Ranked! The 50 Best Crime Movies Ever Made… It Would be a Sin Not to See All of Them

Crime has always been and always will be a movie genre which appeals to us in ways that other genres don’t. Crime films find their way into the hearts and minds of viewers everywhere and it’s not without meaning. Crime fiction is as popular as it is because it lets us deal with the big issues of our time in the context of fiction, which basically acts as a safety net because we know it isn’t real. We watch fictional psychopaths and bombs going off from the comfort of Movie Theater or our living room sofa. The adrenaline rush and the emotions move us but we know we’re going to be in one piece at the end, at least physically.

So in light of the crime genre that gets us all riled up, we put a list together of the best crime movies of all time. And suffice it to say that these are ranked from fan-favorite movie sites such as IMDB, Metacritic, Ranker, Rotten Tomatoes, Business Insider, and Flickchart. This list is based on viewer ratings – not critic opinion. The power of numbers, baby. Oh, and we have some fun facts for each movie too.

How many movies have you seen on this list?

50. Donnie Brasco (1997)

This is a true story crime drama directed by Mike Newell, starring Johnny Depp, Al Pacino, and others. It’s about FBI agent Joe Pistone (Depp) who broke into New York’s mafia scene of under the name Donnie Brasco. It’s a classic plot line with remarkable acting and a must-see crime movie.

50. Donnie Brasco (1997)

Photo by Mandalay Entertainment, Baltimore Pictures, Mark Johnson Productions

To prepare for his role, Johnny Depp met with the real-life Joseph D. Pistone a number of times and took shooting lessons from the FBI. You might also like to know that Al Pacino was originally going to play the role of Brasco. When he switched to Lefty’s character, he recommended Johnny Depp.

49. The Boondock Saints (1999)

This film was directed by Troy Duffy and starred Willem Dafoe, Sean Patrick Flanery, and Norman Reedus. Two Irish brothers accidentally kill mafia thugs and turn themselves in, only to be seen as heroes. So they ended up going on a mafia-killing rampage.

49. The Boondock Saints (1999)

Photo by Franchise Pictures, Brood Syndicate, Fried Films, Lloyd Segan Company, Chris Brinker Productions

Troy Duffy, who was working as a bartender and bouncer, had never written a screenplay before. Talk about beginner’s luck. The screenplay was inspired by his disgust at seeing a drug dealer taking money from a corpse across the hall from his apartment.

The next movie involves a major casino heist. Can you guess which one?

48. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Matt Damon among others, Ocean’s 11 is a movie classic. Watching the highly-skilled group of con-men working on the biggest heist of their careers is simply fun to watch.

48. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Photo by Warner Bros

The script was sent to Julia Roberts with a $20 bill attached. It had a note from George Clooney that said: “I hear you’re getting 20 a picture now“. He was referencing the fact that Julia Roberts became the highest paid actress at the time, making $20 million per picture.

47. Carlito’s Way (1993)

The movie is about a Puerto Rican ex-convict who just got out of prison, trying to stay away from drugs and violence despite the pressure around him. The movie, directed by Brian De Palma, stars Sean Penn and Al Pacino, two admired crime actors. And all he wants to do is get out of New York.

47. Carlito’s Way (1993)

Photo by Epic production

The outside of the hospital where Carlito visits his bedbound lawyer is the same one where Vito Corleone is taken in “The Godfather” (1972), which also starred Al Pacino. Pacino, by the way, originally wanted to grow a ponytail for the part. But when he visited East Harlem, he saw that none of the men wore their hair that way.

Which De Niro film from 1987 is next? Can you guess?

46. The Untouchables (1987)

This Oscar-winning film is another one by Brian De Palma, with actors Robert De Niro and Kevin Coster. It’s based in the Prohibition era of in the United States, where federal agent Eliot Ness tries to stop Chicago gangster Al Capone.

