10 Underrated Espionage Movies of the 1980s Worth Revisiting
The 80s: the era of bright colors, big hair, and neon. But hidden in all that glitz and glam were some real diamond-in-the-rough spy films that didn't get their due.
Brosnan is dispatched with a curious task: assemble an atomic bomb piece-by-piece on British soil. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Caine's on his tail, and the cat and mouse game ensues. Who will be the victor in this deadly dance?
2. Gotcha! (1985)
Whodathunk it? An espionage movie wrapped in the bow of a college comedy. Anthony Edwards plays a student who enjoys playing a paintball game called "Gotcha!"
Little does he know that his holiday in Europe would turn his game into a real-life spy escapade. He meets a mysterious beauty, gets involved in some Cold War drama, and before he knows it, the KGB's after him. But, is it all just a game?
3. The Little Drummer Girl (1984)
Listen up. Imagine a world where stagecraft meets spycraft. Diane Keaton stars as an American actress who gets roped into the world of Israeli intelligence. She's to play, or shall we say, become the bait to ensnare a Palestinian bomber.
Now, where's the line between reality and the act? Does she fall for the enemy or keep her act straight? Ah, the dilemmas of wearing two hats!
4. The Jigsaw Man (1983)
Well, twist my arm, and what have we got here? Michael Caine—yes, him again—plays a defected British spy who undergoes plastic surgery to return to England undetected. The goal? Get a list of British agents in the Soviet Union.
However, he soon finds himself a pawn in a larger chess game. Can the once-master spy navigate the treacherous waters when everyone's a potential adversary?
5. Hopscotch (1980)
Feeling playful? Walter Matthau surely is, playing a disgruntled CIA agent. When he's pushed out of fieldwork, he doesn't just retire and take up gardening. No sir! Instead, he decides to pen a tell-all memoir about the CIA, sending them into a mad scramble to stop him.
It's a chase that jumps, or should we say 'hopscotches', across continents. But who's the real cat and who's the mouse?
6. The Package (1989)
Gene Hackman plays Johnny Gallagher, a seasoned U.S. Army sergeant. His assignment? Simply escort a detainee from Europe to the U.S. But plot twist! The detainee escapes and then (drum roll, please) turns up dead.
But the rabbit hole goes deeper—Gallagher discovers a political conspiracy to assassinate a major international figure. The clock's ticking, and the targets keep changing. Can Gallagher unravel this intricate web before it's too late?
7. No Way Out (1987)
When you have Kevin Costner, intrigue's around the corner. As Naval officer Tom Farrell, he's thrown into a whirlpool of espionage and murder. After a passionate romance with Sean Young's Susan, he learns she's the mistress of the Secretary of Defense—his boss.
Things take a dark turn when Susan dies, and Farrell is framed. With the Pentagon in a frantic search for a suspected Russian spy, guess who becomes suspect number one?
8. The Holcroft Covenant (1985)
Michael Caine (yes, once more!) dives deep as Noel Holcroft, an unsuspecting architect who discovers his father was a high-ranking Nazi.
But here's the most important part: his father left him a fortune meant to aid survivors and right the wrongs of the Nazis. Can he trust those close to him? With mysterious groups aiming to snatch the funds for their nefarious plans, Holcroft is in a race against both time and shadows.
9. Telefon (1977)
Russian sleeper agents embedded in the U.S., waiting for a signal to commit harrowing acts of sabotage. Charles Bronson shines as Grigori Borzov, a Soviet spy sent to the U.S. to stop a rogue agent who's activating these sleepers.
Alongside, Lee Remick's Barbara, who may or may not be a trustworthy ally, they journey to unravel a conspiracy that's a ticking time bomb.
Connery plays Barley, a British publisher. He's flung into the spy realm when he receives a manuscript detailing Soviet defense capabilities. The CIA and British Intelligence are all ears. As he gets pulled deeper, a romance blossoms with Katya (Pfeiffer), the manuscript's intermediary.