10 Best Cops Movies

Monday, March 7 by Mason Kaho

The list of the 10 best cops movies includes some of the most exciting and gripping films ever made. Hollywood likes to feature police in films because of the natural set up of good vs. bad, and the dramas that unfold in doing police work. From the serious to the only-somewhat-serious, cop films have become a staple in American cinema, and offer edge-of-the-seat suspense.

  1. “The Departed.” Perhaps the best cops movie ever, this start-studded film—with Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, and Matt Damon, among others—won four Oscars, including best picture and best director for Martin Scorsese. The movie revolves around a corrupt cop and the intrigue around trying to unearth him.
  2. “Colors.” This 1988 movie starred Sean Penn and Robert Duvall and is one of the 10 best cop movies ever. The film revolves around the gan fighting between the Bloods and Crips in LA, with Duvall playing the grizzled veteran showing the ropes to his rookie partner. The movie was praised for its stark realism.
  3. “Letha Weapon.” The first in this franchise with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, this film is one of the 10 best cops movies ever made. Never taking itself seriously and with lots of comic relief, Gibson plays the slightly off-kilter Martin Riggs, teamed up with Glover’s character, just weeks from retirement.
  4. “Serpcio.” This is a classic movie, and one of the 10 best cops movies. This early 1970s film was based on a true story, about a cop who went undercover to expose his corrupt colleagues. Al Pacino delivers a powerful performance.
  5. “L.A. Confidential.” Set amid the glitz of Hollywood in the 1950s, this 1997 film is one of the best cops movies you’ll see. Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe, and Kevin Spacey lead a great cast in a movie about internal corruption in the city police force. The film was nominated for nine Oscars.
  6. “Se7en.” This dark and gripping film has horror aspects in it, on its way to becoming one of the 10 best cops movies. Two cops track a psychopath who is killing people guilty of the seven deadly sins. A dark and disturbing twist to Brad Pitt’s character ends the film.
  7. “Dirty Harry.” Clint Eastwood became iconic with this character, known for his big gun and great one liners. Harry is chasing a psychopathic killer in this first film in the franchise, released in 1971.
  8. “Heat.” This 1995 movie had a great cast with Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, and Val Kilmer. De Niro plays a thief and the movie centers around Pacino’s obsession with catching him, even at the expense of family and happiness.
  9. “The French Connection.” Gene Hackman plays the legendary Popeye Doyle in this crime classic from 1971 that one the Academy Award for best picture. Drugs are being smuggled from France into New York, and two New York crime fighters get involved in stopping it.
  10. “The Untouchables.” This film is based on the true story of crime fighter Elliot Ness and his efforts to bring down gangster Al Capone. Set among the time of prohibition, Kevin Costner delivers a memorable depiction of Ness, in this movie that was nominated for four Oscars.
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