73 Best Crime Movies - Featured - StudioBinder

You’re looking for a list of the best crime movies of all time. Maybe you want to find action crime films, or crime thrillers, or perhaps even a crime comedy movie or a crime drama. We’ve got you covered.

In this post, we’ve compiled a list of the best crime movies of all-time, including American crime movies and the top crime films from around the world. All of these movies are worth a watch, so pop some corn, call your lawyer, pour a glass of your favorite pruno, and start the show.

Best Crime Movies of All Time

Preface for our best crime movie list

Crime movies can mean a lot of things, so we’ve decided to leave most most courtroom drama, superhero films, and criminals motivated by ideology rather than personal gain. We also rank our list based on how well the movie represents the crime genre over other genres, and then take into account the actual quality of the film. 

For instance, Gone Girl and Memento are great films that could fall into the crime genre, but they don’t represent the crime genre as well as films focused on a life a crime like films such as Goodfellas and Heat.

Now… less talk. More Crime!

Australian Crime Movies

73. Animal Kingdom (2012)

Animal Kingdom Trailer

This Australian crime film is one of the top crime movies because of authenticity as well as the cast. It was so good they’ve since made a television series based on the film. 

IN CONCLUSION

Animal Kingdom

  • The film is loosely based on the Melbourne crime scene in the 1980s, and the Pettingills crime family. Also, the random revenge murder of two patrolmen recreates the 1988 Walsh Street police shootings.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 94%
  • Where to Watch

Independent Crime Movies

72. Good Time (2017)

Good Time Trailer

This is one of the best crime drama movies, and while it is very dramatic it also works really well as a crime thriller.

IN CONCLUSION

Good Time

  • The scene in the subway was shot during rush hour with real passengers on the 7 train. In order to shoot unnoticed, they directed Pattinson by text messages while the camera and crew was filming in the same wagon.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 93%
  • Where to watch

Best Crime Drama Movies

71. The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)

The Place Beyond the Pines Trailer

This film is one of the best crime movies because it brings many new ideas to a crime genre. It works well as a crime thriller, crime drama, and crime action movie at various points.

IN CONCLUSION

The Place Beyond the Pines

  • The method Luke (Ryan Gosling) and Robin (Ben Mendelsohn) use to rob the banks was the actual method "Friday Night Robber" Carl Gugasian successfully used for over thirty years.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 80%
  • Where to watch

Best American Crime Movies

70. Lawless (2012)

Lawless Trailer

Great crime movies often use authentic stories that help bring you into a specific world of crime, and that’s what this film does so well.

IN CONCLUSION

Lawless

  • The Russian title of this film translates as "The Drunkest County in the World".
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 67%
  • Where to watch

Best Action Comedy Movies

69. Last Man Standing (1996)

Last Man Standing Trailer

This is one of the best crime movies that is both haunting and unique. It’s a great crime movie that combines two worlds of crime that aren’t commonly explored in a single story.

IN CONCLUSION

Last Man Standing

  • Walter Hill considered this a "free adaptation" of Yojimbo (1961) rather than a remake, calling the idea of remaking Akira Kurosawa's film "a foolish endeavor."
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 37%
  • Where to watch

Best Comedy Crime Movies

68. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Trailer

This is one of the best crime comedy movies and one of the top crime movies in general. Shane Black has gone on to make more in the future, but there was something about this film that was the best.

IN CONCLUSION

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

  • Shane Black had been suffering from writer's block. It ultimately took him over a year and a half to write the script for this film. He then had enormous trouble trying to sell it.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 85%
  • Where to watch

Best Crime Drama Movies

67. Drive (2011)

Drive Trailer

This is a really strong crime drama movie, and one of the only really well made crime romance films. There are some great scenes of action, but this is a great date night crime movie.

IN CONCLUSION

Drive

  • After Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Winding Refn removed much of the Driver's dialogue, Bryan Cranston felt that his character, Shannon, should make up for the lack of talking in the film, and thus made Shannon a motormouth. Much of his dialogue is improvised.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 92%
  • Where to watch

Best Crime Drama Movie

66. The Town (2010)

The Town trailer

This crime thriller takes some great cues from the best crime movies including Heat and The Departed. Ben Affleck shows off his directorial prowess with a really good American crime movie.

