Many of the best police movies from the 1950s are considered noir films, characterized by their black and white Expressionist style and their “hardboiled” plots. Violence, revenge, gambling, organized crime, and sex all comprise the mystique of the noir film. The greatest ‘50s cop movies are all set against gritty urban backdrops, but the real background was the McCarthy Hearings of the 1950s. Communist fears, endless witch hunts, and an angry and paranoid society all frame these movies as reactions and responses to the politics of the day.
Do you prefer a good old fashioned police procedural, or perhaps something with a few more twists and turns? Vote up the best cop movies from the 1950s, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment sections!
On this list of top ‘50s cop movies, you will find numerous legendary directors. For instance, Orson Welles directed and co-starred in one of the last true noir films ever made: Touch of Evil. Notable for its single-shot opening sequence, the film has achieved a high level of prestige. John Ford also appears on this list with the film Gideon’s Day. Even silent film-era luminary Fritz Frelang got in on the trend of the ‘50s cop movie. His relentlessly brutal The Big Heat is regarded as one of the best noir films ever made.