Cold War: 20 films about the confrontation between the USSR and the USA

After the end of World War II, the threat of a new global conflict loomed over humanity – a clash between capitalist and socialist countries. Several decades passed in an atmosphere of local confrontations, the space race, and fear of a nuclear apocalypse. The disturbing mood of those years is perfectly conveyed by films about the Cold War from our new selection.

Spy Games (2020)

The confrontation between the superpowers reaches a peak, spreading in the air a premonition of a possible nuclear conflict. A respectable British businessman receives an assignment from Mi-6 to visit Moscow. During a business trip to the USSR, an entrepreneur must cross paths with a colonel in the intelligence department of the General Staff and obtain secret documents about the nuclear program.

What do you think, is it worth filming a sequel, and what should be in it?

Original title:
The Courier

Genre:
Thriller, drama, military

Actors:
Benedict Cumberbatch, Merab Ninidze, Rachel Brosnahan …

Country:
UK, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.6, IMDb – 7.2

Age restrictions:
16+


Anna (2019)

In a modern foreign film about the Cold War between the USSR and the USA, a Russian drug addict girl , striving for high prosperity and a beautiful life, becomes an employee of the KGB. At the direction of the office, the spectacular blonde performs complex and dangerous tasks, for which she gets everything she dreamed of. Over time, the thirst for freedom is gaining momentum, and the heroine decides to take a very risky step.

Original title:  
Anna

Genre:
Action, thriller

Actors:  
Sasha Luss, Helen Mirren, Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy…

Country:  
France, USA, Canada, Russia

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 6.0, IMDb – 6.6

Age restrictions:  
18+


Cold Game (2019)

At the height of the Cold War between the superpowers, a chess match is due to take place in Warsaw, where Soviet and American grandmasters will meet at the board. Joshua Mansky, math teacher and former world champion, now suffering from alcoholism , is preparing for the competition in earnest. But unexpectedly, a chess player from the United States finds himself drawn into a dangerous and unpredictable world of espionage intrigues.

Original title:  
The Coldest Game

Genre:  
Thriller, history, sports

Actors:  
Bill Pullman, Lotta Verbeck, James Bloor, Alexei Serebryakov …

Country:  
Poland, USA

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 5.3, IMDb – 6.2


Cold War (2018)

A historical film in the melodrama genre about the times of the Cold War between the USSR and the USA, which brought severe trials for two loving hearts. In post-war Poland, feelings flare up between the singer and the conductor. The insurmountable difference between two such dissimilar people is strengthened not only by their own shortcomings, but by the vicissitudes of the totalitarian regime. However, for true love, boundaries and distances do not exist.

Original title:  
Zimna wojna

Genre:  
Drama, melodrama, history, music

Actors:  
Joanna Kulig, Tomasz Kot, Boris Shits…

Country:  
Poland, Great Britain, France

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 7.3, IMDb – 7.6

Age restrictions:  
18+


Red Sparrow (2018)

Action-packed action film based on the novel of the same name by Jason Matthews. Due to an injury, the ballerina is forced to end her career ahead of schedule. A sad dancer becomes a recruit in a secret organization that trains perfect assassins. The girl turns into a dangerous and ruthless death machine, but the dodgy CIA officer finds a way to ingratiate himself even with such an invincible enemy.

Original title:  
Red Sparrow

Genre:
Action, thriller, drama

Actors:  
Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Mattias Schoenaerts…

Country:  
USA

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 5.4, IMDb – 6.6

Age restrictions:  
18+


Time of the First (2017)

The list of the best films about the Cold War will continue with a historical drama based on real events. The two leading world powers not only increased their armaments, but also sought to outdo each other in the space race. Two Soviet cosmonauts – sensible Belyaev and impulsive Leonov – will have to go into outer space for the first time, but during the flight, emergency situations arise one after another.

Genre:  
Adventure, thriller

Actors:  
Evgeny Mironov, Konstantin Khabensky, Vladimir Ilyin …

Country:  
Russia

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 7.5, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:  
6+


Explosive Blonde (2017)

A spy thriller with elements of a thriller based on Anthony Johnston’s graphic novel The Coldest City. One of the best employees of British intelligence is not only a well-trained agent, but also an irresistible beauty. The girl receives the task to go to Berlin and, teaming up with another resident, get a secret dossier. A trifling task turns into a deadly duel of special services.