IN CONCLUSION

The Town

  • Ben Affleck cited The Departed (2006), Heat (1995), Mystic River (2003), and The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) as influences on this film. Of them, Affleck said "All are R-rated movies in that same vein, and the movies I used as the gold standard of success here."
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 93%
  • Where to watch

Best Crime Movies

65. The Score (2001)

The Score Trailer

This really is a great crime film and a fun crime thriller where you don’t know who will come out on top. If you’ve never seen this crime film, you should give it a watch as soon as possible.

IN CONCLUSION

The Score

  • This is the only movie to star Robert De Niro and Marlon Brando, the first actors to win Academy Awards for playing the same role, that of Vito Corleone in The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974).
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 73%
  • Where to watch

Top Crime Movies

64. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

This very much is more of a great crime comedy movie as opposed to anything else, but definitely lead to many great action crime movies.

IN CONCLUSION

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

  • The film was having trouble finding an American distributor when Trudie Styler called an acquaintance of hers - Tom Cruise. He attended a screening and loved the film. Matthew Vaughn later recalled, "It was hysterical. You had all these mid-level executives sitting there, and Cruise walked in. He saw them all sit up and pay attention, all getting on their phones, and suddenly all these senior executives joined the screening ... At the end, Tom got up in front of everyone and said 'This is the best movie I've seen in years, you guys would be fools not to buy it.'"
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 75%

British Crime Movies

63. Layer Cake (2004)

Layer Cake Trailer

This is one of the top crime movies many crime genre fans didn’t see. It’s also the film that launched both Daniel Craig’s and Tom Hardy’s careers, as well as directing career for Matthew Vaughn.

IN CONCLUSION

Layer Cake

  • It was Daniel Craig's performance in this film that caused Barbara Broccoli to take notice and think he might be a good fit for James Bond.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 80%
  • Where to watch

Best Crime Comedy Movies

62. American Hustle (2013)

American Hustle Trailer

While this is one of the best crime movies out there, it is very different from many of the other crime films on this list. No big shootouts or classic organized crime, but still plenty of good crime to watch.

IN CONCLUSION

American Hustle

  • According to Christian Bale, much of the movie was improvised. So during the shooting of the film, he noted to writer and director David O. Russell, "You realize that this is going to change the plot greatly down track." To which Russell replied, "Christian, I hate plots. I am all about characters, that's it."
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 92%
  • Where to watch

Crime Thriller Movies

61. Killing them Softly (2012)

Killing them Softly Trailer

This is one of the top crime movies because, similar to many other Andrew Dominik films, is a tone poem that’s trying to talk about the concept of crime and criminals with a classic plot.

IN CONCLUSION

Killing Them Softly

  • The first feature film to use Kodak's 500T 5230 film stock.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 73%
  • Where to watch

Good Crime Movies

60. The Fast and the Furious (2001)

The Fast and the Furious Trailer

While this has become one of the biggest franchises of all time, this began with a really great action crime movie.

IN CONCLUSION

The Fast and the Furious

  • There are over 15,000 individual sound effects in the first street race.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 53%
  • Where to watch

Action Crime Movies

59. Point Break (1991)

Point Break Trailer

As you may have guessed, this crime movie inspired The Fast and the Furious, and it is one of the best action crime movies.

IN CONCLUSION

Point Break

  • This was Kathryn Bigelow's highest grossing film until Zero Dark Thirty (2012).
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 69%
  • Where to watch

Classic Crime Movies

58. Mean Streets (1973)

Mean Street Trailer

Before you had every other great Scorsese crime movie, you had this film. Many modern crime movies have this film to thank.

IN CONCLUSION

Mean Streets

  • Brian De Palma helped Martin Scorsese edit some scenes in this movie.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 96%
  • Where to watch

Best Comedy Crime Movies

57. In Bruges (2008)

In Bruges Trailer

This really is more of a crime drama movies but it is also a really strong crime comedy movie. Definitely worth a watch.

