Crime doesn’t pay. Unless, of course, you love watching crime movies—in which case, boy, does it ever. Some of the best movies of all time center on crime: from classic noirs to high-stakes capers and thrilling modern dramas. And lucky for you, the incredible crime movies featured below are now streaming on Netflix.
Updated: July 2019
Twenty-five years after it first exploded onto the screen in 1994, Quentin Tarantino's hyper-stylized, hyper-violent crime movie remains as thrilling as ever. A series of interconnecting vignettes play out across the streets of greater Los Angeles, from a pair of philosophical hitmen on their way to complete a job to a washed-up boxer looking for one last score and two skittish robbers trying to hold up a diner.
Released in 1973, Mean Streets is one of Martin Scorsese's earliest films and marks the first time he worked with Robert De Niro. Set in New York's Little Italy, the gritty flick follows a low-level gangster named Charlie (Harvey Keitel) seeking to make a name for himself in the criminal underworld with wrestling with his faith and his doomed relationship with the unstable Johnny Boy (Robert De Niro). Shot on a shoestring budget, Mean Streets is a thrilling snapshot of Scorsese in his early years, capturing raw flashes of filmmaker's now-famous style and techniques.
This historical crime drama stars Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson and is set during the Great Depression. It tells the true story of Frank Hamer and Maney Gault, the two Texas lawmen who tracked down notorious American outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.
Colin Farrell won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of a hit man with a heavy conscience in this dark comedy crime movie from filmmaker Martin McDonagh. After completing their latest job, hit men Ray (Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) head to the medieval Belgium city of Bruges to hide out and wait for their boss to contact them.
Hell or High Water
This dust-choked heist flick set along the backroads of rural Texas stars Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, and an electric Ben Foster. Foster and Pine play brothers who, in a last-ditch effort to save their family ranch, set out on a series of bank robberies. But a pair of Texas Rangers (played by Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham) are in hot pursuit of the siblings.
This atmospheric indie thriller from filmmaker Jeremy Saulnier stars Macon Blair. Blair plays Dwight Evans, a drifter who receives troubling news about a menacing figure from his past. So Dwight heads back to his hometown in search of resolution—and bloody revenge.
Al Pacino just has that kind of face—the kind that spells trouble. So it’s no wonder this film marks his third appearance in this crime movie rundown. Like The Godfather, 1982’s Scarface is chock-full of pop culture references and lines of dialogue that transcend film history. A remake of a 1932 movie of the same name, Brian De Palma’s epically violent adaptation is meant as a warning against 1980s excess. Whether audiences who worship Tony’s cocaine-dusted lifestyle got the message remains questionable.
The Third Man
Released in 1949, The Third Man is not only considered one of the best examples of film noir but also one of the best movies ever made. It's easy to see why: Written by and starring Orson Welles, the crime drama classic still packs a punch. Unemployed pulp novelist Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) arrives in post-WWII Vienna in search of his childhood friend Harry Lime (Welles). But Holly is in for a shock: Harry's dead–hit by a truck. Suspicious that this accident was not so accidental, Holly sets out to uncover the truth about his friend’s demise.
The Place Beyond the Pines
This ambitious film from the writer and director of Blue Valentine isn’t for everyone—it tries a bit too hard and never quite comes together. But the quiet desperation of the people at the center of this film, especially Dane DeHaan as Ryan Gosling’s grown-up son, makes this family epic centered around a robbery ring worth a watch.
Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner star in this icy crime movie set on a remote reservation in Wyoming. Renner plays a tracker with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who teams up with an FBI agent (Olsen) as she investigates a teen girl's murder.
How far would you go to bury the truth? Vaughn and Marcus are two buddies who set out for a weekend hunting trip in the Scottish Highlands. All goes well, at first. But a shocking incident in the woods sends the pair scrambling to cover their tracks and hide their dark secret from the locals.
The Fury of a Patient Man
This revenge-fueled 2016 crime movie from Spain won a number of awards, including a Goya for Best Film. It stars Antonio de la Torre as Jose, an unassuming man whose lover was killed in a jewelry store robbery. Quietly, he plots his revenge—and he just found his target now that the getaway driver is about to be released from prison.
In this South Korean crime drama, a one-time political henchman named Ahn Sang-goo (Lee Byung-hun) plots his revenge after being dropped by merciless politician Jang Pil-woo (Lee Geung-young). Meanwhile, a dogged prosecutor (Cho Seung-woo) searches for proof that the two are connected.
Buckle up—this inventive crime thriller unfolds in reverse time. Starring Benjamin Walker, Rainne Wilson, Ron Livingston, and many more, Shimmer Lake follows local sheriff Zeke Sikes as he investigates a botched bank heist involving his brother and two old friends.
I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
Blue Ruin's Macon Blair wrote and directed this bloody and warped-humored crime thriller starring Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood. Lynskey plays Ruth, a woman who's fed up with the world walking all over her. Wood plays Tony, Ruth's metal head neighbor armed with a pair of nunchucks. Together, they plan to track down the criminals who robbed Ruth's house.
Featured still of 'I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore' via Netflix