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Traditionally, female roles in action movies and/or spy stories have been cast as secondary characters to their male counterparts. But not always.
The main female characters in the selections below are strong, confident, intelligent and simply amazing spies. Women take center stage in these thrilling spy movies and television programs full of action and adventure.
If you enjoy this blog post, check out our other blog posts featuring spies.
1. Annie / Bonnie in Terminal
Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Director: Vaughn Stein
Starring: Margot Robbie, Simon Pegg and Mike Myers
Enjoy the twisted tale of two assassins carrying out a sinister mission, a teacher battling a fatal illness, an enigmatic janitor, and a curious waitress leading a dangerous double life.
2. Lorraine in Atomic Blonde
Genres: Action, Mystery, Thriller
Director: David Leitch
Starring: Charlize Theron and James McAvoy
An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin in the midst of the Cold War to investigate the murder of his fellow agent.
3. Evelyn in Salt
Genres: Action, Mystery, Thriller
Director: Phillip Noyce
Starring: Angelina Jolie and Liev Schreiber
After a Russian defector accuses CIA agent Evelyn Salt of being a Russian spy, Salt goes on the run to protect her husband and prove her innocence.
4. Dominika in Red Sparrow
Genres: Action, Drama, Thriller
Director: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton
In this international spy thriller, Jennifer Lawrence is Dominika, a former ballerina forced to enter Sparrow School, a secret government program that thrusts her into a treacherous espionage game between Russia and the CIA.
5. Valerie in Fair Game
Genres: Biography, Drama, Thriller
Director: Doug Liman
Starring: Naomi Watts and Sean Penn
A suspense-filled glimpse into the dark corridors of political power, a riveting action-thriller based on the autobiography of real-life undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame, whose career was destroyed and marriage strained to its limits when her covert identity was exposed.
6. Agent 99 in Get Smart
Creators: Mel Brooks and Buck Henry
Starring: Don Adams and Barbara Feldon
Agents Smart and 99 are back, this time with a little help from their son Max, who is the head of CONTROL, to stop the madmen of KAOS.
7. Amanda Peel in The Avengers
Creator: Sydney Newman
Starring: Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg
Amanda Peel (Diana Rigg) is amazing in this classic spy TV show from the 1960s.
8. Elizabeth Jennings in The Americans
Creator: Joseph Weisberg
Starring: Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys
A pair of Soviet spies pose as an American married couple so they can spy on the U.S. government.
9. Peggy Carter in Agent Carter
Creators: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
Starring: Hayley Atwell, James D'Arcy and Enver Gjokaj
Agent Peggy Carter's life takes an unexpected turn when she is contacted by Howard Stark and given a mission to find those who accused Stark of releasing weapons of mass destruction. With the help of Stark's butler, Jarvis, Peggy must secretly find and destroy the lost weapons to clear the Stark name.
10. Carrie Mathison in Homeland
Creators: Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa
Genres: Crime | Drama | Mystery
Starring: Clare Daines, Mandy Patinkin and Damien Lewis
A bipolar CIA operative becomes convinced a prisoner of war has been turned by al-Qaeda and is planning to carry out a terrorist attack on American soil.
Looking for more great recommendations?
- Check out our Fantastic Film Finds blog series
- Explore our new book & movie lists on our website
- Try Give 3 Get 3 to receive personalized recommendations
Featured Image Credit: Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay.