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The Best Cold War Movies

Best Cold War Movies

“What are the best movies about the Cold War?” We looked at 168 of the top Cold War films, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question!

The top 30 films, all appearing on 3 or more “Best Cold War” movie lists, are ranked below by how many times they appear. The remaining 100+ movies, as well as the sources we used, are in alphabetical order on the bottom of the page.



Top 30 Cold War Movies



30 .) Funeral in Berlin (1965)

 Funeral in Berlin (1965) Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB 3
  • Ranker
  • Sabotage Times

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29 .) North by Northwest (1959)

 North by Northwest (1959) Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Ranker
  • Taste Of Cinema

Advertising man Roger Thornhill is mistaken for a spy, triggering a deadly cross-country chase.

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28 .) Red Dawn (1984)

 Red Dawn (1984) Lists It Appears On:

  • Decider
  • MRQE
  • Ranker

It is the dawn of World War III. In mid-western America, a group of teenagers band together to defend their town, and their country, from invading Soviet forces.

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27 .) Rocky IV (1985)

 Rocky IV (1985) Lists It Appears On:

  • Decider
  • MRQE
  • Ranker

After iron man Drago, a highly intimidating 6-foot-5, 261-pound Soviet athlete, kills Apollo Creed in an exhibition match, Rocky comes to the heart of Russia for 15 pile-driving boxing rounds of revenge.

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26 .) The Quiet American (2002)

 The Quiet American (2002) Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • MRQE
  • Ranker

A stylish political thriller where love and war collide in Southeast Asia. Set in early 1950s Vietnam, a young American becomes entangled in a dangerous love triangle when he falls for the beautiful mistress of a British journalist. As war is waged around them, these three only sink deeper into a world of drugs, passion, and betrayal where nothing is as it seems.

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25 .) The Russia House (1990)

 The Russia House (1990) Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • IMDB 3
  • Ranker

An expatriate British publisher unexpectedly finds himself working for British intelligence to investigate people in Russia.

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24 .) Watchmen (2009)

 Watchmen (2009) Lists It Appears On:

  • MRQE
  • Ranker
  • Taste Of Cinema

In a gritty and alternate 1985 the glory days of costumed vigilantes have been brought to a close by a government crackdown, but after one of the masked veterans is brutally murdered, an investigation into the killer is initiated. The reunited heroes set out to prevent their own destruction, but in doing so uncover a sinister plot that puts all of humanity in grave danger.

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23 .) Fail-Safe (1964)

 Fail-Safe (1964) Lists It Appears On:

  • Business Insider
  • IMDB 3
  • Ranker
  • Taste Of Cinema

Because of a technical defect an American bomber team mistakenly orders the destruction of Moscow. The President of the United States has but little time to prevent an atomic catastrophe from occurring. Director Sidney Lumet gives an atmospheric vision of the future with a Cold War backdrop.

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22 .) Ice Station Zebra (1968)

 Ice Station Zebra (1968) Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • MRQE
  • Ranker
  • Wikipedia

A top-secret Soviet spy satellite — using stolen Western technology — malfunctions and then goes into a descent that lands it near an isolated Arctic research encampment called Ice Station Zebra, belonging to the British, which starts sending out distress signals before falling silent. The atomic submarine Tigerfish, commanded by Cmdr. James Ferraday (Rock Hudson), is dispatched to save them.

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21 .) No Way Out (1987)

 No Way Out (1987) Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Military
  • MRQE
  • Ranker

Navy Lt. Tom Farrell meets a young woman, Susan Atwell , and they share a passionate fling. Farrell then finds out that his superior, Defense Secretary David Brice, is also romantically involved with Atwell. When the young woman turns up dead, Farrell is put in charge of the murder investigation. He begins to uncover shocking clues about the case, but when details of his encounter with Susan surface, he becomes a suspect as well.

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20 .) On the Beach (1959)

 On the Beach (1959) Lists It Appears On:

  • Business Insider
  • IMDB 3
  • Ranker
  • Taste Of Cinema

In 1964, atomic war wipes out humanity in the northern hemisphere; one American submarine finds temporary safe haven in Australia, where life-as-usual covers growing despair. In denial about the loss of his wife and children in the holocaust, American Captain Towers meets careworn but gorgeous Moira Davidson, who begins to fall for him. The sub returns after reconnaissance a month (or less) before the end; will Towers and Moira find comfort with each other?