46. The Untouchables (1987)

Photo by Paramount Pictures 

Robert De Niro managed to find Al Capone’s original tailors and had them make him some identical clothing for the movie. And also, Albert H. Wolff, the last survivor of the real-life Untouchables, was a consultant to the film, helping Kevin Costner with his portrayal of Eliot Ness.

45. Nightcrawler (2014)

This is a dark psychological thriller set in Los Angeles, no other. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Lou Bloom who discovers the high-speed world of L.A. crime journalism. But his passion takes a dark turn when he gets in too deep into the dangerous realm of night crawling.

45. Nightcrawler (2014)

Photo by Bold Films production studio

During the scene where Gyllenhaal screams at himself in the mirror, he got so absorbed in this improvised moment that the mirror broke, cutting his hand. He had to be driven to the hospital by the director after a 19-hour day, getting 46 stitches in a 4-hour long operation. He then returned to the set 6 hours after being discharged. And that’s why he had his hand behind his back in the scene where he tells the scrapyard owner his motto.

Remember Colin Farrell? He starred in the next excellent crime comedy-drama…

44. In Bruges (2008)

After a job gone wrong, guilt-ridden hitmen Ray (Colin Farrell) and his partner have to wait, and suffer, in Bruges, Belgium until their boss gives them their next orders on what to do. The movie is not only full of crime and serious drama, but it’s also pretty funny.

44. In Bruges (2008)

Photo by Universal Studios and Focus Features.

In the original script, Ray and Ken were English characters, but when Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson came on to do the movie, the characters were then changed to be Irish to make it as natural as possible.

43. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were Bonnie and Clyde, the movie based on the real crime couple from the 1930s. After Bonnie meets and falls in love with Clyde, the two start a violent crime spree throughout the country, stealing cars and robbing banks.

43. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Photo by Warner Bros. 

Michael J. Pollard, who played C.W. Moss, didn’t realize when shooting eating scenes that you shouldn’t actually eat all the food because of the likely possibility of repeated takes. Sure enough, he regretted eating the food in the scene where the outlaws kidnap a couple and eat their lunch in the car. By the 12th take, Pollard was feeling really sick, having had to eat 12 hamburgers.

Which of the “Kill Bill” movies do you think comes next at #42?

42. Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)

Our favorite murderous bride came back for the second movie and she still has to get revenge on her ex-boss, Bill. Everything leads up to the ultimate confrontation with Bill, her former master and the man who ordered her execution!

42. Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)

Photo by Miramax Films

Robert Rodriguez, a friend of Quentin Tarantino, scored this movie for one dollar. Tarantino re-payed him by directing a segment of Rodriguez’s film “Sin City” (2005) for one dollar. If you want to know more about Tarantino or his films, check out this article on all things Tarantino.

41. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

This film was based on a real-life story that happened in the early 70s where the Chase Manhattan Bank in Gravesend, Brooklyn, was robbed by someone determined to steal enough money for his male lover to undergo a sex change operation.

41. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Photo by Warner Bros. 

The real-life bank robber, John Wojtowicz, claimed that he watched “The Godfather” (1972) to get ideas for the day he was going to rob the bank. Little did he know that both Al Pacino and John Cazale, who were in that movie, would also star in a movie based on him.

Do you know which Sean Penn movie from 2003 is next at #40?

40. Mystic River (2003)

Clint Eastwood directed the double Oscar-winning (Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Actor in a Supporting Role) crime drama starring Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, and Kevin Bacon. It’s about the lives of three men who were once close childhood friends and the murder of one of their daughters drives their past and present to become intertwined.

40. Mystic River (2003)

Photo by Village Roadshow Pictures, Malpaso Productions, NPV Entertainment

The movie studio executives at Warner Brothers pleaded with Clint Eastwood to shoot the film in Toronto, Canada in order to save money. But Eastwood insisted on having the film completely shot in Boston, where the story is set.

39. Sin City (2005)

Robert Rodriguez directed the comic-book style classic centered around four stories of crime adapted from Frank Miller’s comic book “Sin City.” Rodriguez said that he doesn’t consider this movie to be an adaptation so much as it’s a translation.