IN CONCLUSION

In Bruges

  • The painting that occasions comment even from Ray is "The Last Judgment" by Hieronymus Bosch. Bosch-like symbolism recurs throughout the movie (the dwarf is one example), suggesting that Ray and Ken may indeed encounter their own Last Judgment - or that the waiting period in Bruges is akin to purgatory.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 84%
  • Where to watch

56. Easy Rider (1969)

Easy Rider Trailer

This film has one of the most appropriate titles ever made because this crime film doesn’t play by hard a fast filmmaking rules, and has changed the way we look at filmmaking in general. 

IN CONCLUSION

Easy Rider

  • Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda did not write a full script for the movie, and made most of it up as they went along. They didn't hire a crew, but instead picked up hippies at communes across the country, and used friends and passers-by to hold the cameras, and were drunk and stoned most of the time.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 88%
  • Where to watch

55. New Jack City (1991)

New Jack City Trailer

This is one of the best crime drama movies ever made and it’s very similar to Scarface in how it feels like a criminal telling of Icarus. It shows the rise of a man who just won’t stop rising until his wings melt.

IN CONCLUSION

New Jack City

  • The chase between Scotty and Pookie was improvised. The original idea was for the chase to be a car chase, but the movie had gone over budget and was in danger of being shut down. Chris Rock, instead, hopped on a bicycle, and Ice-T chased him on foot.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 77%
  • Where to watch

Best Drug Crime Movies

54. A Scanner Darkly (2006)

A Scanner Darkly Trailer

This is one of the best crime movies of all time because it takes a unique approach not only to the filmmaking but also the story.

IN CONCLUSION

A Scanner Darkly

  • According to Writer and Director Richard Linklater, filming was completed in twenty-three days. The animation took eighteen months.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 67%
  • Where to watch

Comic Book Crime Movies

53. Sin City (2005)

Sin City Trailer

Similar to the last film on our list, this is a very unique crime film and works as a crime action movie, a crime comedy, and a crime thriller.

IN CONCLUSION

Sin City

  • Directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller planned each shot in the movie by using the panels from the original book as storyboard.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 77%
  • Where to watch

Romance Crime Movies

52. The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

The Thomas Crown Affair Trailer

Beyond being one of the greatest crime films of all time is how this is slick and sexy and fun. It also works as a really strong crime thriller, and the tonal shifts in the film are really natural and seamless.

IN CONCLUSION

The Thomas Crown Affair

  • The idea of unusual heat in the museum rendering thermal cameras useless, came from Director John McTiernan's Predator (1987). In that movie, McTiernan's thermal cameras began to fail, when the jungle temperature broke ninety degrees Fahrenheit (thirty-two degrees Celsius).
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 70%
  • Where to watch

Best Crime Drama Movies

51. Traffic (2000)

Traffic Trailer

Traffic is a very unique crime movie because it takes a look at crime in a three different storylines during the same time period. This is one of the best crime films ever made because it is painfully real.

IN CONCLUSION

Traffic

  • Director Steven Soderbergh is known as being first camera on many of his films, as a result, he was operating the camera for most of the shooting.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 92%
  • Where to watch

Best Drama Crime Movies

50. Donnie Brasco (1997)

Donnie Brasco Trailer

As far as crime films go, this is one of the most authentic you’ll ever watch. It has a similar tone and sensibility to Goodfellas but without the stylized approach.

IN CONCLUSION

Donnie Brasco

  • Joseph D. Pistone said in an interview in the special features on the DVD that he was supposed to be undercover for a few months. It ended up being six years. His family was moved across the country after nine months. He rarely saw them.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 88%
  • Where to watch

Best Comedy Crime Movies

49. Matchstick Men (2003)

Matchstick Men Trailer 

This is one of those crime movies that doesn’t have guns and heists, but it’s still one of the best crime movies ever made and one of the only comedy crime movies made by Ridley Scott.

IN CONCLUSION

Matchstick Men

  • The airport scenes, set at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), were actually filmed in the main entrance of the Anaheim Convention Center, a mile south of Disneyland.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 82%
  • Where to watch

48. Eastern Promises (2007)

Eastern Promises Trailer

This is easily one of the best crime drama movies ever made, and it has one of the most interesting fight scenes in a movie period.

