The 30 Best Cop Movies of All Time

Police movies offer you a wide range of different evening entertainment. While all of them are placed in the realm of crime films, making a crime or crime, in general, is an important factor. But the direction ranges from thriller to buddy movie to dumbass comedy, from Departed to Lethal Weapon to the Police Academy series. We have here a list of the 36 best police movies!

1st place: The Departed (2005)

Pure thrills are on place 1 of our list. This thriller, cast with excellent actors, captivates not only with its acting class and eloquent imagery but also with an exciting story from the first second to the last.

While young police officer William “Billy” Costigan is infiltrated into the Mafia as an undercover agent, Colin Sullivan, who the Mafia recruited as a child, works as a staff sergeant in the Massachusetts State Police as a mole.

Both constantly provide their respective employers with information so that both the police and the Mafia realize that they have an informer among them. The informers of all people are each tasked with finding themselves. The air for both becomes thinner and thinner.

2nd place: Chinatown

As a private investigator, J. J. “Jake” Gittes has a special, obscure, but ultimately very successful reputation. Evelyn Mulwray, the wife of the architect of the Hollis water supply system, gives him the job of spying on her husband and convicting him of adultery. Gittes, however, doesn’t know that it’s not Evelyn.

After a few days, when he has taken some photos of the man and a young woman, he hands them over to the alleged wife, who then publishes them in a newspaper with a pointed story. Hollis Mulwray is found murdered shortly afterward. The search for the killer begins.

The last work by Roman Polanski to be filmed in the U.S. is also one of his best works. The 30s and their criminal underworlds fascinate people today- and Chinatown especially represents this.

3rd place: Dirty Harry

While many films in the U.S. in the late 1960s and early 1970s had a left-liberal, progressive feel, Dirty Harry was the absolute antithesis. This made and still makes him successful.

Investigator Callahan, aka “Dirty Harry,” is considered a tough-as-nails loner who not only stretches the laws and guidelines to the extreme but regularly transgresses them. During the murder of a woman, the killer leaves a note saying that he will kill one person every day until the city gives him 100.000 dollars would pay. Callahan is assigned to find the killer. The latter uses his own methods for the search.

Rank 4: French Connection – Focal Point Brooklyn

Investigators “Popeye” Doyle and “Cloudy” Russo can’t sleep after a late-night shift and want to have a few drinks in a nightclub. There they observe a man who behaves in a conspicuous manner. As members of the anti-drug unit, they realize that he seems to be connected to drug deals.

Also recommend:   The 25 Best Animal Movies of All Time – Starring Animals

You observe him and discover that he has much more money than he earns in his job. They get closer and closer to the suspect and those behind the smuggling of heroin on a large scale from Turkey via France to the U.S. and thus come into ever greater danger.

Ranked the 8th best thriller of all time by the American Film Institute, this film captivates viewers with its great suspense and lack of hero worship. The director says no more, but also no less than a true story.

5th place: No Country For Old Men (2007)

Llewelyn Moss, a Vietnam War veteran, finds many dead bodies while hunting in the desert. It soon becomes clear that a drug deal had gone wrong. He finds large quantities of heroin and two million U.S. dollars in cash. Moss takes the money and wants to bring water to a survivor at night.

By this time, however, Mexican drug dealers were on the scene and trying to shoot him. Although the veteran manages to escape, he has to leave his car behind. But the Mexicans quickly figure out who he is from his license plate number and hunt him down – just like the brutal contract killer Anton Chigurh and Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, who actually wants to protect him.

With its high tension and excellent character studies, this film is a worthy representative of our top 5.

6th place: Die Hard (1988)

Fast-paced drama, very exciting, and many intense suspense curves. Our number 6 will pull you deep into his spell.

John McClane, a New York cop, wants to enjoy his free time at Christmas and celebrate Christmas with his still wife and two kids. But just as the part begins, twelve terrorists armed to the teeth storm the house and take everyone present hostage – except McClane. Armed only with a walkie-talkie, he wants to kill every single terrorist. Although he manages to capture a weapon, is he able to achieve his goal?

