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Beyond Bond: Spies & Spoofs

James Bond movies set the standard for action, adventure and intrigue and whilst Ian Fleming was a master of the spy-thriller genre, many films and television series have followed in 007's footsteps to add to an ever-growing genre of espionage pictures and novels.

Spy films have been produced almost since the beginning of popular motion pictures and the silent movie era. Film historians often cite pictures as early as "The German Spy Peril" (1914) and a selection of others from this era as the birth of the genre - but like anything in popular culture, espionage adventures are ever-evolving.

Film such as "The 39 Steps" (1935) and a raft of other Hitchcock-helmed productions have become cult classics and to this day - together with some of the most memorable 007 adventures - keep the interest in spy-thrillers alive.

James Bond popped up on the spy-fi radar in 1962 and changed the methodology of the genre in a variety of ways. Bond added both fantastical elements, gadgets and girls, as well as an underlying brutality not seen in filmmaking or characterisation to that point.

Today there are many parallels to 007, other famous spies and spy-thrillers that have borrowed from and shared a common ground with Fleming's creation. The quality and originality within the much-loved genre ranges from the bizarre to the brilliant and many series have made their own mark on film and television history.

The other common link to the Bond cannon is the parody or spoofing of Bond and its genre. The "Austin Powers" series pokes tongue-in-cheek fun at some of the scenarios that 007 has found himself in, whilst "The Avengers" sees a debonair and charming duo take on spies both serious and supernatural in a lighthearted spying adventure.

The Thirty Nine Steps

Austin Powers

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MI6 has trawled the archives to compile a comprehensive list of spy-thrillers, spoofs and 007's equals throughout film and television history for fans interested in branching out.