Original title:  
Atomic Blonde

Genre:  
Action, thriller

Actors:  
Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Eddie Marsan…

Country:  
Germany, Sweden, USA

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 6.5, IMDb – 6.7

Age restrictions:  
18+


Moving Up (2017)

An exciting film about the confrontation between the USSR and the USA in one of the most difficult and spectacular sports. At the Munich Olympics, the Soviet basketball team will meet in the final with the founders of this game – the Americans. A tough coach seeks to inspire his players to win and prove that you can get the better of even almost unbeatable opponents.

Genre:  
Sports, drama

Actors:  
Vladimir Mashkov, Andrey Smolyakov, Ivan Kolesnikov …

Country:  
Russia

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 7.5, IMDb – 6.6

Age restrictions:  
6+


Operation Avalanche (2016)

The dramatic film is based on the popular conspiracy theory that the Americans faked the moon landing. Several CIA agents infiltrate NASA in order to figure out a mole sent by the Soviet special services and avoid disrupting the operation. With surprise, the scouts learn that the lunar program is on the verge of failure and urgent measures must be taken so as not to lose the space race.

Original title:
Operation Avalanche

Genre:
Thriller, drama, detective

Actors:
Matt Johnson, Owen Williams, Andrew Appell…

Country:
Canada, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.8, IMDb – 6.1


Spy Bridge (2015)

Steven Spielberg’s top-rated Cold War movie realistically depicts a famous episode from the history of espionage. American intelligence agencies managed to detain the Soviet intelligence officer Abel. Now the agent is facing the death penalty, but the lawyer demands jail time , arguing that the spy can be exchanged for someone. At the same time, a reconnaissance aircraft was shot down over the territory of the USSR and the pilot was arrested . The lawyer will have to agree on the exchange.

Original title:  
Bridge of Spies

Genre:
Thriller, drama, history

Actors:  
Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan …

Country:  
Germany, India, USA

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 7.5, IMDb – 7.6

Age restrictions:  
16+


Agents of A.N.C.L. (2015)

One works for the CIA, the other for the KGB, and both are considered consummate masters of espionage. The two have been bitter enemies for a long time, but when a neo-Nazi criminal group threatens to acquire a nuclear weapon, the best in the business of special agents will have to join forces. Only together can we save the world from catastrophic consequences.

Original title:  
The Man from UNCLE

Genre:
Action, comedy, adventure

Actors
 Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Hugh Grant…

Country:  
USA, UK

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 7.6, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:  
12+


Pawn Sacrifice (2014)

The sports drama is dedicated to one of the most high-profile events in the history of chess – the World Championship match between Boris Spassky and Robert Fischer. Representatives of the two conflicting superpowers converge in a protracted confrontation at the chessboard. The battle of minds is overgrown with not quite sporting nuances. The authorities put pressure on Spassky, and Fischer sinks into sheer paranoia.

Original title:  
Pawn Sacrifice

Genre:  
Thriller, drama, biography, sports

Actors:  
Tobey Maguire, Liev Schreiber, Michael Stuhlbarg …

Country:  
USA, Canada

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 7.0, IMDb – 7.0

Age restrictions:  
16+


The Man Who Saved the World (2014)

The documentary-feature film will tell about a unique episode that almost became the cause of a full-scale nuclear conflict. Judging by the data of the attack prevention system, the United States launched a ballistic missile towards the USSR. It is necessary to prepare a retaliatory strike, but Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov suspected that the computer had malfunctioned and the alarm was false.

Genre:
Documentary, drama, biography

Actors:
Stanislav Petrov, Kevin Costner, Sergey Shnyrev …

Country:
Denmark, Latvia, Russia, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.0, IMDb – 7.6

Age restrictions:
16+


Barbara (2012)

A female doctor plans to leave the GDR and move to her lover in the West. For daring thoughts, the heroine is exiled to a remote province, where she is forced to work in a provincial hospital under the supervision of the Stasi. The woman is determined to escape from the socialist camp, but in a new place she meets a reliable and understanding colleague who can shake her decision to leave the country.

