Tossin’ It Out There: Who’s YOUR Favorite Movie Cop?

Lots of cops on the big screen this weekend. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña in “End of Watch”, Karl Urban dispensing futuristic justice as Judge Dredd, hell, there was even a cop in “House at the End of the Street”.

It’s par for the course. Each year sees the release of 1,387,534 cop movies into the theatre. From buddy cop movies, to mysteries/thrillers, to heist movies, “police officer” is one of the most widely portrayed occupations there is. And why not? There’s action and danger inherent in the job. They protect and serve… except when they’re “crooked”. Every country and every town everywhere has cops of some sort or another. Everyone can relate to those characters.

So who’s YOUR favorite? There are a gazillion to choose from. I’ll even allow FBI agents to be thrown into the mix (But no spies!! Sorry, James).

You have your comedic cops, like Axel Foley and Frank Drebin. Your action hero cops like John McClane and Martin Riggs. Or perhaps you prefer your cops to be more realistic… your “Based on real cops” cops such as Frank Serpico or Popeye Doyle.

You tell me! Who’s YOUR favorite movie cop?

98 thoughts on “Tossin’ It Out There: Who’s YOUR Favorite Movie Cop?

    • I havent seen Romeo is Bleeding, Joe, but the other two are great. McDormand is hysterical in Fargo (I think). She cracks me up. I know its not supposed to be comedic…. but….

      And how insanely brilliant was casting Oldman as Jim Gordon? Awesome awesome role.

      • Fargo is hysterical for so many reasons, but her and William H. Macy just stand out.

        I remember how much I liked Oldman’s corrupt cop in the film, which I remember being somewhat decent for its time.

        Oldman as Gordon was spot on perfect casting as far as I’m concerned, and another reason why I see difficulty in rebooting the franchise.

  1. Dirty Harry. I know it’s obvious, but it’s so goooood.

    Harry Callahan: I know what you’re thinking. “Did he fire six shots or only five?” Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?

  2. Burt Reynolds as Sharky in “Sharky’s Machine”, and John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn In “True Grit” AND “Rooster Cogburn… …And The Lady” Are A Couple Faves I’m Sure No One Else Will Mention.
    Otherwise, I’m Obviously Obvious with Dirty Harry Himself, Harry Callahan.
    And Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp in “Tombstone”. :D
    Great Question, Dude! hehe
    Fo SHO!
    -B.

    • Thats alright Kim, I havent seen Infernal Affairs, so I cant compare, either! LOL

      The Bomb Squad represents! I like it, I like it.

      I hope someone takes Johnny Utah today, we can have a Keanu double feature! :D

  3. From the dramatic end, I also go with Harry Callahan and from the comedic end I choose Inspector Clouseau, the Peter Sellers version.

  4. I’m going with Hercule Poirot. He solves crimes, not with violence but with the “little grey cells”.

  5. I think I would have to go with Sean Connery in The Untouchables.
    If I can’t pick him for Bond because he’s an agent, I’ll go with this one.
    Inspector Clouseau is a good one too.

    • Yes, no Bond allowed. Not cops… :( We’ll have plenty of Bond here startig next week… ;) “Bond Month” will be kicking off with a bang, be sure to check it out!

      Meanwhile though, he was great in the Untouchables, too. Who doesnt love that role? :D Good choise!

      • nice 1 Hunter on Untouchables/ Connery.

        Malone(Connery): You wanna know how to get Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. *That’s* the *Chicago* way! And that’s how you get Capone. Now do you want to do that? Are you ready to do that? I’m offering you a deal. Do you want this deal?

  6. Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens. I’m cheating a little here, since he’s only on tv currently, but there was a movie adaptation of one of the Elmore Leonard books a few years back. Different actor though. Still, Timothy Olyphant is a badass.

  7. Hi, Fogs and company.

    Great question and topic!

    Uniform:
    Toss up between ‘The New Centurions’ from 1972 and ‘Fort Apache the Bronx’ (1981).

    Detective:
    ‘He Walked by Night (1948). Splendid procedural that would later become ‘Dragnet’.
    ‘The French Connection’ (1971). Enough said.
    ‘Homicide’ (1981) Early Mamet with Joe Mantegna.
    ‘L. A. Confidential: (1997) Superb Neo Noir.

    • Never saw ‘The New Centurions’ or ‘He Walked by Night’ for that matter.

      I can say that LA Confidential is badass, though. :D That’s a wicked movie…

      And you know I love the “French Connection”. I believe you and I traded comments on reviews on that one, right? Was that you that wrote that up over on Flix Chatter?

      • Hi, Fogs!

        ‘The New Centurions’ is based very closely on Joe Wambaugh’s novel. And has old and wizened George C. Scott as a very young and idealistic Stacy Keach’s Training Officer. Needless to say, Keach wises up very quickly.

        ‘He Walked by Night’ had Richard Basehart as a serial psycho killer who sometimes used the L.A. sewer system to get from here to there. Pursued by a clutch of plain clothed detectives and Jack Webb as a techie.

        Yes, I reviewed ‘The French Connection’ for Ruth at FC months ago. One of my more fun pieces of work. And we did trade comments. We see the
        film very much the same way.

  8. Its now Dredd for me. He is badass personified. The reason I pick him is he is ‘The Law’ in a giant cesspool of twisted humanity. Many movie cops wouldnt survive that kind of anarchy.

  9. I’ve long been a fan of Bobby Gold from David Mamet’s Homicide; partly, I admit, this is because he’s such an antithetically loquacious Mamet protagonist, despite the fact that his entire job revolves around him using his words. (He’s a hostage negotiator.) Gold doesn’t do much talking throughout the film, at least not the sort of talking you’d expect from a man of words who uses speech to diffuse tense situations. So there’s something refreshing in that.

    Then there’s his identity quest, which just fascinates me from a theological perspective– he’s Jewish, but he doesn’t identify as a Jew at all. He’s a cop first and foremost, until his work brings him into conflict with a Zionist conspiracy and he’s forced to choose between the two identities. It’s pretty gripping stuff. But then, that’s Mamet. The guy can write his ass off, even if he is a giant bastard in real life.

    Beyond Gold, I’ll always have a soft spot for The Crow‘s Sergeant Albrecht. Forget that Ernie Hudson is a boss (well, no, don’t REALLY forget that), Albrecht is just the consummate good cop in a bad city, a man with morals and compassion and ethics trying to do the best job he can in a system that doesn’t really give a shit about the people it’s supposed to protect.

  10. Okay, it’s maybe not a popular choice but I’d go for Harvey Keitel’s Bad Lieutenant. Not my favourite cop character but certainly my favourite performance. As for choosing a character, does DeNiro count for Midnight Run? (He used to be a cop) ;-)

    • Yeah, I didnt make any distinction between Cop and Ex-Cop. Plus, I love Midnight Run, so Jack Walsh is in! :D

      Meanwhile though, if we’re talking Bad Lieutenants… I prefer mine of the Cage variety :D That movie is awesome

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