The Iron Giant (1999, dir. Brad Bird)

A boy befriends a massive alien robot. Smart, affecting and upbeat Cold War-era animation, varying the ET template enough to make this adaptation of Ted Hughes’ The Iron Man successful in its own right. A good job done all around, with a positive message carefully dramatised.

Ice Station Zebra (1968, dir. John Sturges)

A US submarine is tasked with a rescue mission to the Arctic, in part as cover for a covert operation. Oddly talky Cold War drama, though with solid technical credits and some fun performances, not least from McGoohan. The relative lack of action is compensated for in part by some great model work and an anti-militaristic angle.

The Shape of Water (2017, dir. Guillermo del Toro)

A mute cleaner falls in love with a humanoid aquatic creature being held in a government research laboratory. Dazzlingly confident romantic fantasy with SF/horror touches. Amelie meets The Creature From The Black Lagoon with a bit of Little Voice. Highly recommended.

Red Sparrow (2018, dir. Francis Lawrence)

A Russian ballerina is recruited by her uncle into an elite spy training programme. Good-looking but deathly slow melodrama which pretends the Cold War is ongoing. Plenty of solid character actors with silly accents in European cities doing double-crosses.

Firefox (1982, dir. Clint Eastwood)

A Vietnam veteran pilot is tasked with stealing a high-tech Soviet fighter plane. Slightly clunky Cold War-meets-SF thriller, though with strength in depth in its casting, and with then-groundbreaking visual effects, plus a splendid Maurice Jarre score.

Octopussy (1983, dir. John Glen)

Bond battles a rogue Soviet general intent on starting a nuclear war. Lacking the restraint of predecessor For Your Eyes Only, this is lesser Bond, with an eye as much on laughs as on thrills or plausibility. Louis Jourdan, though, makes for an elegant adversary.