Hart and Johnson: The world’s two unlikeliest megastars join forces this week for
, playing former high school classmates who reunite and get embroiled in international action courtesy of the CIA. Since its inception in 1947, Hollywood has committed plenty of celluloid around the agency’s foundation of espionage and top-secret missions, inspiring this week’s gallery: the best and worst CIA agents in movie history. Central Intelligence
Aidan Gillen in (2012, 87%): Never mess with a guy in Kirkland Signature pants who introduces himself as literally “CIA.” …Just kidding! You can throw him out of a plane.
The Dark Knight Rises
Matt Damon in the series: Some people dream of working for the CIA, and some people after joining, boy, they Bourne really want to quit.
Liam Neeson in the series: Bryan Mills is retired, but those particular set of skills acquired over a very long career you carry into your golden years.
The series: Once considered the brainy American rival to James Bond, Tom Clancy’s signature hero was initially played by Alec Baldwin ( Jack Ryan The Hunt for Red October, 1990), Harrison Ford ( Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, 1992 and 1994 respectively) before being twice rebooted with fresh faces: Ben Affleck in The Sum of All Fears (2002) and Chris Pine in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014).
Ben Affleck in (2012, 96%): Playing loose with history, Affleck cast himself as an exfiltration genius responsible for rescuing six Americans during the 1980 Iran hostage crisis by faking a movie production within the country.
Emily VanCamp in (2016, 90%): After leaving S.H.I.E.L.D. to join the CIA, VanCamp’s Sharon Carter is assigned to the task force bringing in The Winter Soldier.
Captain America: Civil War
Angelina Jolie in (2010, 62%): Evelyn Salt is an accused spy who turns out to be working for the CIA working for the KGB…or IS she??
Henry Cavill in (2015, 66%): A retro throwback set during the same era as the swingin’ original TV show, Cavill plays posh CIA agent Napoleon Solo who’s teamed with a KGB agent (Armie Hammer) to retrieve a nuke.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Jeffrey Wright from the series: 007’s buddy working out of the other side of the Atlantic who’s made appearances since James Bond Dr.No (1962), most recently played by Wright in the Daniel Craig cycle.
Robert DeNiro in (1998, 68%): DeNiro as an ex-CIA agent (or IS he??) in John Frankenheimer’s last great film.
Ryan Reynolds in (2012, 53%): Reynolds is playing house at one of the agency’s safe locations when an ex-operative (Denzel Washington) is brought in to hide from mercenaries.
Denzel Washington in (2004, 39%): Playing another ex-agent, Washington goes on a rampage in Mexico City in Tony Scott’s stylish thriller.
Man On Fire
Gerard Butler in (2009, 25%): Another ex-CIA op with nothing good on his mind, Butler orchestrates seemingly impossible revenge killings from a maximum security jail cell.
Robert Redford in (1975, 88%): Redford, a lowly CIA analyst, returns from lunch and finds all his co-workers dead…
3 Days of the Condor
…but seems okay enough with it to stick with the agency, training Brad Pitt 25 years later in (2001, 66%).
Melissa McCarthy in (2015, 94%): McCarthy plays a well-intentioned agency desk jockey who is given the impossible mission of going undercover in Paris.
Sam Rockwell in (2003, 79%): Rockwell had his breakthrough role in playing Confessions of a Dangerous Mind Gong Show host Chuck Barris, who claimed to be a CIA assassin in-between humiliating amateurs on national TV.
Bruce Willis in (2010, 71%): Along with John Malkovich and Morgan Freeman, the trio make up what the CIA classify as “Retried, Extremely Dangerous.”
Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd in (1985, 35%): Two government losers take the CIA entry exam only to be enlisted as Cold War decoys.
Spies Like Us
Johnny Depp in (2003, 68%): A corrupt CIA agent gets in way over his head in Robert Rodriguez’s closer to his Once Upon a Time in Mexico Mexico trilogy.
Chris Pine and Tom Hardy in (2012, 26%): Your tax dollars at work as two agents use government resouces to go after Reese Witherspoon.
This Means War
Frankie Muniz in (2003, 39%): In-between seasons of Agent Cody Banks Malcom in the Middle, Muniz put out two movies as the upstart world-saving agent.
Sam Eagle in (2014, 79%): The pompous puppet was recast as an agent in the globe-trotting Muppets Most Wanted Muppets reboot sequel.
J.K. Simmons in : Gallery’s over! What did we learn? I guess we learned not to do it again (whatever it was).
Burn After Reading