10 Classic Crime Movies
The best classic crime movies present masterful criminals and the law enforcement officials who fight to bring them down. These are Oscar-winning movies with some of the best actors of all time directed by some of cinema’s most visionary filmmakers.
“Serpico” Sidney Lumet directed one of the best classic crime movies starring Al Pacino. Pacino stars as Frank Serpico, a police officer who goes undercover to expose the corruption of his own police force. The movie is based on the true story of Serpico through his 12-year operation.
“The Godfather” When talking about classic crime movies, “The Godfather” has to be at the top of most lists. Vito Corleone is the head of an organized crime family and his son, Michael, is a war-hero who ends up being sucked into the criminal lifestyle.
“All the President’s Men” Classic crime movies are not always about street criminals and this movie is about the leader of the country being brought to trial for his crimes. Based on the novel by Woodward and Bernstein, this movie won the 1976 Academy Award for Best Picture.
“In the Heat of the Night” This 1967 film is one of the best classic crime movies ever made. The movie tackles the theme of racial tensions in the South as an African-American detective is sent into Mississippi to solve a murder. The movie earned seven Oscar nominations.
“The French Connection” Gene Hackman starred as Popeye Doyle in this crime movie based on a real life New York detective. The movie was the first R-rated movie to win an Academy Award for Best Picture and was added to the Library of Congress in 2005.
“The Sting” Robert Redford and Paul Newman star in this caper movie, one of the best classic crime movies of all time. The two men play con artists who are inspired by the real-life con-game portrayed in the novel “The Big Con: The Story of the Confidence Men.”
“Scarface” Al Pacino stars in one of the most famous of the classic crime movies. He stars as Tony Montana, an immigrant who works his way up the levels of the Miami crime scene. The movie is a slight remake of the 1932 Howard Hawks film of the same name.
“Chinatown” Roman Polanski directs one of the best classic crime movies ever made. Jack Nicholson stars as a Los Angeles private detective who investigates a man accused of adultery. What he uncovers is based on the real-life water disputes in L.A. during the 1920s.
“Dirty Harry” Clint Eastwood stars as a San Francisco police officer in one of the best classic crime movies. He is a no-nonsense cop who often finds himself at odds with his superiors as he deals with criminals in a violent, destructive manner.
“Bonnie and Clyde” In a retelling of the classic bank robbers life stories, this remains one of the greatest classic crime movies ever made. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway star as the star-crossed lovers who leave a trail of dead bodies across the Midwest.