The 50 best Police and Crime Movies

by g-tyaneus | created - 21 Jun 2012 | updated - 21 Jun 2012 | Public
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1. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

R | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

85 Metascore

A young FBI cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.

Director: Jonathan Demme | Stars: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney, Kasi Lemmons

Votes: 1,081,434 | Gross: $130.74M

2. M (1931)

Not Rated | 99 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut, Otto Wernicke

Votes: 122,105 | Gross: $0.03M

3. Heat (1995)

R | 170 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

76 Metascore

A group of professional bank robbers start to feel the heat from police when they unknowingly leave a clue at their latest heist.

Director: Michael Mann | Stars: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight

Votes: 507,294 | Gross: $67.44M

4. Bullitt (1968)

M/PG | 114 min | Action, Crime, Mystery

83 Metascore

An all guts, no glory San Francisco cop becomes determined to find the underworld kingpin that killed the witness in his protection.

Director: Peter Yates | Stars: Steve McQueen, Jacqueline Bisset, Robert Vaughn, Don Gordon

Votes: 53,478 | Gross: $42.30M

5. Le Cercle Rouge (1970)

Not Rated | 140 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

91 Metascore

After leaving prison, master thief Corey crosses paths with a notorious escapee and an alcoholic former policeman. The trio proceed to plot an elaborate heist.

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville | Stars: Alain Delon, Bourvil, Gian Maria Volontè, Yves Montand

Votes: 18,508 | Gross: $0.37M

6. Léon: The Professional (1994)

R | 110 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

64 Metascore

Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. Léon and Mathilda form an unusual relationship, as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin's trade.

Director: Luc Besson | Stars: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, Danny Aiello

Votes: 884,003 | Gross: $19.50M

7. The Crimson Rivers (2000)

R | 106 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

49 Metascore

A murder detective must follow the footsteps of a brutal killer within the secrets of a classist college.

Director: Mathieu Kassovitz | Stars: Jean Reno, Vincent Cassel, Nadia Farès, Dominique Sanda

Votes: 53,282 | Gross: $0.63M

8. The French Connection (1971)

R | 104 min | Action, Crime, Drama

96 Metascore

A pair of NYC cops in the Narcotics Bureau stumble onto a drug smuggling job with a French connection.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey, Tony Lo Bianco

Votes: 96,324

9. The Negotiator (1998)

R | 140 min | Action, Crime, Drama

62 Metascore

In a desperate attempt to prove his innocence, a skilled police negotiator accused of corruption and murder takes hostages in a government office to gain the time he needs to find the truth.

Director: F. Gary Gray | Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, David Morse, Ron Rifkin

Votes: 119,481 | Gross: $44.48M

10. Insomnia (2002)

R | 118 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

78 Metascore

Two Los Angeles homicide detectives are dispatched to a northern town where the sun doesn't set to investigate the methodical murder of a local teen.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank, Martin Donovan

Votes: 247,834 | Gross: $67.36M

11. Empire of the Wolves (2005)

R | 128 min | Action, Crime, Drama

When the young detective Paul Nerteaux finds the third slashed female corpse of illegal Turkish immigrants, he decides to ask for support to the experienced dark retired detective ... See full summary »

Director: Chris Nahon | Stars: Jean Reno, Arly Jover, Jocelyn Quivrin, Laura Morante

Votes: 10,361

12. Serpico (1973)

R | 130 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

87 Metascore

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.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Al Pacino, John Randolph, Jack Kehoe, Biff McGuire

Votes: 93,880 | Gross: $29.80M

13. The Pledge (I) (2001)

R | 124 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

71 Metascore

A retiring police chief pledges to catch the killer of a young child.

Director: Sean Penn | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Benicio Del Toro, Patricia Clarkson, Beau Daniels

Votes: 48,428 | Gross: $19.72M

14. From Hell (2001)

R | 122 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

54 Metascore

In Victorian-era London, a troubled clairvoyant police detective investigates the murders of Jack the Ripper.

