50 Best Cop Movies of All Time

by maxdulberger | created - 18 May 2013 | updated - 08 Feb 2017 | Public

One man's ranking of the Top 50 Cop Movies of All Time.

Qualifiers include movies that feature a police officer, private eye, or modern-day lawman as one of the leads.

Comedies given their due, cause lord knows Frank Drebin is a bad ass mother.

Feel free to comment on what's missing (i.e. foreign films, new releases, blatant oversights, "what the hell was he thinking?" picks, etc.).

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1. 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: 1,031,003 | Gross: $132.38M

Never came together so well.

2. 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: 95,936

3. Chinatown (1974)

R | 130 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

92 Metascore

A private detective hired to expose an adulterer finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, corruption, and murder.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston, Perry Lopez

Votes: 255,889 | Gross: $29.20M

4. No Country for Old Men (2007)

R | 122 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

91 Metascore

Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and more than two million dollars in cash near the Rio Grande.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen | Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson

Votes: 733,968 | Gross: $74.28M

5. 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: 93,451 | Gross: $29.80M

6. Dirty Harry (1971)

R | 102 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

90 Metascore

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.

Director: Don Siegel | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Andrew Robinson, Harry Guardino, Reni Santoni

Votes: 128,132

7. Fargo (1996)

R | 98 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

85 Metascore

Jerry Lundegaard's inept crime falls apart due to his and his henchmen's bungling and the persistent police work of the quite pregnant Marge Gunderson.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen | Stars: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare

Votes: 540,111 | Gross: $24.61M

8. Blade Runner (1982)

R | 117 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller

89 Metascore

A blade runner must pursue and terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space, and have returned to Earth to find their creator.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos

Votes: 601,834 | Gross: $27.00M

9. 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: 505,167 | Gross: $67.44M

10. The Fugitive (1993)

PG-13 | 130 min | Action, Crime, Drama

87 Metascore

Dr. Richard Kimble, unjustly accused of murdering his wife, must find the real killer while being the target of a nationwide manhunt lead by a seasoned US Marshall.

Director: Andrew Davis | Stars: Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Sela Ward, Julianne Moore

Votes: 238,168 | Gross: $183.88M

11. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

R | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

79 Metascore

After a simple jewelry heist goes terribly wrong, the surviving criminals begin to suspect that one of them is a police informant.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn

Votes: 789,168 | Gross: $2.83M

12. 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: 1,074,845 | Gross: $130.74M

13. Die Hard (1988)

R | 132 min | Action, Thriller

70 Metascore

John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save his wife Holly Gennaro and several others that were taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.

Director: John McTiernan | Stars: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson

Votes: 691,840 | Gross: $83.01M

14. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

R | 125 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

86 Metascore

A man robs a bank to pay for his lover's operation; it turns into a hostage situation and a media circus.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Al Pacino, John Cazale, Penelope Allen, Sully Boyar

Votes: 212,651 | Gross: $50.00M

15. Traffic (2000)

R | 147 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

86 Metascore

A conservative judge is appointed by the President to spearhead America's escalating war against drugs, only to discover that his teenage daughter is a crack addict. Two DEA agents protect an informant. A jailed drug baron's wife attempts to carry on the family business.

Director: Steven Soderbergh | Stars: Michael Douglas, Benicio Del Toro, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jacob Vargas

Votes: 182,954 | Gross: $124.12M

16. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)

PG-13 | 85 min | Comedy, Crime

76 Metascore

Incompetent police Detective Frank Drebin must foil an attempt to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II.

Director: David Zucker | Stars: Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, O.J. Simpson, Ricardo Montalban

Votes: 131,705 | Gross: $78.04M

17. In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Not Rated | 110 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

75 Metascore

An African-American police detective is asked to investigate a murder in a racially hostile southern town.

Director: Norman Jewison | Stars: Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates, Lee Grant

Votes: 57,839 | Gross: $24.38M

18. Se7en (1995)

R | 127 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

65 Metascore

Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his motives.

