The 25 Best American Cop Action Films of last 50 yearsby shanksinha | created - 08 Feb 2011 | updated - 16 Dec 2013 | Public
These, as per my personal views, are the 25 most gritty, hard-boiled and exciting cop action films from Hollywood in the last 50 years. Some of them are more of dramas and some fall under the buddy-cop/action/comedy genre. They are certainly not defined by body count methodology. The chronology of the list isn't as per any rating.
Added Later: I have expanded the list to include some more personal favorites that I happened to watch and re watch recently. The new additions are numbers 6, 7, 9, 15 and 22. Hope they make quality addition to the list.
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2. In the Heat of the Night (1967)
Not Rated | 109 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
An African American police detective is asked to investigate a murder in a racially hostile southern town.
Votes: 55,585 | Gross: $24.38M
3. Bullitt (1968)
M/PG | 114 min | Action, Crime, Mystery
An all guts, no glory San Francisco cop becomes determined to find the underworld kingpin that killed the witness in his protection.
Votes: 51,067 | Gross: $42.30M
5. Dirty Harry (1971)
R | 102 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
When a mad man calling himself 'the Scorpio Killer' menaces the city, tough as nails San Francisco Police Inspector Harry Callahan is assigned to track down and ferret out the crazed psychopath.
6. The New Centurions (1972)
R | 103 min | Action, Crime, Drama
An idealistic rookie cop joins the LAPD to make ends meet while finishing law school, and is indoctrinated by a seasoned veteran. As time goes on, he loses his ambitions and family as police work becomes his entire life.
7. Serpico (1973)
R | 130 min | Biography, Crime, Drama
An honest New York cop named Frank Serpico blows the whistle on rampant corruption in the force only to have his comrades turn against him.
Votes: 89,155 | Gross: $29.80M
8. The Seven-Ups (1973)
PG | 103 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A tough detective who is part of an elite New York City unit is trying to find out who killed his partner, but uncovers a plot to kidnap mobsters for money.
9. Fort Apache the Bronx (1981)
R | 125 min | Crime, Drama
In New York, South Bronx's main police precinct is nicknamed Fort Apache by its employees who feel like troopers surrounded by hostiles in a wild west isolated outpost.
Votes: 4,798 | Gross: $29.20M
11. To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)
R | 116 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A fearless Secret Service agent will stop at nothing to bring down the counterfeiter who killed his partner.
Votes: 23,692 | Gross: $17.31M
12. Running Scared (1986)
R | 107 min | Action, Comedy, Crime
Two street-wise Chicago cops have to shake off some rust after returning from a Key West vacation to pursue a drug dealer who nearly killed them in the past.
Votes: 9,503 | Gross: $38.50M
13. Colors (1988)
R | 120 min | Action, Crime, Drama
An experienced cop and his rookie partner patrol the streets of East Los Angeles while trying to keep the gang violence under control.
Votes: 20,811 | Gross: $46.62M
15. Internal Affairs (1990)
R | 115 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
An Internal Affairs agent becomes obsessed with bringing down a cop who has managed to maintain a spotless reputation despite being involved in a web of corruption.
Votes: 14,456 | Gross: $27.73M
17. Out for Justice (1991)
R | 91 min | Action, Crime, Drama
The gruesome murder of a Brooklyn Detective will turn the case into a personal vendetta when the deceased's best friend and fellow officer will unleash an all-out attack against a psychotic Mafia enforcer's brutal gang.
Votes: 18,458 | Gross: $39.67M
18. Bad Boys (1995)
R | 119 min | Action, Comedy, Crime
Two hip detectives protect a witness to a murder while investigating a case of stolen heroin from the evidence storage room from their police precinct.
Votes: 190,312 | Gross: $65.81M
19. Cop Land (1997)
R | 105 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
The Sheriff of a suburban New Jersey community, populated by New York City police officers, slowly discovers the town is a front for mob connections and corruption.
Votes: 75,008 | Gross: $44.89M
20. L.A. Confidential (1997)
R | 138 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
As corruption grows in 1950s LA, three policemen - one strait-laced, one brutal, and one sleazy - investigate a series of murders with their own brand of justice.
Votes: 456,614 | Gross: $64.62M
21. Training Day (2001)
R | 122 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
On his first day on the job as a Los Angeles narcotics officer, a rookie cop goes beyond a full work day in training within the narcotics division of the LAPD with a rogue detective who isn't what he appears to be.
Votes: 334,092 | Gross: $76.63M
22. Dark Blue (2002)
R | 118 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A robbery homicide investigation triggers a series of events that will cause a corrupt LAPD officer to question his tactics.
Votes: 18,413 | Gross: $9.06M
23. Narc (2002)
R | 105 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
When the trail goes cold on a murder investigation of a policeman an undercover narcotics officer is lured back to the force to help solve the case.
Votes: 35,623 | Gross: $10.46M
24. The Departed (2006)
R | 151 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
An undercover cop and a mole in the police attempt to identify each other while infiltrating an Irish gang in South Boston.
Votes: 982,447 | Gross: $132.38M
25. End of Watch (2012)
R | 109 min | Action, Crime, Drama
Shot documentary-style, this film follows the daily grind of two young police officers in LA who are partners and friends, and what happens when they meet criminal forces greater than themselves.
Votes: 200,018 | Gross: $41.00M