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The Best Police Movies and TV Shows on The Criterion Channel

Finding a good Police movie and TV show to watch can be hard, so we've ranked the best ones and included where to watch them. Check out our list of the best Police movies and TV shows of all time streaming on The Criterion Channel.

VIEW: best
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1. Brazil

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.9/10
Reelgood Logo
88/100
Released: 1985Rated: R
Comedy, Cult

What it's about: Low-level bureaucrat Sam Lowry escapes the monotony of his day-to-day life through a recurring daydream of himself as a virtuous hero saving a beautiful damsel. Investigating a case that led to the wrongful arrest and eventual death of an innocent man instead of wanted terrorist Harry Tuttle, he meets the woman from his daydream, and in trying to help her gets caught in a web of mistaken identities, mindless bureaucracy and lies.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (Starz, The Criterion Channel & Hoopla) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 6 services (iTunes, Google Play & 4 others).

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2. Le Samouraï

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
8.1/10
Reelgood Logo
83/100
Released: 1967Rated: PG
Crime, Drama

What it's about: In a career-defining performance, Alain Delon plays Jef Costello, a contract killer with samurai instincts. After carrying out a flawlessly planned hit, Jef finds himself caught between a persistent police investigator and a ruthless employer, and not even his armor of fedora and trench coat can protect him. An elegantly stylized masterpiece of cool by maverick director Jean‑Pierre Melville, Le samouraï is a razor-sharp cocktail of 1940s American gangster cinema and 1960s French pop culture—with a liberal dose of Japanese lone-warrior mythology.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX, The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 4 services (iTunes, Google Play & 2 others).

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3. High and Low

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
8.4/10
Reelgood Logo
83/100
Released: 1963
Crime, Drama

What it's about: An executive of a shoe company becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur's son is kidnapped and held for ransom.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).

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4. The Wicker Man

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.5/10
Reelgood Logo
82/100
Released: 1973Rated: R
Horror, Cult

What it's about: Police sergeant Neil Howie is called to an island village in search of a missing girl whom the locals claim never existed. Stranger still, however, are the rituals that take place there.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 3 services (iTunes, Google Play & Vudu).

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5. Z

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
8.3/10
Reelgood Logo
81/100
Released: 1969
Crime, Drama

What it's about: Repression is the rule of the day in this film that skewers Greek governance of the 1960s. Z, a leftist rabble rouser, is killed in what appears to be a traffic accident. But given the political climate, the death of such a prominent activist raises troubling questions. Though it's too late to save Z's life, a postmortem examination suggests that the ruling party was behind his death. As the facts leak out, those who tell the truth pay the price for their honesty.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).

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6. Le Cercle Rouge

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
8.0/10
Reelgood Logo
79/100
Released: 1970Rated: R
Crime, Drama

What it's about: When French criminal Corey gets released from prison, he resolves to never return. He is quickly pulled back into the underworld, however, after a chance encounter with escaped murderer Vogel. Along with former policeman and current alcoholic Jansen, they plot an intricate jewel heist. All the while, quirky Police Commissioner Mattei, who was the one to lose custody of Vogel, is determined to find him.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 3 services (iTunes, Google Play & YouTube).

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7. L'Avventura

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.9/10
Reelgood Logo
79/100
Released: 1960
Drama, Mystery

What it's about: Claudia and Anna join Anna's lover, Sandro, on a boat trip to a remote volcanic island. When Anna goes missing, a search is launched. In the meantime, Sandro and Claudia become involved in a romance despite Anna's disappearance, though the relationship suffers from guilt and tension.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX, The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 3 services (iTunes, Prime Video & Vudu).

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8. Purple Noon

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.8/10
Reelgood Logo
77/100
Released: 1960Rated: PG-13
Crime, Thriller

What it's about: Tom Ripley is a talented mimic, moocher, forger and all-around criminal improviser; but there's more to Tom Ripley than even he can guess.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).

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9. Mr. Klein

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.6/10
Reelgood Logo
75/100
Released: 1976Rated: PG
Crime, Drama

What it's about: Paris, France, 1942, during the Nazi occupation. Robert Klein, a successful art dealer who benefits from the misfortunes of those who are ruthlessly persecuted, discovers by chance that there is another Robert Klein, apparently a Jewish man; someone with whom he could be mistakenly identified, something dangerous in such harsh times.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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10. Mouchette

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.8/10
Reelgood Logo
74/100
Released: 1967
Drama

What it's about: A young girl living in the French countryside suffers constant indignities at the hand of alcoholism and her fellow man.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel & Kanopy).

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11. Sisters

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.9/10
Reelgood Logo
74/100
Released: 1973Rated: R
Horror, Mystery

What it's about: Inquisitive journalist Grace Collier is horrified when she witnesses her neighbor, fashion model Danielle Breton, violently murder a man. Panicking, she calls the police. But when the detective arrives at the scene and finds nothing amiss, Grace is forced to take matters into her own hands. Her first move is to recruit private investigator Joseph Larch, who helps her to uncover a secret about Danielle's past that has them both seeing double.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX, The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).