IN CONCLUSION

Eastern Promises

  • For the bathhouse fight scene, the scene was choreographed with the actors instead of stuntmen. The actors had to train in specific fighting styles chosen for their characters and it took two days to shoot on location in London.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 89%
  • Where to watch

True Crime Movies

47. Blow (2001)

Blow Trailer

This is a crime movie that really takes you inside the inner workings of drug trafficking and the life of a man who lived a life of crime.

IN CONCLUSION

Blow

  • According to the director's commentary, the tape that George Jung leaves for his father near the end of the movie is a verbatim transcript of a tape that the real George Jung recorded under similar circumstances.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 55%
  • Where to watch

Top Crime Movies

46. Jackie Brown (1997)

Jackie Brown Tailer

It’s true that Quentin Tarantino makes some of the best crime movies out there and this crime film is no exception.

IN CONCLUSION

Jackie Brown

  • When Pam Grier walked in to audition for Quentin Tarantino, "there were all my posters from twenty years ago, when I was just a piss and vinegar kid", she recalled. "And I said, 'Did you put these up because I was coming over?' And he said, 'No. I was gonna take them down because you were coming over!'"
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 87%
  • Where to watch

Best Comedy Crime Movies

45. Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Catch Me If You Can Trailer

This is one of those crime comedy movies that is just plain fun to watch but also directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg.

IN CONCLUSION

Catch Me If You Can

  • The film shows Frank Abagnale, Jr. on the FBI's Most Wanted list. In real life, however, he never made the list - it's reserved for violent criminals.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 96%
  • Where to watch

Best Crime Movies

44. True Romance (1993)

True Romance Trailer

This is one of those great crime movies that was written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by the legendary Tony Scott.

IN CONCLUSION

True Romance

  • The motel room fight scene between Alabama (Patricia Arquette) and Virgil (James Gandolfini) took five days to shoot.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 92%
  • Where to watch

Action Crime Movies

43. RocknRolla (2008)

RocknRolla Trailer

Guy Ritchie really does make some of the best crime movies out there, and this is his second film on our list of the best crime movies.

IN CONCLUSION

RocknRolla

  • Christopher Nolan said that it was his performance in this film that convinced him to cast Tom Hardy in Inception (2010) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
  • RT Tomatometer Score:  60%
  • Where to watch

Gang Crime Movies

42. Menace II Society (1993)

Menace II Society Trailer

As far as American crime movies go, this film is one of the most authentic, partly due to the lack of conventional star power.

IN CONCLUSION

Menace II Society

  • Tupac Shakur was originally cast to play Sharif, but was fired which led to a physical fight with co-Director Allen Hughes. Shakur was charged with assault and battery. 
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 84%
  • Where to watch

Oscar Winning Crime Movies

41. The Sting (1973)

The Sting Trailer

This crime comedy movie won the Oscar for best picture and is one of the most beloved films of all time.

IN CONCLUSION

The Sting

  • Edith Head won her 8th and final Best Costume Design Academy Award for this film. "Just imagine," she said during her acceptance speech. "Dressing the two handsomest men in the world and then getting this."
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 93%
  • Where to watch

Violent Crime Movies

40. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Bonnie and Clyde Trailer

This is one of those American crime movies that really changed the landscape of filmmaking and how movies were received. 

IN CONCLUSION

Bonnie and Clyde

  • One of Director Arthur Penn's intentions was to make the character of Blanche as hysterical as possible, so that it would make Bonnie look even cooler.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 88%
  • Where to watch

Best Crime Drama Movies

39. Road to Perdition (2002)

Road to Perdition Trailer

As far as crime drama movies go, this is one of those crime films that shows the connection between family and a life of crime.

IN CONCLUSION

Road to Perdition

  • The movie is dedicated to cinematographer Conrad L. Hall, whose last film this was. This was also Paul Newman’s last film.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 80%
  • Where to watch

Top Crime Movies

38. Public Enemies (2009)

Public Enemies Trailer

Michael Mann makes some of the top crime movies out there, and this action crime movie showcases tons of classic criminals in their heyday. 