Director: David Fincher | Stars: Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, Andrew Kevin Walker

Votes: 1,225,005 | Gross: $100.13M

19. 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: 53,262 | Gross: $42.30M

20. Touch of Evil (1958)

PG-13 | 95 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

99 Metascore

A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in a Mexican border town.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Charlton Heston, Orson Welles, Janet Leigh, Joseph Calleia

Votes: 89,465 | Gross: $2.24M

21. 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: 377,714 | Gross: $90.14M

22. The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Not Rated | 100 min | Film-Noir, Mystery

96 Metascore

A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette.

Director: John Huston | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Gladys George, Peter Lorre

Votes: 135,927

23. 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: 345,468 | Gross: $76.63M

24. RoboCop (1987)

R | 102 min | Action, Crime, Sci-Fi

67 Metascore

In a dystopic and crime-ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg haunted by submerged memories.

Director: Paul Verhoeven | Stars: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O'Herlihy, Ronny Cox

Votes: 207,792 | Gross: $53.42M

25. Lethal Weapon (1987)

R | 109 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

68 Metascore

Two newly paired cops who are complete opposites must put aside their differences in order to catch a gang of drug smugglers.

Director: Richard Donner | Stars: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Mitchell Ryan

Votes: 213,861 | Gross: $65.21M

26. End of Watch (2012)

R | 109 min | Action, Crime, Drama

68 Metascore

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.

Director: David Ayer | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, Anna Kendrick, America Ferrera

Votes: 205,974 | Gross: $41.00M

27. Speed (1994)

R | 116 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

78 Metascore

A young police officer must prevent a bomb exploding aboard a city bus by keeping its speed above 50 mph.

Director: Jan de Bont | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock, Joe Morton

Votes: 292,851 | Gross: $121.25M

28. Dick Tracy (1990)

PG | 105 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

The comic strip detective finds his life vastly complicated when Breathless Mahoney makes advances towards him while he is trying to battle Big Boy Caprice's united mob.

Director: Warren Beatty | Stars: Warren Beatty, Madonna, Al Pacino, Charlie Korsmo

Votes: 52,287 | Gross: $103.74M

29. Witness (1985)

R | 112 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

76 Metascore

A young Amish boy is sole witness to a murder; policeman John Book goes into hiding in Amish country to protect him until the trial.

Director: Peter Weir | Stars: Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis, Lukas Haas, Josef Sommer

Votes: 75,711 | Gross: $68.71M

30. Gone Baby Gone (2007)

R | 114 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

72 Metascore

Two Boston area detectives investigate a little girl's kidnapping, which ultimately turns into a crisis both professionally and personally.

Director: Ben Affleck | Stars: Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan

Votes: 225,860 | Gross: $20.30M

31. 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: 356,794 | Gross: $130.16M

32. Bad Lieutenant (1992)

NC-17 | 96 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

70 Metascore

While investigating a young nun's rape, a corrupt New York City police detective, with a serious drug and gambling addiction, tries to change his ways and find forgiveness and redemption.

Director: Abel Ferrara | Stars: Harvey Keitel, Brian McElroy, Frank Acciarito, Peggy Gormley

Votes: 33,445 | Gross: $2.00M

33. Donnie Brasco (1997)

R | 127 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

76 Metascore

An FBI undercover agent infiltrates the mob and finds himself identifying more with the mafia life, at the expense of his regular one.

Director: Mike Newell | Stars: Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, Michael Madsen, Bruno Kirby

Votes: 249,480 | Gross: $41.91M

34. Men in Black (1997)

PG-13 | 98 min | Adventure, Comedy, Mystery

71 Metascore

A police officer joins a secret organization that polices and monitors extraterrestrial interactions on Earth.

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld | Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Linda Fiorentino, Vincent D'Onofrio

Votes: 458,794 | Gross: $250.69M

35. A Shot in the Dark (1964)

PG | 102 min | Comedy, Mystery

70 Metascore

Inspector Jacques Clouseau investigates the murder of Mr. Benjamin Ballon's driver at a country estate.

Director: Blake Edwards | Stars: Peter Sellers, Elke Sommer, George Sanders, Herbert Lom

Votes: 22,525 | Gross: $12.37M

36. Mad Max (1979)

R | 88 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

73 Metascore

In a self-destructing world, a vengeful Australian policeman sets out to stop a violent motorcycle gang.

