The best ‘80s cop movies are a unique blend of kitsch, grit, and violence. Fans of the police genre might say that the 1980s was a great decade for cop movies. There are, however, numerous classic police stories from the ‘80s, including directing legend Brian de Palma’s The Untouchables. Starring Kevin Costner, this film details the endeavors of Elliott Ness and his band of federal agents to bring down mob kingpin Al Capone in 1930s Chicago.
Also on this list of top ‘80s cop movies, you’ll find plenty of lighter fare. The 1980s was the heyday of the buddy cop film, the prime example being Lethal Weapon. Starring Danny Glover and Mel Gibson, the Lethal Weapon franchise has become a cultural touchstone, having been referenced and parodied countless times since its release. Here, you’ll also find Clint Eastwood reprising his role as “Dirty” Harry Callahan in The Dead Pool and Sudden Impact.
Vote up the best cop films of the 1980s, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section!
- Following the death of his wife, Los Angeles police detective Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) becomes reckless and suicidal. When he is reassigned and partnered with Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover), Riggs ...more
- New York City policeman John McClane (Bruce Willis) is visiting his estranged wife (Bonnie Bedelia) and two daughters on Christmas Eve. He joins her at a holiday party in the headquarters of the ...more
- After his childhood buddy is murdered while visiting Detroit, rebellious cop Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) follows the leads to Beverly Hills, Calif., under the auspices of a vacation. He checks in with ...more
- South African smugglers find themselves being hounded and harassed by Riggs and Murtaugh, two mismatched Los Angeles police officers. However, the South Africans are protected by diplomatic immunity, ...more
- In a violent, near-apocalyptic Detroit, evil corporation Omni Consumer Products wins a contract from the city government to privatize the police force. To test their crime-eradicating cyborgs, the ...more
- Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free TrialRenegade cop Jack Cates (Nick Nolte) pulls bank robber Reggie Hammond (Eddie Murphy) from a federal prison on a 48-hour leave to help him capture Hammond's old partner, Albert Ganz (James Remar). ...more
- After building an empire with bootleg alcohol, legendary crime boss Al Capone (Robert De Niro) rules Chicago with an iron fist. Though Prohibition agent Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) attempts to take ...more
- Police officers Ray Tango (Sylvester Stallone) and Gabe Cash (Kurt Russell) are narcotics experts working to bring down drug lord Yves Perret (Jack Palance). In an attempt to stymie their efforts, ...more
- The hard-nosed Detroit cop from the original film returns to Los Angeles to help solve another case. This time he must direct his efforts towards unraveling the Alphabet Crimes, a series of robberies ...more
- Los Angeles policeman Lt. Marion "Cobra" Cobretti (Sylvester Stallone) finds himself at the center of a spate of murders carried out by a secret society called New Order: killers who select "weak" ...more
- In the fifth installment of the Dirty Harry series, gritty cop Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) is fresh off the conviction of a major mob boss. When horror film director Peter Swan (Liam Neeson) ...more
- When the mayor of a crime-ridden city loosens the restrictions on entering the police academy in order to get more cops on the street, all manner of oddball characters enlist to join the force. Among ...more
- After witnessing a brutal murder, young Amish boy Samuel (Lukas Haas) and his mother Rachel (Kelly McGillis) seek protection from police officer John Book (Harrison Ford). When Book uncovers evidence ...more
- A Moscow detective (Arnold Schwarzenegger) shows his local police escort (James Belushi) how to hunt a Soviet drug smuggler in Chicago.
- The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! is a 1988 American comedy film. It is the first in The Naked Gun series of films starring Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, George Kennedy, and O. J. ...more
- Deckard (Harrison Ford) is forced by the police Boss (M. Emmet Walsh) to continue his old job as Replicant Hunter. His assignment: eliminate four escaped Replicants from the colonies who have ...more
- When Eddie Moscone (Joe Pantoliano) hires tight-lipped bounty hunter Jack Walsh (Robert De Niro) to locate a mob accountant named "The Duke" (Charles Grodin) and bring him to L.A., Eddie tells Jack ...more
- New York City policemen Nick (Michael Douglas) and Charlie (Andy Garcia) witness a murder in a bar and quickly apprehend the assailant. The killer, named Sato (Yusaku Matsuda), is a member of Japan's ...more
- Police detectives Chris Lecce (Richard Dreyfuss) and Bill Reimers (Emilio Estevez) are on the hunt for escaped prisoner "Stick" Montgomery (Aidan Quinn). When the trail dries up, the pair are put on ...more
- Ray and Danny (Gregory Hines, Billy Crystal) are two Chicago police detectives hot on the trail of drug kingpin Julio Gonzales (Jimmy Smits). They manage to nab the drug lord, but the bust is messy, ...more
- When his longtime partner on the force is killed, reckless U.S. Secret Service agent Richard Chance (William L. Petersen) vows revenge, setting out to nab dangerous counterfeit artist Eric Masters ...more
- In this gritty police drama from director Dennis Hopper, street-wise cop Bob Hodges (Robert Duvall) and hotheaded rookie Danny McGavin (Sean Penn) grapple with their new partnership on the ...more
- Det. Scott Turner (Tom Hanks) is an uptight, by-the-book police officer who hopes to leave his sleepy California town and work in the big city. When his friend Amos Reed (John McIntire), the ...more
- Jennifer Spencer (Sondra Locke) was gang raped, but the crime went unpunished. Now she demands revenge, killing off the men that attacked her years before. The murders attract the attention of Harry ...more
- In 1933, private investigator Mike Murphy (Burt Reynolds) is shocked when his partner, Dehl Swift (Richard Roundtree), is killed by thugs working for Primo Pitt (Rip Torn). Furious, Murphy asks his ...more