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Spy Game (2001)


Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 132
Fresh: 87
Rotten: 45

Critics Consensus: The outcome of the kinetic Spy Game is never in doubt, but it is fun watching Robert Redford and Brad Pitt work.

Average Rating: 6.6/10
Reviews Counted: 30
Fresh: 21
Rotten: 9

Critics Consensus: The outcome of the kinetic Spy Game is never in doubt, but it is fun watching Robert Redford and Brad Pitt work.


Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 113,202


Movie Info

There was a time when CIA operative Nathan Muir and his protégé Tom Bishop were inseparable, traveling the world and tasting everything it had to offer... from Vietnam to Berlin to Beirut. In a profession fraught with danger and uncertainty, Muir and Bishop forged an uncommonly close friendship based on mutual respect and affection. But that was years ago. Now, on the brink of his retirement from the agency, Muir learns that Bishop has gone rogue. His one-time protégé has been jailed in Beijing … More

R (for language, some violence and brief sexuality)
Drama , Action & Adventure , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
Michael Frost Beckner , David Arata
In Theaters:
Apr 16, 2002
Box Office:
Universal Pictures - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Spy Game

All Critics (147) | Top Critics (35) | Fresh (87) | Rotten (45) | DVD (35)

The performances are the biggest asset.

Full Review… | November 6, 2002
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

I'll admit the main story is implausible, but the flashbacks were spectacular, and the cast is really good here.

Full Review… | December 3, 2001
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

It's clever and shows great control of craft, but it doesn't care, and so it's hard for us to care about.

Full Review… | November 30, 2001
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

A yawn, and the two glamour boys (who, by the way, look awful) are both snoring.

Full Review… | November 28, 2001
New York Observer
Top Critic

Happily, beneath the film's nostalgic veneer and tooth-rattling visual and aural effects lies a mature ambiguity that's unusual for a holiday blockbuster.

Full Review… | November 27, 2001
Village Voice
Top Critic

Capably anchored by [Robert] Redford giving the spunkiest, most alive performance he gave in a decade in either direction.

Full Review… | August 9, 2013
Antagony & Ecstasy

A smart thriller for grown-ups.

Full Review… | December 28, 2010
Common Sense Media

Two generations of Hollywood 'golden boys' team up in Tony Scott's Spy Game, a neatly plotted espionage thriller. [Blu-ray]

Full Review… | June 15, 2009
Groucho Reviews

... afterwards I realized that I had been maneuvered into rooting for a dangerously reckless and presumptuous man.

Full Review… | December 6, 2004
Looking Closer

...takes the spy formula and dilutes it with wholly unnecessary plot twists and a flashback structure that's more confusing than anything else.

Full Review… | August 1, 2003
Reel Film Reviews

This is Brad Pitt, for crying out loud! Where can you send him undercover? In the CIA's Beverly Hills bureau?

Full Review… | June 2, 2003
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

Redford is great - treat the rest on a don't-need-to-know basis.

Full Review… | April 16, 2003

It just isn't thrilling enough -- an impression compounded by Scott's tiresomely overenthusiastic and gimmicky camerawork.

Full Review… | November 10, 2002
Daily Mail [UK]

An adventure that holds its own among the classics of the genre, a smart, sturdy and fascinating glimpse inside a hidden world.

Full Review… | October 15, 2002
Cincinnati Enquirer

Crisply photographed and relentlessly compelling.

Full Review… | September 3, 2002

É sempre interessante conhecer personagens inteligentes.

Full Review… | July 20, 2002
Cinema em Cena

Another Hollywood-style action flick that entertains, but isn't terribly original...

Full Review… | July 9, 2002

Pretentious camera tricks and confusing flashbacks overshadow fine performances.

Full Review… | June 16, 2002
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Like the best Tony Scott films, Spy Game simultaneously questions and celebrates outmoded codes of masculine professionalism.

June 5, 2002
Philadelphia Weekly

The kind of movie that represents an engaging evening’s diversion, but makes no impact and leaves no lasting impression.

Full Review… | May 9, 2002
Decent Films Guide

Redford is cool in this movie. He's as cool as a Baskin Robbins delivery truck caught in New England's Blizzard of '78.

Full Review… | April 16, 2002

Briskly paced and has enough style to keep the formula and implausibilities, for the most part, out of mind.

Full Review… | February 26, 2002
Mark Reviews Movies

Less Bond than simply boring.

Full Review… | January 3, 2002

It really is Redford's show. He works things so smoothly and with such a silver tongue that you honestly do believe the man was a top spy for the government.

Full Review… | December 27, 2001

Audience Reviews for Spy Game


A veteran CIA agent discovers that his protege is being sold out by the agency so he uses his last 24 hours on the job to try and rescue him from execution by the Chinese government. Very much an old school spy thriller, Spy Game's overly generic script means that it's pretty much entirely reliant on the partnership of Redford and Pitt to maintain your interest. Unfortunately they spend very little time on screen together as Redford spends virtually the entire film sat in a meeting shuffling paperwork while telling the largely irrelevant back story of how he met Brad who seems to be little more than a sharp shooting taxi driver. The result is a combination of a humdrum conspiracy thriller and Jackanory which comes across as the cinematic equivalent of an airport paperback. Inoffensive but dull.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer


Robert Redford - like a few other actors - does so few films nowadays that it's a treat to watch him act. While this film isn't particularly memorable, it's still worth a watch. Redford plays a retiring CIA agent who has just 24 hours to save his former protege (played by Brad Pitt) before he's executed for a failed espionage rescue mission in a Chinese prison. Played in mostly flashbacks as the kid comes up through Vietnam and the ranks of the CIA with Redford, the film has its share of excitement and drama, but the acting just seems rather phoned in at times. Directed by Tony Scott, who seems to enjoy being at the helm of these kinds of things.

Derek Daniels

Super Reviewer


Richard C

Super Reviewer


I thought the movie had very good acting, but its visual style and plot was just bland. Robert Redford and Brad Pitt worked really well together, but it doesn't make a film good. Tony Scott's effort was almost nonexistent, there was none of his great style present.

Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

Spy Game Quotes

Nathan Muir:
I didn't have the usual time to butter him up, which meant we had twice the sex with half the foreplay.
– Submitted by Frances H (3 months ago)
Nathan Muir:
Technology gets better everyday. That's fine. But most of the time all you need is a stick of gum, a pocket knife and a smile.
– Submitted by Francis John V (2 years ago)

Discussion Forum

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