Can’t get enough of hitmen, mobsters and a general sense of lawless mayhem? With HBO Max’s vast catalog of films, which includes a rich library in the crime genre, you’re sure to find something that quells your urge for sweet scores and get away plans. Everything including murder mysteries, bank robberies and “family business” can be found in the HBO Max film library, so here’s a selection available to find that ranges from underrated gems to all time classics.
30 years ago, the Sundance Film Festival was rocked by the fresh and daring directorial debut from up and coming writer/director Quentin Tarantino. Following the aftermath of a failed bank heist, a group of thieves meet up in their hideout to litigate what went wrong and establish that there is a rat in their midst. This modern classic was a revelation in the indie film scene upon its release and Tarantino became the hottest director of his generation. Some hallmarks of Tarantino’s films can be found in his first feature, including the use of non-linear storytelling and discussions on pop culture in the dialogue, which is present from the opening scene with the infamous dissection of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.” With winning performances from Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel, Steve Buscemi and Michael Madsen, this one is worth checking out whether it’s the first time or the twentieth.
Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx star in this LA set thriller from crime movie auteur Michael Mann. When Max, a taxi driver, agrees to drive the mysterious Vincent around the city, he quickly learns that he’s chauffeuring a hit man to his list of targets. Mann brings his refined visual style to this sleek thrill ride through the city streets, while Cruise brings a cold menace to Vincent he rarely shows on screen. The supporting cast also features Mark Ruffalo as a cop that’s hot on Vincent’s tail and Jada Pinkett Smith as a lawyer caught in his cross hairs.
James Mangold (Logan) makes his debut with this crime drama about police corruption. In Garrison, New Jersey, on the border of New York State where many NYPD officers live, a cabal of crooked cops who act above the law become involved in a conspiratorial plot involving a missing officer, and it is up to local sheriff Freddy Heflin (Sylvester Stallone) to bring justice back to the town. With an all star cast that includes Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert Patrick and Robert De Niro, this engrossing neo noir ticks all the right boxes.
Dragged Across Concrete
From the mind of S. Craig Zahler, the director of the fantastic Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99, comes this dark crime drama. When two disgraced police officers (played by Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn) are fired from the force, they decide to turn to crime to make ends meet. Like Zahler’s other films, Dragged Across Concrete features viscerally grotesque violence and unpredictable twists.
No Country For Old Men
After taking money from a drug deal gone wrong, a hunter (Josh Brolin) is stalked across Texas by a merciless hitman named Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem). Adapted from Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the same name and also starring Tommy Lee Jones, this thriller from Joel and Ethan Coen went on to win four Academy Awards including Best Picture, as well as Best Supporting Actor for Bardem. Widely considered to be among the best films from the directing duo, No Country For Old Men is a gripping journey that explores the darkness of men.
Gone Baby Gone
Ben Affleck made his directorial debut with this gritty, Boston set drama which follows a pair of private detectives (Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan) who investigate the disappearance of a young girl from her home in a working class neighborhood. Affleck’s debut behind the camera revealed the former Daredevil star to be a gifted filmmaker, as this wonderfully paced mystery is guided to its heartbreaking conclusion. Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris give strong supporting performances, but it is Amy Ryan (The Office) and Michael K. Williams who steal the show, despite limited screen time.
Martin Scorsese’s mob classic follows the rise and fall of gangster turned police informant, Henry Hill (Ray Liotta). Scorsese is no stranger to the world of crime in film, having made a variety of films in the genre such as Mean Streets and Casino, but it’s near impossible to top Goodfellas, a film littered with memorable moments and iconic scenes within the crime genre. Stacked with great performances from Liotta to Robert De Niro at his most cool and menacing as Jimmy Conway, and Lorrain Bracco as Karen, Henry’s put upon wife. But it is Joe Pesci who won an Oscar for his portrayal of the maniacal Tommy DeVito, who’s both terrifying and kind of a funny guy. Whether it’s for the first time or the 20th, there’s never a bad time to watch Goodfellas.
Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins), a hotshot film producer who greenlights and rejects thousands of screenplay pitches, has been receiving anonymous death threats from who he assumes is a writer that had a pitch rejected. Mill meets with the writer who he believes is harassing him, but when their conversation escalates to a fight, Mill murders the writer and stages the scene as a robbery believing his strife is now over. But the next day, Mill receives another letter from his stalker. Robert Altman’s satire of the Hollywood machine is still relevant 30 years later, as it pokes fun at incompetant studio executives and mocks the egos of movie stars and producers alike. A beautifully shot film that features a bevy of cameos from A-listers of the time.
