Spy films depict the espionage activities of government agents and their risk of being discovered by their adversaries. From the Nazi espionage thrillers of the 1940s to the campy 007 films of the '60s to the high-tech blockbusters of today, the spy film has always been popular with audiences worldwide. Offering a combination of exciting escapism, technological thrills, and exotic locales, the spy film fuses the action and science-fiction genres, presenting clearly-delineated heroes for audiences to root for and villains for them to hiss. James Bond is the most famous of movie spies, but films about espionage have been around for a long time and encompass more diverse styles then his slick, mostly light films. Though there were a few World War II films involving the spy, notably in Britain, the Cold War is what really threw the genre into the mainstream. Bond, in his various incarnations, flippantly beat up on the Russians, but there were also more serious, probing works like The Spy Who Came in from the Cold which also emerged from the Cold War. Usually based on popular espionage books, the more serious of the films examined the nature of being a spy, the deception and revolving identity. As the Cold War ended, the newest villain became world terrorism and more often than not involved the Middle East. Unlike the western and crime genres, the morally dubious "anti-hero" has never gained a firm foothold in the spy film, perhaps because of this tendency to oversimplify right and wrong.
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