The ideological tension between the U.S. and the USSR during the Cold War is a key ingredient in hundreds of movies. Are you the Film Buff Who Knew Too Much? Find out if you can name the movie based on the plot description with this quiz.
A British spy infiltrates the Communist Party in East Germany as part of a plot to spread false information. When he is revealed to be a British agent, all seems lost — but maybe that was all part of the plan.
A vacuum salesman is recruited to be a British secret agent in Havana, Cuba. He doesn't actually do any spy work though; he just invents other agents and enemy plots to make himself seem important and make more money. The scheme grows out of his control.
The Cold War is inseparable from the oppressive fear of nuclear war. It even affected Superman, who frets about whether to save humanity by removing all nuclear weapons while battling a nuclear monster in this movie, which is not especially well-liked.
A young man working at a defense contractor becomes disillusioned with the actions of the CIA and recruits a drug dealer friend to sell top secret information to the Soviets. It's all based on a true story.
This movie is another John le Carre adaptation, this time about British agents in 1970s London striving to ferret out a Soviet double agent working among them. It stars Gary Oldman and had previously been adapted as a BBC series.
Two ballet dancers who had defected in opposite directions (U.S. to Russia and Russia to U.S.) meet in Leningrad in the Soviet Union where they work together to escape to the U.S. with their loved ones.
A general sends bombers to drop atomic bombs on the Soviets, and everyone, including the president, spends the rest of this biting satire trying to stop the attack, even though they're not allowed to fight in the war room.
A writer comes to post-World War II Vienna to meet a friend only to find the friend has recently been killed. He's plunged into a murder mystery involving a Soviet woman and a dastardly plan to sell diluted drugs on the black market.
Sometimes Cold War fears were sublimated into stories about aliens or hopes for world peace — or both, like in this science fiction classic about an alien and his robot assistant who come to Earth calling for an end to nuclear hostilities, or else they'll end them for us. Klaatu barada nikto.
This superhero movie based on an '80s graphic novel is about a splintered team of heroes investigating a series of murders, leading to a fake alien invasion designed to unite humanity and avoid a nuclear war. It's a noble end but at a terrible cost.
Possibly the first "U.S. is invaded by the Communists" movie, this 1952 film is about people in a bar who gradually realize the invasion is happening and come to regret that they didn't do more to prevent it.
This devastating animated movie shows an older British couple preparing to survive a nuclear assault and its aftermath and failing to do so. David Bowie and Roger Waters are among the well-known artists who contributed to the soundtrack.
The plot of this 1964 thriller seems chillingly plausible even in a post-Cold War world: A junta works to depose the president because it disagrees with his plans to sign a nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviets. It stars Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas, as well as Ava Gardner, one of several actors to appear in multiple movies in this quiz.
Another science fiction movie transforms Cold War fear into an alien menace. This time, researchers at an Arctic base find themselves trapped with a murderous creature. The movie ends with the ominous "watch the skies!" tagline, which might be a reference to fear of Soviet bomber or missile attacks.