Directors: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes | Stars: Johnny Depp, Heather Graham, Ian Holm, Robbie Coltrane

Votes: 136,903 | Gross: $31.60M

15. In the Valley of Elah (2007)

R | 121 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

65 Metascore

A retired military investigator works with a police detective to uncover the truth behind his son's disappearance following his return from a tour of duty in Iraq.

Director: Paul Haggis | Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron, Jonathan Tucker, Jason Patric

Votes: 64,879 | Gross: $6.78M

16. The Presidio (1988)

R | 97 min | Action, Crime, Mystery

31 Metascore

A San Francisco civilian police detective is forced to work on a series of murders with his former enemy commanding officer while dating his daughter.

Director: Peter Hyams | Stars: Sean Connery, Mark Harmon, Meg Ryan, Jack Warden

Votes: 14,573 | Gross: $20.04M

17. The Narrow Margin (1952)

Not Rated | 71 min | Film-Noir, Thriller

A woman planning to testify against the mob must be protected against their assassins on the train trip from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Director: Richard Fleischer | Stars: Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor, Jacqueline White, Gordon Gebert

Votes: 6,041

18. Along Came a Spider (2001)

R | 104 min | Drama, Thriller

42 Metascore

When a congressman's daughter under Secret Service protection is kidnapped from a private school, detective Alex Cross investigates the case even though he's recovering from the loss of his partner.

Director: Lee Tamahori | Stars: Morgan Freeman, Michael Wincott, Monica Potter, Dylan Baker

Votes: 66,647 | Gross: $74.08M

19. The Bone Collector (1999)

R | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

45 Metascore

A quadriplegic ex-homicide detective and his female partner try to track down a serial killer who is terrorizing New York City.

Director: Phillip Noyce | Stars: Denzel Washington, Angelina Jolie, Queen Latifah, Michael Rooker

Votes: 137,217 | Gross: $66.52M

20. On Dangerous Ground (1951)

Approved | 82 min | Drama, Film-Noir

Rough city cop Jim Wilson is disciplined by his captain and is sent upstate, to a snowy mountain town, to help the local sheriff solve a murder case.

Directors: Nicholas Ray, Ida Lupino | Stars: Ida Lupino, Robert Ryan, Ward Bond, Charles Kemper

Votes: 5,122

21. The Devil's Own (1997)

R | 111 min | Action, Crime, Drama

53 Metascore

A police officer uncovers the real identity of his house-guest, an I.R.A. terrorist in hiding.

Director: Alan J. Pakula | Stars: Harrison Ford, Brad Pitt, Margaret Colin, Rubén Blades

Votes: 52,139 | Gross: $42.87M

22. Murder by Numbers (2002)

R | 115 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

50 Metascore

Two gifted high school students execute a "perfect" murder - then become engaged in an intellectual contest with a seasoned homicide detective.

Director: Barbet Schroeder | Stars: Sandra Bullock, Ben Chaplin, Ryan Gosling, Michael Pitt

Votes: 48,468 | Gross: $31.87M

23. Mulholland Falls (1996)

R | 107 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

In 1950's Los Angeles, a special crime squad of the LAPD investigates the murder of a young woman.

Director: Lee Tamahori | Stars: Nick Nolte, Melanie Griffith, Jennifer Connelly, Chazz Palminteri

Votes: 14,396 | Gross: $11.50M

24. Experiment in Terror (1962)

Not Rated | 123 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

A man with an asthmatic voice telephones bank clerk Kelly Sherwood at home and coerces her into helping him steal a large sum from her bank.

Director: Blake Edwards | Stars: Glenn Ford, Lee Remick, Stefanie Powers, Roy Poole

Votes: 3,419

25. The Sicilian Clan (1969)

GP | 122 min | Crime, Drama

A young, ambitious mobster plans an elaborate diamond heist while seducing the daughter of a ruthless mob patriarch as a determined police commissioner closes in on all of them.

