As promised, the second part of the police-themed movies post is here. The first post called This is the Police: The Appeal Of Cop Movies focused more on the diversity of the police films and the genres that they belong to. The post was more analytical of the police procedural movies, but this particular post (inspired by the Rebel Cops video game) is intended to be more of a list of the best police movies (in my humble opinion).
Some of them may overlap with other types of movies (for instance mafia movies) but I’ll try my best to focus and select the best of the best. In addition to This is The Police, we also have Rebel Cops on sale here at IndieGala, which is a spin-off of the previously mentioned game. So, you can choose which one is the best for your lock-down entertainment.
Disclaimer! As a result of the diversity and abundance of cop movies, we naturally can’t put them all on this list. So, it’s up to you to provide us with some of your suggestions in the comment section. Let’s start, shall we?
Rebel Cops and Real Life Cops
Let’s start with police procedural movies that are inspired by real-life cops. Movies like American Gangster and Serpico are certainly amazing and worth watching. Due to the biographical elements of the story, they’re labeled as biographical movies, but the historical accuracy is sometimes debatable. However, if I’m going to choose a biographical movie depicting police officers, I’m going with…
The French Connection
A true classic indeed. Besides depicting the work of two narcotics officers during the early ’70s, the movie also has one of Gene Hackman’s performances. Deservingly so, Hackman even won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle. But if you’re a true fan of gritty, realistic work of art, then French Connection is the film for you. It has incredible car chase scenes, fantastic dialogue, and a brilliant direction from William Friedkin. A true masterpiece in every sense of the word. A must watch for every film buff out there.
Rebel Cops and Dirty Cops
Frankly, there’s an abundance of dirty cop themed movies in Hollywood. Which is why it’s way too difficult to pick just one. Whether it’s about corrupt cops or drug-addicted cops, Hollywood can deliver the goods. I can’t help but mention Romeo Is Bleeding in this bracket. Gary Oldman is truly incredible in it, but at the same time, Bad Lieutenant is also worth mentioning. Because Harvey Keitel is amazing in Bad Lieutenant. Furthermore, Richard Gere was phenomenal in Internal Affairs, but for now, I’m going with….
Yes, I could have picked Training Day instead, but I think The Departed fits way better here. Why? Because, I think it’s one of “Martin Scorsese’s best movies” kind of film, and the cast is incredible as well. Starting with Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Mark Wahlberg, and ending with the one and only Jack Nicholson. How amazing was Jack Nicholson in the role of the mob boss? Just brilliant. And frankly, the Departed is one of Scorsese’s top 3 movies that I can watch without ever getting bored. The other two being Goodfellas and Taxi Driver, of course.
Rebel Cops and Funny Cops
While most of the cop movies are gritty, dark, and realistic, some of them are funny and lighthearted. Bad Boys sure fits here, and so does the Starsky & Hutch. Beverly Hills Cop also comes to mind, and so does Rush Hour as well. Some may even consider the Lethal Weapon film series a true classic in the buddy cop movies, but for now, I’m going with a different Shane Black movie. I’m talking about….
If you haven’t seen Nice Guys, I beg of you. Please watch it. You’ll thank me later. And I’m very well aware that it’s not the perfect buddy cop movie. Because only one of the characters is a private detective. But what do you get when you put together a no-nonsense enforcer (Russel Crowe) and clumsy depressed Private Detective (Ryan Gosling) together? A fantastic movie that’s what. Set in 1977, Nice Guys is hilarious, poignant with a subtle retro throwback of an era that’s long gone. It’s also one of Shane Blacks‘ finest movies to date. I can’t recommend this movie enough.
A mixed bag of buddy cop movies
And last but certainly not least…. I must mention the oddball police movies. You know. Movies that either don’t fit in any of the previous categories or fit in every single one. It depends on the movie of course.
Think about The Heat. Instead of two male cops, you have two female cops working together. Also, think of Turner & Hooch. The 80’s buddy cop movie paired Tom Hanks with an adorable Dogue de Bordeaux. David Ayer’s Bright fits here as well, but for now I’m going with….
There are very few movies out there who can blend neo-noir, SF, action, and the good old buddy cop theme, and create something unique. There’s an announced remake of Alien Nation that’s currently in the making.
However, before it arrives in the movie theaters (or on Netflix) it’s good to remind ourselves of the cult classic. Alien Nation touched on so many issues. Discrimination and racism are big themes in the movie. But if you’re looking for fantastic performances from James Caan, Mandy Patinkin, and Terence Stamp, look no further. Alien Nation got you covered.
And furthermore, Bright is heavily inspired by Alien Nation. But instead of aliens, there’s a heavy presence of orcs and elves throughout the movie.
Buddy Cop Movies Will Never Die
As I mentioned in the first part of the post, police procedural movies are an integral part of Hollywood. They’re versatile and for the most part, are dependent on the buddy cop duo to make us entertained. The story is pretty much the same. Solving a murder case or a robbery. The police officers, the detectives, or even the low-level cops are the ones that lift the spirit of the movie.
What’s your favorite police procedural movie? And did you enjoy playing Rebel Cops or This is The Police?
Tell us in the comment section. We’d love to know.