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19 .) The Falcon and the Snowman (1985)

 The Falcon and the Snowman (1985) Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • IMDB 2
  • IMDB 3
  • Military

The true story of a disillusioned military contractor employee and his drug pusher childhood friend who became walk-in spies for the Soviet Union.

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18 .) The Good Shepherd (2006)

 The Good Shepherd (2006) Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • IMDB 2
  • Military
  • MRQE

Edward Wilson, the only witness to his father’s suicide and member of the Skull and Bones Society while a student at Yale, is a morally upright young man who values honor and discretion, qualities that help him to be recruited for a career in the newly founded OSS. His dedication to his work does not come without a price though, leading him to sacrifice his ideals and eventually his family.

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17 .) The Iron Giant (1999)

 The Iron Giant (1999) Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB 2
  • MRQE
  • One Room With A View
  • Ranker

In the small town of Rockwell, Maine in October 1957, a giant metal machine befriends a nine-year-old boy and ultimately finds its humanity by unselfishly saving people from their own fears and prejudices.

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16 .) The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming (1966)

 The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming (1966) Lists It Appears On:

  • MRQE
  • MRQE
  • Ranker
  • Wikipedia

Without hostile intent, a Soviet sub runs aground off New England. Men are sent for a boat, but many villagers go into a tizzy, risking bloodshed.

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15 .) Torn Curtain (1966)

 Torn Curtain (1966) Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB 3
  • Military
  • MRQE
  • Ranker

During the Cold War, an American scientist appears to defect to East Germany as part of a cloak and dagger mission to find the formula for a resin solution, but the plan goes awry when his fiancee, unaware of his motivation, follows him across the border.

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14 .) WarGames (1983)

 WarGames (1983) Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB 2
  • MRQE
  • Ranker
  • Taste Of Cinema

High School student David Lightman (Matthew Broderick) has a talent for hacking. But while trying to hack into a computer system to play unreleased video games, he unwittingly taps into the Defense Department’s war computer and initiates a confrontation of global proportions! Together with his girlfriend (Ally Sheedy) and a wizardly computer genius (John Wood), David must race against time to outwit his opponent…and prevent a nuclear Armageddon.

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13 .) Charlie Wilson’s War (2007)

 Charlie Wilson's War (2007) Lists It Appears On:

  • Business Insider
  • IMDB
  • IMDB 2
  • One Room With A View
  • Ranker

The true story of Texas congressman Charlie Wilson’s covert dealings in Afghanistan, where his efforts to assist rebels in their war with the Soviets had some unforeseen and long-reaching effects.

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12 .) Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)

 Good Night, and Good Luck (2005) Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB 2
  • MRQE
  • One Room With A View
  • Ranker
  • Taste Of Cinema

The story of journalist, Edward R Murrow’s stand against Senator McCarthy’s anti-communist witch-hunts in the early 1950s.

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11 .) The Lives of Others (2006)

 The Lives of Others (2006) Lists It Appears On:

  • BBC America
  • Decider
  • IMDB 2
  • One Room With A View
  • Ranker

A tragic love story set in East Berlin with the backdrop of an undercover Stasi controlled culture. Stasi captain Wieler is ordered to follow author Dreyman and plunges deeper and deeper into his life until he reaches the threshold of doubting the system.

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10 .) The Third Man (1949)

 The Third Man (1949) Lists It Appears On:

  • Decider
  • IMDB 2
  • MRQE
  • Ranker
  • Taste Of Cinema

Set in postwar Vienna, Austria, “The Third Man” stars Joseph Cotten as Holly Martins, a writer of pulp Westerns, who arrives penniless as a guest of his childhood chum Harry Lime, only to find him dead. Martins develops a conspiracy theory after learning of a “third man” present at the time of Harry’s death, running into interference from British officer Maj. Calloway and falling head-over-heels for Harry’s grief-stricken lover, Anna.