39. Sin City (2005)

Photo by Troublemaker Studios, Dimension Films

There aren’t even any screenwriting credits. Frank Miller is credited as the creator of the graphic novels. As we mentioned above, Tarantino was a guest director and directed the scene with Dwight (Clive Owen) and Jackie Boy (Benicio Del Toro) in the front of the car, before Dwight is pulled over by a police officer.

The next film won an Oscar, from 1973 starring Dustin Hoffman. Have you seen it?

38. Papillon (1973)

The Academy Award-nominated movie starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman is about a prisoner who becomes friends with another inmate. It’s a semi-fictional account of Henri Charrière’s time in the penal system in French Guyana. Some of which was spent on the infamous Devil’s Island.

38. Papillon (1973)

Photo by Allied Artists, Columbia Pictures

Henri Charrière was there for the film’s shooting in Jamaica, but he died of lung cancer in July 1973, a few months before the film was edited and released. Unfortunately, he never got to see the movie made about him.

37. Touch of Evil (1958)

Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, and Orson Welles (who also wrote and directed the film) all starred in this 1950s crime classic. The revenge tale is full of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption. But Welles was only supposed to act, not direct.

37. Touch of Evil (1958)

Photo by Universal Pictures

Orson Welles was originally hired to act in the film only, but a misunderstanding made Heston believe that Welles was to be the director. So to keep Heston happy, producer Albert Zugsmith allowed Welles to direct. Welles made major changes to the script that was already completed.

Which crime movie do know that stars Nicole Kidman? It’s next…

36. Dogville (2003)

The film won 21 awards and was nominated for 31. It’s about a woman on the run from the mob who found herself in a small Colorado town. She agrees to work for them but their agreeing to hide her comes at a price.

36. Dogville (2003)

Photo by Filmek AB, Zoma Films UK, Canal+, France 3 Cinéma

Paul Bettany didn’t want to play the part of Tom Edison. Then his friend Stellan Skarsgård told him that Lars von Trier’s (the director’s) shoots were so funny, that “you’ll miss something extraordinary if you turn the part down.” After shooting half the movie, Bettany asked Skarsgård when the fun would start, but he replied: “I lied. I did it because he is amazing to work with, and you wouldn’t be able to see that before you were actually here yourself. I wanted to give you a chance, and you wouldn’t have shown up if I had been frank with you.”

35. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)

The first of the Kill Bill movies goes down as one of the best crime movies of all time and definitely one of Tarantino’s best creations. After waking up from a four-year coma, she needs to get revenge on those who betrayed her.

35. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)

Photo by Miramax Film

Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman both said in the DVD documentary that the idea for doing “Kill Bill” began during the filming of “Pulp Fiction” (1994). They would talk about the kinds of movies that they would like to do, and Quentin said he would like to do a 70’s style kung-fu flick. Uma was the one that came up with the film’s opening shot of her beaten up and wearing a wedding gown.

The Coen Brothers directed the next movie. Wanna guess which one?

34. No Country for Old Men (2007)

This is just one of the many Coen Brothers movies that struck gold. This is a really well-done crime movie about one of the strangest and creepiest psychopaths you’ll ever see in a film. His choice of weapon is one to be remembered. The movie won 4 Oscars (Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Achievement in Directing and Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay).

34. No Country for Old Men (2007)

Photo by Miramax Films

When Joel Coen and Ethan Coen approached Javier Bardem about playing Anton Chigurh, he said, “I don’t drive, I speak bad English and I hate violence.” The Coens responded by saying, “That’s why we called you.” Bardem said he took the role because he always wanted to be in a Coen Brothers film.

33. Catch Me If You Can (2002)

The movie is based on the true story of an FBI agent chasing after Frank Abagnale Jr. who, before his 19th birthday, somehow managed to forge millions of dollars’ worth of checks posing as a pilot, a doctor, and a legal prosecutor. He was one of the best con men of that generation.

33. Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Photo by Dreamworks Pictures

According to the real Frank Abagnale, Jr., about 80% of the movie is true. And he also said that until he saw the actual results of DiCaprio’s work, he didn’t think DiCaprio was “suave” enough to play him. But he swallowed his words after the movie came out.

Next, a movie that stars Jake Gyllenhaal but Ryan Gosling wanted the role…

32. Prisoners (2013)

Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal star in this dark psychological thriller about every parent’s worst nightmare – when your child goes missing. The acting is phenomenal and you really can’t take your eyes off the screen as much as you’re sitting on the edge of your seat.

32. Prisoners (2013)

Photo by Alcon Entertainment, 8:38 Productions, Madhouse Entertainment

Ryan Gosling auditioned for the role of Detective Loki which later went to Gyllenhaal, who collaborates often with director Denis Villeneuve. Gosling and Gyllenhaal have something of a friendly professional rivalry seeing as how they often audition for the same roles.

31. Spotlight (2015)

“Spotlight” won two Oscars for being as important and well-made as it was (Best Motion Picture of the Year and Best Writing, Original Screenplay). It’s about the true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of the cover-up of the Catholic Church which really shook it to its core.

31. Spotlight (2015)

Photo by Participant Media, First Look Media, Anonymous Content, Rocklin/Faust Productions, Spotlight Film

When Michael Keaton took the role, he researched the real Walter Robinson before meeting him. Keaton also studied video and audio of Robinson. Then when the two met, Keaton did an impression of him that was so impressive, Robinson was actually freaked out and said to him, “How did you know everything about me? We just met.”

The next dark thriller sounds like it was actually a really fun set to be on!

30. Gone Girl (2014)

Director David Fincher is known for his impressive crime dramas, and this is one of his best. It’s one of those psychological thrillers with a twist – a genre Fincher loves to play around with. On his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) reports that his wife went missing. You’ll have to see the movie to know what happens (if you haven’t already).

30. Gone Girl (2014)

Photo by Regency Enterprises, TSG Entertainment

Here’s a fun fact: Ben Affleck would constantly sing ’80s songs between takes on set. So Tyler Perry (the director) decided to start a game that ended up lasting the entire duration of shooting. Perry would start singing a random song to see if Affleck would start singing along. Turns out, Affleck knew all of the words to every single song Perry threw at him, including Broadway show tunes and songs by Barbra Streisand.

29. Fargo (1996)

Yet another masterpiece by the Coen Brothers. The movie is such a classic that it was made into a series (available on Netflix) which is just as good as the movie. It won two Oscars unsurprisingly (Best Actress in a Leading Role and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen). For the few that may not have seen this movie, all you need to know is that it’s about a crime that falls apart.

29. Fargo (1996)

Photo by PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Working Title Films

Although many people think that William H. Macy, who played the role of Jerry, was ad-libbing all that stuttering, he did hardly any improvisation at all. Most of his character’s mannerisms were written in the script exactly the way he does them in the film.

Which movie do you remember had both Paul Newman and Robert Redford? See, next…

28. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross all-star in this timeless classic about a train robbery gone wrong. Their solution is to go to Bolivia? Why? You’ll need to see the movie to find out. And for those who didn’t know, Butch Cassidy and the kid were real people.

28. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Photo by Campanile Productions, Newman-Foreman Company

The real Butch Cassidy (his name was actually Robert Leroy Parker) got the nickname because he used to work in a butcher’s shop. The Sundance Kid, (whose real name was Harry Alonzo Longabaugh), got his nickname because he was once arrested in the Wyoming town of Sundance.

27. Heat (1995)

Who better to star in a crime film than both Al Pacino and Robert De Niro? It’s an incredible acting double whammy. And it’s a classic crime plot with the standard cat and mouse chase of cops and robbers. Regardless of the conventional design, it’s a really cool movie.