IN CONCLUSION

Public Enemies

  • While filming on location in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, a boy, aged eleven, told Johnny Depp he loved his Fedora hat, and would like to have one like it. Depp told the boy he would see what he could do about that. After filming finished, Depp sent the boy the hat in the mail.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 68%
  • Where to watch

American Crime Movies

37. The Untouchables (1987)

The Untouchables Trailer

Similar to our last film, this is a crime thriller takes place in the days of Al Capone and the golden age of organized crime.

IN CONCLUSION

The Untouchables

  • Albert H. Wolff, the last survivor of the real-life Untouchables, was a consultant on this movie, and helped Kevin Costner with his portrayal of Eliot Ness.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 82%
  • Where to watch

White Collar Crime Movies

36. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

The Wolf of Wall Street Trailer

Some of the best crime movies of all time are centered around white collar crime, which is just as damaging to law abiding folk.

IN CONCLUSION

The Wolf of Wall Street

  • Martin Scorsese has confirmed that some of the editing is odd on purpose, especially the scenes where one or more characters are high, every time Jordan is seen taking drugs the scenes that follow have continuity issues and often flow oddly.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 79%
  • Where to watch

European Crime Movies

35. Ronin (1998)

Ronin Trailer

Action crime movies require a few things to be really great, and this film has one of the best car chases in the history of filmmaking.

IN CONCLUSION

Ronin

  • Skipp Sudduth requested to do his own stunt driving during the car chases, and John Frankenheimer agreed. Frankenheimer told Sudduth, "I don't wanna see any brake lights."
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 68%
  • Where to watch

34. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Reservoir Dogs Trailer

While this film is one of the best crime thriller movies, it’s also a great example of a really good American crime movie.

IN CONCLUSION

Reservoir Dogs

  • In an interview on BBC in 2009, Quentin Tarantino said he was proud that the movie is often on top ten heist movies, even though you never actually see the heist.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 91%
  • Where to watch

Crime Thriller Movies

33. Blow Out (1981)

Blow Out Trailer

Brian De Palma not only makes the best crime thriller movies, but he also understands how to merge the crime drama genre into his films.

IN CONCLUSION

Blow Out

  • Quentin Tarantino stated in an interview that this film is his favorite Brian De Palma movie. In fact, Tarantino cast John Travolta in Pulp Fiction (1994) because he liked his performance in this movie so much.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 85%
  • Where to watch

Best Crime Drama Films

32. Taxi Driver (1976)

Taxi Driver Trailer

This is easily one of the best crime drama movies ever made, and instead of focusing on crime as a plot device is is explored through a character’s relationship with crime and perceived justice.

IN CONCLUSION

Taxi Driver

  • Director Martin Scorsese claims that the most important shot in the movie is when Bickle is on the phone trying to get another date with Betsy. The camera moves to the side slowly and pans down the long, empty hallway next to Bickle, as if to suggest that the phone conversation is too painful and pathetic to bear.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 98%
  • Where to watch

Action Comedy Crime Film

31. Baby Driver (2017)

Baby Driver Trailer

Action crime movies can be a lot of fun, and director Edgar Wright does a great job by mixing a good hearted character in the lead role surrounded by selfish and greedy criminals. Best of both worlds. 

IN CONCLUSION

Baby Driver

  • In almost every scene where no music is playing, you can hear a slight ringing in the background (the sound of Baby's tinnitus).
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 93%
  • Where to watch

Top Crime Films

30. Collateral (2004)

Collateral Trailer

This particular crime film is one of the best crime thriller movies out there that has really strong characters and a really great plot.

IN CONCLUSION

Collateral

  • According to Michael Mann, Vincent is a man able to get in and out of anywhere without anyone recognizing or remembering him. To prepare for the movie, Tom Cruise had to make FedEx deliveries in a crowded Los Angeles market without anyone recognizing him.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 86%
  • Where to watch

Best Crime Films

29. The Bad Sleep Well (1960)

The Bad Sleep Well

Akira Kurosawa is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, and this is one of the top crime movies you will have the pleasure of viewing.

IN CONCLUSION

The Bad Sleep Well

  • 'Kyoko Kagawa' wore both uneven shoes and a knee brace to help make her character's limp more believable and real.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 100%
  • Where to watch

Crime Drama Movies

28. On the Waterfront (1954)

On The Waterfront

This crime film is one of the best crime drama movies of all time and yet another great crime film with Marlon Brando.

