10 Best Crime Story Movies

Thursday, February 24 by Mason Kaho

The list of the 10 best crime story movies includes some of the most suspenseful and gripping films ever made. Crime allows for a great context for storytelling, with built-in conflict of good vs. evil. These movies all have their own unique take on crime, from the mob, to psychopaths, to dirty cops.

  1. “The Godfather.” This legendary film is certainly one of the best crime story movies ever made. Focusing on a mafia family headed by Vito Corleone, the movie details the family’s interactions with other organized crime families in New York and the accompanying violence and dynamic of “honor among thieves.”
  2. “The Departed.” This movie’s great cast helps make it one of the best crime story movies ever. Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, and Jack Nicholson headline this film about a dirty cop who has close ties with a local organized crime boss. Gripping and suspenseful, it took home a handful of Oscars.
  3. “Rear Window.” Jimmy Stewart stars in this Hitchcock classic, a psychological thriller and one of the best crime story movies. Stewart, wheelchair-bound, witnesses from his window what he believes to be a murder. Unable to prove anything, he has to keep watching, attempting to piece clues together.
  4. “Memento.” This unique film is told backwards, in reverse chronological order. The protagonist, played by Guy Pearce, has a type of amnesia that will not allow him to store new memories. He must piece together clues to determine who raped and killed his wife.
  5. “Goldfinger.” Certainly one of the best crime story movies, this is perhaps the best film in the James Bond franchise. It has great characters, great dialogue, and the best Bond of all—Sean Connery. It set the tone for many of the movies that followed.
  6. “L.A. Confidential.” This movie is set in Hollywood in the 1950’s and has a film noir feel to it. A mass murder sparks an investigation, and as layers a peeled away the dark underworld of the city is exposed, from organized crime to prostitution to police corruption. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards.
  7. “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.” This is the only light movie on this list, but this comedy from Mike Meyers is one of the best crime story movies. Powers is a British super spy who has been frozen for decades. Thawed to fight the nefarious Dr. Evil (also played by Meyers), much fish-out-of-water hilarity ensues.
  8. “Fargo.” This crime film is a bit of a dark comedy, brought to theaters by the genius Coen brothers. A down-on-his luck car salesman arranges for his wife to be kidnapped and to split the ransom with her abductors. The film was nominated for seven Oscars.
  9. “No Country for Old Men.”  Another Coen brothers special, this film was gritty, harsh, and violent. The psychotic Anton Chigurh is after a bag full of money that has been stumbled upon by Llewelyn Moss. Chigurh is not to be trifled with, as many will find out.
  10. “Se7en.” This dark, dark movie stars Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman as cops tracking down a person killing people for breaking any of the seven deadly sins. A shocking and surprising ending will have this movie stuck in your head for a long time. 
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