100 Best Crime Detective Movies of All Time – A Streaming Guide

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The crime detective genre puts thrilling criminal investigations on the big screen. These movies follow a detective – who could be a hired private investigator, a member of law enforcement, or a complete amateur – as they attempt to uncover the mysteries of a crime. The genre includes plenty of incredible noir (The Lady from Shanghai, The Maltese Falcon) and neo-noir (Memories of Murder, Brick) movies, as well as light-hearted parodies (The Pink Panther) and action comedies (Rush Hour). Whether you’re looking for cinema’s bleakest noir movies or something for the whole family, you’ll find something for you with our list of the 100 best crime detective movies of all time.

Many of the best crime detective movies are adaptations of famous novels. Among the most famous detectives successfully adapted for the big screen include Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe (The Big Sleep, Farewell, My Lovely, The Long Goodbye), Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes (The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes) and Agatha Christie's Poirot (Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile). These characters have inspired many other movies on this top 100 list, so their movies are a great starting point for anybody who is new to the genre.

There are also plenty of options if you’re looking for unconventional detective crime stories that also belong to another genre. Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner: The Final Cut is a neo-noir science fiction movie starring Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard, who is tasked with hunting down a group of criminal replicants (androids). Another example is Matt Reeve’s The Batman, a superhero movie which tells the story of Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattison) as he searches for a dangerous criminal in Gotham City.

Where can I watch the best crime detective movies?

Below you can find our complete list of the 100 best crime detective movies of all time. We’ll show you where you can watch every movie online on popular streaming services in the United States. We’ll also let you know if you can watch any of these movies online for free, or if they are available to watch for free with ads.

Netflix
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Filters
  1. The Maltese Falcon

    The Maltese Falcon

    1941

    IMDB 7.9 (167k)

    #1

    A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a beautiful liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette.

  2. Double Indemnity

    Double Indemnity

    1944

    IMDB 8.3 (168k)

    #2

    A rich woman and a calculating insurance agent plot to kill her unsuspecting husband after he signs a double indemnity policy. Against a backdrop of distinctly Californian settings, the partners in crime plan the perfect murder to collect the insurance, which pays double if the death is accidental.

  3. Memories of Murder

    Memories of Murder

    2003

    IMDB 8.1 (218k)

    #3

    During the late 1980s, two detectives in a South Korean province attempt to solve the nation's first series of rape-and-murder cases.

  4. Zodiac

    Zodiac

    2007

    IMDB 7.7 (601k)

    #4

    A cartoonist teams up with an ace reporter and a law enforcement officer to track down an elusive serial killer.

  5. Rear Window

    Rear Window

    1954

    IMDB 8.5 (524k)

    #5

    A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbors from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.

  6. The Thin Man

    The Thin Man

    1934

    IMDB 7.9 (32k)

    #6

    A husband and wife detective team takes on the search for a missing inventor and almost get killed for their efforts.

  7. Laura

    Laura

    1944

    IMDB 7.9 (51k)

    #7

    A police detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he's investigating.

  8. The Big Sleep

    The Big Sleep

    1946

    IMDB 7.9 (90k)

    #8

    Private Investigator Philip Marlowe is hired by wealthy General Sternwood regarding a matter involving his youngest daughter Carmen. Before the complex case is over, Marlowe sees murder, blackmail, deception, and what might be love.

  9. Touch of Evil

    Touch of Evil

    1958

    IMDB 8.0 (110k)

    #9

    When a car bomb explodes on the American side of the U.S./Mexico border, Mexican drug enforcement agent Miguel Vargas begins his investigation, along with American police captain Hank Quinlan. When Vargas begins to suspect that Quinlan and his shady partner, Menzies, are planting evidence to frame an innocent man, his investigations into their possible corruption quickly put himself and his new bride, Susie, in jeopardy.

  10. Chinatown

    Chinatown

    1974

    IMDB 8.1 (351k)

    #10

    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.

  11. Se7en

    Se7en

    1995

    IMDB 8.6 (1m)

    #11

    Two homicide detectives are on a desperate hunt for a serial killer whose crimes are based on the "seven deadly sins" in this dark and haunting film that takes viewers from the tortured remains of one victim to the next. The seasoned Det. Sommerset researches each sin in an effort to get inside the killer's mind, while his novice partner, Mills, scoffs at his efforts to unravel the case.

  12. High and Low

    High and Low

    1963

    IMDB 8.4 (53k)

    #12

    In the midst of an attempt to take over his company, a powerhouse executive is hit with a huge ransom demand when his servants son is kidnapped

  13. The Conversation

    The Conversation

    1974

    IMDB 7.7 (122k)

    #13

    Surveillance expert Harry Caul is hired by a mysterious client's brusque aide to tail a young couple. Tracking the pair through San Francisco's Union Square, Caul and his associate Stan manage to record a cryptic conversation between them. Tormented by memories of a previous case that ended badly, Caul becomes obsessed with the resulting tape, trying to determine if the couple is in danger.

  14. The Silence of the Lambs

    #14

    Clarice Starling is a top student at the FBI's training academy. Jack Crawford wants Clarice to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant psychiatrist who is also a violent psychopath, serving life behind bars for various acts of murder and cannibalism. Crawford believes that Lecter may have insight into a case and that Starling, as an attractive young woman, may be just the bait to draw him out.

  15. Vertigo

    Vertigo

    1958

    IMDB 8.3 (429k)

    #15

    A retired San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend's wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her.

  16. Cure

    Cure

    1997

    IMDB 7.5 (23k)

    #16

    A wave of gruesome murders is sweeping Tokyo. The only connection is a bloody X carved into the neck of each of the victims. In each case, the murderer is found near the victim and remembers nothing of the crime. Detective Takabe and psychologist Sakuma are called in to figure out the connection, but their investigation goes nowhere...

  17. The French Connection

    The French Connection

    1971

    IMDB 7.7 (136k)

    #17

    Tough narcotics detective 'Popeye' Doyle is in hot pursuit of a suave French drug dealer who may be the key to a huge heroin-smuggling operation.

  18. The Long Goodbye

    The Long Goodbye

    1973

    IMDB 7.5 (37k)

    #18

    In 1970s Hollywood, Detective Philip Marlowe tries to help a friend who is accused of murdering his wife.

  19. The Hound of the Baskervilles

    #19

    On his uncle's death Sir Henry Baskerville returns from Canada to take charge of his ancestral hall on the desolate moors of Devonshire, and finds that Sherlock Holmes is there to investigate the local belief that his uncle was killed by a monster hound that has roamed the moors since 1650, and is likely to strike again at Sir Henry.

  20. Death on the Nile

    Death on the Nile

    1978

    IMDB 7.2 (40k)

    #20

    As Hercule Poirot enjoys a luxurious cruise down the Nile, a newlywed heiress is found murdered on board and every elegant passenger becomes a prime suspect.