Beverly Hills Cop
Crime comedies rarely get much better than this Eddie Murphy starring romp. Axel Foley, a Detroit cop, heads west to Beverly Hills in order to investigate the murder of a long time friend. From a script that was originally intended for action star Sylvester Stallone, Murphy came onboard to turn the potentially gritty action picture into a laugh riot and made one of the most successful comedies in box office history. Be prepared to have its catchy score stuck in your head for a few days after.
Kevin Costner stars as Eliott Ness, a federal agent working to take down infamous crime boss Al Capone (Robert De Niro). Brian de Palma directed this crime epic that brought Prohibition-era Chicago to life. Sean Connery also stars and even won an Academy Award for his performance.
The Coen brothers announced themselves as cinematic wunderkinds to be reckoned with in their stylish neo noir debut. Set deep in the heart of Texas, a jealous bar owner (Dan Hedaya) hires a cheap hitman (M. Emmet Walsh) to murder his cheating wife (Frances McDormand) and her lover (John Getz). A taut thriller that will grip you to its closing moments.
No Sudden Move
The latest film from Steven Soderbergh, director of films such as Ocean’s Eleven and Out of Sight, is set in 1954 Detroit and follows a group of small-time criminals tasked with stealing a valuable document. But when the heist goes sideways, they search for those who hired them and for what the purpose was. Featuring a stellar cast that includes Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, Kieran Culkin, Brendan Fraser and Jon Hamm, Soderbergh’s newest heist film presents a fresh take on the genre and askews some of the trappings of those stories to create an unpredictable narrative.
Set during the 1940s, this atmospheric drama follows a drifter who joins a carnival and learns the trade of a mentalist, which allows him to con the rich and grieving of their money. He soon attempts a big score by swindling a tycoon still distraught over his love’s death. Bradley Cooper stars and gives what may be the best performance of his career as a man who seemingly has no sense of morality. Director Guillermo Del Toro imbues the film with his usual visual style with immaculate set designs and cinematography.
A tale of two rats. A police informant (Leonardo DiCaprio) goes deep undercover in the Irish mob that has taken over the streets of Boston in order to flush out a mobster (Matt Damon) who has infiltrated the police department. Martin Scorsese received his long overdue Oscar in this best Best Picture-winning crime epic. This endlessly entertaining thriller boasts brilliant performances from both DiCaprio and Damon, but it is the supporting cast that makes this film as good as it is, with Jack Nicholson giving what may be his final great performance as the crime lord Frank Costello, while Ray Winstone is suitably intimidating as his muscle. But it is a never-better Mark Wahlberg that steals the show as the guy who does his job, igniting all of his scenes with profanity filled, hilarious tyrades as the fiery police Sergeant Dignam.
Tarantino followed up the game-changing Pulp Fiction with this adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s novel Rum Punch. After being busted for smuggling money for her arms dealer boss, Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson), flight attendant Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is made to choose by a pair of FBI agents (Michael Keaton and Michael Bowen) to either face jail time or help bring down Ordell. Considered by many critics to be Tarantino’s most mature, and arguably best film, Jackie Brown is an engaging crime thriller that has the low level criminals that Tarantino excels at portraying, and also deals with themes like aging and life not turning out how you expect it to. Robert De Niro gives a good performance as Ordell’s dirtbag friend, Louis Gara, while Robert Forster reignited his career with his touching portrayal as bail bondsman Max Cherry, who is quietly in love with Jackie. A remarkable film that gets better with each viewing.
Christopher Nolan garnered international acclaim with this indie mystery thriller about a man named Leonard (Guy Pearce) with a rare form of memory loss, who is trying to find his wife’s murderer. Told in an unconventional style where the narrative is portrayed in reverse chronology, allowing the audience to unravel the mystery in a manner similar to how Leonard perceives the world, and also allowing for clues and character motivations to be revealed in an unique way. And with a twist ending that will have you questioning everything you just witnessed, this is one film you’re unlikely to forget about any time soon.