Rank 7: Lethal Weapon (1987)

“I’m too old for this shit!”: Roger Murtaugh coined this phrase already in the first part of the cult film series. His new partner Martin Riggs is the exact opposite of a young daredevil. Both are assigned to investigate the supposed suicide of Amanda Hunsaker, the daughter of a longtime friend of Murtaugh’s. They get on the trail of a group of former CIA mercenaries, who are now smuggling heroin into the USA on a large scale.

Although the action film received very mixed reviews, it exceeded its budget at the box office many times and received several sequels. This is not only due to the exciting story and the witty sayings of the two main characters, but mainly due to their different characteristics – and that they nevertheless become very good friends.

Rank 8: Serpico

Some movies are special because they reflect true facts. And, because the good guys and the bad guys are very close. Combined with outstanding acting performances, this cop thriller makes it into the top 10.

Frank “Paco” Serpico has dreamed of becoming a cop since he was a little kid, catching criminals and protecting the innocent. But when he fulfills his dream, he realizes that the reality is quite different. Many policemen are criminals themselves. Especially corruption is widespread. He quickly discovers that everyone immediately sees cops who buck the system as nest eggs.

Also recommend:   The 15 Best Movies About Princesses – for Girls

Rank 9: Training Day (2001)

Officer Jake Hoyt is eager to join the drug squad, as this is where he expects to have the best career options. To do this, he must successfully complete a trial day, a training day, with his superior, Detective Alonzo Harris. But after initially admiring his manner, it soon turns out that Harris is also involved in criminal business, blackmailing and robbing drug dealers to supplement his own salary. After Hoyt refuses to go along with the criminal scheme, Hoyt must fear for his life.

As with other cop thrillers on our list, the close relationship between the good and bad guys creates an exceptionally high level of suspense, which outstanding actors portray perfectly.

10th place: Fargo – Bloody Snow

If you can tell a film not only in a very exciting way but also with a high trace of pointed, black humor, it deserves to be in our top 10.

Jerry Lundegaard is almost broke because his car dealership is not as successful as he would like it to be. Wade Gustafson, his father-in-law, on the other hand, does not have any financial difficulties but lives comparatively in luxury. So Lundegaard decides to hire two petty criminals to kidnap his own wife. The ransom money should be divided between the three conspirators. But the detailed plan is too high for the criminals…

Rank 11: Heat (1995)

Neil McCauley is a master of his craft. One last coup, a big bank robbery, is supposed to bring him so much money that he can retire. But the robbery goes wrong, and he and his gangsters have to flee without any money. In the process, he is pursued by the fanatical investigator Vincent Hanna.

While the film received mainly positive reviews in Germany, U.S. media experts were much more opinionated about this thriller. In terms of content, the film offers much more than the actual story – and that’s where opinions differ.

Rank 12: Blade Runner (1982)

Although critics largely tore this literary adaptation apart for its thin plot, it became one of the cult films of the 1980s. This is not only due to the excellent sets and outstanding actors but mainly because the dystopia speaks to people’s deep fears.

The USA in 2019: Replicants, technically designed and manufactured by humans, is to help in the exploration of distant planets. Although they are not supposed to develop feelings and are inhibited in their development, some are very intelligent and can also feel. Therefore they should live only four years so that they do not become a danger. After four replicants abscond, Blade Runner Rick Deckard pursues them.

Rank 13: End Of Watch (2012)

Patrol cops Mike Zavala and Brian Taylor lead largely carefree lives. All that is about to change when they are shot at during a checkpoint. They are able to overpower the gangsters and find numerous weapons decorated with diamonds. Gradually they penetrate further and further into the criminal machinations and come so themselves in danger.

High suspense and outstanding actors are a recipe for success for this film.

