10 Best Fictional Spies

Who are the absolute, license to kill-bearing 10 Best Fictional Spies? Fictional spies are like crack, if crack carried a satellite phone in his shoe, and could take out twenty goons at once after imbibing gallons of martinis. Grab your decoder ring and let's get right to a list of our favorites.

  1. James Bond – The minute you read the title of this post, your mind went straight to "Bond. James Bond." And with good reason. Starting with the books and continuing through 48(!) years of movies of varying quality (George Lazenby, anyone?) Bond has kept us coming back time and again for more action, women, and women. He is the king. Long live the king.
  2. Jason Bourne – Another fictional spy who successfully made the jump from the page to the screen. We haven't read the books, but who cares? Matt Damon is Jason Bourne, and he is absolutely hardcore. He kills a dude with a book, and he isn't even a high school English teacher making you read "The Yearling." 
  3. Stephen Maturin – Maturin is the co-protagonist of the "Master and Commander" books set during the Napoleonic wars. Ship's doctor, naturalist, laudanum addict, and spy for the Brits, Maturin is the thinking man's fictional spy. Check it out, especially if you're into sea battles with ships firing broadsides at each other from 100 yards.
  4. Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath – Otherwise known by his code name of OSS 117, this fictional French spy, like James Bond, has had a long career in print and on the screen. Forget the older films and books and rent "OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies." Sure, it's subtitled, but star Jean Dujardin speaks the international language of funny. It's smart, hilarious, and  features all the familiar elements of the spy genre, plus chickens and Nazis.
  5. Derek Flint – James Coburn: steely-eyed and game for anything that involved a paycheck. That's not to say that the Flint movies are bad—they're good-bad. "Our Man Flint" and it's sequel were parodies of the James Bond movies of the mid '60's, and they are definitely relics of that time—which is not even remotely a bad thing. Super spy Derek Flint lives in a world of henchmen in color-coordinated jumpsuits, cheesy music, and mini-skirted ladies galore.
  6. Austin Powers – He's played out now, but there is no denying that at one time Mike Meyers was funny. The Austin Powers movies—at least 2 1/2 of them—are top notch spy parodies. It's a good bet that someone you know still says "Yeah, baby, yeah!" Resist the urge to throat punch them, we're pretty sure that's illegal in most states.
  7. Napoleon Solo – Largely forgotten, Napoleon Solo was the titular character of the 1960's TV series "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." Solo and the other U.N.C.L.E. spies faced off against the evil acronym THRUSH, in a surreal universe in which logic, continuity, and other bugaboos of screenwriters were thrown out the window, setting the stage for the last three seasons of "Lost."
  8. The Imperial Spy – Onscreen for mere moments in "Star Wars," this dude in a rubber mask drops a dime on Luke Skywalker as he heads for the Millenium Falcon, and his destiny of savior of the galaxy. Why is he on our list of top fictional spies? Because "Star Wars" is still awesome, and you know this.
  9. Ethan Hunt – Ah, "Mission Impossible." Your theme music rules, but your TV version is snooze-ville. We're talking the Tom Cruise movies, which are light on plot and heavy on slo-mo action—perfect when you just want to turn off your brain and watch car chases. If you've been able to forgive Tom Cruise for being crazy, go back and watch "MI:3" for some tasty spy on spy action.
  10. Spy vs. Spy – Speaking of spy on spy action, "Mad Magazine" has done exactly two awesome things: the fold-over picture page, and birthing the bitter antagonists of "Spy Vs. Spy." Who are these guys? Why do they hate each other so much? Who cares? The old "anvil dropped on the head" bit never gets old.
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