The 45 Best Crime Movies That'll Bring Out Your Inner Detective

From 'Reptile' to 'I Care a Lot'

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Daniel McFadden/Netflix

It’s no secret that crime films are among the most compelling movies in Hollywood. Perhaps it’s how they balance the action with more serious themes, like seedy politics, racism and corruption in the criminal justice system. Or maybe it’s just the thrill of seeing how criminal masterminds manage to execute their plans. Either way, they all make for the most fascinating stories, which is why we rounded up 45 of the best crime movies you can stream on Netflix, Hulu, Max and more. Get ready to put those detective skills to work.

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1. Anatomy of a Fall (2023)

  • Cast: Sandra Hüller, Swann Arlaud, Milo Machado Graner
  • Run time: 152 minutes
  • Rating: R

When Sandra's husband, Samuel, is found dead in front of their isolated home, the police suspect that it wasn't an accident. Sandra becomes the prime suspect in the mysterious case, and her half-blind son—who also happens to be the sole witness—faces a moral dilemma over what he wants to tell the court. Justine Triet's chilling French legal drama was met with critical acclaim and earned the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

2. John Wick: Chapter 4

  • Cast: Keanu Reeves, Bill Skarsgård, Donnie Yen
  • Run time: 169 minutes
  • Rating: R

In this fourth installment of the John Wick series, our favorite hitman is back and ready to get revenge on The High Table—but he must also face a powerful new enemy. Thanks to top-notch performances, action sequences and cinematography, this became the highest-grossing film in the franchise.

3. Murder Mystery 2 (2023)

  • Cast: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Mark Strong, Mélanie Laurent
  • Run time: 89 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13

Set four years after the first installment, Nick and Audrey have left their day jobs to become full-time private detectives. However, launching their agency isn't as easy as they initially thought. Fortunately for them, they're given the opportunity to solve a major case when their billionare friend, Maharaja, gets kidnapped by masked assailants during his wedding ceremony.

4. To Catch a Killer (2023)

  • Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ben Mendelsohn, Ralph Ineson
  • Run time: 119 minutes
  • Rating: R

When 17 people are killed on New Year's Eve, Eleanor Falco, a troubled Baltimore cop, is tasked with helping the FBI track down the killer who's terrorizing the city. This film marked director Damián Szifron's English-language debut, and per usual, Shailene Woodley delivers a standout performance.

5. Reptile (2023)

  • Who's in it: Justin Timberlake, Alicia Silverstone, Eric Bogosian
  • Run time: 136 minutes
  • Rating: R

Directed by Grant Singer, Reptile follows Detective Tom Nichols, who investigates the murder of a real estate agent. He initially believes that the victim's boyfriend, Will, is the prime suspect. Unfortunately, as he digs deeper, he uncovers a web of lies that makes things more complicated.

6. Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

  • Cast: Tom Bateman, Kenneth Branagh, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe
  • Run time: 114 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13

Buckle up, because this mystery thriller will have you guessing at every turn. The film follows Hercule Poirot, a famous detective who works to solve a murder on the luxury Orient Express train service. Can he crack the case before the killer chooses their next victim?

7. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)

  • Cast: Zac Efron, Lily Collins, Kaya Scodelario, Haley Joel Osment
  • Run time: 110 minutes
  • Rating: R

This chilling crime drama follows the life of serial killer Ted Bundy, who was sentenced to death for assaulting and murdering several women and girls during the '70s. Zac Efron brilliantly portrays the late criminal while Lily Collins plays his girlfriend, Elizabeth Kendall.

8. BlackkKlansman (2018)

  • Cast: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Topher Grace
  • Run time: 134 minutes
  • Rating: R

In this Spike Lee flick, John David Washington is Ron Stallworth, the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department. His plan? To infiltrate and expose a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. Expect some hard-hitting commentary about racism in America.

9. Lawless (2012)

  • Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Mia Wasikowska
  • Run time: 115 minutes
  • Rating: R

Based on Matt Bondurant's novel, The Wettest County in the World, Lawless tells the story of the Bondurants, three successful bootlegging brothers who become a target when greedy cops demand a cut of their profits. The cast includes Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman and Mia Wasikowska.

10. Joker (2019)

  • Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy
  • Run time: 122 minutes
  • Rating: R

Arthur Fleck, a failed comedian and party clown, is driven to insanity and a life of crime after being rejected by society. The movie garnered an impressive 11 Oscar nominations, earning Joaquin Phoenix the award for Best Actor (and rightfully so).