27. Heat (1995)

Photo by Regency Enterprises, Forward Pass, Warner Bros.

Al Pacino revealed that for the scene in the restaurant between Hanna and McCauley, Robert De Niro felt that the scene should go unrehearsed so that the unfamiliarity between the two would seem more genuine. Director Michael Mann agreed, and they shot the scene with no practice beforehand.

The next movie is recent but just as deserving…

26. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

This movie may not be as widely known considering how recent it is, but it’s high on this list for a reason. The movie won 2 Oscars (Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role). The story: a mother (Frances McDormand) challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder when they fail to do their job.

26. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Photo by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Frances McDormand (who’s married to Joel Coen) was hesitant to take the role of Mildred when offered to her, but Joel convinced her. She said, “Because at the time he gave it to me I was fifty-eight. I was concerned that women from this socioeconomic strata did not wait until thirty-eight to have their first child. So we went back and forth and we debated that quite for a while, and then finally my husband said, ‘Just shut up and do it.‘”

25. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

This is one of those movies that’s fun to watch from the beginning up until the end. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the real-life character Jordan Belfort, who became a rich stock-broker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.

25. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Photo by Red Granite Pictures

Matthew McConaughey’s scenes were shot during the second week of shooting. The chest beating and humming was improvised and actually a warm-up that he routinely does before acting. When DiCaprio saw it while the camera was rolling, you can see a brief shot of him looking away uneasily from the camera, and he was actually looking at Martin Scorsese for approval. DiCaprio urged them to put it in their scene and later claimed it “set the tone” for the rest of the movie.

The next movie goes down as one of the best movies of all time, let alone crime…

24. Casino (1995)

Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone fill their roles to a tee in this epic crime drama. A real story of greed, deception, money, power, and murder can only be done perfectly with the right story, these phenomenal actors, and a legendary director (Scorcese).

24. Casino (1995)

Photo by Universal Studios

The costume budget for the film was one million dollars. Robert De Niro had seventy different costumes throughout the film, which was more than Sharon Stone, who had “only” forty. Both of them were allowed to keep their costumes afterward.

23. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

If there’s another filmmaker that breathes crime and makes some of the best there ever was, it’s Guy Ritchie. The British crime comedy centers on a card game in London that triggers four friends, thugs, drug dealers, gangsters, loan sharks, and debt collectors to get all jumbled up together in a way only Guy Ritchie can conjure up.

23. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

Photo by PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Gramercy Pictures, Columbia TriStar Pictures

This was action star Jason Statham’s film debut. Statham has actually worked in real life as a street vendor, similar to the character he plays in the beginning of the movie.

Let’s go back to the 1950s now to see the next crime movie ranked as #22…

22. On the Waterfront (1954)

This movie starring Marlon Brando won 8 Oscars (Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Director, Best Writing, Story and Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Film Editing) as well as 21 other awards. It’s about an ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman trying to face his corrupt union bosses. Brando had to shoot this film during a very rough time in his life.

22. On the Waterfront (1954)

Photo by Columbia Pictures Corporation

As part of his contract, he only worked until 4 p.m. every day, and then he would go see his analyst. His mother had recently died and he was in therapy to resolve his issues with his parents. For the film’s classic scene between Rod Steiger and Brando in the back of the cab, all of Steiger’s close-ups were filmed after Brando had left the set. Apparently, Steiger was very bitter about that for years and often mentioned it in interviews.

21. Scarface (1983)

Brian De Palma directed the gangster classic that will forever be referenced and considered an icon of crime films forever. And who better than Al Pacino to play a Cuban gangster gone wild? Not to mention Michelle Pfeiffer was the perfect gal for him too.

21. Scarface (1983)

Photo by Universal Studios 

When “Scarface” was re-released in theaters in 2003 in celebration of its 35th anniversary, the studio wanted Brian De Palma to change the soundtrack to include rap songs inspired by the movie. But he refused.