Rank 14: The Untouchables (1987)

From the key data of the 1930s, Prohibition, and Al Capone, this film does not surprise me at first. Due to its outstanding actors and the very sharp look at the time and organized crime, the film has earned a place in the top 20.

As the biggest bootlegger, Al Capone has the city firmly in his hands. Few actively resist him. It’s not until a bombing he arranges kills the criminal target and a young girl that investigator Eliot Ness goes all out against him and his cartel.

Also recommend:   Ghost Movies: The 25 Best Films About Ghosts

Rank 15: The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

People love to be afraid. And that’s why they love this film, which combines a rarely found, enormous arc of suspense with just the right amount of disgust.

A serial killer keeps the USA in suspense. He kidnaps women, murders them, and skins them. The FBI is under pressure to act but cannot celebrate any investigative successes. Therefore, the young investigator Clarice Starling contacts the serial killer and cannibal Hannibal Lecter, who is under strict surveillance in a psychiatric institution.

The latter agrees to help her – but for every piece of information he gives, he wants to learn something personal from her. This is how Lecter, a trained psychiatrist, dissects the young investigator and the wounds on her soul.

Rank 16: Police Academy (1984)

Seven movies, two series – if you like this dumbass comedy, you can spend an entire weekend with the confused Lassard, the daredevil Mahoney, the noise wonder Jones, the gun nut Tackleberry and co. But the success of the premiere film is a unique selling point.

After all Police Academy hiring requirements are abolished, a host of strange recruits arrive for Commissioner Hurst to make them leave voluntarily. The instructor Lieutenant Harris is happy to help him. Mahoney in particular, but he must not leave and must not be thrown out – because after he had once again acted as a hooligan, he would otherwise have to go to jail. Even though crime plays only a minor role in this police film, the antagonist, Harris, is an ideal target for the best of the clamor.

Rank 17: Se7en (1995)

After two murders, Detective Lt. William Somerset, who is about to retire, that it must be a serial killer. At the first crime scene, he left the term “immoderateness” at the second, “greed.” He develops the theory that five more murders will follow. The serial killer was dominated by the seven deadly sins and would enact them in his murders. Can Somerset stop the killer?

With its gritty and sometimes shocking scenery, this thriller simply leads every viewer under its spell.

Rank 18: L.A. Confidential

Los Angeles, shortly after World War II. Drug cartels dominate the city. After gang boss Mickey Cohen goes to jail, various criminals try to succeed him. A bloody fight ensues, which is determined by a mysterious gangster.

The film impressively focuses on the dark forces of man and therefore fascinates people to this day.

Rank 19: Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

Detroit investigator Axel Foley is on the move after the murder of a petty criminal friend in Beverly Hills, where he suspects the killers to be. The fact that he has taken leave for this and is not officially on the road fits the very unconventional work of the young detective. This causes a stir not only in the underworld but also in the police there.

If you’re looking for a funny and at the same time action-packed, but not very demanding, police film, this is the one for you. And that combination is what makes this movie so special.

Rank 20: American Gangster (2007)

Police officer Richie Roberts is one of the few honest investigators in the New York Police Department. After finding a large amount of drug money in a trunk, he sets out to find its real owner. Will he be able to find the African-American Frank Lucas, who is making extremely high profits with his unique business ideas, and prove his dealings to him?

The film strongly traces the characters and relies less on the action. As one of the smartest police films, it’s a worthy finale to our top 20.

Place 21: The Fugitive (1993)

Rank 22: The Town – City Without Mercy

Rank 23: Point Break (1991)

Rank 24: 22 Jump Street (2014)

25th place: Ride Along (2014)

Rank 26: Bad Boys (1995)

27th place: RoboCop (2014)

Rank 28: Cop Land (1997)

Rank 29: Hell Or High Water (2016)

Rank 30: Rush Hour (1998)

Tell us in the comments which one you think is the best police movie!

Leave a Comment