11. Rahasya (2015)

  • Cast: Kay Kay Menon, Tisca Chopra, Ashish Vidyarthi, Mita Vashisht
  • Run time: 117 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13

When Dr. Sachin Mahajan's 18-year-old daughter is found dead in his home, all evidence suggests that he is the killer. Dr. Sachin insists that he’s innocent, but as the authorities continue to investigate, they uncover some dark family secrets.

12. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

  • Cast: Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael Pollard
  • Run time: 110 minutes
  • Rating: R

Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway star as the notorious crime couple Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, who fall in love and embark on a wild crime spree during the Depression. Known for its groundbreaking depiction of graphic violence in the '60s, it won two Academy Awards, including Best Cinematography and Best Supporting Actress (for Estelle Parsons).

13. Mother (2009)

  • Cast: Kim Hye-ja, Won Bin
  • Run time: 129 minutes
  • Rating: R

A widow is forced to take an investigation into her own hands when her disabled son is wrongfully suspected of murdering a young girl. But can she successfully clear her son’s name?

14. At the End of the Tunnel (2016)

  • Cast: Leonardo Sbaraglia, Pablo Echarri, Clara Lago
  • Run time: 118 minutes
  • Rating: NR

When Joaquin, a computer engineer who is paraplegic, overhears voices in his basement, he quietly installs a camera and microphone into the wall, eventually learning that they’re the voices of criminals who intend to dig a tunnel and rob a nearby bank.

15. Set It Off (1996)

  • Cast: Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, Kimberly Elise
  • Run time: 122 minutes
  • Rating: R

One moment it feels like an action-packed heist film and the next, it’s more like a poignant drama, tackling themes like systemic racism, misogynoir and police violence. This critically acclaimed film, directed by F. Gary Gray, follows a group of four tight-knit friends who decide to rob a string of banks together, due to their financial insecurity.

16. Menace II Society (1993)

  • Cast: Tyrin Turner, Jada Pinkett Smith, Vonte Sweet, Larenz Tate
  • Run time: 97 minutes
  • Rating: R

Tyrin Turner stars as 18-year-old Caine Lawson, who intends to leave the projects in L.A. and start a new life without violence and crime. But even with the help of his loved ones, getting out is no easy feat. The film tackles a lot of important themes, including drug use and teenage violence.

17. The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil (2019)

  • Cast: Ma Dong-seok, Kim Mu-yeol, Kim Sung-kyu
  • Run time: 109 minutes
  • Rating: NR

Up for a fast-paced crime thriller that'll keep you guessing at every turn? This one's for you. After Jang Dong-su barely survives an attempt at his life, he forms an unlikely partnership with Detective Jung Tae-seok to catch the killer who targeted him.

18. Blow Out (1981)

  • Cast: John Travolta, Nancy Allen
  • Run time: 107 minutes
  • Rating: R

When Jack Terry, a sound technician who works on low-budget films, accidentally captures the sound of what appears to be a gunshot during a taping, he begins to suspect that it may have been a tire blow-out...or the sound of a politician's assassination.

19. American Gangster (2007)

  • Cast: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Cuba Gooding Jr.
  • Run time: 157 minutes
  • Rating: R

In this fictionalized account of Frank Lucas's criminal career, Denzel Washington portrays the corrupt drug trafficker, who becomes the most successful crime lord in Harlem. Meanwhile, an outcast cop whose partner overdoses on heroin is determined to bring Frank to justice.

20. Talvar (2015)

  • Cast: Irrfan Khan, Konkona Sen Sharma, Neeraj Kabi
  • Run time: 133 minutes
  • Rating: PG

Based on the controversial 2008 Noida double murder case, Talvar follows the investigation into the deaths of a young girl and her family's servant. The prime suspects? The victim's parents.

21. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

  • Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
  • Run time: 180 minutes
  • Rating: TV-MA

Fun fact: This movie currently holds the Guinness World Record for most instances of swearing in a film (the f-bomb is used a whopping 569 times), so you might want to skip if you’re more sensitive to heavy profanity. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as real-life former stockbroker Jordan Belfort, who's known for running an extremely corrupt firm and committing fraud on Wall Street.

22. Training Day (2001)

  • Cast: Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Scott Glenn
  • Run time: 117 minutes
  • Rating: R

This action-packed drama earned Denzel Washington an Academy Award for Best Actor and Ethan Hawke a nomination for Best Supporting Actor, so you can expect to see some powerful performances. Training Day follows newbie Officer Jake Hoyt and seasoned narcotics officer, Alonzo Harris, as they work together over one long—very long—day.

