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12 Movies to Watch If You Like ‘Mission: Impossible’

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to watch these movies.
Mission Impossible Hanging
By  · Published on May 16th, 2021

The Firm (1993)

The Firm

Part of the charm of the first Mission: Impossible film is that the first installment presents us with a more innocent Ethan Hunt. An Ethan Hunt who is genuinely upset and shocked by betrayal and hostile takeovers. While Hunt naturally rises to the occasion (this is a Tom Cruise movie, after all), his naïveté in the De Palma film is a unique character beat within the franchise, which is precisely what makes The Firm, Sydney Pollack’s legal drama-thriller about an aspiring lawyer who accidentally finds himself embroiled in a sinister conspiracy, such a perfect companion piece. In the film, the up-and-coming Mitch McDeere (Cruise) is offered a position at a firm that (despite all the red flags) he simply can’t refuse. Without giving the twist away, like Hunt, McDeere finds out that his supposed mentors aren’t exactly on the right side of the law, so to speak. And, like Hunt, McDeere has to wriggle his way out of the corruption around him to save his skin.

Available to stream on AMC+.

GoldenEye (1995)


Treachery! Death-defying stunts! A government-sanctioned license to kill! James Bond and Ethan Hunt have a lot in common. And of all of 007’s many (many, many) films, the entry most in line with the first installment of Mission: Impossible is Martin Campbell’s GoldenEye. Pierce Brosnan’s first outing as 007 pits Bond against his ex-buddy Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean), a vindictive terrorist who has obtained access to a satellite system that could nuke the planet with the push of a button. GoldenEyewas the first Bond film to overtly suggest that there might be something corruptible about MI6. Not only is Trevelyan a treacherous 00 agent, but from his perspective, the British government is directly responsible not only for the death of his parents but his unwilling indoctrination into Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Both Mission: Impossible and GoldenEye are action-packed spy thrillers about dutiful civil servants discovering their employer may not be what they seem. It sounds like the perfect double bill to us!

Available to stream on Pluto TV.

The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

The Thomas Crown Affair

We’re going back to Bond with this recommendation — kind of. Pierce Brosnan, in the middle of his 007 tenure, stars on the other side of the law as the titular art thief who meets his match in the insurance investigator tracking him (Rene Russo). John McTiernan‘s film has a distinctly 90s stylishness — it’s slick and sexy and endlessly watchable. It also pairs well with Mission: Impossible as both have relatively self-contained worlds. While the M:I film franchise went on to compete with James Bond’s vast mythology, the first film in the series is the one that stands on its own the most. And while The Thomas Crown Affair surely benefited from Brosnan’s celebrity, the film manages to both capitalize on his superspy persona and counter it with something distinct, singular, and uniquely thrilling.

Available to stream on Starz.

Inside Man (2006)

Inside Man

Sure, you’ve seen twists before, but you haven’t seen twists like this. Spike Lee‘s thriller perfectly balances the excitement of an elaborate bank heist with the personal stakes of the detective investigating it. Featuring an impressive cast that includes Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Willem Dafoe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Christopher Plummer, this film is packed to the gills with talent. It’s a joy to watch Lee work in the heist genre and inject just enough personality to make this memorable without overstepping the fact that it helps to have a tried and true formula when it comes to bank robberies.

Available to stream on Peacock.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy(2011)

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

When it comes to tales of espionage, there’s John le Carré, and then there’s everyone else. The novelist’s work has been adapted into countless films and TV series that are worth watching. But this 2011 film, with its methodically dense narrative and precise visuals, is a pretty good place to start. The film centers around a Cold War-era mole hunt in the British Secret Service. Though it lacks the panache of the M:I films, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a richly exciting film with layers of plot that take multiple viewings to peel back. But when you can get on board with the film’s murkiness, it becomes deeply rewarding.

Available to stream on HBO Max.

Bad Genius (2017)

Bad Genius

If you crave the kind of edge of your seat and heart in your throat feeling that comes with heist movies but get tired of the same old robbery plots, Bad Genius is the movie for you. The Thai film centers on Lynn (Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying), a math prodigy who realizes she can game the system by trading test answers for cash with her wealthy but underperforming classmates. Naturally, it doesn’t take long before cheating on pop quizzes turns into manipulating standardized tests. With whip-fast pacing and stellar performances, Bad Genius is a true gem that deserves to be far more widely seen.

Available to stream on Netflix.

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Anna Swanson is a Senior Contributor who hails from Toronto. She can usually be found at the nearest rep screening of a Brian De Palma film.