Director: Henri Verneuil | Stars: Jean Gabin, Alain Delon, Lino Ventura, Irina Demick

Votes: 5,864 | Gross: $3.00M

26. The Stendhal Syndrome (1996)

Not Rated | 113 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

42 Metascore

A young policewoman slowly goes insane while tracking down an elusive serial rapist/killer through Italy when she herself becomes a victim of the brutal man's obsession.

Director: Dario Argento | Stars: Asia Argento, Thomas Kretschmann, Marco Leonardi, Luigi Diberti

Votes: 6,491

27. Citizen X (1995 TV Movie)

R | 105 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

During the 1980s, Soviet authorities hunt for a serial killer who picks his victims in railway stations and commuter trains and lures them into the woods.

Director: Chris Gerolmo | Stars: Stephen Rea, Donald Sutherland, Max von Sydow, Jeffrey DeMunn

Votes: 14,855

28. The Formula (1980)

R | 117 min | Crime, Thriller

The synthetic fuel production formula, invented by the Nazis at the end of World War II, is sought after by some who aim to sell it, and by others who wish to destroy it.

Director: John G. Avildsen | Stars: George C. Scott, Marlon Brando, Marthe Keller, John Gielgud

Votes: 2,159

29. The Blue Lamp (1950)

Approved | 84 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

The daily routine of two London policemen is interrupted by a killer.

Director: Basil Dearden | Stars: Jack Warner, Dirk Bogarde, Jimmy Hanley, Robert Flemyng

Votes: 1,271

30. The Detective (1968)

Approved | 114 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

Police detective Joe Leland investigates the murder of a homosexual man. While investigating, he discovers links to official corruption in New York City in this drama that delves into a world of sex and drugs.

Director: Gordon Douglas | Stars: Frank Sinatra, Lee Remick, Ralph Meeker, Jack Klugman

Votes: 2,481

31. The Departed (2006)

R | 151 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

85 Metascore

An undercover cop and a mole in the police attempt to identify each other while infiltrating an Irish gang in South Boston.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg

Votes: 1,036,026 | Gross: $132.38M

32. A Perfect World (1993)

PG-13 | 138 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

71 Metascore

A kidnapped boy strikes up a friendship with his captor: an escaped convict on the run from the law, while the search is headed up by an honorable Texas Ranger.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Kevin Costner, Clint Eastwood, Laura Dern, T.J. Lowther

Votes: 65,581 | Gross: $31.16M

33. American Gangster (2007)

R | 157 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

76 Metascore

An outcast New York City cop is charged with bringing down Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas, whose real life inspired this partly biographical film.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Josh Brolin

Votes: 357,873 | Gross: $130.16M

34. U.S. Marshals (1998)

PG-13 | 131 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

47 Metascore

U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard and his team of Marshals are assigned to track down Sheridan, who has been accused of a double-murder.

Director: Stuart Baird | Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Wesley Snipes, Robert Downey Jr., Joe Pantoliano

Votes: 86,662 | Gross: $57.17M

35. Black Rain (1989)

R | 125 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

56 Metascore

Two NYC cops arrest a Yakuza member and must escort him when he's extradited to Japan.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia, Ken Takakura, Kate Capshaw

Votes: 44,288 | Gross: $46.21M

36. Fallen (1998)

R | 124 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Homicide detective John Hobbes witnesses the execution of serial killer Edgar Reese. Soon after the execution the killings start again, and they are very similar to Reese's style.

Director: Gregory Hoblit | Stars: Denzel Washington, John Goodman, Donald Sutherland, Embeth Davidtz

Votes: 66,692 | Gross: $25.19M

37. Deja Vu (2006)

PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Crime, Sci-Fi

59 Metascore

After a ferry is bombed in New Orleans, an A.T.F. agent joins a unique investigation using experimental surveillance technology to find the bomber, but soon finds himself becoming obsessed with one of the victims.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Denzel Washington, Paula Patton, Jim Caviezel, Val Kilmer

Votes: 269,463 | Gross: $64.04M

38. Mesrine Part 1: Killer Instinct (2008)

R | 113 min | Action, Biography, Crime

71 Metascore

The story of french gangster Jacques Mesrine, before he was called Public Enemy N°1.

