culture

The 16 Best Crime Movies on Netflix

These films put the crime in criminal and your butt in your seat

goodfellashero
Warner Bros.

Whether you’re still recovering from Daylight Savings Time or desperately hoping for summertime to begin, a great Netflix watch is an easy way to pass the time. Lucky for you, we have a list of 16 of Netflix’s best crime movies sure to keep your eyes glued to the screen. 

16. The Place Beyond The Pines (2012)

A literal translation of Schenectady, New York, The Place Beyond The Pines is a generational crime drama that follows ex-motorcycle stuntman Luke Glanton (Ryan Gosling) as he tries to provide for his newfound family. After turning to crime to bring in more funds, his life is forever intertwined with that of rookie cop Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper). While the storyline can feel muddled at points, especially as the years pass, this thoughtful portrait of crime’s roots and the acting chops of Gosling, Cooper, and Eva Mendes puts The Place Beyond The Pines on the map. Plus, if the storyline gets too sad, you can always remember that this is the movie that sparked Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling’s real-life love. 

15. Secret In Their Eyes (2015)

Set in the post 9/11 world of counterterrorism, Secret In Their Eyes takes a mother’s quest for justice in the murder of her daughter and flips the tale on its head, using time jumps and remarkable performances by the cast to spin a compelling tale of intrigue, murder, and vengeance. When L.A investigator Jessica Cobb (Julia Roberts) finds her daughter’s mutilated body on a routine call, her quest for revenge takes her, her partner Ray (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and their new Assistant District Attorney Sloan (Nicole Kidman) on a mental chase of epic proportion. While this 2015 remake pales in comparison to its 2009 counterpart, the performance by Julia Roberts makes this film a must-watch. 

14. I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore (2017)

If the best crime movies rely on their worlds, I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore takes the cake, if only because it reminds us just how hard it is to live in this one. In this 2017 crime comedy, Nursing Assistant Ruth (Melanie Lynskey) is willing to put up with a lot. But when burglars take her grandmother's silverware, she decides enough is enough. With help from her passionate but frankly terrifying neighbor Tony, played by a wild-eyed Elijah Wood, Ruth embarks on a wackadoodle mission to track down her things, take back her life, and maybe teach people to be a just a little less shitty.

13. Bling Ring (2013)

If you’re looking for a crime movie that includes multiple grand theft larceny montages and no less than three M.I.A songs, you’ve come to the right place. Bling Ring follows a group of celeb obsessed teenagers through the era of pre-influencer Hollywood as they rob B-list celebrities, do an incredible amount of drugs, and mostly use Bing, all in sky-high Louboutins. In her signature style, director Sofia Coppola infuses the real-life story with enough glamour, comedy, wit, to make you forget that this is Emma Watson’s most believable American accent. 

12. Sweeney Todd (2007)

If cannibal meat pies, a demon barber, and Sondheim don't sound like the ingredients for the perfect crime movie, you clearly don’t understand the genre. When idyllic barber Benjamin Barker (Johnny Depp) has his picture-perfect life ruined by the villainous Judge Turpin (our long gone but never forgotten Alan Rickman), he takes revenge the only way he knows how: through some song and a ton of murder. Reimagined as the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Sweeney Todd makes a splash through London town with the help of Burton’s favorite heavy hitters, meat pie maker Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter) and magical elixir salesman Adolfo Pirelli (Sasha Baron Cohen). Besides, you know what they always say. The best crimes are the ones you can sing about. 

11. Sin City (2005)

Move over Marvel. The MCU has nothing on this gritty, neo-noir comic crime anthology.

 

With an absolutely star-studded cast, Sin City takes a black and white look at the underbelly of a colorful crime world. Each unique storyline is split into an abrupt vignette, mimicking the stop and go pages of an actual comic book. Even your favorite actors become aggressively stylized characters: a vintage cop with a hard-on for sacrifice (Bruce Willis), a senator’s son with a penchant for serial killing (Nick Stahl), an Old World prostitute who’s handy with a machine gun (Alexis Bledel), and a silent stalker who really loves twins (Elijah Wood), just to name a few. If you’ve got 147 minutes and are ready to see some old faces in a new light, go ahead and hit play!

10. Amanda Knox (2016)

If you thought you knew the story of Amanda Knox, you aren’t even close. In this 2016 Netflix documentary, viewers are subjected to an up-close and personal look at the murder trial of the decade, and the uncomfortable realization at how easily you could be in her place. Like all classic true crime, what starts as an idyllic semester abroad quickly turns into a bloody, tabloid-fueled nightmare. With in-depth interviews from Knox, her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, and the journalists and police detectives that made them household names, Netflix creates a stunning picture of true crime that won’t let you look away. 

9. GoodFellas (1990)

You clearly can’t talk about crime films without mentioning the father of them all: GoodFellas. Set in the heyday of the Italian mafia, this mobster saga follows Henry (Ray Liotta), Jimmy (Robert De Niro) and Tommy (Joe Pesci) as they navigate life, love and murder in the 1970s. This iconic gangster saga has it all: Robbery, hitmen, mass graves, the witness protection program, and enough cocaine to make a grown man weep (or just extremely, extremely wealthy). GoodFellas was even considered so culturally significant that it was chosen for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. So, if it’s good enough to survive the apocalypse, it’s clearly good enough for your Saturday night. 