Let’s get down and dirty with the top 20!

20. Taxi Driver (1976)

This masterpiece includes one of the best-ad-libbed scenes to ever grace the movie screen. “You talkin’ to me?” was all improvised. But you may already know that. This is one of those films that you wonder if it would be made today, in this society. But who cares. We’re glad it was done!

20. Taxi Driver (1976)

Photo by Columbia Pictures

Director Martin Scorsese considered that the most important shot in the film is when De Niro’s character is on the phone trying to get another date with Betsy (Cybill Shepherd). The camera moves to the side slowly and pans down a long, empty hallway next to him, suggesting that the phone conversation is too painful and pathetic to bear.

19. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Stanley Kubrick seems to love making controversial yet deeply memorable films. Anyone who’s seen “A Clockwork Orange” definitely hasn’t forgotten certain scenes from the dark film about a sadistic gang leader who agrees to be part of a psychological experiment.

19. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Photo by Warner Bros.

Stanley Kubrick’s first cut of the movie, before hiring assistant editors, ran almost four hours. And considering the vulgarity and indecency of the movie’s scenes, Kubrick had his assistant destroy all unused footage.

Next up – number 18, folks!

18. The Sting (1973)

Paul Newman and Robert Redford ganged up again in “The Sting,” a movie that won 7 Oscars! And of course, it’s about two con men teaming up to pull off a sting. And believe it or not, Robert Redford didn’t even see the movie until June 2004.

18. The Sting (1973)

Photo by Universal Pictures

The movie was filmed on the backlot of Universal Studios. The diner where Hooker meets Lonnegan is the same diner used in “Back to the Future” (1985) where Marty McFly first meets his father and calls Doc Brown.

17. Snatch (2000)

Guy Ritchie’s genius film making is recognized with his film “Snatch” starring Jason Statham, Brad Pitt, and Benicio Del Toro. Boxing promoters, bookies, a Russian gangster, amateur robbers, and jewelers are all trying to find a priceless stolen diamond. You can only imagine what happens (if you still haven’t seen it).

17. Snatch (2000)

Photo by Screen Gems

Brad Pitt was such a big fan of “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels” that he approached Guy Ritchie and asked for a role in this film. When Ritchie found Pitt couldn’t really master a real London accent, he gave him the role of Mickey the Gypsy.

16. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

One of Tarantino’s classics, as well as one of his earliest works, is “Reservoir Dogs.” A simple jewelry heist gone terribly wrong is what Tarantino knows how to do superbly well. He wrote and directed the movie.

16. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Photo by Miramax Films

The film’s budget was so low that many of the actors simply wore their own clothing as the wardrobe; most notably Chris Penn’s track jacket. The black suits were provided for free by the designer because she simply loved the American crime film genre. Steve Buscemi, however, wore his own black jeans instead of suit pants.

15. L.A. Confidential (1997)

The movie based in a 1950’s Los Angeles scene is all about police corruption and Hollywood sleaze. Three very different cops are all searching for the truth but in their own way. And many of the events in the movie were based on real events.

15. L.A. Confidential (1997)

Photo by Warner Bros.

Kim Basinger actually turned down the role of Lynn Bracken three times before saying finally agreeing to take it. She was director Curtis Hanson’s first and only choice for the role, so he must have done a good convincing job.

14. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

With a movie title such as this one, how could it not be considered one of the best movies of all time? The film about a former Prohibition-era gangster returning to Manhattan more than thirty years later is based on the real-life crime boss.

14. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

Photo by Warner Bros.

Robert De Niro requested to meet privately with notorious crime boss Meyer Lansky to prepare for his role as David “Noodles” Aaronson. Unfortunately, the request was denied. But it’s okay, De Niro managed to pull it off (as he always does).

13. The Departed (2006)

Clearly, Martin Scorcese’s films are going to appear on this list more than any other director’s movies. Crime drama is what Scorcese lives and breathes. “The Departed,” about an undercover cop in the Irish mob scene of Boston, has a quite memorable ending.

