us (1985)
At the height of spoof comedy genre in the 1980s came this spy spoof flick about two novice intelligence agents sent to the Soviet Union. Directed by John Landis and starring comedians Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd, the oddball comic adventure was a box office hit, despite getting negative reviews.
4. Spy Game (2001)
CIA operative Nathan Muir (Robert Redford) is on a mission to release his protege Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt) who has been arrested in China, following a botched rescue operation. Directed by Tony Scott and featuring a stellar performance from the cast, it was a hit at the box office.
5. Munich (2005)
Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film begins with a depiction of the 1972 Munich Olympics, where the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and eventually killed by a terrorist group known as Black September.
6. The Good Shepherd (2006)
Based loosely on real events, the movie tells the untold story of the birth of the counter-intelligence unit of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Directed by Robert De Niro (who also makes an appearance in the movie), it also stars several Hollywood A-listers, such as Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin and Joe Pesci.
7. Body Of Lies (2008)
Based on the novel by David Ignatus, it examines the tension between Western and Arab societies, and its counter-intelligence methods. After being denied permission to film in Dubai by the authorities due to its political theme, the shooting largely took place in the United States and Morocco.
8. The International (2009)
In an explosive shootout scene, which takes place inside the New York’s famous Guggenheim Museum, the production crew built a full-size replica of the museum in an abandoned warehouse using the original blueprints.
9. Salt (2010)
Originally written for Tom Cruise as the movie’s main protagonist, the role is ultimately rewritten for Angelina Jolie. It received mix reviews — praises for Jolie’s performance and criticism for a convoluted plot.
10. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
The movie was based on the 1974 novel by John Le Carre. Gary Oldman received his first ever Academy Awards nomination for Best Actor at the Oscars 2012 for his role in the movie. He plays George Smiley, a British intelligence agent who is forced out of retirement to uncover a Soviet agent.