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The Best Cop Movies of the 1970s

Updated October 7, 2020 1.8k votes 342 voters 18.6k views40 items

List RulesVote 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
    Dirty Harry
    100
    26

    Dirty Harry

    Clint Eastwood, Don Siegel

    Released1971

    Directed byDon Siegel

    Dirty Harry is a 1971 American action film produced and directed by Don Siegel, the first in... more on WikipediaAmazon_watch buy button
  • 2
    The French Connection
    87
    23

    The French Connection

    Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider

    Released1971

    Directed byWilliam Friedkin

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  • 3
    Serpico
    60
    24

    Serpico

    Al Pacino, Judd Hirsch

    Released1973

    Directed bySidney Lumet

    Serpico is a 1973 American drama film directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Al Pacino. Waldo... more on Wikipedia

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  • 4
    The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
    48
    18

    The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

    Jerry Stiller, Walter Matthau

    Released1974

    Directed byJoseph Sargent

    The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is a 1974 American thriller film directed by Joseph... more on Wikipedia

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  • 5
    Magnum Force
    53
    23

    Magnum Force

    Clint Eastwood, Suzanne Somers

    Released1973

    Directed byTed Post

    Magnum Force is a 1973 American action film and the second to feature Clint Eastwood as... more on WikipediaAmazon_watch buy button
  • 6
    The Seven-Ups
    51
    21

    The Seven-Ups

    Roy Scheider, Ken Kercheval

    Released1973

    Directed byPhilip D'Antoni

    The Seven-Ups is a 1973 American dramatic thriller film produced and directed by Philip... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    Assault on Precinct 13
    42
    16

    Assault on Precinct 13

    Austin Stoker, Charles Cyphers

    Released1976

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

    Assault on Precinct 13 is a 1976 American action thriller film written, directed, scored and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 8
    The Enforcer
    46
    22

    The Enforcer

    Clint Eastwood, Tyne Daly

    Released1976

    Directed byJames Fargo

    The Enforcer is a 1976 American action film and the third in the Dirty Harry film series.... more on Wikipedia

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    #77 of 553 The Best '70s Movies#332 of 456 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time

  • 9
    Death Wish
    40
    17

    Death Wish

    Jeff Goldblum, Charles Bronson

    Released1974

    Directed byMichael Winner

    This film is a 1974 American vigilante action film loosely based on the novel of the same name... more on Wikipedia

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  • 10
    The Warriors
    40
    18

    The Warriors

    Mercedes Ruehl, Robert Townsend

    Released1979

    Directed byWalter Hill

    The Warriors is a 1979 American cult thriller film directed by Walter Hill and based on Sol... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    Dog Day Afternoon
    40
    20

    Dog Day Afternoon

    Al Pacino, Carol Kane

    Released1975

    Directed bySidney Lumet

    Dog Day Afternoon is a 1975 American drama film directed by Sidney Lumet, written by Frank... more on WikipediaAmazon_watch buy button
  • 12
    The Gauntlet
    36
    18

    The Gauntlet

    Clint Eastwood, Mara Corday

    Released1977

    Directed byClint Eastwood

    The Gauntlet is a 1977 American action film directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Eastwood and... more on Wikipedia
  • 13
    French Connection II
    36
    18

    French Connection II

    Gene Hackman, Ed Lauter

    Released1975

    Directed byJohn Frankenheimer

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  • 14
    Taxi Driver
    42
    25

    Taxi Driver

    Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster

    Released1976

    Directed byMartin Scorsese

    Taxi Driver is a 1976 American neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by Martin... more on Wikipedia

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  • 15
    Mr. Majestyk
    28
    14

    Mr. Majestyk

    Charles Bronson, Linda Cristal

    Released1974

    Directed byRichard Fleischer

    Mr. Majestyk is a 1974 American action film directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Charles... more on Wikipedia

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  • 16
    The New Centurions
    22
    8

    The New Centurions

    George C. Scott, Erik Estrada

    Released1972

    Directed byRichard Fleischer

    The New Centurions is a 1972 crime drama film based on the novel by policeman turned author... more on Wikipedia
  • 17
    Across 110th Street
    20
    11

    Across 110th Street

    Anthony Quinn, Yaphet Kotto

    Released1972

    Directed byBarry Shear

    Across 110th Street is a 1972 American crime drama film starring Anthony Quinn, Yaphet Kotto,... more on Wikipedia
  • 18
    The Laughing Policeman
    19
    12

    The Laughing Policeman

    Bruce Dern, Louis Gossett

    Released1973

    Directed byStuart Rosenberg

    The Laughing Policeman is an American police procedural film loosely based on the novel The... more on WikipediaAmazon_watch buy button

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  • 19
    Electra Glide in Blue
    22
    16

    Electra Glide in Blue

    Nick Nolte, Robert Blake

    Released1973

    Directed byJames William Guerico

    Electra Glide in Blue is a 1973 film starring Robert Blake as a motorcycle cop in Arizona and... more on WikipediaAmazon_watch buy button

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  • 20
    McQ
    23
    20

    McQ

    John Wayne, Eddie Albert

    Released1974

    Directed byJohn Sturges

    McQ is a 1974 crime drama film directed by John Sturges, starring John Wayne. The film made... more on Wikipedia
  • 21
    Brannigan
    17
    12

    Brannigan

    John Wayne, Richard Attenborough

    Released1975

    Directed byDouglas Hickox

    Brannigan is a 1975 British thriller film directed by Douglas Hickox and starring John Wayne... more on Wikipedia

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  • 22
    They call me MISTER Tibbs
    16
    13

    They call me MISTER Tibbs

    Sidney Poitier, Ed Asner

    Released1970

    Directed byGordon Douglas

    They Call Me Mister Tibbs!, stylized with emphasis on "Mister", is a 1970 film, a sequel to... more on Wikipedia
  • 23
    The Onion Field
    18
    16

    The Onion Field

    James Woods, Christopher Lloyd

    Released1979

    Directed byHarold Becker

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  • 24
    Sweeney!
    16
    15

    Sweeney!

    John Thaw, Barry Foster

    Released1977

    Directed byDavid Wickes

    Sweeney! is a 1977 British crime film, made as a spin-off from the television show The Sweeney... more on Wikipedia
  • 25
    Fuzz
    15
    15

    Fuzz

    Raquel Welch, Burt Reynolds

    Released1972

    Directed byRichard A. Colla

    Fuzz is a 1972 film directed by Richard A. Colla.