Entertainment

The Best Cop Movies of the 1970s  

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1.4k votes 305 voters 15.3k 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! 
list ordered by
1
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Clint Eastwood, Don Siegel, Andrew Robinson
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
2
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Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey
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
3
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Al Pacino, Judd Hirsch, Abraham Murphy
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
4
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Jerry Stiller, Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw
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
5
The Warriors is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Cop Movies of the 1970s
slaft added Mercedes Ruehl, Robert Townsend, James Remar
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
6
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Austin Stoker, Charles Cyphers, Tony Burton
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
7
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Roy Scheider, Ken Kercheval, Joe Spinell
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
8
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Clint Eastwood, Suzanne Somers, Hal Holbrook
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
9
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Clint Eastwood, Tyne Daly, Bradford Dillman
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
10
Dog Day Afternoon is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Cop Movies of the 1970s
slaft added Al Pacino, Carol Kane, Charles Durning
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
11
Taxi Driver is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Cop Movies of the 1970s
slaft added Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, 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
12
Death Wish is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Cop Movies of the 1970s
slaft added Jeff Goldblum, Charles Bronson, Christopher Guest
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
13
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Clint Eastwood, Mara Corday, Sondra Locke
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
Mr. Majestyk is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Cop Movies of the 1970s
slaft added Charles Bronson, Linda Cristal, Lee Purcell
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
15
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Gene Hackman, Ed Lauter, Fernando Rey
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
16
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Anthony Quinn, Yaphet Kotto, Burt Young
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
17
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James Woods, Christopher Lloyd, Ted Danson
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
18
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Nick Nolte, Robert Blake, Terry Kath
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
19
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George C. Scott, Erik Estrada, Stacy Keach
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
20
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John Wayne, Richard Attenborough, Lesley-Anne Down
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
21
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Sidney Poitier, Ed Asner, Martin Landau
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
22
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Bruce Dern, Louis Gossett, Jr.
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
23
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John Wayne, Eddie Albert, Clu Gulager
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
24
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Raquel Welch, Burt Reynolds, Yul Brynner
Fuzz is a 1972 film directed by Richard A. Colla.
25
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James Woods, Randy Quaid, Louis Gossett
The Choirboys is a 1977 American comedy-drama film directed by Robert Aldrich, written by Christopher Knopf and Joseph Wambaugh based on Wambaugh's novel of the same title. It features an ...more