23. Scarface (1983)

  • Cast: Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer
  • Run time: 170 minutes
  • Rating: R

It would be a crime not to include the cult classic that inspired countless references in pop culture. Set during the '80s, this crime drama revolves around Cuban refugee Tony Montana, who goes from being a poor dishwasher to becoming one of the most powerful drug lords in Miami.

24. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

  • Cast: Robert De Niro, James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern, Joe Pesci
  • Run time: 269 minutes
  • Rating: R

Adapted from Harry Grey's novel of the same title, Sergio Leone’s crime drama unfolds through a series of flashbacks, where close friends David "Noodles" Aaronson and Max lead a life of organized crime during the prohibition era.

25. Detroit (2017)

  • Cast: John Boyega, Will Poulter, Algee Smith, Jason Mitchell
  • Run time: 143 minutes
  • Rating: R

It's not easy viewing, but given that these horrifying events occured not too long ago (1967, to be exact), it certainly feels like required viewing. Based on the Algiers Motel incident during the 12th Street Riot in Detroit, this film chronicles the events that led up to the killing of three unarmed civilians.

26. Collateral (2004)

  • Cast: Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith, Mark Ruffalo
  • Run time: 120 minutes
  • Rating: R

When Max, an L.A. cab driver, gets offered a hefty sum from driving his customer, he soon realizes that this deal could end up costing him his life. After learning that his client is a ruthless hitman, he gets involved in a police chase and gets held hostage. Definitely not a typical night for a taxi driver.

27. The Maltese Falcon (1941)

  • Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Gladys George
  • Run time: 100 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13

Based on Dashiell Hammett’s novel of the same name, this classic movie follows private investigator Sam Spade who embarks on a quest for a valuable statue. Often labeled one of the greatest films of all time, The Maltese Falcon was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

28. The Godfather (1972)

  • Cast: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard Castellano
  • Run time: 175 minutes
  • Rating: R

When Vito Corleone, don of the Corleone crime family, narrowly survives a murder attempt, his youngest son, Michael, steps up and begins his transformation into a cruel mafia boss. Not only did it win the Oscar for Best Picture, but it's also considered the second-greatest American film of all time.

29. Compliance (2012)

  • Cast: Ann Dowd, Dreama Walker, Pat Healy
  • Run time: 89 minutes
  • Rating: R

Based on a series of real-life strip search scams that occurred in the U.S., this chilling thriller centers on a Kentucky restaurant manager named Sandra, who receives a call from someone claiming to be a police officer. After the caller gains her trust, he convinces her to carry out a number of bizarre and unlawful tasks.

30. Traffic (2000)

  • Cast: Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones
  • Run time: 147 minutes
  • Rating: R

If you've ever seen the British Channel 4 series, Traffik, then you'll appreciate this adaptation. Through interconnected storylines, the film takes a deeper look at America's corruption and the illegal drug trade. It won four Oscars, and the star-studded cast is a major highlight.

31. The Fury of a Patient Man (2016)

  • Cast: Antonio de la Torre, Luis Callejo, Ruth Díaz
  • Run time: 92 minutes
  • Rating: NR

Set in Madrid, this creepy thriller centers on José, a seemingly harmless stranger who turns the lives of ex-convict Curro and his family upside down.

32. Raat Akeli Hai (2020)

  • Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte, Shweta Tripathi, Tigmanshu Dhulia
  • Run time: 149 minutes
  • Rating: TV-MA

When a wealthy man is found dead in his home, Inspector Jatil Yadav is called to investigate. But due to the victim's extremely secretive family, Jatil realizes that he’ll have to come up with a creative new way to solve this case.

33. L.A. Confidential (1997)

  • Cast: Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce
  • Run time: 138 minutes
  • Rating: R

Lauded as one of the greatest films ever made, this Oscar-winning film follows three L.A. police officers who take on a famous case in the 1950s, but as they dig deeper, they discover evidence of corruption surrounding the murder. The intricate plot and smart dialogue will pull you in from the very beginning.

34. Badla (2019)

  • Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu, Amrita Singh, Tony Luke
  • Run time: 117 minutes
  • Rating: TV-14

When Naina Sethi, a successful businesswoman, gets arrested for the murder of her lover, she hires a big-shot attorney to help prove her innocence. But trying to figure out what actually happened is more complicated than they anticipated. (If the premise sounds familiar, that’s because it’s a remake of the Spanish mystery, The Invisible Guest.)

