With the onset of the 90s everything seemed to get a lot edgier and more raw. In some cases it got a little more out of control, but with spy movies, well, yeah they got out of control at times too, but in a fun way that was entertaining to watch. As per the 90s just about everything was going big or going down in flames and the best spy films and the worst alike were showing out as they vied for the top spot in their genre or just tried to muscle their way into theaters in order to show people something crazily unreal but still just good enough to be counted as a film that should gain at least some attention and perhaps a cult following at the very least. The gadgets got better and more refined, the tactics became a little more covert than before, and the action tended to get a lot better as more effects and better choreography took over where suspense and story used to dominate.

Here are some of the best spy movies from the 90s.

5. True Lies

Arnold Schwarzenegger as a spy didn’t make a whole lot of sense considering that he’s always been more of a commando, but to be honest his name kind of made this film. Jamie Lee Curtis and Tom Arnold probably couldn’t have done this without him no matter that they did manage to create characters that were entertaining and at least somewhat believable. But the invincible super spy was the angle for this one, basically Commando meets James Bond in a wave of carnage that seems contradictory to what a spy is supposed to cause. But hey, it was a Schwarzenegger film, the guy doesn’t do quiet or peaceful.

4. Ronin

Whenever there is doubt, there is no doubt. That might not make a lot of sense but if you really think about it these words become what any spy should listen to and take to heart. The whole mess that Sam finds himself in is one of his own making supposedly, but near the end you get to find out that he’s no more rogue than he is the president of the US. He’s an undercover operative that is attempting to uncover a plot and retrieve a case that more than one faction is after. What’s in the case is a good question since we never get to know, but it’s something to wonder about as people are dying over it.

3. Goldeneye

You know this list couldn’t exist without at least one James Bond movie being mentioned, especially since Pierce Brosnan kind of revamped the whole idea of James Bond and gave the spy a new look and something of a new attitude that was perfect for the 90s. Of course James is facing his ultimate enemy in this film, someone that knows him better than just about anyone else. Of course you could say that about a couple of enemies he’s had. In this case though his enemy was, at one time, a man that was trained in the same way as James was. That’s what makes 006 so much more dangerous than many of his other enemies.

2. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

In the history of spoofs this is one of the best since it inspired another couple of movies and allowed Mike Meyers to really unload with his personality in more than one way. Austin Powers was basically a goofy version of James Bond that was good at what he did but was still so flamboyant that when he was thawed out in the 90s he was completely out of his element. To think that Mike Meyers came up with someone like this isn’t too hard to fathom since he’s always been a bit off in the most wonderful of ways. From the gags to the spoofing aspect this movie was one of the best of the 90s without a doubt.

1. Mission: Impossible

Argue if you like, but it does seem as though this version of Ethan Hunt could take down James Bond. Hunt is the kind of guy for whom the impossible is just a walk in the park, so it seems to indicate that when pit against one another Hunt would take the prize if only because he’s willing to take things to a limit that Bond has only ever seen in a few movies. This kind of thing is Hunt’s bread and butter, and it’s something that takes in stride. Of course it would be an interesting proposition since both men are highly trained and extremely volatile when everything they care for is taken away. It’d be a good matchup though.

Spy movies in the 90s were getting rough and very dirty as they took on a demeanor that meant that things were going to change from that point on.

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