Director: George Miller | Stars: Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley

Votes: 171,691 | Gross: $8.75M

37. Hell or High Water (II) (2016)

R | 102 min | Action, Crime, Drama

88 Metascore

A divorced father and his ex-con older brother resort to a desperate scheme in order to save their family's ranch in West Texas.

Director: David Mackenzie | Stars: Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges, Gil Birmingham

Votes: 161,403 | Gross: $26.86M

38. Face/Off (1997)

R | 138 min | Action, Crime, Sci-Fi

82 Metascore

In order to foil an extortion plot, an FBI agent undergoes a facial transplant surgery and assumes the identity and physical appearance of a terrorist, but the plan turns from bad to worse when the same terrorist impersonates the FBI agent.

Director: John Woo | Stars: John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Joan Allen, Alessandro Nivola

Votes: 316,522 | Gross: $112.23M

39. Falling Down (1993)

R | 113 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

56 Metascore

An unemployed defense worker frustrated with the various flaws he sees in society, begins to psychotically and violently lash out against them.

Director: Joel Schumacher | Stars: Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Barbara Hershey, Rachel Ticotin

Votes: 151,264 | Gross: $40.90M

40. 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: 109,128 | Gross: $0.17M

41. Inside Man (2006)

R | 129 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

76 Metascore

A police detective, a bank robber, and a high-power broker enter high-stakes negotiations after the criminal's brilliant heist spirals into a hostage situation.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Christopher Plummer

Votes: 304,932 | Gross: $88.51M

42. The Day of the Jackal (1973)

PG | 143 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

80 Metascore

A professional assassin codenamed "Jackal" plots to kill Charles de Gaulle, the President of France.

Director: Fred Zinnemann | Stars: Edward Fox, Terence Alexander, Michel Auclair, Alan Badel

Votes: 33,466 | Gross: $16.06M

43. L.A. Confidential (1997)

R | 138 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

90 Metascore

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.

Director: Curtis Hanson | Stars: Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger

Votes: 477,639 | Gross: $64.62M

44. Kindergarten Cop (1990)

PG-13 | 111 min | Comedy, Crime

61 Metascore

A tough cop must pose as a kindergarten teacher in order to locate a dangerous criminal's ex-wife, who may hold the key to putting him behind bars.

Director: Ivan Reitman | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Penelope Ann Miller, Pamela Reed, Linda Hunt

Votes: 121,172 | Gross: $91.46M

45. Rush Hour (1998)

PG-13 | 98 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

60 Metascore

A loyal and dedicated Hong Kong Inspector teams up with a reckless and loudmouthed L.A.P.D. detective to rescue the Chinese Consul's kidnapped daughter, while trying to arrest a dangerous crime lord along the way.

Director: Brett Ratner | Stars: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Ken Leung, Tom Wilkinson

Votes: 212,619 | Gross: $141.15M

46. 21 Jump Street (2012)

R | 109 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

69 Metascore

A pair of underachieving cops are sent back to a local high school to blend in and bring down a synthetic drug ring.

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller | Stars: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Brie Larson

Votes: 463,531 | Gross: $138.45M

47. Super Troopers (2001)

R | 100 min | Comedy, Crime, Mystery

48 Metascore

Five Vermont state troopers, avid pranksters with a knack for screwing up, try to save their jobs and out-do the local police department by solving a crime.

Director: Jay Chandrasekhar | Stars: Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, André Vippolis, Joey Kern

Votes: 88,508 | Gross: $18.49M

48. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

R | 105 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

64 Metascore

A freewheeling Detroit cop pursuing a murder investigation finds himself dealing with the very different culture of Beverly Hills.

Director: Martin Brest | Stars: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Lisa Eilbacher

Votes: 144,073 | Gross: $234.76M

49. Manhunter (1986)

R | 120 min | Crime, Horror, Mystery

75 Metascore

Former FBI profiler Will Graham returns to service to pursue a deranged serial murderer named "the Tooth Fairy" by the media.

Director: Michael Mann | Stars: William Petersen, Kim Greist, Joan Allen, Brian Cox

Votes: 57,469 | Gross: $8.62M

50. Hot Fuzz (2007)

R | 121 min | Action, Comedy