Original title:
Barbara

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Nina Hoss, Ronald Zehrfeld, Rainer Bock…

Country:
Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.7, IMDb – 7.2

Age restrictions:
16+


Spy, get out! (2011)

The action-packed film is based on the spy novel of the same name by John Le Carré. A mole has infiltrated the British intelligence agency, leaking secret information to the countries of the socialist camp. The investigation is led by an experienced counterintelligence officer, long retired. The operation must be carried out so smoothly that the double agent does not even suspect something is amiss.

Original title:  
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Genre:
Thriller, detective

Actors:  
Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Konstantin Khabensky, Svetlana Khodchenkova…

Country:  
France, Great Britain, Germany

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 6.6, IMDb – 7.1

Age limit:  
16+


Farewell Affair (2009)

An atmospheric feature film about a colonel who decides to leak the country’s secrets behind the Iron Curtain will surprise you with unexpected plot twists. In the era of Brezhnev’s stagnation, a KGB officer becomes disillusioned with the communist idea and comes to the conclusion that the system must be fought. The agent gets in touch with a French engineer and offers his services to Western intelligence agencies, thus laying the foundation for a high-profile spy scandal.

Original title:
L’affaire Farewell

Genre:
Thriller, drama, melodrama

Actors:
Emir Kusturica, Guillaume Canet, Alexandra Maria Lara …

Country:
France

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.2, IMDb – 7.0

Age restrictions:
16+


Life of Others (2006)

In the GDR, a romance develops between a famous playwright and a popular actress, which attracts the attention of the all-powerful Stasi. The creative couple is suspected of sympathy for capitalism and intentions to escape to the West. A special agent is assigned to secretly supervise the lovers and bug their apartment. The employee diligently conducts surveillance of the couple, but gradually begins to withhold the collected information from his superiors.

Original title:  
Das Leben der Anderen

Genre:
Thriller, drama, detective

Actors:  
Ulrich Mueh, Sebastian Koch, Martina Gedek …

Country:  
Germany

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 8.1, IMDb – 8.4

Age restrictions:  
16+


False Temptation (2006)

In one of the most tense moments in world history, when the victory of the Communists in Cuba brought the world to the brink of nuclear war, a high-ranking CIA officer indulges in memories of his youth. A purposeful young man who believes in bright ideals comes to work for the state. Moving up the career ladder and changing his outlook on life, the hero participates in the creation of one of the most secret organizations.

Original title:  
The Good Shepherd

Genre:
Thriller, drama, history

Actors:  
Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin, Robert De Niro …

Country:  
USA

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 6.2, IMDb – 6.7

Age restrictions:  
16+


Tunnel (2001)

Shortly before the construction of the Berlin Wall, a famous athlete, a swimming champion manages to escape from the GDR to West Berlin, but his girlfriend and relatives remained in the socialist part of the divided country. To reunite with loved ones, the swimmer, together with a friend, comes up with a daring plan – to dig a tunnel to the eastern part of the city, but the ominous Stasi intelligence service does not sleep.

Original title:
Der Tunnel

Genre:
Thriller, drama, history

Actors:
Heino Ferch, Nicolette Krebitz, Sebastian Koch …

Country:
Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.6, IMDb – 7.7

Age restrictions:
12+


Thirteen Days (2000)

A dramatic film dedicated to the events of the Caribbean Crisis – the moment when the planet really stood on the brink of nuclear war. An American reconnaissance aircraft discovers Soviet missiles with warheads in Cuba. Army officials offer to strike at the Fidel Castro regime and secure the US from the communist threat, but President John F. Kennedy fears that such actions will lead the world to a nuclear apocalypse.

Original title:
Thirteen Days

Genre:
Thriller, drama, history

Actors:
Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Steven Culp…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:
12+


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Jared Lambert/ author of the article

I’ve been writing about movies, TV shows and anime for over 3 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

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