  Title Actor / Character Buy online
The 39 Steps (1935) Robert Donat / Richard Hannay Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Secret Agent (1936) John Gielgud / Richard Ashenden Buy (UK)
OSS 117 Is Not Dead (1956) (aka OSS 117 N'Est Pas Mort) Ivan Desny / OSS 117 N/A
North By Northwest (1959) Cary Grant / Roger Thornhill Buy (UK)
Coplan Secret Agent FX 18 (1964) Ken Clark / Coplan N/A
Carry On Spying (1964) Kenneth Williams / Agent Simkins Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
The Ipcress File (1965) Michael Caine / Harry Palmer Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
The Spy Who Came In from the Cold (1965) Richard Burton / Alec Leamas Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (1965) Dwayne Hickman / Todd Armstrong Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Licensed to Kill (1965) Tom Adams / Charles Vine N/A
The Quiller Memorandum (1966) George Segal / Quiller Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Funeral In Berlin (1966) Michael Caine / Harry Palmer Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Our Man Flint (1966) James Coburn / Derek Flint Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
The Silencers (1966) Dean Martin / Matt Helm Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Murderers' Row (1966) Dean Martin / Matt Helm Buy (UK)
Modesty Blaise (1966) Monica Vitti / Modesty Blaise N/A
To Trap A Spy (UNCLE movie, 1966) Robert Vaughn / Napoleon Solo N/A (see TV, below)
The Ambushers (1967) Dean Martin / Matt Helm Buy (UK)
Billion Dollar Brain (1967) Michael Caine / Harry Palmer Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
In Like Flint (1967) James Coburn / Derek Flint Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Deadlier Than the Male (1967) Richard Johnson / Bulldog Drummond Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
The Deadly Affair (1967) James Coburn / Derek Flint N/A
O.K. Connery (1967) (aka Operation Kid Brother) Neil Connery / Dr. Neil Connery N/A
Fathom (1967) Raquel Welch / Fathom Harvill Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
No Roses For OSS 117 (1967) (aka Niente rose per OSS 117) John Gavin / OSS 117 N/A
Danger Route (1967) Richard Johnson / Jonas Wilde N/A
Army of Shadows (1968) Lino Ventura / Philippe Gerbier Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Where Eagles Dare (1968) Richard Burton / Jonathan Smith Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
The Wrecking Crew (1969) Dean Martin / Matt Helm Buy (UK)
Some Girls Do (1969) Richard Johnson / Bulldog Drummond N/A
When Eight Bells Toll (1971) Anthony Hopkins / Phillip Calvert Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Return Of The Man From UNCLE (1983) Robert Vaughn / Napoleon Solo
David McCallum / Illya Kuryakin
Buy (USA)
Top Secret! (1984) Val Kilmer / Nick Rivers Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Spies Like Us (1985) Dan Aykroyd / Austin Millbarge Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
The Fourth Protocol (1987) Michael Caine / John Preston Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Mission: Impossible (1996) Tom Cruise / Ethan Hunt Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997) Bill Murray / Wallace Ritchie Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) Mike Myers / Austin Powers Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) Mike Myers / Austin Powers Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Mission: Impossible II (2000) Tom Cruise / Ethan Hunt Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Spy Game (2001) Robert Redford / Nathan Muir Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
The Tailor of Panama (2001) Pierce Brosnan / Andy Osnard Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) Mike Myers / Austin Powers Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
I Spy (2002) Eddie Murphy / Kelly Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
The Bourne Identity (2002) Matt Damon / Jason Bourne Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
xXx (2002) Vin Diesel / xXx Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Johnny English (2003) Rowan Atkinson / Johnny English Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Agent Cody Banks (2003) Frankie Muniz / Cody Banks Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London (2004) Frankie Muniz / Cody Banks Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
The Bourne Supremacy (2004) Matt Damon / Jason Bourne Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Stormbreaker (2006) Alex Pettyfer / Alex Rider Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
OSS 117: Cairo Nest of Spies (2006) (aka Le Caire nid d'espions) Jean Dujardin / OSS 117 Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Mission: Impossible III (2006) Tom Cruise / Ethan Hunt Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
The Bourne Ultimatum (2008) Matt Damon / Jason Bourne Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
The 39 Steps (2008) Richard Hannay / Rupert Penry-Jones Buy (UK)
Get Smart (2008) Steve Carell / Maxwell Smart Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Johnny English Reborn (2011) Rowan Atkinson / Johnny English Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Tinker Tailor Solider Spy (2011) Gary Oldman / George Smiley Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol (2011) Tom Cruise / Ethan Hunt Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)

Television Series

  Title Actor / Character Buy online
The Avengers (1961-1969) Patrick McNee / John Steed Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Danger Man (1960-1962, 1964-1968) Patrick McGoohan / John Drake Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
The Man from U.N.C.L.E (1964-1968) Robert Vaughn / Napoleon Solo
David McCallum / Illya Kuryakin
Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
I Spy (1965-1968) Bill Cosby / Alexander Scott
Robert Culp / Kelly Robinson
Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Get Smart (1965-1970) Don Adams / Maxwell Smart Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Mission: Impossible (1966-1973) and (1988-1990) Peter Graves / Jim Phelps
Barbara Bain / Cinnamon Carter
Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Remington Steele (1982-1987) Pierce Brosnan / Remmington Steele Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
The Prisoner (1967) Patrick McGoohan / Number Six Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Callan (1967-1972) Edward Woodward / David Callan Buy (UK)
The Sandbaggers (1978-1980) Roy Marsden / Neil Burnside Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Reilly, Ace of Spies (1980) Sam Neil / Sidney Reilly Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Alias (2001-2006) Jennifer Garner / Sydney Bristow Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
24 (2001-2010) Kiefer Sutherland / Jack Bower Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Spooks (2002-2011)
(aka MI-5)
Various Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Burn Notice (2007-present) Jeffrey Donovan / Michael Westen Buy (UK) / Buy (USA)
Archer (2009-present) H. Jon Benjamin / Sterling Malory Archer Buy (USA)

Stay tuned to MI6 for in depth coverage of both the classic spy thrillers and spoofs of the spy-fi genre...

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