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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. The Lives of Others

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
8.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Logo93%
Reelgood Logo
93/100
Released: 2006Rated: R
Drama, Thriller

What it's about: A tragic love story set in East Berlin with the backdrop of an undercover Stasi controlled culture. Stasi captain Wieler is ordered to follow author Dreyman and plunges deeper and deeper into his life until he reaches the threshold of doubting the system.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (Netflix & The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 8 services (iTunes, Google Play & 6 others).

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2. La Haine

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
8.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Logo100%
Reelgood Logo
86/100
Released: 1995
Crime, Drama

What it's about: Aimlessly whiling away their days in the concrete environs of their dead-end suburbia, Vinz, Hubert, and Said - a Jew, African, and an Arab - give human faces to France's immigrant populations, their bristling resentment at their social marginalization slowly simmering until it reaches a climactic boiling point.

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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3. Escape from New York

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Logo85%
Reelgood Logo
83/100
Released: 1981Rated: R
Action & Adventure, Cult

What it's about: In 1997, the island of Manhattan has been walled off and turned into a giant maximum security prison within which the country's worst criminals are left to form their own anarchic society. However, when the President of the United States crash lands on the island, the authorities turn to a former soldier and current convict to rescue him.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (Prime Video & The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 6 services (iTunes, Prime Video & 4 others).

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4. Le Samouraï

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
8.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Logo100%
Reelgood Logo
82/100
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 subscription service (ConTV, The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 4 services (iTunes, Google Play & 2 others).

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5. High and Low

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
8.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Logo94%
Reelgood Logo
81/100
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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6. Purple Noon

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Logo97%
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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7. L'Avventura

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Logo96%
Reelgood Logo
77/100
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 subscription service (The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 3 services (iTunes, Prime Video & Vudu).

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8. Le Cercle Rouge

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
8.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Logo95%
Reelgood Logo
77/100
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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9. Diva

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Logo98%
Reelgood Logo
74/100
Released: 1981Rated: R
Thriller, Drama

What it's about: Jules, a young Parisian postman, secretly records a concert performance given by the opera singer Cynthia Hawkins, whom he idolises. The following day, Jules runs into a woman who is being pursued by armed thugs. Before she is killed, the woman slips an audio cassette into his mail bag...

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

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10. Mouchette

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Logo88%
Reelgood Logo
74/100
Released: 1967
Drama

What it's about: Robert Bresson plumbs great reservoirs of feelings with one of the most searing portraits of human desperation ever put on film.

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

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11. Police Story 2

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Logo88%
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 (Shout Factory TV & The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 2 services (iTunes & PlayStation Store).

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12. Le Havre

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Logo99%
Reelgood Logo
72/100
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. The Naked Kiss

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Logo92%
Reelgood Logo
70/100
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 (SnagFilms & Tubi TV), stream on a popular subscription service (Prime Video, Fandor, The Criterion Channel & 1 other) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).

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14. The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Logo96%
Reelgood Logo
70/100
Released: 1927
Crime, Drama

What it's about: A landlady suspects her new lodger is the madman killing women in London.

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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15. Homicide

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Logo91%
Reelgood Logo
69/100
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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16. The Kid Brother

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Logo100%
Reelgood Logo
67/100
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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17. The Steel Helmet

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Logo100%
Reelgood Logo
67/100
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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18. Un Flic

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Logo78%
Reelgood Logo
67/100
Released: 1972Rated: PG
Crime, Thriller

What it's about: Commissaire Edouard Coleman is a Paris police chief whose life investigating violent crimes has left him despondent. After beginning an affair with a beautiful but cold woman named Cathy, he befriends her boyfriend, Simon, a local nightclub owner. Unbeknownst to Edouard, however, Simon is also a ruthless bank robber and drug smuggler who is planning one final heist. Edouard is forced to pursue Simon after learning his true identity.

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

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19. Hopscotch

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Logo71%
Reelgood Logo
66/100
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 (Shout Factory TV, 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
Rotten Tomatoes Logo66%
Reelgood Logo
65/100
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 and grow 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 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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21. Green for Danger

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Logo73%
Reelgood Logo
65/100
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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22. Le Deuxième souffle

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
8.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Logo100%
Reelgood Logo
59/100
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 4 services (iTunes, Google Play & 2 others).

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23. A Dog's Life

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes LogoN/A
Reelgood Logo
57/100
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 watch free online (SnagFilms), stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $0.99 on 1 service (Prime Video).

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24. Logorama

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes LogoN/A
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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25. Sapphire

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes LogoN/A
Reelgood Logo
47/100
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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26. The Castle of Sand

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes LogoN/A
Reelgood Logo
46/100
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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27. Stakeout

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes LogoN/A
Reelgood Logo
39/100
Released: 1958Rated: R
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) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Google Play).

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28. The Woman in Question

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes LogoN/A
Reelgood Logo
39/100
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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29. Bumping Into Broadway

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes LogoN/A
Reelgood Logo
36/100
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 (Fandor & The Criterion Channel).

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30. My Josephine

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes LogoN/A
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 (Fandor & The Criterion Channel).

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31. Ironfinger

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes LogoN/A
Reelgood Logo
35/100
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).