“As far back as I can remember, all I wanted to be was a gangster.”
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 getaway 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.
For more recommendations, check out our list of the best action movies, true crime series, cult action favorites on HBO Max, and movies on HBO.
Editor’s note: This article was updated May 2023 to include Law Abiding Citizen.
Cop Land (1997)
Run Time: 1 hr 45 min | Director: James Mangold
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro
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.
Law Abiding Citizen (2009)
Run Time: 1 hr 49 min | Director: F. Gary Gray
Cast: Gerard Butler, Jamie Foxx, Leslie Bibb, Regina Hall, Viola Davis
Gerard Butler (How to Train Your Dragon) and Jamie Foxx (Spider-Man: No Way Home) star in Law Abiding Citizen, a thrilling cat-and-mouse action drama from director F. Gary Gray (Men in Black: International). Law Abiding Citizen is a heart-pumping crime adventure that follows a man seeking revenge (Butler) from the people he deems responsible for his wife’s murder. Showcasing a beautiful tribute to the city of Philadelphia while also reflecting on corruption in the justice system, Law Abiding Citizen is a well-crafted cinematic feat, from the intense plot to the standout cast. – Yael Tygiel
The Little Things (2021)
Run Time: 2 hrs 8 min | Director: John Lee Hancock
Cast: Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, Jared Leto, Natalie Morales, Michael Hyatt
Written and directed by John Lee Hancock, The Little Things is an intense crime thriller starring Denzel Washington as a Kern County Deputy Sheriff named Joe Deacon, who, on a routine evidence-gathering assignment, finds himself knee-deep in a murder investigation. Deacon joins forces with Sergeant Jim Baxter (Rami Malek), and The Little Things follows as they become embroiled in the hunt for a serial killer terrorizing Los Angeles. Coming from different backgrounds, experiences, and processes, the unlikely partners begin to uncover secrets linking the case to Sheriff Deacon’s past — with deadly results. The Little Things features a haunting performance from Jared Leto and co-stars Natalie Morales and Michael Hyatt. – Yael Tygiel
We’re the Millers (2013)
Run Time: 1 hr 50 min | Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Emma Roberts, Will Poulter
Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso) stars in We’re the Millers, a hilariously raunchy crime comedy directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber. Sudeikis plays David Clark, a low-level drug dealer who finds himself obligated to transport a large amount of marijuana across the border for a drug lord. To complete his task, Clark creates a fake family, the Millers, enlisting people in his community, including a sarcastic stripper named Rose (Jennifer Aniston). Aniston’s comedic timing in We’re the Millers is delightful as she spars with Sudeikis, as well their fake children (Emma Roberts, Will Poulter). – Yael Tygiel
Dragged Across Concrete (2018)
Run Time: 2 hr 29 min | Director: S. Craig Zahler
Cast: Mel Gibson, Vince Vaughn, Tory Kittles, Michael Jai White
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 (2007)
Run Time: 2 hr 2 min | Director: Coen Brothers
Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin
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 (2007)
Run Time: 1 hr 54 min | Director: Ben Affleck
Cast: Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris
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.
Run Time: 2 hr 26 min | Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco
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.
The Player (1992)
Run Time: 2 hr 4 min | Director: Robert Altman
Cast: Tim Robbins, Greta Scacchi, Fred Ward, Whoopi Goldberg
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.
The Untouchables (1987)
Run Time: 1 hr 59 min | Director: Brian de Palma
Cast: Kevin Costner, Charles Martin Smith, Andy García, Robert De Niro
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.
Blood Simple (1984)
Run Time: 1 hr 39 min | Director: Joel Coen
Cast: John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya, Samm-Art Williams
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 (2021)
Run Time: 1 hr 55 min | Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, David Harbour, Jon Hamm
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.
Nightmare Alley (2021)
Run Time: 2 hr 30 min | Director: Guillermo Del Toto
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins
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.
The Departed (2006)
Run Time: 2 hr 31 min | Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg
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.
Jackie Brown (1997)
Run Time: 2 hr 40 min | Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, Bridget Fonda
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.
Run Time: 1 hr 53 min | Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Mark Boone Junior
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.
Run Time: 1 hr 32 min | Director: Ilya Naishuller
Cast: Bob Odenkirk, Connie Nielsen, RZA, Christopher Lloyd
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.
Run Time: 1 hr 58 min | Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank, Maura Tierney
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.
Horrible Bosses (2011)
Run Time: 1 hr 46 min | Director: Seth Gordon
Cast: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston
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.
Training Day (2001)
Run Time: 2 hr 2 min | Director: Antoine Fuqua
Cast: Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Scott Glenn, Cliff Curtis
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.