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12. Le Havre

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.2/10
Reelgood Logo
74/100
Released: 2011
Comedy, Drama

What it's about: Marcel Marx, a former bohemian and struggling author, has given up his literary ambitions and relocated to the port city Le Havre. He leads a simple life based around his wife Arletty, his favourite bar and his not too profitable profession as a shoeshiner. As Arletty suddenly becomes seriously ill, Marcel's path crosses with an underage illegal immigrant from Africa, who needs Marcel's help to hide from the police.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 4 services (iTunes, Google Play & 2 others).

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13. Police Story 2

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.1/10
Reelgood Logo
73/100
Released: 1988Rated: PG-13
Action & Adventure, Comedy

What it's about: The Hong Kong super-cop must stop a group of blackmailing bombers at the same time that the villains of the first Police Story are out for revenge.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 1 service (iTunes).

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14. The Naked Kiss

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.3/10
Reelgood Logo
72/100
Released: 1964
Crime, Drama

What it's about: A former prostitute discovers that her philanthropic fiance is involved in perversion.

Where to Watch: Available to watch free online (Tubi), stream on a popular subscription service (Prime Video, HBO MAX, The Criterion Channel & 2 others) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).

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15. The Big Combo

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.4/10
Reelgood Logo
72/100
Released: 1955
Crime, Drama

What it's about: Police Lt. Leonard Diamond vies to bring a clever, well connected, and sadistic gangster to justice all the while obsessing over the gangster's girlfriend.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (Prime Video, The Criterion Channel, Fandor & 2 others) & rent or buy from $0.99 on 1 service (Prime Video).

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16. Le Deuxième Souffle

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.9/10
Reelgood Logo
71/100
Released: 1966
Crime, Drama

What it's about: A gangster escapes jail and quickly makes plans to continue his criminal ways elsewhere, but a determined inspector is closing in.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 3 services (iTunes, Google Play & Vudu).

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17. The Kid Brother

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.6/10
Reelgood Logo
70/100
Released: 1927Rated: G
Comedy, Drama

What it's about: The most important family in Hickoryville is (not surprisingly) the Hickorys, with sheriff Jim and his tough manly sons Leo and Olin. The timid youngest son, Harold, doesn't have the muscles to match up to them, so he has to use his wits to win the respect of his strong father and also the love of beautiful Mary.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 1 service (iTunes).

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18. Homicide

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.0/10
Reelgood Logo
70/100
Released: 1991Rated: R
Crime, Drama

What it's about: Bobby Gold is a career cop who is reassigned from a hunt for a cop killer to the investigation of the murder of an old Jewish woman in Baltimore, and in the process finds himself exploring his own sense of identity.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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19. The Steel Helmet

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.4/10
Reelgood Logo
70/100
Released: 1951
Action & Adventure, Drama

What it's about: A ragtag group of American stragglers battles against superior Communist troops in an abandoned Buddhist temple during the Korean War.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).

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20. The Blob

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.4/10
Reelgood Logo
70/100
Released: 1958
Horror, Cult

What it's about: A drive-in favorite, this sci-fi classic follows teenagers Steve and his best girl, Jane, as they try to protect their hometown from a gelatinous alien life form that engulfs everything it touches. The first to discover the substance and live to tell about it, Steve and Jane witness the blob destroying an elderly man, then it growing to a terrifying size. But no one else has seen the goo, and policeman Dave refuses to believe the kids without proof.

Where to Watch: Available to watch free online (Plex & Crackle), stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX, The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).

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21. Hopscotch

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.1/10
Reelgood Logo
68/100
Released: 1980Rated: R
Action & Adventure, Comedy

What it's about: When CIA operative Miles Kendig deliberately lets KGB agent Yaskov get away, his boss threatens to retire him. Kendig beats him to it, however, destroying his own records and traveling to Austria where he begins work on a memoir that will expose all his former agency's covert practices. The CIA catches wind of the book and sends other agents after him, initiating a frenetic game of cat and mouse that spans the globe.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel, Kanopy & Shout Factory TV) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).

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22. Un Flic

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.1/10
Reelgood Logo
67/100
Released: 1972Rated: PG
Crime, Thriller

What it's about: A Parisian police chief has an affair, but unbeknownst to him, the boyfriend of the woman he’s having an affair with is a bank robber planning a heist.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 3 services (iTunes, Google Play & Vudu).

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23. Green for Danger

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.5/10
Reelgood Logo
66/100
Released: 1946
Crime, Mystery

What it's about: In the midst of Nazi air raids, a postman dies on the operating table at a rural hospital. But was the death accidental?

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).

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24. Dancing Lady

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.7/10
Reelgood Logo
64/100
Released: 1933
Musical, Comedy

What it's about: Janie lives to dance and will dance anywhere, even stripping in a burlesque house. Tod Newton, the rich playboy, discovers her there and helps her get a job in a real Broadway musical being directed by Patch. Tod thinks he can get what he wants from Janie, Patch thinks Janie is using her charms rather than talent to get to the top, and Janie thinks Patch is the greatest. Steve, the stage manager, has the Three Stooges helping him manage all the show girls. Fred Astaire and Nelson Eddy make appearances as famous Broadway personalities.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $1.99 on 4 services (iTunes, Google Play & 2 others).