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9 .) The Bedford Incident (1965)

 The Bedford Incident (1965) Lists It Appears On:

  • BBC America
  • MRQE
  • Ranker
  • Sabotage Times
  • Taste Of Cinema
  • Wikipedia

Richard Widmark plays a hardened cold-war warrior and captain of the American destroyer USS Bedford. Sidney Poitier is a reporter given permission to interview the captain during a routine patrol. Poitier gets more than he bargained for when the Bedford discovers a Soviet sub in the depths and the captain begins a relentless pursuit, pushing his crew, and the on-screen tension, to breaking point in this chilling cold-war tale of cat and mouse.

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8 .) The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

 The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) Lists It Appears On:

  • Business Insider
  • IMDB 2
  • MRQE
  • One Room With A View
  • Ranker
  • Taste Of Cinema

An alien and a robot land on earth after World War II and tell mankind to be peaceful or face destruction. A classic science fiction film from Robert Wise with an exceptional message.

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7 .) The Ipcress File (1965)

 The Ipcress File (1965) Lists It Appears On:

  • Cold War Studies
  • IMDB
  • IMDB 3
  • Military
  • MRQE
  • Ranker

This espionage thriller represents a landmark in spy movies introducing the sly, dry intelligence agent Harry Palmer. The story, centers on Palmer’s investigation into British Intelligence security. He’s soon enmeshed in a world of double-dealing, kidnap and murder and finds a traitor is operating at the heart of the secret service. Will the mysterious ‘Ipcress File’ reveal who the traitor is?

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6 .) From Russia with Love (1963)

 From Russia with Love (1963) Lists It Appears On:

  • Cold War Studies
  • IMDB
  • IMDB 2
  • MRQE
  • Ranker
  • Readers Digest
  • Taste Of Cinema

Agent 007 is back in the second installment of the James Bond series, this time battling a secret crime organization known as SPECTRE. Russians Rosa Klebb and Kronsteen are out to snatch a decoding device known as the Lektor, using the ravishing Tatiana to lure Bond into helping them. Bond willingly travels to meet Tatiana in Istanbul, where he must rely on his wits to escape with his life in a series of deadly encounters with the enemy

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5 .) Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

 Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) Lists It Appears On:

  • BBC America
  • Business Insider
  • Decider
  • IMDB 2
  • MRQE
  • One Room With A View
  • Ranker
  • Taste Of Cinema

After the insane General Jack D. Ripper initiates a nuclear strike on the Soviet Union, a war room full of politicians, generals and a Russian diplomat all frantically try to stop the nuclear strike.

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4 .) The Hunt for Red October (1990)

 The Hunt for Red October (1990) Lists It Appears On:

  • Business Insider
  • IMDB
  • IMDB 3
  • MRQE
  • One Room With A View
  • Ranker
  • Taste Of Cinema
  • Wikipedia

A new Soviet nuclear missile sub (a Boomer) heading out on her maiden voyage that is being tracked by a Los Angeles class American submarine suddenly goes silent and “disappears”. This focuses the attention of both U.S. Intelligence and the U.S. Navy on the Russian Sub Commander . When it is determined that the silent Soviet Boomer may be headed for American coastal waters panic ensues. A CIA analyst, Jack Ryan, convinces the brass that the Boomer’s commander may intend something other than a nuclear first strike in mind. A perilous and tense cat-and-mouse game ensues.

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3 .) Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) Lists It Appears On:

  • BBC America
  • Business Insider
  • IMDB
  • Military
  • MRQE
  • One Room With A View
  • Ranker
  • Readers Digest

In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet mole within his former colleagues at the heart of MI6.

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2 .) The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

 The Manchurian Candidate (1962) Lists It Appears On:

  • BBC America
  • Business Insider
  • Cold War Studies
  • IMDB 3
  • MRQE
  • One Room With A View
  • Ranker
  • Readers Digest
  • Taste Of Cinema

Near the end of the Korean War, a platoon of U.S. soldiers is captured by communists and brainwashed. Following the war, the platoon is returned home, and Sergeant Raymond Shaw is lauded as a hero by the rest of his platoon. However, the platoon commander, Captain Bennett Marco, finds himself plagued by strange nightmares and, together with fellow soldier Allen Melvin, races to uncover a terrible plot.

