Underrated Cop Movies

by Mikesw1234 | created - 25 Oct 2013 | updated - 02 Aug 2015 | Public
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1. Railroaded! (1947)

Approved | 72 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A beautician and her crooked boyfriend attempt to rob the bookie operation located in the back room, but when the plan goes wrong, they frame an innocent man.

Director: Anthony Mann | Stars: John Ireland, Sheila Ryan, Hugh Beaumont, Jane Randolph

Votes: 1,187

2. The Naked City (1948)

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

New York City film noir about two detectives investigating 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: 9,942

Perhaps the first true police precedural.

3. Stray Dog (1949)

Not Rated | 122 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

During a sweltering summer, a rookie homicide detective tries to track down his stolen Colt pistol.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Awaji, Eiko Miyoshi

Votes: 12,370

Akira Kurasawa was just as good at Noir as he was at period pieces.

4. Union Station (1950)

Approved | 81 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A sharp-eyed woman spots a man with a gun on a train and her alert to the railroad police helps them in their search for a ruthless gang who have kidnapped a blind heiress.

Director: Rudolph Maté | Stars: William Holden, Nancy Olson, Barry Fitzgerald, Lyle Bettger

Votes: 1,854

5. Dragnet (1954)

Approved | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Two homicide detectives investigate the brutal shotgun murder of a crime syndicate member.

Director: Jack Webb | Stars: Jack Webb, Ben Alexander, Richard Boone, Ann Robinson

Votes: 691

6. 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: 51,870 | Gross: $42.30M

The first truly great car chase in cinema!

7. 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: 2,403

The novel that this was based on is the prequel to the same novel Die Hard was based on!

8. Across 110th Street (1972)

R | 102 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Two New York City cops go after amateur crooks who are trying to rip off the Mafia and start a gang war.

Director: Barry Shear | Stars: Anthony Quinn, Yaphet Kotto, Anthony Franciosa, Frank Adu

Votes: 4,034

A surprisingly great cross between blacksploitation and serious crime thriller.

9. 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.

Director: Philip D'Antoni | Stars: Roy Scheider, Tony Lo Bianco, Victor Arnold, Jerry Leon

Votes: 3,755

Another one of the greatest car chases ever!

10. 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: 90,850 | Gross: $29.80M

11. The Laughing Policeman (1973)

R | 112 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

In San Francisco, California, one victim in a mass murder is a police detective. His partner and a new partner investigate in the city's seamy side.

Director: Stuart Rosenberg | Stars: Walter Matthau, Bruce Dern, Louis Gossett Jr., Albert Paulsen

Votes: 2,020

12. Detroit 9000 (1973)

R | 106 min | Crime, Drama, Action

After a fundraiser for a black politician is robbed, Detroit police put two detectives, one white and one black, on the case, who try to work together under boiling political pressure.

Director: Arthur Marks | Stars: Alex Rocco, Hari Rhodes, Vonetta McGee, Herbert Jefferson Jr.

Votes: 836 | Gross: $3.36M

13. Nighthawks (1981)

R | 99 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

56 Metascore

Conservative street cop DaSilva reluctantly agrees to terminate an international terrorist who has demanded media attention. But DaSilva's "at-home" tactics are very much put to the challenge.

Directors: Bruce Malmuth, Gary Nelson | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Rutger Hauer, Billy Dee Williams, Lindsay Wagner

Votes: 14,046 | Gross: $14.91M

14. 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: 11,849 | Gross: $18.70M

15. No Man's Land (1987)

R | 106 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A rookie cop goes undercover and infiltrates a car thief ring.

Director: Peter Werner | Stars: Charlie Sheen, D.B. Sweeney, Lara Harris, Randy Quaid

Votes: 3,461 | Gross: $2.88M

A pretty cool precurser to movies like Point Break and The Fast and the Furious.

16. City on Fire (1987)

R | 101 min | Action, Crime, Drama

An undercover cop infiltrates a gang of thieves who plan to rob a jewelry store.

Director: Ringo Lam | Stars: Yun-Fat Chow, Yueh Sun, Danny Lee, Carrie Ng

Votes: 4,940

Tarantino's inspiration for Reservior Dogs.

17. 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: 21,091 | Gross: $46.62M

18. 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: 43,245 | Gross: $46.21M

19. Cung on zo (1993)

R | 103 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A special agent assigned to protect a wealthy business magnate. However, when the businessman is kidnapped in a daring ambush, he teams up with a seasoned detective to crack the case. But soon he discovers the case isn't that simple.

Directors: Kirk Wong, Jackie Chan | Stars: Jackie Chan, Kent Cheng, Kar-Ying Law, Pui-San Auyeung

Votes: 4,778 | Gross: $0.19M

One of Jackie Chan's most serious films.

20. Chung ngon sat luk: O gei (1994)

Unrated | 90 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

The head of the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau, Inspector San Lee, will do anything to put triad boss Tung in jail, but he'll have to fight both sides of the law to do it.

Director: Kirk Wong | Stars: Danny Lee, Cecilia Yip, Anthony Chau-Sang Wong, Tak-Kwong Chan

Votes: 207

21. Go do gaai bei (1997)

98 min | Action, Drama

Police Inspector Pao is trying to catch Mak Kwan, a gang member who is first arrested, but then escapes from the prison. By chance, Pao realizes that the target of Kwan's gang is the H.K. ... See full summary »

Director: Ringo Lam | Stars: Ching Wan Lau, Francis Ng, Amanda Lee, Jack Kao

Votes: 823

Hong Kong's version of Heat.

