Some of the greatest movies revolve around the vilest human endeavors – murder, robbery and revenge. The stylistic approach to focus on the lives of criminals varies from realistic depiction of real-life criminals to the evil attempts of imaginary arch-villains. Crime has, since the beginning of film-making, been a genre that directors always loved to portray, critics always lauded, and fans enjoyed the most. Unlike other genres, there is something fascinating and different about a crime movie, maybe because criminal acts are mostly glorified in these movies.
The list here is an honest attempt to rank some of the best crime masterpieces in film history. It is not prejudiced to English movies unlike other lists you find on the web, and is made taking into consideration the critical acclaims, influences, historical significances and Sight and Sound’s rankings each of them have received over the years.
So, without further adieu, here we run a countdown of the “Top 10 Best Crime Movies Of All Time”.
10. Taxi Driver (1976)
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Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver” is an epic tale of a mentally unstable ex-Marine and Vietnam War veteran named Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) working as a night-time taxi driver in New York City. He is a very ordinary man suffering from insomnia, and tries to break his isolation, though violence accumulates inside him while trying to save a young prostitute in the process.
Taxi Driver is one of the classics in crime genre, and a powerful and important film overall in film history. Its along with Raging Bull’s first class directing made Scorsese a world renowned filmmaker. It is ranked at No. 31 in “Sight & Sound Critics’ Top 250 Films (2012)” and at No. 69 in IMDb’s “Top 250”.
9. Los Olvidados (1950)
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Los Olvidados (The Young and the Damned), directed by Luis Buñuel, is a powerful, stark, unforgettable portrait of low life and the forgotten ones. It follows the story of the poor, handicapped and abandoned kids and adults fighting to meet ends in the streets and slums of Mexico City. Based on a true story, it shows how the morals of young kids, especially Pedro, are gradually corrupted by others in the group.
Los Olvidados is a landmark of Latin America cinema, a masterpiece that portrayed crime and violence in a raw, sensual and heart-touching manner. The film remains to this day one of the most crude, revolutionary, powerful, visceral and important films ever made.
8. Pulp Fiction (1994)
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Many believe Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” to be a masterpiece without a message. It is one of the films that has defined the dark-crime genre. The plot follows the lives of two mob hit men working under their boss, a pair of diner bandits, a gangster’s wife, a boxer and several other intermediate characters who intertwine in four stories of redemption, violence and crime comprising a series of funny, uncalled-for and bizarre incidents.
Pulp Fiction is well acclaimed by critics all over the world, and has for a long time enjoyed the No. 4 position in IMDb’s “Top 250” list. The over the top acting, directing, soundtrack and cinematography all combine to give a unique sense of humor and crime-filled atmosphere to the film that is regarded as Tarantino’s best work till date.