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1 .) The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)

 The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965) Lists It Appears On:

  • BBC America
  • Business Insider
  • Cold War Studies
  • IMDB 3
  • Military
  • MRQE
  • Ranker
  • Readers Digest
  • Sabotage Times

British agent Alec Leamas refuses to come in from the cold war during the 1960s, choosing to face another mission, which may prove to be his final one.

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The 100+ Additional Best Cold War Movies About The United States And Russia



 

# Movie Lists
(Films Appear On 2 Lists Each)
31 Apocalypse Now (1979) Ranker
MRQE
32 Breach (2007)
BBC America
IMDB
33 Crimson Tide Ranker
Wikipedia
34 Full Metal Jacket (1987) Ranker
IMDB 2
35 Good Bye, Lenin! (2003) Ranker
One Room With A View
36 Gorky Park (1983) IMDB
Taste Of Cinema
37 Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) MRQE
Taste Of Cinema
38 K-19: The Widowmaker Wikipedia
Ranker
39 Miracle (2004) Ranker
MRQE
40 Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) MRQE
Decider
41 Seven days in May (1964) Ranker
Sabotage Times
42 Spies Like Us (1985) Ranker
MRQE
43 Spy Game (2001)
BBC America
IMDB
44 The Atomic Cafe (1982) MRQE
Taste Of Cinema
45 The Day of the Jackal (1973)
Sabotage Times
IMDB
46 The Fourth Protocol (1987) Ranker
IMDB 3
47 The Kremlin Letter (1970)
Readers Digest
Military
48 The Odessa File (1974) MRQE
IMDB
49 The Right Stuff (1983)
Taste Of Cinema
IMDB 2
50 Thirteen Days (2000) Ranker
MRQE
51 Three Days of the Condor (1975)
Sabotage Times
IMDB
52 Top Gun (1986) Ranker
MRQE
53 White Nights’ (1984) Ranker
Decider
54 X-Men: First Class (2011) Decider
MRQE
(Films Appear On 1 Lists Each)
55 A Gathering of Eagles (1963) IMDB 3
56 Allied (2016) IMDB
57 Animal Farm
Readers Digest
58 Argo (2012) IMDB
59 Assault on the Wayne Wikipedia
60 Batman (1966 film) Wikipedia
61 Big Miracle (2012) MRQE
62 Black Book (2006) IMDB
63 Blast from the Past (1999) MRQE
64 Bridge of Spies
BBC America
65 Bridge of Spies (Steven Spielberg, 2015)
Taste Of Cinema
66 Brotherhood of the Rose (1989– ) IMDB
67 Buffalo Soldiers (2001) MRQE
68 Callan (1974)
Sabotage Times
69 Carlos (2010) IMDB
70 Casino Royale (2006) IMDB
71 Che (2008, Stephen Soderbergh)
Taste Of Cinema
72 Commander Hamilton (1998) IMDB
73 Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (George Clooney, 2002)
Taste Of Cinema
74 Conspirator,
Cold War Studies
75 Cutter’s Way (Ivan Passer, 1981)
Taste Of Cinema
76 Danger Beneath the Sea Wikipedia
77 Das Leben der Anderen (2006) MRQE
78 Enigma (2001) IMDB
79 Fantastic Voyage Wikipedia
80 Farewell
BBC America
81 Female Agents (2008) IMDB
82 Firefox Ranker
83 French Connection II (1975) IMDB
84 From the Earth to the Moon (1998) IMDB 2
85 Full Fathom Five (film) Wikipedia
86 Going Under (1991 film) Wikipedia
87 Guilty of Treason
Cold War Studies
88 Heartbreak Ridge (1986) MRQE
89 Hell and High Water (1954 film) Wikipedia
90 Hostile Waters (film) Wikipedia
91 I Am Cuba (Mikhail Kalatzov, 1964)
Taste Of Cinema
92 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) MRQE
93 Invasion U.S.A. (1985) MRQE
94 Jet Pilot
Readers Digest
95 JFK’ (1991) Decider
96 Kiss Me Deadly (1955) MRQE
97 Les Espions
Readers Digest
98 Marathon Man (1976) IMDB
99 Matinee (Joe Dante, 1993)
Taste Of Cinema
100 Matinee’ (1993) Decider
