My Favorite Cop Movies (See Author's Comments for Reviews)

  1. French Connection
  2. Bullitt
  3. Serpico
  4. L.A. Confidential
  5. The Untouchables
  6. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
  7. Hardboiled
  8. Lethal Weapon
  9. Heat
  10. Beverly Hills Cop
Author Comments: 

1. Grittiest docudrama for a cop movie, witha rollicking chase sequence, and top-notch acting. Friedkin won a greatly-deserved Oscar for direction.

2. Another gritty cop story with Steve McQueen as a somewhat amoral police Lt. on the trail of a kingpin who killed a star witness. Half the time, I thought McQueen was going to punch Robert Vaughan, who plays a dangerously ambitious D.A.. Also notable for a great car chase scene.

3. THe life and trevails of undercover NYC police officer Frank Serpico who blew the whistle on a far-reaching police corruption. Pacino gives a superb performance as a classic lone man-against-the-crowd role in his portrayl as the dogged but damned Serpico. Lot of people hated Serpico for what he did, but he had gutts and it nearly got him killed. So give the man some credit.

4. A great revival into the film noir with a modern vibe. Set in 1950's LA on the wave of a series of mob hits, Guy Pierce, Russell Crowe, and Kevin Spacey are all excellent as differently-driven police detectives trying to solve three seperate cases that are mysteriously linked. Good supporting performances from Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito, David Straithran, and James Cromwell as the seamy police captain Dudley Smith. Not overly superb, but is fun and interesting to watch. If Curtis Hanson keeps making movies like this, then I'll be a happy film buff.

5. Highly-fabricated but exciting adaptation of the famous TV show with Robert Stack about Treasury agent Eliot Ness and his gangbusting squad that take on the powers of Al Capone in 1930s Chicago. Even if you think the Volstead Act was a ludicrous idea, you can not help but feel horrified at Robert DeNiro's psychotic portrayl of the infamous ganglord. Okay, Eliot Ness was G-Man, not an actual police officer, but Malone and Stone were cops, so I count this as a cop movie. As long as you have the power to detect crime and arrest someone, you count as a cop to me. FBI agents are just special cops. Connery is great as a streetwise veteran cop who becomes Ness's mentor and right-hand man. The gunfight at the train station is as fun to watch as the shootout on the Canadian bridge. Brian DePalma is skillful at adding great drama with the comic book flavor of the premise. The music is catchy and memorable.

6. Great hijaker movie about four heavily armed men, with color-coded identities, who take hold of a Manhattan subway car with 18 passengers on it demanding a million dollars within one hour. THere is splendid tension and suspense in the movie, but a lot of good humor as this also unfolds as one of the crazy New York story. THe scenes between the hapless, Ed Koch-like mayor and his savvy, more-capable. deputy-mayor (Tony Robbins) cracks me up. Robert Shaw is creepy as the head of the hijackers. and of course, Walter Matthau is at his grumpy-gumshoe best as a subway police lieutenant trying to solve the situation.

7. Great Honk-Kong Police action movie. Fun and thrilling gunplay scenes. Chow-yun Fat is typically wonderful as a straight and tough cop with great, acerobatic skills with a gun. I sometimes wish John Woo would have stayed over in Hong Kong to make his action movies. The only one of his American action movie that I liked was Face-Off, and even that wasn't his best.

8. The classic buddy-buddy cop blockbuster still holds weight today. Mel Gibson and Danny GLover are always an enjoyable duo as the wild, semi-suicidal loose cannon and the tough old-timer with a six-shooter and a family who become partners to take on a ruthless gang of mercenary drug-dealers. Ryan Mitchell and Gary Busey are scary as the gangleaders.

9. The cops-and-robbers saga in which fans of both or either saw Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro square off as a sharp but tempestous cop and the crafty, methodical leader of a gang of top-notched robbers. Not since the Roaring Twenties, when Cagney and Bogart played cohorts and rivals, had something like that occured. The personal dramas of the people involved collide sometimes with the police drama, sometimes very intentionally, and Pacino overdoes his notably volcanic film persona at times. But the rivalry between Pacino and DeNiro is fun to watch. Michael Mann's direction is intense enough for me to like this film. good supporting cast.

10. The movie for all wise-asses who love action movies. Eddie Murphy is entertaining as the wisecracking-but-streetwise Detroit cop Alex Foley, who comes to Beverly Hills to track down the killers of an old buddy. Ronnie Cox is good as the Beverly Hills Police Captain who resists but comes to respect Foley's sincerity as a cop. Good bad guys, great humor, good shoot-outs, and a decent detective story. Kind of gave rise to a slew of action-comedies, which was capitalized by Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Tucker, and Jim Belushi. See 48 Hours, Fatal Beauty, Red Heat, K-9, and the Rush Hour movies.

I know the Untouchables is really more of G-Man movies than a cop movie. I mean Sean Connery and Andy Gracia played cops, but they were sort of enlisted into the Treasury Department when they joined up with ELiot Ness. But the way I see it, if you can detect crimes, flash a badge, and arrest people, you are basically a cop. FBI, ATF, DEA, and Treasury Officers are just specialized cops.

What's your thoughts on NARC? Carnahan was heavily inspired by The French Connection, and William Friedkin even features on the DVD extras.

I liked NARC very much, both Liotta and Patric were very good. I thought the movie was better than what people give it credit for.