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The Best Cop Movies of the 1970s 

Ranker Film
Updated July 8, 2019 1.6k votes 332 voters 17.5k views 40 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite police films that were released in the 1970s

The best '70s cop films always involved a few key elements: action, adventure, and maybe even a little bit of that good cop/bad cop routine. If you're looking for the best 1970s police movies that feature high speed chases, rough-and-tumble shoot outs, and slapping a handcuffs on bad guys, you've come to the right place! 


We couldn't begin a conversation about ‘70s cop movies without mentioning two names: Eastwood and Pacino. Clint Eastwood stars in
Dirty Harry, an archetypal, iconic role that spawned several sequels and earned a place in the National Film Registry. Al Pacino stars in Serpico, the based-on-a-true-story tale of one NYPD cop who endeavors to root out corruption on the force. Yet another iconic film on this list is The French Connection. Starring Gene Hackman, this film contains what is regarded by many movie fans and critics as the greatest car chase scene in history.


Here, you’ll also find
The Wicker Man, notable for its bizarre, occult themes, as well as its remake, starring a manic Nicholas Cage. Vote up the best cop films from the 1970s, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section! 
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1
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Clint Eastwood, Don Siegel, Andrew Robinson

Released: 1971

Directed by: Don Siegel

Dirty Harry is a 1971 American action film produced and directed by Don Siegel, the first in the Dirty Harry series. Clint Eastwood plays the title role, in his first outing as San Francisco ...more

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#328 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #77 of 130 Movies That Should Never Be Remade #11 of 591 The Best '70s Movies

2
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Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey

Released: 1971

Directed by: William Friedkin

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial The French Connection is a 1971 American dramatic thriller film directed by William Friedkin and produced by Philip D'Antoni. It stars Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, and Roy Scheider. The film was ...more

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3
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Al Pacino, Judd Hirsch, Abraham Murphy

Released: 1973

Directed by: Sidney Lumet

Serpico is a 1973 American drama film directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Al Pacino. Waldo Salt and Norman Wexler wrote the screenplay, adapting Peter Maas's biography of NYPD officer Frank ...more

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#31 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #104 of 323 The Best Political Films Ever Made #4 of 34 The Best Movies About Corrupt Cops

4
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Clint Eastwood, Suzanne Somers, Hal Holbrook

Released: 1973

Directed by: Ted Post

Magnum Force is a 1973 American action film and the second to feature Clint Eastwood as maverick cop Harry Callahan after the 1971 film Dirty Harry. Ted Post, who also directed Eastwood in the ...more

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#64 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #80 of 181 The Best Movie Sequels Ever Made #11 of 45 The Best Movies Starring Clint Eastwood

5
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Jerry Stiller, Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw

Released: 1974

Directed by: Joseph Sargent

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is a 1974 American thriller film directed by Joseph Sargent, produced by Edgar J. Scherick, and starring Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam and ...more

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#1,407 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #567 of 581 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time #90 of 591 The Best '70s Movies

6
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Roy Scheider, Ken Kercheval, Joe Spinell

Released: 1973

Directed by: Philip D'Antoni

The Seven-Ups is a 1973 American dramatic thriller film produced and directed by Philip D'Antoni. It stars Roy Scheider as a crusading policeman who is the leader of The Seven-Ups, a squad of ...more

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7
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Clint Eastwood, Tyne Daly, Bradford Dillman

Released: 1976

Directed by: James Fargo

The Enforcer is a 1976 American action film and the third in the Dirty Harry film series. Directed by James Fargo, it stars Clint Eastwood as Inspector "Dirty" Harry Callahan, Tyne ...more

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#79 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #355 of 460 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time #18 of 45 The Best Movies Starring Clint Eastwood

8
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Austin Stoker, Charles Cyphers, Tony Burton

Released: 1976

Directed by: John Carpenter

Assault on Precinct 13 is a 1976 American action thriller film written, directed, scored and edited by John Carpenter. It stars Austin Stoker as a police officer who defends a defunct precinct ...more

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#143 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #246 of 396 The Greatest Movie Themes #47 of 104 The Greatest Movie Remakes of All Time

9
The Warriors is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Cop Movies of the 1970s
slaft added Mercedes Ruehl, Robert Townsend, James Remar

Released: 1979

Directed by: Walter Hill

The Warriors is a 1979 American cult thriller film directed by Walter Hill and based on Sol Yurick's 1965 novel of the same name. Like the novel, the film borrows elements from the Anabasis by ...more

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10
Death Wish is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Cop Movies of the 1970s
slaft added Jeff Goldblum, Charles Bronson, Christopher Guest

Released: 1974

Directed by: Michael Winner

This film is a 1974 American vigilante action film loosely based on the novel of the same name by Brian Garfield. The film was directed by Michael Winner and stars Charles Bronson as a man who ...more

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#1,413 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #413 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #63 of 591 The Best '70s Movies