22. G4 te gong (1997)

109 min | Action

With the retreat of the British government from Hong Kong, the S.B. Team, an elite secret police force, is also on its way out. However, this team of highly trained cops have one final ... See full summary »

Director: Dante Lam | Stars: Monica Chan, Wing-Fai Chan, Farini Cheung, Hung On Cheung

Votes: 109

23. Cop Land (1997)

R | 105 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

64 Metascore

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.

Director: James Mangold | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro

Votes: 75,870 | Gross: $44.89M

24. 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: 117,039 | Gross: $44.48M

Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey. Nuff said!

25. Ye shou xing jing (1998)

TV-MA | 110 min | Action, Crime, Drama

One of the most universally acclaimed motion pictures in the history of Hong Kong cinema. Acclaimed director Gordon Chan ("Fist Of Legend", "2000 AD", "The Big Heat") dispenses with ... See full summary »

Directors: Gordon Chan, Dante Lam | Stars: Anthony Chau-Sang Wong, Michael Wong, Stephanie Che, Kathy Chow

Votes: 899

26. 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: 133,636 | Gross: $66.52M

A precurser to CSI.

27. The Corruptor (1999)

R | 110 min | Action, Crime, Drama

56 Metascore

With the aid from a New York City policeman, a top immigrant cop tries to stop drug-trafficking and corruption by immigrant Chinese Triads, but things get complicated when the Triads try to bribe the policeman.

Director: James Foley | Stars: Yun-Fat Chow, Mark Wahlberg, Ric Young, Paul Ben-Victor

Votes: 16,194 | Gross: $15.16M

28. Chung chong ging chaat (2001)

Not Rated | 94 min | Action

An undercover cop badly injured in a raid is blamed for the raid's failure and thrown out of the police department. His injuries result in his being paralyzed form the waist down, and ... See full summary »

Director: Dante Lam | Stars: Daniel Wu, Alex To, Samuel Pang, Tony Ho

Votes: 202

29. 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: 52,424 | Gross: $0.63M

30. Dark Blue (2002)

R | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

57 Metascore

A robbery homicide investigation triggers a series of events that will cause a corrupt LAPD officer to question his tactics.

Director: Ron Shelton | Stars: Kurt Russell, Ving Rhames, Scott Speedman, Michael Michele

Votes: 18,606 | Gross: $9.06M

31. Narc (2002)

R | 105 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

70 Metascore

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.

Director: Joe Carnahan | Stars: Ray Liotta, Jason Patric, Chi McBride, Dan Leis

Votes: 35,879 | Gross: $10.46M

32. Infernal Affairs (2002)

R | 101 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

75 Metascore

A story between a mole in the police department and an undercover cop. Their objectives are the same: to find out who is the mole, and who is the cop.

Directors: Wai-Keung Lau, Alan Mak | Stars: Andy Lau, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Anthony Chau-Sang Wong, Eric Tsang

Votes: 107,035 | Gross: $0.17M

Scorsese's The Departed was a remake of this.

33. 44 Minutes: The North Hollywood Shoot-Out (2003 TV Movie)

R | 103 min | Action, Crime, Drama

After a failed bank robbery, two heavily armed men hold the Los Angeles Police Department at bay for 44 minutes.

Director: Yves Simoneau | Stars: Michael Madsen, Ron Livingston, Ray Baker, Douglas Spain

Votes: 4,750

34. PTU (2003)

R | 85 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

Over the course of one night, a team of cops frantically search for their colleague's missing gun.

Director: Johnnie To | Stars: Simon Yam, Suet Lam, Ruby Wong, Maggie Siu

Votes: 3,512

35. Dai si gin (2004)

TV-14 | 90 min | Action, Crime, Drama

63 Metascore

When an ambulatory TV news unit live broadcasts the embarrassing defeat of a police battalion by five bank robbers in a ballistic showdown, the credibility of the police force drops to a ... See full summary »

Director: Johnnie To | Stars: Richie Jen, Kelly Chen, Nick Cheung, Siu-Fai Cheung

Votes: 4,589

36. SPL: Sha po lang (2005)

Not Rated | 93 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

A near retired inspector and his unit are willing to put down a crime boss at all costs while dealing with his replacement, who is getting in their way. Meanwhile, the crime boss sends his top henchmen to put an end to their dirty schemes.

Director: Wilson Yip | Stars: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Jing Wu

Votes: 9,911

37. Elite Squad (2007)

R | 115 min | Action, Crime, Drama

33 Metascore

1997, Captain Nascimento has to find a substitute for his occupation while trying to take down drug dealers and criminals before the Pope comes to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Director: José Padilha | Stars: Wagner Moura, André Ramiro, Caio Junqueira, Milhem Cortaz

Votes: 88,885 | Gross: $0.01M

If City of God was a liberal's take on how messed up things are in Rio de Janeiro, this is a hardcore right-winger's take on it.

38. For lung (2010)

R | 106 min | Action, Crime, Mystery

Centers on Captain Manfred who is caught in the line of fire between high levels of corruption and malice. He must solve a brutal murder to prove his partner's innocence and unearth the ... See full summary »

Director: Dante Lam | Stars: Leon Lai, Richie Jen, Baoqiang Wang, Vivian Hsu

Votes: 872

39. Grupo 7 (2012)

Not Rated | 96 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

A squad of four undercover cops are charged with cleaning up the streets of Seville from drugs and prostitution.

Director: Alberto Rodríguez | Stars: Inma Alcántara, Andrés Blanco, Javier Berger, Manuel Bernal

Votes: 4,482