Ben Affleck followed up his magnificent debut, Gone Baby Gone, with another Boston-set crime epic, this time focussing on a crew of bank robbers in the alleged bank robbery capital of the world. After taking and releasing a bank teller (Rebecca Hall) as a hostage during their latest robbery, crew leader Doug MacRay (Affleck) decides to find the woman and strike up a relationship with her just as the FBI, lead by a zealous agent (Jon Hamm), begins to close in on him. Jeremy Renner gives a career best performance as the hotheaded crew member, Jem. With his sophomore directorial effort, Affleck proved his first film was no fluke as he navigates the various moving pieces of this narrative.
Will Smith and Margot Robbie star in this steamy crime caper. Nicky (Smith), a seasoned con man, becomes romantically involved with Jess (Robbie), a young con artist learning the tricks of the trade. But when Jess gets too close for comfort, Nicky abruptly ends things. Years later while working a dangerous job, Nicky unexpectedly runs into Jess, knocking him off his game just when he can’t lose focus. A fun film that was something of a return to form for Smith and cemented Robbie as one of the biggest stars of her generation.
City of God
Set in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, this decade-spanning epic charts the rise of organized crime in the region, as we follow a group of children born into the climate grow up to perpetuate the violent cycle. Made with incredible vibrance and style by director Fernando Meirelles, City of God struck like a lightning bolt upon its release with its kinetic camera work and eye-catching imagery and two decades on, still packs an incredible punch.
Bob Odenkirk was able to add action star to his long list of achievements with last year’s Nobody. After his house is burgled, a mild mannered family man begins to reveal his true nature after he goes searching for the thieves that took his daughter’s possession, which unexpectedly escalates to an all-out war with the Russian mob. Many shootouts that’re reminiscent of John Wick, and a hall of fame bus fight, ensue. A fun and funny action-crime movie, Nobody proves to be a good time for anybody.
A veteran police detective (played by Al Pacino) is sent out to a town in Alaska to investigate the murder of a teenage girl and is drawn into a game of cat and mouse with the suspected killer (Robin Williams). Hillary Swank also stars as a young, local police officer assisting Pacino’s veteran on the case. Christopher Nolan followed up his breakout indie Memento with this big-budget studio thriller that set him up to take on Batman. Pacino gives one of his best late-career performances, while Williams adds another dimension to his range as an actor as the quietly unsettling suspect. An engrossing mystery thriller that’s well worth visiting.
Three pals (Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis) conspire to kill one another’s respective horrible bosses. This crude, Hitchcock-inspired studio comedy was a success at the box office upon its release and features some hilarious performances from its stacked cast. Colin Farrell is a riot as the nunchuck-wielding boss of Sudeikis’ character, while Jennifer Aniston plays against her girl-next-door image as an inapropriately sexual dentist who’s harrasing Day’s hygenist, while Jamie Foxx flexes his comedic muscles as the trio’s crime consultant, MotherF***** Jones.
Simon (James McAvoy), a fine art auctioneer, teams up with a group of thieves to steal a priceless painting. But during the heist, Simon suffers a head injury and has no memory of where he hid the stolen painting. After some threats and torture, the thieves opt for hiring a hypnotherapist (Rosario Dawson) to get inside his head and find what they’re looking for. But as their sessions progress, Simon begins to lose his grip on reality and the truth becomes blurred. British filmmaker Danny Boyle brings his signature style to this twisty psychological thriller.
Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke), a rookie cop, spends his first day on the job as a narcotic officer shadowing the rogue and unorthodox detective Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington). Directed by Antoine Fuqua, this tough-as-nails drama became an instant classic upon its release. Denzel would go on to win an Oscar for Best Actor with this performance as the ruthless Harris, creating an indelibly classic movie villain in the process.
This may not have been Martin Scorsese’s debut, but it was the first Scorsese movie. It is set on the mean streets of Little Italy, in the cross section between low-end monsters and petty thugs. Charlie (Harvey Kietel), a small-time crook in the area, wants to help his hot headed friend Johnny Boy (Robert De Niro) out of a major debt to a local loan shark. A lot of the hallmarks seen over Scorsese’s career can be found in this film, from the moving camera, to the needle drop soundtrack, to the thematic use of faith and street life. It is also notable for being the first collaboration between Scorsese and De Niro.