13. The Departed (2006)

Photo by Warner Bros.

Mark Wahlberg based his performance on all the police officers that arrested him many times in his youth, as well as the reactions of his parents who had to come bail him out with their grocery money. And Leonardo DiCaprio called his one-on-one scene with Jack Nicholson “one of the most memorable moments of my life.”

12. American History X (1998)

Edward Norton is at his best (debatably) in this film. Aside from a physical transformation, he plays the role of a former white supremacist with morals in such a convincing way. As dark and difficult as the subject of the movie may be, it’s a movie all Americans should see.

12. American History X (1998)

Photo by New Line Cinema

Did you know that Edward Norton turned down “Saving Private Ryan” (1998) to do this movie? And before filming started, he and Edward Furlong shaved their heads for their roles. Norton also gained 30 pounds of muscle.

11. Léon: The Professional (1994)

A young Natalie Portman stars in this magnificent crime film about a professional assassin who takes in a 12-year-old after her family is murdered. Mathilda (Portman’s character) ends up learning the tricks of the trade, as criminal and immoral as it is. But hey, it’s a movie!

11. Léon: The Professional (1994)

Photo by Gaumont Buena Vista International

It was Natalie Portman’s film debut. She was 11 years old at the time. According to Jean Reno (who played Leon), he decided to play the character as if he were “a little mentally slow” and emotionally repressed. He said it would make audiences relax and realize that he wasn’t the kind of person who would take advantage of a vulnerable young girl.

Are you ready for the top 10? Here we go…

10. The Usual Suspects (1995)

This movie won two Oscars (Best Actor in a Supporting Role and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen) and that’s no surprise there. It’s also another film about criminals vs the cops. but conventionalism aside, this movie is nothing like other crime movies! It has a twist that no one would expect!

10. The Usual Suspects (1995)

Photo by Gramercy Pictures

Did you know that the idea for this movie started with just the concept of a movie poster of five men in a lineup? Oh, and Benicio Del Toro’s strange vernacular in the film was apparently so incoherent that during one scene, Stephen Baldwin actually forgot his line because he was trying to understand what Del Toro said.

9. City of God (2002)

The movie is filmed in the slums of Rio in Brazil. It’s a tale of two kids’ paths going off track as one wants to be a photographer and the other a kingpin. The film was so original and captivating that it won 4 Oscars, celebrating its excellence.

9. City of God (2002)

Photo by Miramax Films

Fernando Meirelles, the director, wanted the cast to include people who had never acted before and professional actors who weren’t popular. The film wasn’t shot in the Cidade de Deus slum for it was too dangerous. It was shot in a neighboring, less dangerous area.

What movie do you think sits at #8?

8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

If there’s any of you who haven’t seen this movie, you need to just watch it already. It’s a movie that all crime dramas can learn from. Other than Anthony Hopkin’s chilling portrayal of a psychopath, the story is one to be remembered. And it’s referenced to this day.

8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Photo by Orion Pictures

To prepare for his role, Sir Anthony Hopkins studied files of serial killers, visited prisons, and studied convicted murderers. He was also present during some court hearings concerning gruesome murderers and serial killings.

7. The Green Mile (1999)

This isn’t only a movie that deserves the best crime movie nod, it’s also a movie that is one of the best ever made in all genres. It won 4 Oscars (Best Sound, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published, Best Actor in a Supporting Role and Best Picture). And sure, it’s based on a crime and revolves around prisoners and prison guards, but it’s a moving film that you will never forget. Speaking of movies that move you, see our list of emotional films that are sure to make you cry.

7. The Green Mile (1999)

Photo by Warner Bros.

Stephen King called this film the single most faithful adaptation of his work (as it was based on his novel). Another fun fact: Tom Hanks accepted the role of Paul Edgecomb as a favor to the director Frank Darabont, after he was forced to turn down the role of Andy Dufresne in “The Shawshank Redemption” (1994) so he could play the title role in “Forrest Gump” (1994).