IN CONCLUSION

On the Waterfront

  • Sam Spiegel forgot to pay for rear-projection equipment, hence the reason why the cab where Marlon Brando and Rod Steiger play out the film's most famous scene has blinds.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 98%
  • Where to watch

Action Crime Movies

27. Gangs of New York (2002)

Gangs of New York Trailer

This is one of the best action crime movies of all time, especially made by Martin Scorsese, which gives us some important variety.

IN CONCLUSION

Gangs of New York

  • Leonardo DiCaprio accidentally broke Daniel Day-Lewis' nose while filming a fight scene. Day-Lewis continued to film the scene despite the injury.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 73%
  • Where to watch

Great Crime Movies

26. Thief (1981)

Thief Trailer

This is one of the best crime movies out there and a great character study into the life of an actual authentic criminal.

IN CONCLUSION

Thief

  • After The Godfather (1972), this is James Caan's favorite film of his own. He has stated that his monologue in the diner is the scene of which he is most proud in his career.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 93%
  • Where to watch

Dark Comedy Crime Movies

25. Fargo (1996)

Fargo Trailer

Beyond being one of the great crime comedy movies, it’s also a really fun crime thriller. It’s just one of the best crime movies of all time.

IN CONCLUSION

Fargo

  • William H. Macy stated in an interview that, despite evidence to the contrary, he did hardly any ad-libbing at all. Most of his character's stuttering mannerisms were written in the script exactly the way he does them in the film.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 93%
  • Where to watch

Noir Crime Films

24. Double Indemnity (1944)

Double Indemnity Trailer

While this really is more of a detective noir film, it’s hard to have a list of the best crime films of all time without this movie.

IN CONCLUSION

Double Indemnity

  • The scene where Neff and Dietrichson can't get their car started after the murder was added by Billy Wilder after his car wouldn't start at the end of a shooting day.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 97%
  • Where to watch

Best Crime Drama Movies

23. Chinatown (1974)

Chinatown Trailer

This film is both a really great crime drama movie as well as a really suspenseful crime thriller movie.

IN CONCLUSION

Chinatown

  • Jack Nicholson is present in every scene of the film.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 99%
  • Where to watch

Classic Crime Movies

22. Touch of Evil (1958)

Touch of Evil

This crime film is from Orson Welles and it serves as one of the best crime thriller movies and an origin of the suspenseful long take.

IN CONCLUSION

Touch of Evil

  • Orson Welles said that this was the most fun he'd ever had filming a picture, unlike most of his Hollywood films, because he wasn't troubled by studio interference (until after he completed the picture, anyway).
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 96%
  • Where to watch

Best Crime Thriller Movies

21. The Maltese Falcon (1941)

The Maltese Falcon Trailer

If you want to see how many of the best crime thriller movies were made you need to start at the early parts, and that means this crime film.

IN CONCLUSION

The Maltese Falcon

  • Two "Maltese Falcons" were used because Humphrey Bogart accidentally dropped the original during shooting. It is on display in the movie museum at Warner Bros. studios; its tail feathers are visibly dented from when Bogart dropped it.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 100%
  • Where to watch

Action Crime Movies

20. The French Connection (1971)

The French Connection Trailer

This is one of the best crime thriller movies ever made, as well as being one of the great action crime movies of all time.

IN CONCLUSION

The French Connection

  • The car crash during the chase sequence, at the intersection of Stillwell Ave. and 86th St., was unplanned and was included because of its realism. The man whose car was hit had just left his house a few blocks from the intersection to go to work and was unaware that a car chase was being filmed. The producers later paid the bill for the repairs to his car.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 98%
  • Where to watch

Best Comedy Crime Movies

19. Snatch (2000)

Snatch Trailer

This is the best crime movie made by director Guy Ritchie, and possibly the best British crime movie ever made. It’s also a really strong crime comedy movie that solidified Ritchie’s unique style.

IN CONCLUSION

Snatch

  • Every mistake that Sol, Vincent and Tyrone make were inspired by various late-night TV shows about real-life crimes gone horribly wrong.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 73%
  • Where to watch

Comedy Crime Films

18. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Ocean's Eleven Trailer

This remake from Steven Soderbergh is one of the best crime comedy movies ever made and was followed by some great sequels.