11
Dog Day Afternoon is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Cop Movies of the 1970s
slaft added Al Pacino, Carol Kane, Charles Durning

Released: 1975

Directed by: Sidney Lumet

Dog Day Afternoon is a 1975 American drama film directed by Sidney Lumet, written by Frank Pierson, and produced by Martin Bregman and Martin Elfand. The film stars Al Pacino, John Cazale, ...more

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12
Taxi Driver is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Cop Movies of the 1970s
slaft added Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Martin Scorsese

Released: 1976

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Taxi Driver is a 1976 American neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul Schrader. Set in New York City soon after the end of the Vietnam War, the film ...more

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13
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Clint Eastwood, Mara Corday, Sondra Locke

Released: 1977

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

The Gauntlet is a 1977 American action film directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Eastwood and Sondra Locke. The film's supporting cast includes Pat Hingle, William Prince, Bill McKinney, and ...more
14
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Gene Hackman, Ed Lauter, Fernando Rey

Released: 1975

Directed by: John Frankenheimer

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial French Connection II is a 1975 drama film starring Gene Hackman and directed by John Frankenheimer. It is a fictional sequel to the initially true story of the 1971 Academy Award winning picture ...more

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#322 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #124 of 181 The Best Movie Sequels Ever Made #22 of 26 26 Spin-Offs And Sequels To Hollywood Films You Probably Never Knew Existed

15
Mr. Majestyk is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Cop Movies of the 1970s
slaft added Charles Bronson, Linda Cristal, Lee Purcell

Released: 1974

Directed by: Richard Fleischer

Mr. Majestyk is a 1974 American action film directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Charles Bronson. The film is from an original screenplay written by Elmore Leonard. The title character's ...more

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#215 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #9 of 91 The Best Charles Bronson Movies #11 of 20 The Best Movies Based On Elmore Leonard Books

16
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Nick Nolte, Robert Blake, Terry Kath

Released: 1973

Directed by: James William Guerico

Electra Glide in Blue is a 1973 film starring Robert Blake as a motorcycle cop in Arizona and Billy "Green" Bush as his partner. It was produced and directed by James William Guercio. ...more

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17
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George C. Scott, Erik Estrada, Stacy Keach

Released: 1972

Directed by: Richard Fleischer

The New Centurions is a 1972 crime drama film based on the novel by policeman turned author Joseph Wambaugh. It stars George C. Scott, Stacy Keach, Scott Wilson, Jane Alexander, Rosalind Cash, ...more
18
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Anthony Quinn, Yaphet Kotto, Burt Young

Released: 1972

Directed by: Barry Shear

Across 110th Street is a 1972 American crime drama film starring Anthony Quinn, Yaphet Kotto, and Anthony Franciosa, and directed by Barry Shear. Commonly associated with the blaxploitation ...more
19
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John Wayne, Eddie Albert, Clu Gulager

Released: 1974

Directed by: John Sturges

McQ is a 1974 crime drama film directed by John Sturges, starring John Wayne. The film made extensive use of Seattle locations. The beach scenes were filmed on the Pacific coast at Moclips. ...more

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#373 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #60 of 99 The Best John Wayne Movies of All Time, Ranked #60 of 78 The Best Car Chase Movies Ever, Ranked by Fans

20
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James Woods, Christopher Lloyd, Ted Danson

Released: 1979

Directed by: Harold Becker

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial The Onion Field is a 1979 American crime drama film directed by Harold Becker, written by Joseph Wambaugh that is based on his 1973 true crime novel of the same title. The film stars John ...more
21
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Bruce Dern, Louis Gossett, Jr.

Released: 1973

Directed by: Stuart Rosenberg

The Laughing Policeman is an American police procedural film loosely based on the novel The Laughing Policeman by Sjöwall and Wahlöö. The setting of the story is transplanted from ...more
22
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Sidney Poitier, Ed Asner, Martin Landau

Released: 1970

Directed by: Gordon Douglas

They Call Me Mister Tibbs!, stylized with emphasis on "Mister", is a 1970 film, a sequel to 1967's In the Heat of the Night. The title was taken from a line in the first film. Sidney ...more

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23
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John Wayne, Richard Attenborough, Lesley-Anne Down

Released: 1975

Directed by: Douglas Hickox

Brannigan is a 1975 British thriller film directed by Douglas Hickox and starring John Wayne and Richard Attenborough. Set principally in London, the film is about a Chicago detective sent to ...more

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24
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Raquel Welch, Burt Reynolds, Yul Brynner

Released: 1972

Directed by: Richard A. Colla

Fuzz is a 1972 film directed by Richard A. Colla.
25
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Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Edward Woodward

Released: 1973

Directed by: Robin Hardy

The Wicker Man is a 1973 British mystery horror film directed by Robin Hardy and written by Anthony Shaffer. The film stars Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento, Ingrid Pitt, and ...more

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