The best '40s cop movies can be characterized by the classic film-noir style that developed in the early 1940s. Noir films were notable for their distinct black and white visual style as well as their portrayals of lone heroes and femme fatales, as well as their twisting plotlines.
So what are the greatest ‘40s cop movies? American cinematographers, such as John Alton, contributed to the unique look and feel of many noir films shot in this era. Alton filmed numerous influential movies, including 1948’s He Walked By Night. Filmed in the semi-documentary style that was popular in the ‘40s, films like He Walked By Night and Naked City incorporated real people and events, blurring the line between fact and fiction. Foreign directors also left their stamp on the genre. Akira Kurosawa also appears on this list for his classic Japanese police film Stray Dog. This top '40s cop movie prefigured the idea of the police procedural, as well as the buddy cop genre.
On this list of ‘40s cop movies you’ll also find stars of the ‘40s and ‘50s like Gary Cooper, Tony Curtis, and Jack Webb, creator of Dragnet. Vote up the best cop movies from the 1940s, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section.