Why in God’s name did they make Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans? It’s not as if there’s a huge fan base clamoring for a follow up to the original Bad Lieutenant. And fans of the original aren’t exactly going to be thrilled to see their cult classic re-imaged as a Nicolas Cage vehicle. While we’re at it, let’s make Harold and Maude: Miami Heat or Eraserhead: Surreal in Sacramento.
Even the director, Werner Herzog, wanted to change the title. After all, when you’re making a movie about a crooked cop, you probably don’t need a marketing ploy. Many films depicting good cops gone bad have gone on to become classics. Here are 10 of the greatest "dirty cop" films of all time.
Dirty Harry – The Dirty Harry Series
Nobody likes a dirty cop, unless of course that cop is abusing his power for the greater good. If a cop is shaking down drug dealers to line his own pockets, he’s considered a scum bag. But if a cop shoves a plunger handle up some perp’s anus to force a rape confession, he’s just a loose cannon who doesn’t have time for bureaucratic formalities like "paper work" and "the Fifth Amendment." For example, Dirty Harry doesn’t play by "the rules," but he’s one of the most beloved on-screen cops of all time.
Alonzo – Training Day
This movie really hit home for me. My partner once forced me to smoke PCP and then left me for dead with a group of Mexican gang bangers. Of course this was back in high school when I was working at a water park, so things ended up a lot better for me than they did for Alonzo, the crooked cop in Training Day. "King Kong ain’t got nothing on me." An accurate statement, considering Kong and Alonzo both end up getting shot to death. (Retroactive Spoiler Alert)
Captain Hank Quinlan – Touch of Evil
If there’s one thing that films have taught me, it’s that fat cops and corruption go together like Amy Winehouse and Valtrex. And they don’t get much fatter or more corrupt than Orsen Wells in Touch of Evil. But hey, you can’t make an omelet without strangling a few suspects, am I right?
The Lieutenant – Bad Lieutenant
As you’ve probably gathered from the title, this guy is one bad Lieutenant. Harvey Keitel plays a drug-addled cop who is up to his ears in gambling debt. When he’s not getting stoned out of his mind and shaking down criminals for cash, he’s running a ponzi scheme on his fellow officers and sexually assaulting teenage girls. (Spoiler Alert) I hope you like Harvey Keitel’s junk as much as I do, because you get an eyeful of it.
Click here to see scene from Bad Lieutenant involving a gun, a bullet, and the "N-word."
The Sheriff of Nottingham – Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
If there’s one thing this crappy movie taught me, it’s that crooked cops have been around for a long, long time. I’m not an expert on British law, but I’m pretty sure you can’t just go around arbitrarily cutting people’s hearts out with spoons. You have to consult a priest and look at a sheep’s entrails first! Read your Magna Carta, Sheriff.
The Sheriff of Malibu – The Big Lebowski
Malibu is a nice quiet beach community,and this sheriff intends to keep it that way. He’s a real reactionary. He’s probably the same guy who busted Mel Gibson for a DUI. F**king fascist!
Sheriff Will Teasle – First Blood
The sheriff in the first Rambo movie is a real dick. He wants to run John Rambo out of town just because he’s a crazy drifter with a hunting knife as big as your head. I can’t understand why he doesn’t want Rambo around. What a mean jerk.
Chief Wiggum The Simpsons Movie
Yeah, most of Wiggum’s corruption happens on the TV show, and not the movie. But he’s still a great example of a cop on the take. If you don’t like it, make your own damn list.
Staff Sergeant Colin Sullivan – The Departed
Matt Damon plays a rat in the Massachusetts State Police Department in this Oscar winning Martin Scorsese film. All corrupt cop references aside, there is something genuinely satisfying about watching Matt Damon get repeatedly jacked in the face.
Norman "Stan" Stansfield – The Professional
Gary Oldman is at his creepiest as a crooked DEA agent who has now qualms about killing those who stand in his way. On a list of 10 scum bags (Wiggum and Dirty Harry excluded), this is the only character who has no problems with killing children, and that is saying a lot.
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