Director: Jean-François Richet | Stars: Vincent Cassel, Cécile de France, Gérard Depardieu, Gilles Lellouche

Votes: 29,504 | Gross: $0.55M

39. The Untouchables (1987)

R | 119 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

79 Metascore

During the era of Prohibition in the United States, federal agent Eliot Ness sets out to stop ruthless Chicago gangster Al Capone, and because of rampant corruption, assembles a small, hand-picked team to help him.

Director: Brian De Palma | Stars: Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Robert De Niro, Charles Martin Smith

Votes: 247,800 | Gross: $76.27M

40. Training Day (2001)

R | 122 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

69 Metascore

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 L.A.P.D. with a rogue detective who isn't what he appears to be.

Director: Antoine Fuqua | Stars: Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Scott Glenn, Tom Berenger

Votes: 346,760 | Gross: $76.63M

41. Changeling (2008)

R | 141 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

63 Metascore

A grief-stricken mother takes on the LAPD to her own detriment when it tries to pass off an obvious impostor as her missing child.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Angelina Jolie, Colm Feore, Amy Ryan, Gattlin Griffith

Votes: 218,743 | Gross: $35.74M

42. Colors (1988)

R | 120 min | Action, Crime, Drama

66 Metascore

An experienced cop and his rookie partner patrol the streets of East Los Angeles while trying to keep the gang violence under control.

Director: Dennis Hopper | Stars: Sean Penn, Robert Duvall, Maria Conchita Alonso, Randy Brooks

Votes: 21,678 | Gross: $46.62M

43. Mystic River (2003)

R | 138 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

84 Metascore

The lives of three men who were childhood friends are shattered when one of them has a family tragedy.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Emmy Rossum

Votes: 379,043 | Gross: $90.14M

44. Shutter Island (2010)

R | 138 min | Mystery, Thriller

63 Metascore

In 1954, a U.S. Marshal investigates the disappearance of a murderer, who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Emily Mortimer, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley

Votes: 963,661 | Gross: $128.01M

45. The Naked City (1948)

Not Rated | 96 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Two New York City detectives investigate the death of an attractive young woman. The apparent suicide turns out to be murder.

Director: Jules Dassin | Stars: Barry Fitzgerald, Howard Duff, Dorothy Hart, Don Taylor

Votes: 10,346

46. Year of the Dragon (1985)

R | 134 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A police detective cracks down on organized crime in Chinatown after the murders of Triad and Mafia leaders.

Director: Michael Cimino | Stars: Mickey Rourke, John Lone, Ariane, Leonard Termo

Votes: 12,235 | Gross: $18.70M

47. Dead Bang (1989)

R | 102 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A cop is gunned down on Xmas eve. Jerry Beck, the homicide cop given the job of hunting the killer, investigates some leads which bring him into contact with a group of white supremacy ... See full summary »

Director: John Frankenheimer | Stars: Don Johnson, Penelope Ann Miller, William Forsythe, Bob Balaban

Votes: 2,882 | Gross: $8.13M

48. The Green Mile (1999)

R | 189 min | Crime, Drama, Fantasy

61 Metascore

The lives of guards on Death Row are affected by one of their charges: a black man accused of child murder and rape, yet who has a mysterious gift.

Director: Frank Darabont | Stars: Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt

Votes: 964,991 | Gross: $136.80M

49. Out of Time (I) (2003)

PG-13 | 105 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

63 Metascore

A Florida police chief must solve a vicious double homicide before he himself falls under suspicion.

Director: Carl Franklin | Stars: Denzel Washington, Sanaa Lathan, Eva Mendes, Dean Cain

Votes: 51,597 | Gross: $40.91M

50. Edge of Darkness (2010)

R | 117 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery