The 25 Best Detective Movies You Should Watch Right Now (2023)

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The 25 Best Detective Movies You Should Watch Right Now (1)

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The 25 Best Detective Movies You Should Watch Right Now (2)

Von:Cole Keough

Posted on June 17, 2022


Detective movies are often hard to find, however.ExcellentCrime movies are even harder to find. Also, there are a lot of streaming services these days that can easily point you in the wrong direction. This causes some of these movies to go unnoticed and drown in the vast pool of movie streaming options.

This list will help you find the best detective movies and where to watch them. Please note that this list does not have a ranking and serves only as a general map.

1. Prisoners

A terrifying nightmare for parents, this film is a heavy watch, but it is (arguably) the most compelling detective film on this list. Denis Villeneuve, today considered one of the greatest contemporary directors, brings us a stunning masterpiece at the beginning of his career. Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) works tirelessly to hunt down the kidnapper of two girls, but the father of one of the girls, Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), thinks the police could do more. As the movie progresses, Keller Dover gets fed up and tries to take matters into his own hands, which takes the movie to an entirely different level.

Watch on Hulu

2. The Silence of the Lambs

A classic and what some consider one of the greatest films of all time,The Silence of the Lambsis an unforgettable thriller. The film features one of the most notable characters of all time, Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). In the film, Lecter is interviewed and questioned by the young FBI. Cadet Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), who tries to learn more about what makes a serial killer tick in order to catch a new serial killer on the loose, Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). This movie is scary and feels like a bug is constantly crawling on her body, but in the end it's an amazing detective movie with a story like no other.

Watch on Prime Video

3. Lost Girl

Definitely not your average "detective" movie, director David Fincher brings us yet another brilliant filmex girlfriend. When his wife suddenly disappears, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) searches frantically for her as the media closes in on Nick and increasingly considers the possibility that Nick may have killed her. The way the movie was put together really makes this movie what it is. He constantly bounces between perspectives and you really don't know who to trust, Nick or his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike). Definitely check this one out, as it brings a lot of new ideas to the table and has an ending that will shock you.

Watch on Prime Video

4. The Maltese Falcon

Despite being very old, this is still a must-see and an absolute classic among detective films.The Maltese Falconfollows private investigator Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) as he makes his way through San Francisco as murders pile up around him, he slowly begins to delve into corruption and insecurity and realizes he has one thing in mind, that everyone has the Maltese in them. Falcon wants to get his hands on. Nominated for 3 Oscars,The Maltese Falconis a great film noir that cannot be overlooked when discussing the greatest detective films.

watch on HBO Max

5. Knives out

Probably one of the newer movies on this list,knife awaydoes not disappoint. Writer-director Rian Johnson brings us an original crime thriller that is often hard to find these days. The movie is tense at times, but there's plenty of comic relief that blends in nicely with the whole mystery. If you need one more reason to see this film, look no further than the incredible cast: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield and Christopher Plummer.

Watch on Prime Video

6. Baby is gone

One of Ben Affleck's most well-directed films, Gone Baby Gone is a dark detective film full of surprises. When a little girl goes missing and the police make little headway in solving the case, the little girl's aunt hires two detectives with experience in Boston's tough neighborhoods to figure out exactly what's going on. This is such a solid movie from top to bottom and it does a good job of not going overboard by trying to make it too much. If you're looking for a good detective story that takes place in the Boston area and has a few tricks up its sleeve, give this one a try.

watch on HBO Max

7. Se7en

Without this, no list of detectives can be included.Se7enfollows Detectives Mills (Brad Pitt) and Somerset (Morgan Freeman) as they try to hunt down a serial killer using the seven deadly sins as a motive. Gritty and dark would sum it up, as director David Fincher brings us a detective thriller that doesn't hold back and keeps you guessing. There's not much more to say about this classic, if you haven't seen it, put it at the top of your list.

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8. Reminder

One of the first films of the great Christopher Nolan,Memoryit doesn't disappoint and is another film told stylistically in a unique way. The movie might be confusing for some at first, mainly because it's told both forwards and backwards, but all for good reason. The main character Leonard (Guy Pearce) has recent memory loss and tries to track down his wife's killer. It's told entirely from his perspective, which is why we have one story going backwards and one going forward. The way Nolan weaves these stories together so they end up seamlessly connecting is impressive and the end result is a great detective movie.

watch on HBO Max

9. Hot fluff

Sleek and brilliant comic director Edgar Wright brings us a hilarious detective film that is sure to make you laugh. A smart and quick-witted London cop is transferred to a small, crime-free town after angering his superiors, but little does he know that this innocent town is being ravaged by a series of brutal murders. If you're not familiar with the work of screenwriter and director Edgar Wright, he is best known for bringing us 4 unique comedies starring actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. This book is definitely worth checking out if you're looking for a great mix of detective work and laughs.

watch on hulu

10. Blade Runner

On the surface,blade runnerIt might not be labeled a detective movie, but if you focus on the story, this 1982 Ridley Scott film is nothing short of a classic. A bladerunner named Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) must track down and kill four replicants on the loose. If you're not familiar withblade runnerand its concepts, a blade runner is a police officer whose sole purpose is to kill replicants. Replicants are highly evolved robots meant to help society, but they caused a riot and turned against humans, making them outlawed. The film was technically ahead of its time and sums it up perfectly as a thought-provoking sci-fi action crime drama. When unpacking this movie, there are so many elements to debate and cause differing opinions that it had to be included on this list.

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11. Blade Runner 2049

This is film director Denis Villeneuve at the top of his game as he delivers the Blade Runner sequel 35 years later, and it's just as good, if not better, than the original. Much like the first movie, Blade Runner 2049 might not be called a detective movie, but if you focus on the story, it follows the paths of a detective movie. When "K" (Ryan Gosling) stumbles upon a long-buried secret, it leads him to track down former bladerunner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who has been missing for 30 years. Of course the film is great, but what stands out the most are the visuals and cinematography. If this is your first time watching it, I highly recommend watching it on the biggest screen possible, as this movie is a sight to behold.

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12. Dizziness

Arguably the greatest director of all time, Alfred Hitchcock brings us what some consider his greatest film.dizziness. A former San Francisco police detective must balance his personal issues while becoming obsessed with the same beautiful woman he was hired to track down. Hitchcock has a lot of tricks up his sleeve, as in many of his films, but with the number of levels in this film, it feels different. If you're not familiar with this Hitchcock detective classic, you should definitely check it out.

Watch on Prime Video

13. The cool boys

A grossly underrated detective comedythe nice guysdeserves more recognition. I'm not sure if there was a marketing or publicity issue, but when this movie came out, it was a huge flop at the box office. This shouldn't be the case when you have a pair of Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling teaming up to investigate a missing girl and the strange death of a porn star in the 1970s. Crowe and Gosling's chemistry is perfect and the film manages to capture the fundamentals of a great detective movie and make it a unique, fun and entertaining watch.

Watch on Prime Video

14. Zodiac

Director David Fincher really knows how to make great detective movies. His third movie on this list, Zodiac, is based on real life.zodiac killerin California between 1968-1983. The film follows an amateur detective determined to uncover the identity of the mysterious Zodiac Killer. Even if you already know the story, the film does a solid job of presenting an immersive environment not only for the film's protagonists, but for viewers as well. In addition, the cast includes names like Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo.

Watch on Prime Video

15. The deceased

One of Martin Scorsese's finest,the departedit's more than just a simple thriller. The film follows an undercover cop and a police mole as they try to discover each other's identities while infiltrating an Irish gang in South Boston. The backbone of the film is the all-star cast, which includes: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Whalberg, Martin Sheen, Anthony Anderson, Vera Farmiga and Alec Baldwin. But surprisingly, the best thing about this movie is the editing. Each scene is fast and precise, but it also manages to maintain a smooth pace as the captivating detective film unfolds before us.

watch on HBO Max

16. Brick

Another film written and directed by Rian Johnson is making the cut, only this time it's his first film. A lonely student joins an underground crime ring to find out what happened to his murdered ex-girlfriend. Although the film is set in high school, Rian Johnson stylizes the film to make it feel like a detective movie. After watching this, it's interesting to see the movie that shot Rian Johnson off the ground, as well as a movie that also skyrocketed the career of a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Watch on Prime Video

17th day of training

If you are somehow not familiar withtraining Day, is the movie that made Denzel Washington one of the all-time greats, a household name, and the reason he's just called "Denzel" Dayfollows Jake (Ethan Hawke), a rookie cop who spends his first day as a drug enforcement officer in Los Angeles with suspicious detective Alonzo (Denzel Washington) by his side. The script really helps set the film apart, but it's the actors who manage to take it to an even higher level, making this detective movie a must-see.

Watch on Prime Video

18. Search

I never thought Hollywood would be able to create a mesmerizing movie while being completely in front of a laptop screen, but once again I was wrong.To search forfollows David Kim (John Cho) as he works against the clock to find his missing daughter. This is one of the most compelling films I've ever seen, and a solid detective at that. As David tries to solve his daughter's disappearance, the movie does a great job of including and focusing on every little detail that can help the viewer unravel the mystery. Check this film out if you are looking for a unique filmmaker talent.

Watch on Prime Video

19. The Fugitive

A Harrison Ford classic,The Fugitiveit has everything a good detective movie needs to be great (which it is). After Dr Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) is wrongfully accused of murdering his wife, he must find out who it really was while being hunted across the city of Chicago, led by a veteran US Marshal (Tommy Lee Jones). plays out like a revenge thriller, but instead of the main character looking for murder, he's looking for justice. A true detective film at heart, Dr. Richard Kimble is always on the move, trying to find whatever evidence he can to prove his innocence and clear his name.

watch on HBO Max

20. Mystic Flow

Another solid Boston crime thriller, director Clint Eastwood brings us a film about revenge, violence and its consequences.mystical flowis an essential detective film that follows the lives of three men who were childhood friends and are shaken when one of them suffers a family tragedy. The film's three stars are Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon, all of whom do their best to create a captivating detective drama and the film is an excellent addition to Clint Eastwood's back catalogue.

watch on HBO Max

21. Insomnia

Another of legendary director Christopher Nolan's early films,insomniais a classic detective film with surprising twists. Two Los Angeles detectives are sent to a small Alaskan town to find out who killed an innocent teenager. The film's setting really helps capture the mood of the film. With the sun constantly shining, Will Dormer (Al Pacino) slowly loses focus on not just the task at hand, but his sanity as well. If you're a fan of Nolan and not familiar with his early work, I highly recommend seeing this movie that helped make him the director he is today.

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22. End of shift

One of my personal favorites on this list,end of the clockis a dark look at the daily lives of two Los Angeles police officers as they begin to take on criminal groups larger than they can control. This film is shot in first person from the perspective of one of the police officers, giving the film a unique touch that I felt was much needed. The film's two leads, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña, also have incredible chemistry and have everything they need to create a fantastic detective story with a surprising amount of emotion at its core.

Watch on Prime Video

23. Chinatown

Acclaimed former director Roman Polanski brings us a classicChinatown,a solid detective story from top to bottom. 1937 Los Angeles, private detective J.J. Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is assigned what appears to be a simple case, but soon discovers it's harder than he thought, leading him down a complicated path. There are so many highlights in one: Robert Towne's Oscar-winning screenplay, Polanski's direction, and the show's stars; Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, both at the top of their game. There's a reason this movie received 11 Academy Award nominations, so if you haven't seen this classic 1974 detective flick, I highly recommend putting it at the top of your list.

watch on HBO Max

24. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

You might be tired of hearing his name at this point, but he's one of the best directors working today for a reason. With his fourth and final film on this list, director David Fincher brings us a chilling crime thriller that can be downright disturbing at times. Journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) is hired by a wealthy industrialist to find out who killed his niece more than 40 years ago, but Blomkvist quickly realizes the job is out of his league and enlists the help of an antisocial computer hacker. , but very efficient, Lisbeth Salander. (Rooney Mara).The girl with a dragon tattooit's exciting, dark, brutal, and of course, an excellent thriller.

Watch on Netflix

25. Dirty Harry

A classic Clint Eastwood film,Dirty Harryit's still a timeless detective film with cinematography ahead of its time and plenty of action. In 1971 San Francisco, a madman known as the "Scorpion Killer" (Andrew Robinson) is on the loose and resilient cop "Dirty" Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) is trying to take him down. It's a simple story, but played very effectively. Plus, the villain is inspired by the real Scorpion Killer that haunted San Francisco for years. If you're looking for a classic, gritty action detective movie, you've come to the right place.Dirty Harry.

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The 25 Best Detective Movies You Should Watch Right Now (6)


The 25 Best Detective Movies You Should Watch Right Now (7)


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