8. Good Time (2017)

If you thought Uncut Gems was a lot, then you’re completely unprepared to dive into the Safdie Brothers’ world of Good Time. Written explicitly because they couldn’t find space for Robert Pattinson in the Uncut Gems script, Good Time is a faced paced crime thriller that follows Connie Nikas (Robert Pattinson) and his disabled brother Nick (Benny Safdie) as they deal with the repercussions of a bank robbery gone wrong. After breaking the wrong man out of jail, Connie spirals down a rabbit hole of events, forced to choose between his freedom or his brother’s safety. Good Time is a masterpiece of epic proportions and one that deserves your full, undivided attention. 

7. The Irishman (2019)

Does it feel a little strange to include Goodfellas and The Irishman (its 2019 equivalent) on the same list? Yes. Do I care? Not especially. If you never made it to the end of your Oscars watch list, The Irishman (in its full 210 minutes of glory) is still available to fill all of your crime movie needs. Alone in a nursing home, Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) recounts his days working as a hitman for Irish mob, and the sacrifices that led him there and back again. Starring Al Pacino, Ray Romano, and an out of retirement Joe Pesci in all of their de-aged glory, The Irishman makes a case that the days of mob movies aren’t over yet. 

6. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

What’s a worse crime than murder? In Inglourious Basterds, the answer is clearly being “Nazi scum.” Set in alternate World War II timeline, Inglourious Basterds follows several plots to sow fear, chaos, and discord through the ranks of the German army. The Basterds, led by Lieutenant Aldo (Brad Pitt), are a paramilitary force made up of Jewish-American soldiers who proudly scalp and disfigure avowed Nazi soldiers and leaders. When Shoshanna Dreyfus (Melanie Laurent), a Jewish survivor secretly living in France as a cinema owner, convinces a Nazi propagandist to hold the premiere of his film at her theater; her world and the Basterds’ collide in a fiery explosion of wit, humor, and a lot of gruesome murder. While not a pretty watch, the Inglorious Basterds is still a bloody good time. 

5. Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)

If righteous vengeance with a stylish jumpsuit and killer sword isn’t a crime, I don’t want it. Kill Bill takes the masterful martial arts fantasy to the next level, reimagining a single, personal vendetta into battles of honor, mastery, and personal triumph. Betrayed by the leader of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad and father of her child, the Bride (Uma Thurman) awakens from a four-year-long coma with a need for martial arts, murder, and oh yeah… to find her long lost daughter. If you want to learn the art of the blade and watch a performance that spawned a lifetime of pop culture references (and at least on Fall Out Boy song), then this is the movie for you. 

4. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

If Catch Me If You Can and Good Will Hunting had a baby, it would be The Talented Mr. Ripley. Starring Matt Damon as master forger Tom Ripley, The Talented Mr. Ripley follows the trail of deceit, wealth, murder, gay lovers, and Princeton references that could only belong in a movie first meant for a young Leonardo Dicaprio. After struggling to con his way to success in New York, Ripley befriends a wealthy man and assumes the identity of his son Dickie’s (Jude Law) college chum. As this recent lie turns incredibly profitable, Ripley sets his eyes on the next big prize: Dickie himself. But when the net closes in, Ripley is forced to do whatever he can to keep his new life forever. The film also stars a plethora of established Hollywood royalty in their prime (Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Cate Blanchett). 

3. Bad Boys (1995)

Nothing scratches the itch for a good crime quite like the original Bad Boys. Starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as Miami detectives, Bad Boys follows the two through their investigation into an inside job, which sees millions of dollars of heroin get stolen from a police lockup. With the help of a few friends (Karen Alexander and Tea Leoni), the two get to work, and with a few guns, some inventive driving, and two very creative escort costumes, create an all-around enjoyable cult-classic. 

2. Zodiac (2007)

If the best crime movies are rooted in truth, Zodiac remains the greatest example. Following the real-life case of the Zodiac Killer, Zodiac highlights the jaw-dropping, psychological terror behind America’s most famous cold case. After being underestimated by investigative reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.), political cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) becomes obsessed with solving the killer’s ciphers, falling deeper and deeper into the world of the killer and his prey. With heart-pounding filming and real-life information about the murderer and his victims, Zodiac stands as a testament to the real stories behind the serial killer mythos. 

1. Inception (2010)

Alright, hear me out. Yes, Inception has all of the components of a classic thriller. Yes, Christopher Nolan is most well known for his mastery in mixing the psychological and dramatic, proven first in Memento and then over and over and over again in his following movies. But Inception IS THE GREATEST CRIME MOVIE OF ALL TIME.

 

After taking on a mission to have his criminal past erased, extractor Dom Cobb (Leonardo Di Caprio) must pull off the hardest task in dream espionage: plant an idea in someone’s head. With the help of fellow extractors Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Ariadne (Ellen Page), Cobb must go deeper into someone’s unconscious than he ever has before, all in the hope that his dream life will soon become reality. Inception has everything you could possibly want in a crime movie: Leonardo Di Caprio, beautifully staged fight scenes on a ceiling, dreams within dreams, and artfully planned car crashes set to classical Italian opera. What more could you possibly ask for? Nothing. The answer is nothing. So pull up a chair and fall deep into Nolan’s world. No need to thank me. You can catch this crime masterpiece and all of the others on Netflix right now. 

Did you like this article?
Thumbs Up
Liked
Thumbs Down
Disliked