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The Best Police Movies on The Criterion Channel

Finding a good Police movie 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 of all time streaming on The Criterion Channel.

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1. Chinatown

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
8.2/10
Reelgood Logo
83/100
Released: 1974Rated: R
Crime, Mystery

What it's about: Private eye Jake Gittes lives off of the murky moral climate of sunbaked, pre-World War II Southern California. Hired by a beautiful socialite to investigate her husband's extra-marital affair, Gittes is swept into a maelstrom of double dealings and deadly deceits, uncovering a web of personal and political scandals that come crashing together.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (Netflix, Paramount+, The Criterion Channel & 2 others) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 6 services (iTunes, Google Play & 4 others).

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2. Manhunter

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.2/10
Reelgood Logo
74/100
Released: 1986Rated: R
Crime, Horror

What it's about: FBI Agent Will Graham, who retired after catching Hannibal Lecktor, returns to duty to engage in a risky cat-and-mouse game with Lecktor to capture a new killer.

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

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3. The Onion Field

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.8/10
Reelgood Logo
60/100
Released: 1979Rated: R
Crime, Drama

What it's about: An LA police officer is murdered in the onion fields outside of Bakersfield. However, legal loopholes could keep his kidnappers from receiving justice, and his partner is haunted by overwhelming survivor's guilt.

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

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4. The Thin Blue Line

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
8.0/10
Reelgood Logo
70/100
Released: 1988
Drama, Documentary

What it's about: Errol Morris's unique documentary dramatically re-enacts the crime scene and investigation of a police officer's murder in Dallas.

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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5. High and Low

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
8.4/10
Reelgood Logo
74/100
Released: 1963
Crime, Thriller

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. Stray Dog

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.9/10
Reelgood Logo
67/100
Released: 1949
Thriller, Drama

What it's about: A bad day gets worse for young detective Murakami when a pickpocket steals his gun on a hot, crowded bus. Desperate to right the wrong, he goes undercover, scavenging Tokyo’s sweltering streets for the stray dog whose desperation has led him to a life of crime. With each step, cop and criminal’s lives become more intertwined and the investigation becomes an examination of Murakami’s own dark side.

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

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7. Police Story

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.6/10
Reelgood Logo
71/100
Released: 1985Rated: PG-13
Thriller, Action & Adventure

What it's about: A virtuous Hong Kong police officer must clear his name after he is framed for murder.

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

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8. Insomnia

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.3/10
Reelgood Logo
68/100
Released: 1997
Mystery, Thriller

What it's about: Detectives Jonas and Erik are called to the midnight sun country of northern Norway to investigate a recent homicide, but their plan to arrest the killer goes awry, and Jonas mistakenly shoots Erik. The suspect escapes, and a frightened Jonas pins Erik's death on the fugitive. Jonas continues to pursue the killer as he seeks to protect himself; however, his mounting guilt and the omnipresent sun plague him with an insomnia that affects his sanity.

Where to Watch: Available to watch free online (PopcornFlix), stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $3.60 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).

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9. The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.4/10
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56/100
Released: 1975Rated: R
Crime, Drama

What it's about: After a chance encounter with a wanted man, a woman is harassed by the police and press until she takes violent action.

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

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10. The Naked City

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.6/10
Reelgood Logo
65/100
Released: 1948
Crime, Drama

What it's about: The Naked City portrays the police investigation that follows the murder of a young model. A veteran cop is placed in charge of the case and he sets about, with the help of other beat cops and detectives, finding the girl's killer.

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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11. The Bedroom Window

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.4/10
Reelgood Logo
59/100
Released: 1987Rated: R
Drama, Thriller

What it's about: Baltimore, Maryland. Sylvia sees a girl being attacked from her lover Terry's bedroom window. The assailant flees and his victim is saved. But that same night another girl is found murdered.

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

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12. Cruising

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.5/10
Reelgood Logo
64/100
Released: 1980Rated: R
LGBTQ, Thriller

What it's about: A serial killer brutally slays and dismembers several gay men in New York's S/M and leather districts. The young police officer Steve Burns is sent undercover onto the streets as decoy for the murderer. Working almost completely isolated from his department, he has to learn and practice the complex rules and signals of this little society.

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 Steel Helmet

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.4/10
Reelgood Logo
77/100
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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14. Mr. Klein

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.6/10
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59/100
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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15. My Lucky Stars

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.5/10
Reelgood Logo
55/100
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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16. Sapphire

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.1/10
Reelgood Logo
54/100
Released: 1959
Crime, Mystery

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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17. The Castle of Sand

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.4/10
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52/100
Released: 1974
Crime, Mystery

What it's about: Two detectives are tasked to investigate 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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18. Logorama

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.5/10
Reelgood Logo
62/100
Released: 2009Rated: R
Animation, Crime

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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19. My Josephine

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.6/10
Reelgood Logo
45/100
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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20. Ironfinger

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.2/10
Reelgood Logo
39/100
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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21. Bumping Into Broadway

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.0/10
Reelgood Logo
43/100
Released: 1919Rated: G
Family, 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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22. The Woman in Question

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.8/10
Reelgood Logo
42/100
Released: 1950
Drama, 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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23. Stakeout

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.1/10
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41/100
Released: 1958
Mystery, 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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