35. 21 Bridges (2019)

  • Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Sienna Miller, Stephan James
  • Run time: 99 minutes
  • Rating: R

Black Panther’s Chadwick Boseman plays an NYPD detective named Andre Davis, who shuts down all 21 of Manhattan’s bridges in order to capture two criminals who escaped after murdering cops. But the closer he gets to catching these men, the sooner he learns that there’s more to these murders than meets the eye.

36. The Gentlemen (2019)

  • Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Jeremy Strong, Colin Farrell, Henry Golding
  • Run time: 113 minutes
  • Rating: R

Matthew McConaughey stars as marijuana kingpin Mickey Pearson. He tries to sell his lucrative business, but this only prompts a chain of schemes and plots from devious characters who want to steal his domain. In case you need even more reason to watch, the cast is phenomenal.

37. New Jack City (1991)

  • Cast: Wesley Snipes, Ice-T, Allen Payne and Chris Rock
  • Run time: 100 minutes
  • Rating: R

In Mario Van Peebles's star-studded directorial debut, a detective tries to take down a rising drug lord during the crack epidemic in New York. With its compelling storyline and talented cast, it comes as no surprise that it was the highest-grossing independent film of 1991.

38. No Mercy (2010)

  • Cast: Kyung-gu Sol, Seung-bum Ryoo, Hye-jin Han
  • Run time: 123 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13

Forensic pathologist Kang Min-ho decides to take on one last case before he retires, but things get personal when a sadistic killer threatens to murder his daughter. Brace yourself for a shocking twist that'll have you completely floored.

39. Capone (2020)

  • Cast: Tom Hardy, Linda Cardellini, Matt Dillon
  • Run time: 103 minutes
  • Rating: R

Tom Hardy stars as real-life gangster Al Capone in this gripping biographical film, which details the crime boss's life after his 11-year sentence at Atlanta Penitentiary. Hardy delivers a powerful performance here.

40. Pulp Fiction (1994)

  • Cast: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis
  • Run time: 154 minutes
  • Rating: R

The Academy Award-winning comedy still stands as one of the best films ever made, and it's easy to see why. Known for striking an impressive balance between dark humor and violence, Pulp Fiction follows the interwoven storylines of three characters, including hitman Vincent Vega, his business partner Jules Winnfield, and prizefighter Butch Coolidge.

41. The Devil All the Time (2020)

  • Cast: Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgård, Riley Keough, Jason Clarke
  • Run time: 138 minutes
  • Rating: R

From a spider-obsessed pastor to a murderous couple, there's no shortage of bizarre and sinister characters in this thriller. Set right after World War II, the movie centers on a troubled veteran who tries to protect his loved ones in a corrupt town. Tom Holland, Jason Clarke, Sebastian Stan and Robert Pattinson star in the film.

42. The Informer (2019)

  • Cast: Joel Kinnaman, Rosamund Pike, Common, Ana de Armas.
  • Run time: 114 minutes
  • Rating: R

Based on Roslund & Hellström's novel, Three Seconds, this British crime thriller follows Pete Koslow, a former special ops soldier and ex-convict who goes undercover to infiltrate the Polish mob's drug trade. This involves heading back to prison, but things get complicated when a major drug deal goes wrong.

43. I Care a Lot (2020)

  • Cast: Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage, Eiza González, Chris Messina
  • Run time: 118 minutes
  • Rating: R

Count on Rosamund Pike to embody the cold and calculated antagonist. In I Care a Lot, she plays Marla Grayson, a selfish legal guardian who swindles her elderly “clients” for personal gain. She finds herself in a sticky situation, however, when she attempts to con the seemingly innocent Jennifer Peterson.

44. Promising Young Woman (2020)

  • Who's in it: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown 
  • Run time: 113 minutes 
  • Rating: R

Carey Mulligan is simply captivating as Cassie Thomas, a cunning med-school dropout who leads a secret double life. Though years have passed since her best friend committed suicide after being raped, Cassie seeks revenge on all the people who were involved in the incident and its aftermath.

45. Knives Out (2019)

  • Cast: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas
  • Run time: 130 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13

The star-studded film centers on Detective Benoit, who investigates the mysterious death of wealthy crime novelist Harlan Thrombey. The twist? Literally every member of his dysfunctional family is a suspect.

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Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Nakeisha has been interviewing celebrities and covering all things entertainment for over 8 years, but she has also written on a wide range of topics, like career...