Crime doesn’t pay. Unless, of course, you love watching crime movies—in which case, boy does it ever. Some of the best films 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.
It's “The Godfather of” ... crime movies. Francis Ford Coppola's epic 1972 crime drama is revered for a reason. Its orchestrated scenes of violence, brilliant performances, and unforgettable lines come together to make the perfect movie about the perils of organized crime—which doubles as a tragedy about family. Now you can watch the entire trilogy on Netflix. But honestly, you might want to skip the third one ...
At 170 minutes long, Michael Mann’s cat-and-mouse masterpiece is not for those in search of a quick crime caper fix. But for all those with a few hours to kill, settle in for one wild ride. Heat's star-studded cast includes Val Kilmer, Natalie Portman, Dennis Haysbert, Jon Voight, Henry Rollins, Al Pacino, and Robert De Niro. This time, Pacino plays the grizzled cop and DeNiro the career criminal.To watch these two actors, operating at the top of their game, is a sight to behold.
This David Fincher neo-noir thriller is a must for any crime movie lover. As a serial killer carries out a series of brutal murders based on the seven sins, new partners William Somerset and David Mills (Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt) must come together to track him down.
The Crying Game
An IRA soldier finds himself in a complicated love triangle in this devastating crime thriller from Neil Jordan. When his IRA group kidnaps a black British soldier, Fergus (Stephen Rea) discovers he can’t bring himself to do what must be done. The winding narrative of this movie has all the thrills of a spy novel by John le Carré, but thanks to its moving performance by Stephen Rea, the stakes feel even higher.
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
Considered one of the best films of 2007, Sidney Lumet’s final movie shows just why the director was so beloved. Two brothers, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke, decide to rob their parents’ jewelry store. This non-chronological movie spins a tale of sibling rivalry, betrayal, and intense, high-stakes crime.
A modern homage to the classic noir film, 1997’s L.A. Confidential was one of the most critically acclaimed films of that year, winning Kim Basinger an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her take on the movie’s femme fatale. Sumptuously shot with excellent performances from Guy Pearce and Kevin Spacey, the movie tells the story of a rookie cop who is intent on solving his father’s murder, but of course the winding roads of Hollywoodland, where everyone’s an actor, create major obstacles for the truth.
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.
Gone Baby Gone
Based on a Dennis Lehane novel, Gone Baby Gone was Ben Affleck’s directorial debut. Its authentic working-class Boston setting, twisty plot, and impressive performances make Gone Baby Gone a stone-cold classic. When a young girl goes missing, her aunt contacts private investigators to find the girl. Soon, they discover that drug lords, child abusers, and police are all wrapped up in the kidnapping.
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.
Featured still of L.A. Confidential via Regency Enterprises