What are the Top 10 Criminal Justice Movies of All Time?

Published: 06th March 2012
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For some reason, people just can’t get enough of criminal movies. If you are to ask 10 people about their favorite criminal justice movies of all time, you may well get 10 different answers. Here’s our list of Top 10 Criminal Justice Movies of All Time.

10. The Big Sleep

The 1946 classic starred Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall as Detective Philip Marlowe and Vivian Rutledge, respectively. Directed by Howard Hawks, there’s really nothing “sleepy” about this fast-paced thriller with an intricate plot.

9. The Untouchables

Al Capone is one of America’s most colorful criminals and he’s portrayed to near-perfection as a ruthless, flamboyant mafia boss by Robert De Niro. Hard on his heels are the group of crime fighters known as “The Untouchables”, comprised of US Treasury agent Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner), agent Oscar Wallace (Charles Martin Smith), agent George Stone/Giuseppe Petri (Andy Garcia), and Jim Malone (Sean Connery).

8. Once Upon a Time in America

A little-known criminal justice movie, it’s probably more well-known as the last movie to be directed by the great Sergio Leone. Running at an epic 229 minutes, the film traces the rise of a group of gangsters who controlled the New York underworld. The film starred Robert De Niro, Treat Williams, Elizabeth McGovern, and James Woods.

7. The French Connection

Adapted from the book by Robin Moore, this 1971 crime justice film is hailed as one of the best films in the genre. Featuring a legendary car chase sequence, the film won a number of Oscars. Some of the stars in the film included Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey, and Tony Lo Bianca.

6. Chinatown

Directed by Roman Polanski, Chinatown is lauded as one of the greatest films in history. Imbued with mystery and suspense, the film is driven by Jack Nicholson who played P.I. “Jake” Gittes and Faye Dunaway who played the elusive Evelyn Mulwray. The story was inspired by the California Water Wars.

5. Touch of Evil

Directed by Orson Welles who also played the role of Captain Hank Quinlan, the film had a star-studded ensemble including Charlton Heston, Marlene Dietrich, and Janet Leigh. Set in Los Robles, Mexico, the film is hailed as an all-time great thriller, well ahead of its time.

4. Bonnie and Clyde

The 1967 film is based on the lives and exploits of legendary outlaws Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow who terrorized the Central United States with their gang during the Great Depression. It starred Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway in the title roles.

3. The Sting

Starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford in their prime, this 1973 film is a classic crime justice movie. After the death of their mutual friend, the two con men plan the biggest con of their lives to exact vengeance on the murderers.

2. GoodFellas

Directed by Martin Scorsese, this film is considered to be one of the great masterpieces of cinema. Featuring Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, and Joe Pesci, the film was adapted from Nicholas Pileggi’s Wiseguy, and it offered an unflinching look into the underworld through the eyes of Henry Hill.

1. The Godfather

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, this film is regarded by many to be one of the greatest pictures ever made. Starring Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Al Pacino, and Talia Shire, the movie follows the times and trials of the Corleone family.

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