IN CONCLUSION

Ocean’s Eleven

  • Steven Soderbergh used a 45-degree shutter effect for the flashback scenes. It causes the film to be exposed to light for less time than usual and results in more of a choppy feel.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 82%
  • Where to watch

Organized Crime Movies

17. American Gangster (2007)

American Gangster Trailer

American Gangster is a great organized crime movie and definitely the best crime movie made by director Ridley Scott.

IN CONCLUSION

American Gangster

  • Ridley Scott recalls that this production was one of the most massive undertakings of his career. There were 360 scenes filmed in over 180 different locations.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 80%
  • Where to watch

Oscar Winning Crime Movies

16. The Usual Suspects (1995)

Caption goes here...

This crime thriller movie launched the career of Bryan Singer and Chistopher McQuarrie. Definitely a top crime film.

IN CONCLUSION

The Usual Suspects

  • Christopher McQuarrie had previously worked for a detective agency, and this influenced the depiction of criminals and law enforcement officials in the script.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 89%
  • Where to watch

Crime Drama Movies

15. Carlito’s Way (1993)

Carlito's Way Trailer

This Brain De Palma film is one of the best crime drama movies ever made and it shows a criminal who wants to redeem himself.

IN CONCLUSION

Carlito’s Way

  • The exterior of the hospital where Carlito visits his bedridden attorney is the same one where Vito Corleone is taken in The Godfather (1972), also starring Al Pacino.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 81%
  • Where to watch

American Crime Thriller Movies

14. Training Day (2001)

Training Day Trailer

This is one of the best crime thriller movies ever made and it shows how the lines of crime and crime fighter are often blurred.

IN CONCLUSION

Training Day

  • The license plate on Alonzo's car is "ORP 967" obviously a nod to Officer Rafael Perez, the disgraced L.A.P.D. officer who was born in 1967, and on whom the character was based.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 72%
  • Where to watch

Foreign Crime Films

13. City of God (2002)

City of God Trailer

If you’ve never seen this film you should as soon as possible because it’s one of the most authentic and one of the best crime movies of all time.

IN CONCLUSION

City of God

  • All the amateur actors were recruited from "favelas" (slums) in Rio de Janeiro, and a couple of them--Buscapé/Rocket (Alexandre Rodrigues), for example--actually lived in the Cidade de Deus (City of God) itself.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 91%
  • Where to watch

Oscar Winning Crime Films

12. The Departed (2006)

The Departed Trailer

This is not only one of the best crime movies of all time, but the only film that has resulted in Martin Scorsese winning best picture.

IN CONCLUSION

The Departed

  • When receiving the top award from the Director's Guild of America for this film, Martin Scorsese said that this "is the first movie I have ever done with a plot."
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 91%
  • Where to watch

Oscar Winning Crime Thriller

11. No Country for Old Men (2007)

No Country for Old Men Trailer

As far as crime thriller movies go, there are few as suspenseful as this movie. The film is a great exploration of crime as well.

IN CONCLUSION

No Country for Old Men

  • The case that held the money in this film was the same case that was also used for the same purpose in Fargo (1996).
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 93%
  • Where to watch

Great Crime Films

10. The Killing (1956)

The Killing Trailer

This is the crime movie you get from legendary director Stanley Kubrick, and this movie happened long before many of his other films.

IN CONCLUSION

The Killing

  • Initial test screenings were poor, citing the non-linear structure as the main problem. Stanley Kubrick was forced to go back and edit the film in a linear fashion, actually making the film even more confusing. In the end, it was released in its original form, and is often cited as being a huge influence on other non-linear films like Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Pulp Fiction (1994).
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 97%
  • Where to watch

True Crime Drama

9. Casino (1995)

Casino Trailer

This is definitely one of the top crime movies of all time, and many feel this is a better crime film than Goodfellas.

IN CONCLUSION

Casino

  • The costume budget for the film was $1 million. Robert De Niro had seventy different costumes throughout the film, Sharon Stone had forty. Both were allowed to keep their costumes afterwards.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 80%
  • Where to watch

Best American Crime Movies

8. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Trailer

Of course this is one of the best American crime movies even though the entire film was made with an Italian crew and an Italian director.