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25. A Dog's Life

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.8/10
Reelgood Logo
61/100
Released: 1918
Comedy, Drama

What it's about: The Tramp and his dog companion struggle to survive in the inner city.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX, The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $0.99 on 1 service (Prime Video).

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26. The Young Master

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.2/10
Reelgood Logo
58/100
Released: 1980Rated: PG-13
Action & Adventure, Comedy

What it's about: Youthful martial arts master Lung is searching for his missing brother, when he is mistaken for a criminal on the run. He must prove his innocence by solving the case himself, while local lawmen and merciless mercenaries are hot on his trail.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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27. Logorama

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.5/10
Reelgood Logo
55/100
Released: 2009Rated: R
Animation, Action & Adventure

What it's about: Logorama's plot involves the adventures of two cops who are chasing an armed criminal through the streets of a fictionalized, stylized city. All characters and items throughout the film are depicted using real-life brand logos. The cops are portrayed as Michelin Men and the villain as Ronald McDonald.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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28. Dracula A.D. 1972

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.0/10
Reelgood Logo
54/100
Released: 1972Rated: PG
Fantasy, Cult

What it's about: Set in London in the early 1970's, supposedly for teen thrills, Johnny organises a black magic ceremony in a desolate churchyard. The culmination of the ritual, however, is the rejuvenation of Dracula from shrivelled remains. Johnny, Dracula' s disciple, lures victims to the deserted graveyard for his master's pleasure and one of the victims delivered is Jessica Van Helsing. Descended from the Van Helsing line of vampire hunters her grandfather, equipped with all the devices to snare and destroy the Count, confronts his arch enemy in the age-old battle between good and evil.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $1.99 on 4 services (iTunes, Google Play & 2 others).

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29. My Lucky Stars

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.5/10
Reelgood Logo
53/100
Released: 1985Rated: PG-13
Action & Adventure, Comedy

What it's about: Two Hong-Kong cops are sent to Tokyo to catch an ex-cop who stole a large amount of money in diamonds. After one is captured by the Ninja-gang protecting the rogue cop, the other one gets his old Orphanage gang, dubbed the "Five Lucky Stars," to help him. They don't like this much, but they do it.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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30. The Castle of Sand

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.4/10
Reelgood Logo
49/100
Released: 1974
Crime, Mystery

What it's about: Yoshitaro Nomura’s 1975 film of Seicho Matsumoto’s immensely popular detective story tells the tale of two detectives, Imanishi (Tetsuro Tamba) and Yoshimura (Kensaku Morita), tasked with tracking down the murderer of an old man, found bludgeoned to death in a rail yard.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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31. Sapphire

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.1/10
Reelgood Logo
48/100
Released: 1959
Crime, Cult

What it's about: Two Scotland Yard detectives (Nigel Patrick and Michael Craig) investigate the murder of a young woman of mixed race who had been passing for white. As they interview a spate of suspects -- including the girl's white boyfriend and his disapproving parents -- the investigators wade through a stubbornly entrenched sludge of racism and bigotry. Director Basil Dearden won a British Academy Award for his deft, sensitive hand at the helm.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).

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32. The Woman in Question

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.8/10
Reelgood Logo
42/100
Released: 1950
Mystery

What it's about: Director Anthony Asquith, working in the style of a Hitchcock whodunit, deftly moves between multiple points of view in this gritty look at life in a seaport town. Jean Kent stars as Agnes "Astra" Huston, a fortune teller at a run-down fair, who is found strangled in her bedroom. As the police question five suspects their interactions with her are shown in flashbacks from their point of view.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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33. Bumping Into Broadway

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.0/10
Reelgood Logo
42/100
Released: 1919Rated: G
Comedy

What it's about: A young playwright spends his last cent to pay the past-due rent for the pretty dancer who's his boarding house next-door neighbor. Soon after, he winds up at a gambling club, where he wins big - just before a police raid.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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34. Stakeout

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.0/10
Reelgood Logo
42/100
Released: 1958
Crime, Drama

What it's about: Two detectives begin a stakeout based on the slim chance of catching a murderer whom they suspect will try to reunite with an old flame.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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35. My Josephine

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.6/10
Reelgood Logo
36/100
Released: 2003
Drama, Comedy

What it's about: Aadid tells us his life in seven minutes. He's an Arabic-speaking young man working the night shift at a laundromat and dry cleaners somewhere in the United States. In the aftermath of 9/11, they wash U.S. flags for free. He says they get six or seven per day. He tells us about Napoleon's two wives: Marie Louise for an heir, Josephine for love. Aadid likes Adela, his co-worker. She's his Josephine. We watch Aadid and Adela hand wash the flags and put them in dryers. They fold them. They dance. They stand side by side outside the door of the laundromat looking at the dawn. Will this companionship become something more?

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel & Fandor).

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36. Ironfinger

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.3/10
Reelgood Logo
36/100
Released: 1965
Action & Adventure, Comedy

What it's about: After being mistaken for an Interpol agent, a man who was just supposed to go on vacation gets mixed up in a war between two gangs intent on winning the favor of a notorious arms dealer.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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