101 Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) IMDB
102 Moscow on the Hudson’ (1984) Decider
103 Munich (2005) IMDB
104 Ninotchka
Cold War Studies
105 On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) IMDB
106 Orion’s Belt (1985) IMDB
107 Our Man in Havana (1959) IMDB 3
108 Phantom (2013 film) Wikipedia
109 Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982) IMDB 2
110 Planet of the Apes (1968) IMDB 2
111 Platoon Ranker
112 Puppet on a Chain (1971)
Sabotage Times
113 Rambo III (1988) MRQE
114 Reds
Cold War Studies
115 Restless (2012 TV Movie) IMDB
116 Ronin (1998) IMDB
117 Salvador Ranker
118 Shanghai (2010) IMDB
119 Shooter (I) (2007) IMDB
120 Shutter Island (2010) MRQE
121 Silk Stockings
Cold War Studies
122 Smiley’s People (1982) IMDB 3
123 Sneakers (1992) IMDB
124 Soldier of Fortune (1955) IMDB 3
125 Target (1985) IMDB
126 Telefon (1977) Military
127 The 49th Man (1953) MRQE
128 The Americans (2013–2018) IMDB
129 The Baader Meinhof Complex Ranker
130 The Black Windmill (1974) IMDB 3
131 The Bourne Identity (1988– ) IMDB
132 The Bourne Identity (2002) IMDB
133 The Damned (1963) MRQE
134 The Debt (I) (2010) IMDB
135 The Deer Hunter Ranker
136 The Devil’s Own (1997) IMDB
137 The Double Man (1967) Military
138 The Fifth Missile Wikipedia
139 The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (Errol Morris, 2003)
Taste Of Cinema
140 The French Connection (1971) IMDB
141 The Ghost Writer (2010) IMDB
142 The Heroes of Telemark (1965) IMDB
143 The House on Carroll Street (1988) IMDB
144 The Interpreter (2005) IMDB
145 The Iron Petticoat,
Cold War Studies
146 The Kite Runner (2007) IMDB 2
147 The Mackintosh Man (1973)
Sabotage Times
148 The Man Who Saved the World
Readers Digest
149 The Missiles of October (1974 TV Movie) IMDB 3
150 The Mouse That Roared
Business Insider
151 The Night Manager (2016–2018) IMDB
152 The November Man (2014) IMDB
153 The Osterman Weekend (1983) IMDB 3
154 The Prize (1963) IMDB 3
155 The Red Menace
Cold War Studies
156 The Right Stuff
Readers Digest
157 The Spanish Prisoner (1997) IMDB
158 The Spy Who Loved Me (film) Wikipedia
159 The Tailor of Panama (2001) IMDB
160 The Ugly American (1963) MRQE
161 The War Game (1965, Peter Watkins)
Taste Of Cinema
162 Threads Ranker
163 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979) IMDB 3
164 Topaz Ranker
165 Trumbo (2015) IMDB 2
166 When Eight Bells Toll (1971)
Sabotage Times
167 Where Eagles Dare (1968) IMDB
168 Z Ranker


15 Best Cold War Film Sources/Lists



Source Article
BBC America 10 Must-Watch Cold War Films | Anglophenia | BBC America
Business Insider The Ten Greatest Cold War Films – Business Insider
Cold War Studies Cold War: Red Scare Movies
Decider 10 Great Films About The Cold War | Decider
IMDB Spy movies and the cold war – IMDb
IMDB 2 Best Cold War Movies – IMDb
IMDB 3 The 20 best films on cold war – IMDb
Military 10 Great Cold War Spy Movies | Military.com
MRQE MRQE Ranks: Best Cold War Movies
One Room With A View Top 10 Cold War Movies – One Room With A View
Ranker Best Cold War Movies | List of Famous Films About Cold War – Ranker
Readers Digest 10 thrilling films about the Cold War – Reader’s Digest
Sabotage Times The 10 Greatest Cold War Thrillers Of The ’60s And ’70s – Sabotage …
Taste Of Cinema The 25 Best Movies About The Cold War « Taste of Cinema – Movie …
Wikipedia Category:Cold War submarine films – Wikipedia

 

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