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The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked 

Ranker Film
Updated June 14, 2019 566 votes 56 voters 9.2k views 25 items

List Rules Vote up the greatest films with loose cannon policemen and detectives who can't be held down. They don't have to be wearing Stetsons.

Cowboy cops are loose cannons. These characters operate by their own set of rules, often throwing police protocol out the window to accomplish their goals and bring the bad guys to justice. The best renegade cop movies often find one lone maverick fighting against devious conspiracies and rampant crime. And while this genre sounds niche, some of the greatest action movies ever made qualify. Just read on and you'll see – the best cowboy cop movies include everything from Bad Boys to Beverly Hills Cop to Lethal Weapon.

What films will you find on this list of the best cowboy cop movies? Die Hard helped define the trend. John McLane (Bruce Willis) was such a cowboy cop that he made his catchphrase “Yippee-ki-yay, motherf*****.” Hot Fuzz is a hilarious example of an entertaining cowboy cop comedy. Clint Eastwood practically invented the cowboy cop with the Dirty Harry series. Other good films featured on this top renegade cop movies list include Training Day, Rush Hour, and Last Action Hero.

Which cowboy cop movie do you think deserves the top spot on this list? Give your favorites a thumbs up and please add any good movies that are missing.

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list ordered by
1
Dirty Harry is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
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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2
Die Hard is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia

Released: 1988

Directed by: John McTiernan

Die Hard is a 1988 American action film directed by John McTiernan and written by Steven E. de Souza and Jeb Stuart. It is based on the 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever, by Roderick Thorp. Die ...more

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3
Magnum Force is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
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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4
Sudden Impact is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
Clint Eastwood, Mara Corday, Sondra Locke

Released: 1983

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Sudden Impact is a 1983 American action film and the fourth film in the Dirty Harry series, directed by Clint Eastwood, and starring Eastwood and Sondra Locke. The film is notable for the ...more

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5
The Enforcer is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
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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6
The Dead Pool is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
Clint Eastwood, Jim Carrey, Axl Rose

Released: 1988

Directed by: Buddy Van Horn

This film is a 1988 American action flim directed by Buddy Van Horn, written by Steve Sharon, and starring Clint Eastwood as Inspector "Dirty" Harry Callahan. It is the fifth and final ...more
7
Lethal Weapon is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
Mel Gibson, Gary Busey, Danny Glover

Released: 1987

Directed by: Richard Donner

Lethal Weapon is a 1987 American buddy cop action film directed by Richard Donner, starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as a mismatched pair of L.A.P.D. detectives and stars Mitchell Ryan and ...more

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8
Demolition Man is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
Sandra Bullock, Sylvester Stallone, Jack Black

Released: 1993

Directed by: Marco Brambilla

Demolition Man is a 1993 American science fiction action film directed by Marco Brambilla in his directorial debut. The film stars Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes. The film was released in ...more

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9
Beverly Hills Cop is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
Eddie Murphy, Damon Wayans, Paul Reiser

Released: 1984

Directed by: Martin Brest

Beverly Hills Cop is a 1984 American action comedy film directed by Martin Brest and starring Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley, a street-smart Detroit cop who heads to Beverly Hills, California to ...more

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10
Hot Fuzz is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
Cate Blanchett, Martin Freeman, Simon Pegg

Released: 2007

Directed by: Edgar Wright

Hot Fuzz is a 2007 British action comedy parody film directed by Edgar Wright, written by Wright and Simon Pegg, and starring Pegg and Nick Frost. The film follows two police officers attempting ...more

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11
Cobra is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
Sylvester Stallone, Ron Jeremy, Brigitte Nielsen

Released: 1986

Directed by: George P. Cosmatos

Cobra is a 1986 American action film directed by George P. Cosmatos, and written by Sylvester Stallone, who also starred in the title role. The film co-stars Reni Santoni, Brigitte Nielsen and ...more