IN CONCLUSION

Once Upon a Time in America

  • The street view of Manhattan Bridge (as seen in the film's poster) can be seen from Washington Street, Brooklyn, New York.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 86%
  • Where to watch

Oscar Winning Crime Films

7. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Pulp Fiction Trailer

As Quentin Tarantino has said himself, he wanted to take all of the classic crime tropes from his favorite films and combine them together in a way that was visually and narratively interesting.

IN CONCLUSION

Pulp Fiction

  • Chronologically, the last scene in the movie is Butch and Fabienne riding away on a chopper. The first sound you can hear in the movie is of the same chopper's engine.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 92%
  • Where to watch

Best Crime Films of All Time

6. Scarface (1983)

Scarface Trailer

Scarface is one of those crime drama movies that you can’t get out of your head once you’ve seen it. All of your criminal adjacent friends and acquaintances have Scarface posters on their wall.

IN CONCLUSION

Scarface

  • Tony Montana uses "yeyo" as slang for cocaine. Al Pacino learned the word while learning the Cuban accent, and ad-libbed it during the chainsaw scene. Brian De Palma liked it enough to keep using it throughout the film.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 81%
  • Where to watch

Great Crime Films

5. L.A. Confidential (1997)

L.A. Confidential Trailer

As far as crime thriller movies go, this is the best ever made. It’s not a good crime film, it’s a perfect crime film and great crime thriller.  

IN CONCLUSION

L.A. Confidential

  • Russell Crowe based his performance on that of Sterling Hayden in Stanley Kubrick's The Killing (1956) "for that beefy manliness that came out of World War II".
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 99%
  • Where to watch

Best Crime Dramas

4. The Godfather: Part II (1974)

The Godfather: Part II Trailer

Many believe this crime film is actually better than its predecessor, but regardless of where you place this film it is undeniably one of the top crime films ever made.

IN CONCLUSION

The Godfather: Part II

  • Francis Ford Coppola had a horrible time directing The Godfather (1972) and asked to pick a different director for the sequel, while taking the title of producer for himself. He chose Martin Scorsese, who the film executives rejected. Thus, Coppola agreed to direct the film, with a few conditions.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 97%
  • Where to watch

Organized Crime Dramas

3. Goodfellas (1990)

Goodfellas Trailer

This may be the most important crime film ever to be made, because the criminals in this film are highly unlikeable. While the movie humanizes gangsters, it also shows them for who they really are.

IN CONCLUSION

Goodfellas

  • According to Henry Hill, whose life was the basis for the book and film, Joe Pesci's portrayal of Tommy DeSimone was 90-99% accurate, with one notable exception. The real Tommy DeSimone was massively built.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 96%
  • Where to watch

Best Crime Movies

2. Heat (1995)

Heat Trailer

While many great crime movies take place in America, this is the ultimate modern American crime movie. It’s one of the greatest action crime movies which includes the greatest heist scene of all time.

IN CONCLUSION

Heat

  • Rather than dubbing in the gunshots during the bank robbery shoot-out, Michael Mann had microphones carefully placed around the set so that the audio could be captured live. This added to the impact of the scene, because it sounded like no other gunfight shown on-screen.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 86%
  • Where to watch

Best Crime Movie of All Time

1. The Godfather (1972)

The Godfather Trailer

The Godfather is the best crime movie of all time as well as the front runner for the greatest overall film of all time. It’s safe to say that it’s The Godfather of American crime films and crime dramas. 

IN CONCLUSION

The Godfather

  • Don Vito Corleone's distinctive voice was based on real-life mobster Frank Costello. Marlon Brando had seen him on television during the Estes Kefauver hearings in 1951, and imitated his husky whisper in the film.
  • RT Tomatometer Score: 98%
  • Where to watch

Up Next

The Best Dark Comedy Movies

Let us know which are the best crime movies of all time in the comments, and then check out our other posts on films and filmmaking. Check out the next post, the Best Dark Comedy Movies of All Time. 

Up Next: Best Dark Comedy Movies →
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