10 Best Dirty Cop Movies

Here are the 10 best dirty cop movies. We often associate the police with protection, but what happens when the sworn officers write their own code of conduct? A great dirty cop movie is born. Amongst the list are blatant bad cops  as well as some where the line has simply become blurry.

  1. “Copland” (1997). In this film starring a slew of big named actors, every cop is pretty much dirty. Ray Liotta does it best as a cop who has gotten himself in a jam and takes any means necessary to get himself out.
  2. “Training Day” (2001). Denzel Washington is one of the most dirty cops of all time in this movie. Young and naive, Ethan Hawke becomes his partner and instead of learning the ropes, is faced with the ultimate corruption and becomes immersed in it.
  3. “Dirty Harry” (1971). Clint Eastwood’s questionable cop is one that endeared himself to audiences. This film resulted in many sequels, and all of them are worthy of being on the list. Dirty Harry does it his way: “Go ahead, make my day.”
  4. “The Departed” (2006). Matt Damon plays the dirty cop in this film, while Leonardo DiCaprio plays the good cop forced to go under cover to expose this corruption. Here, Scorsese gives insight into Damon’s corruption and uses flashback and symbolism to add to its complexity. Simply, a great movie.
  5. “L.A. Confidential” (1997). Russell Crowe is a cop similar to Dirty Harry and is the henchman for his boss, dealing out vengeance as it is needed. During a murder investigation, a cover up of mass proportion unfolds. Much corruption is exposed in the end of this fast-paced, critically acclaimed film.
  6. “US Marshals” (1998). Wesley Snipes is on the run (and not for tax evasion); the US marshals are called in to capture the fugitive. Turns out one of the marshals is a dirty cop and was setting up Snipes.
  7. “Gone Baby Gone” (2007). Ben Affleck directs this film about a kidnapping case. The lines between good cop and bad cop are definitely blurred in this gritty film. In the end, what should have been done isn’t so clear anymore.
  8. “One Good Cop” (1991). When Michael Keaton’s partner is killed leaving three kids without a home, Keaton is forced to become a bad cop in order to get the money necessary to raise his partner’s kids. Here is an example, where the “bad cop” is actually a good guy.
  9. “Witness” (1985). In this film, a Amish boy witnesses a murder. Due to corruption within the force, Harrison Ford, the cop, is shot ends up taking the family back to Amish country. Unable to leave, he is nursed back  to health as he tries to uncover the conspiracy.
  10. “Pride and Glory” (2008). Colin Farrell is a dirty cop in this movie but the interesting part is that this corruption is discovered by his own brother-in-law, played by Ed Norton. The question of morality suddenly is not clear cut as Norton must decide if he can take down his family as well as the force. And that completes the best dirty cops films of all time.
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