Number 6 is next. Go ahead and guess which movie it is!

6. Se7en (1995)

This has to be one of the most memorable crime films of all time. It’s one of David Fincher’s best as well as for the actors Brad Pitt, Martin Freeman, and Gwyneth Paltrow. And the appearance by another actor that we won’t mention who makes a stellar performance.

6. Se7en (1995)

Photo by New Line Cinema

Brad Pitt bought his own ties for the movie because he wanted his character Mills to have poor fashion sense. And director David Fincher told Brad Pitt “this is not going to be the movie that you’re remembered for, but it may be a movie you’re incredibly proud of.”

5. Goodfellas (1990)

The crime epic is about the story of Henry Hill and his life in the mob. And anyone who saw this film has seen it more than once and knows why – it’s simply one of the best. Of course, Scorcese directed it and no shock there that it won an Academy Award.

5. Goodfellas (1990)

Photo by Warner Bros.

According to Henry Hill, Joe Pesci’s portrayal of Tommy DeSimone was 99% percent accurate, with one notable exception – the real Tommy DeSimone was a massively built, strapping man. So aside from Pesci’s small stature, everything else was spot on.

4. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Arguably Tarantino’s best film is “Pulp Fiction,” about two mob hitmen, a boxer, a gangster’s wife, and a pair of diner crooks. And as Tarantino does best, it’s all about starting with the end and then starting at the beginning. Go watch it again!

4. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Photo by Miramax Films

The movie cost only $8 million to make, with $5 million going to pay the actors’ and actresses’ salaries. But it went on to gross over $200 million at the box office. Uma Thurman first turned down the role of Mia Wallace, but Tarantino was so desperate to have her as Mia that he read her the script over the phone, which convinced her to take on the role.

3. The Godfather: Part II (1974)

The second movie of the Godfather saga is number 3 on this list and who’s going to debate it? It’s about the early life and career of Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) in 1920s New York City and his son Michael (Al Pacino). The movie obviously won 6 Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Director, Best Writing, Screenplay Adapted From Other Material, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Music, Original Dramatic Score).

3. The Godfather: Part II (1974)

Photo by Paramount Pictures

Do you know that De Niro spent four months learning to speak the Sicilian dialect in order to play Vito Corleone? He even lived in Sicily for a few months to get his part as realistic as possible. He’s a known method actor. Want to know what other method actors take their roles to another level? See this article here.

2. The Dark Knight (2008)

Christopher Nolan knows exactly how to take an idea, such as the classic Batman comic story, and make it as dark and real as possible. The movie won 2 Oscars (Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Achievement in Sound Editing) and it’s truly a masterpiece that no one can refute. And Heath Ledger as Joker is a performance to be respected by actors and viewers alike. (Heath won the Oscar for his supporting role and he’s the only actor to have won an award in this category after death).

2. The Dark Knight (2008)

Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures

In preparation for his role, Ledger hid away in a motel room for about six weeks, his seclusion got him to really delve deep into the psychology of the character. His interpretation of The Joker’s appearance was based on the chaotic and unkempt look of punk rocker Sid Vicious in combination with the psychotic mannerisms of Malcolm McDowell’s character, Alex De Large, from “A Clockwork Orange.”

And here we go…the number one spot goes to…

1. The Godfather (1972)

Obviously! Francis Ford Coppola’s epic film is going to be number 1. Where else would it go? The classic movie about an aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty is Marlon Brando’s most recognized and highly respected film. It won 3 Oscars (Best Picture, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium and Best Actor in a Leading Role).

1. The Godfather (1972)

Photo by Paramount Pictures

Marlon Brando wanted to make Don Corleone “look like a bulldog,” so what he did was stuff his cheeks with cotton wool for the audition. And then for the filming, he wore an actual mouthpiece made by a dentist. The mouthpiece is on display in the American Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York.