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12
Rush Hour is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
Jackie Chan, Roselyn Sánchez, Chris Tucker

Released: 1998

Directed by: Brett Ratner

Rush Hour is a 1998 American buddy action comedy film and the first installment in the Rush Hour series, directed by Brett Ratner and starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. It was followed by ...more

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13
Training Day is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
Eva Mendes, Snoop Dogg, Denzel Washington

Released: 2001

Directed by: Antoine Fuqua

Training Day is a 2001 American thriller film directed by Antoine Fuqua, written by David Ayer, and starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke. The story follows two LAPD narcotics officers over ...more

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14
Bad Boys is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
Will Smith, Téa Leoni, Martin Lawrence

Released: 1995

Directed by: Michael Bay

Bad Boys is a 1995 American action comedy film produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, producers of Top Gun and Beverly Hills Cop, and directed by Michael Bay in his directorial debut. It ...more

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15
Street Kings is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
Keanu Reeves, Hugh Laurie, Chris Evans

Released: 2008

Directed by: David Ayer

Street Kings is a 2008 American action thriller film directed by David Ayer, and starring Keanu Reeves, Forest Whitaker, Hugh Laurie, Chris Evans, Common and The Game. It was released in ...more
16
S.W.A.T. is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
S.W.A.T. Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez
17
Last Action Hero is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tina Turner, Sharon Stone

Released: 1993

Directed by: John McTiernan

Last Action Hero is a 1993 American action-comedy-fantasy film directed and produced by John McTiernan. It is a satire of the action genre and its clichés, containing several parodies of ...more

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18
Split Second is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
Kim Cattrall, Rutger Hauer, Pete Postlethwaite

Released: 1992

Directed by: Ian Sharp, Tony Maylam

Split Second is a 1992 British science fiction film starring Rutger Hauer, Kim Cattrall, and Neil Duncan. The film is directed by Tony Maylam and Ian Sharp.
19
16 Blocks is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
Bruce Willis, Mos Def, David Morse

Released: 2006

Directed by: Richard Donner

16 Blocks is a 2006 American crime thriller film directed by Richard Donner. It stars Bruce Willis, Mos Def, and David Morse. The film unfolds in the real time narration method.
20
The Killer is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
Chow Yun-Fat, Kenneth Tsang, Danny Lee

Released: 1989

Directed by: John Woo

This film is a 1989 Hong Kong action film written and directed by John Woo, and starring Chow Yun-fat, Danny Lee and Sally Yeh. Chow plays Ah Jong, who accidentally damages the eyes of the ...more

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21
Hard Boiled is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
Chow Yun-Fat, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Philip Kwok

Released: 1992

Directed by: John Woo

Hard Boiled is a 1992 Hong Kong action film written and directed by John Woo, and starring Chow Yun-fat as Inspector "Tequila" Yuen, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai as Tony an undercover cop, and ...more

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22
Shaft is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Lawrence Pressman

Released: 1971

Directed by: Gordon Parks

Shaft is a 1971 American blaxploitation film directed by Gordon Parks, released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. An action film with elements of film noir, Shaft tells the story of a private detective, ...more

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23
Running Scared is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
Paul Walker, Elizabeth Mitchell, Vera Farmiga

Released: 2006

Directed by: Wayne Kramer

Running Scared is a 2006 American thriller film, written and directed by Wayne Kramer, and starring Paul Walker, Cameron Bright and Vera Farmiga. It was released in the United States on February ...more

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24
R.I.P.D. is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
R.I.P.D. Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Mary-Louise Parker
25
Wild Wild West is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Cowboy Cop Movies, Ranked
Salma Hayek, Will Smith, Kevin Kline

Released: 1999

Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld

Wild Wild West is a 1999 American steampunk western action-comedy film directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. A big-screen adaptation of the 1965–1969 TV series The Wild Wild West, it stars Will Smith, ...more

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