With such an alluring franchise, it should come as no surprise that other films have borrowed some themes from the James Bond formula. Whether it's Bond's dapper style, his plethora of gadgets, his formidable villains, or his beautiful damsels in distress, there are plenty of pieces to the puzzle that others have adapted over the years. So, to celebrate how much of an impact this franchise has had on others, we've pulled together 9 of the best Bond-influenced spy thrillers that you should check out immediately.
(Also, be sure to check out more 007 content, games, and exclusive video on Noovie's The James Bond Experience)
When we think of the best Bond-influenced spy thrillers, Ethan Hunt is honestly the first man that comes to mind. He's a skilled government operative who's always tasked with saving the world. And with every additional film, the stakes only get higher and more outrageous. He probably knows more people that have double-crossed him than those he can actually trust. Bond and Hunt both drive their cars fast and when their back is against the wall, they always find a way out.
Kingsman: The Secret Service
Another worthy addition to the spy thriller genre is the Kingsman franchise. Bond has had a huge influence on these films, with all members of Kingsman dressed to kill. They're either killing the ladies with their charm, or just straight up killing their enemies. These characters always keep it classy. And they have some next-level weapons and gizmos that Bond could only imagine. For example, Bond has an impressive spike umbrella. Harry Hart, though, has a bulletproof umbrella that has different settings through which it can shoot to stun, smoke out, or kill someone.
For our next pick, let's just imagine that James Bond finally decided to settle down with someone who had similar secret agent skills. Then, they decided to have kids. If that actually happened, we imagine their kids would look something like the ones in this film. The Spy Kids franchise has some insane vehicles and gadgets. But instead of a Bond-like agent calling the shots, it's two young agents in the making that save the day.
If we had to identify the most non-Bond protagonist on this list, it would be Johnny English. Though he wasn't the first man for the job, or the second, or the third, he's all they've got. James Bond tends to think three steps ahead and his risky and dangerous plans always seem to work out. Johnny English tends to not plan anything, and anything he does usually doesn't work out - at all. Still, somehow from pure luck, he falls into the right place at the right time.
Next up, we have an agent going from a desk job to the real deal for the first time since she's been working at the agency. Yes, you heard it right. This is the female spy thriller on our list. And it has a CIA analyst going undercover to track a high-level criminal. Since it's her first outing as a field agent, it might take a bit longer for her to get fully adjusted. But expect some Bond-level weaponry, gadgets, and tomfoolery to surface throughout the film.
All spies need to be able to keep a secret. And that is a skill that Harry Tasker has in spades. To his family, he's a computer salesman. To the U.S. government, he's a secret agent for a U.S. counterterrorism and intelligence agency. We have a feeling if James Bond and Harry Tasker existed in the same universe, they'd be good company to invite to the same parties, ready, armed, locked, and loaded.
July 15, 1994
As we revisit the most recent film on our list, it's very evident that the Bond franchise had a heavy influence on the look and feel of Nolan's vision. One man in a slick suit must utilize new age technology in a race against time before a cataclysmic event occurs...sounds familiar? Another similarity between this and the Bond films which we truly appreciate is their filming locations. It's par for Bond's course to travel to the most exotic places around the globe. Same here, in search of a wealthy villain with unlimited resources who must be taken down.
September 3, 2020
The Bourne Identity
If for some reason, Bond's government turned on him, and then blacklisted him, this is how we'd imagine he'd turn out. Both Jason Bourne and James Bond are one-man armies with the same initials, who get some fun assistance from time to time. But they don't need it to survive. To reach Bond's level of prestige is no easy feat. And Jason Bourne never had it easy, either. These men are always thinking miles ahead of their adversaries which is why they can go ghost mode with a snap of the finger.
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
There's no question this film reigns supreme on our list of best Bond-influenced spy thrillers. We pretty much guarantee that if James Bond never existed, then neither would this franchise. The Austin Power series is a straight-up parody of 007 movies. The naming conventions of the characters are identical and some of them are almost exactly the same. Just look at Dr. Evil. You know that's Blofeld from "You Only Live Twice"...with a voice exactly like SNL producer Lorne Michaels.
Jesse is a writer and content manager for Noovie. When he's not working, he's on the beach playing volleyball.