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?

  1. Paul Blart Mall Cop! Actually, I’ve never seen that.

    So far all good choices. Since I recently watched Demolition Man I feel like Stallone needs mentioned for that. Officer Krupke from West Side Story? Let’s see comedies, Seth Rogen and Bill Hader need mentioning for Superbad. Nick Frost and Simon Pegg in Hot Fuzz. John Candy in Blues Brothers. Bufford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason) in Smokey and the Bandit.

    Steve MQueen was badass in Bulitt. Roy Scheider in Jaws. Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones in pretty much anything where they are a cop or some form of federal officer.

    If former cops count, then definitely Big Daddy (Nic Cage) in Kick-Ass. Or Connery in everything where he is a cop without being a cop (Presidio, Outland, Rising Sun, Untouchables, The Rock)

    • WOW!

      I think you name dropped an entire squadron there Nic!! 😀

      Thank goodness you were only kidding about Paul Blart. I was like, ugh, cmon, for real? LOL

      John Candy in Blues Brothers is a nice choice. Never would have crossed my mind, but he’s hysterical.

      Orange whip? Orange Whip? Three Orange whips!

  2. John McClain, and Riggs and Murtaugh all come to mind. You gave the go ahead to marshals, so how about Samuel Gerard from The Fugitive? And since someone mentioned Wyatt Earp, I think we need at least a shout-out to Doc Holiday in Tombstone; hey, he had the badge at the end, so as he says, “this time it’s legal.”

  3. Soo many great cops in movies, great topic Fogs! I’d have to go with John ‘Yippikayeee’ McClane. I also second Connery as Jimmy Malone in The Untouchables.

    • You covered all the bases I think. 😉

      All solid, I think they’re all getting their due, today.

      I don’t want this thread to go any further without making the requisite “Nice Beaver” joke, though.

  4. Here’re a few that )I dont think) have been mentioned yet

    Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines, Running Scared 1986

    OH NOES!1!

    Francis McDormand, Fargo, 1996

    That’d be yah pahntah in tha woodchippah, ayuh?

    Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Untouchables, 1987

    Here endeth the lesson.

    Gene Hackman, The French Connection, 1971

    Hey you! Haircut! Where are you goin’?

    Chazz Palmentieri, The Usual Suspects, 1995

    A rumor’s not a rumor that doesn’t die…

    • I’m not a rat, agent Kujan…


      That’s a hell of a police force you’ve assembled there. They could totally eradicate crime in an entire municipality if we could get them together for real!

      Although Kujan didnt exactly get his man. On second thought, neither did Doyle. And he accidentally shot a cop. And half of Ness’ crew got whacked. So uh, yeah… 😀

      • Yeah, but Agent Jujan figured it all out in the end. And Ness threw Nitti off a roof.

        Regardless, Hughes and Costanzo FTW.

        “Hablo, Smith and Wesson? You have the right to remain *dead*. Anything you do will be used against you. You have the right to a *coroner*. If you cannot afford one, we will appoint a medical examiner for you. “

  5. Damn you, Fog! There are so many great movie cops.

    I’m particularly fond of Det. William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) in Se7en, and of course all the big-hitters mentioned above.

    Almost impossible to answer, so I’ll say the one that immediately sprung to mind…. Alex Murphy/ROBOCOP!

    • LOL. Love when I put the screws to people with these difficult questions!

      [Bridge Keeper] What is your favorite color? [/Bridge Keeper] 😀

      Ohhh man. LOL. I was all psyched to see the team from Se7en represent. And then I had the Robocop screws applied.

      It’s a great movie. Seriously. LOL 😀

    • Ohhhhhhh!! She shoots she scores. LOL! Penn and Sizemore were awesome! 😀 Great answer! “Man, this boy Clarence is a wild one, I like ’em.”

      Morgan Freeman IS awesome in that movie. What a crazy freaking flick that movie is. Nice selections Sati, very nice.

  6. It’s a toss between Lethal Weapon and Police Academy. Are you dying of laugher after you read Police Academy? LOL I grew up watching PA. You know me by now, cheesy movies are great. I don’t care….sorta. LOL

      • Nooo, not that pretty boy. LOL I really like Hightower and Tackleberry (RIP for both). And who didn’t like Michael Winslow’s character. As a child (and may still to this day), I was amazed by the sounds that came out of his mouth.

  7. Just reading the title of this over on my google reader I had my mind made up before I clicked the link to read more…

    Axel Foley!

    So I was glad to see your picture of choice.

    I’m going deep, deep, deep, deep, deep undercover.

    • 😀 I did read that last line in an Eddie Murphy voice… So, mission accomplished, there.

      I was surprised to see Axel didnt get more love today! Thought he’d be really popular. But it turned out Dirty Harry was king!

      • Axel Foley [mocking Chief Hubbard]
        Is this the man who… wrecked the buffet at the Harrow club this morning?

  8. Nick Nolte as Jack Cates in 48 hrs….classic film….the cop who breaks all the rules along with his convict sidekick, to kill some really evil dudes…I believe that without 48 hrs, there would have been no Axel Foley…Perhaps, best fake cop scene ever in the country bar with Murphy wielding Nolte’s badge…

    • There’s a new sheriff in town! And his name is Reggie Hammond! 😀

      Great flick. Both of them actually. Because Beverly Hills Cop is great, too.

      Eddie went right to the top of the charts. His first movies were monster hits. No time in the minors for him.

      And of course, Nolte is awesome, too. The quintessential cop buddy movie. 😀

  9. 1. Jim Malone, The Untouchables (Sean Connery)
    “You want to know how to beat Capone? He brings a knife, you bring a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. THAT’S the Chicago way.”

    2. Louis Renault, Casablanca (Claude Raines)
    “I’m only a poor corrupt official.”

    3. John Book, Witness (Harrison Ford)
    “I’m learning a lot about manure. Very interesting.”

  10. It all comes back to Harry Callahan. He’s the man, particularly in Dirty Harry and Magnum Force.

    Runner ups? John McLane of course, Frank Drebin, Martin Riggs, and I can’t forget your April Fools prank Robocop.

    I also gotta give a big shout out to Commissioner Gordon, as portrayed by Gary Oldman.

      • I thought about giving it to Gordon, but I realize most of that comes from a love of him in the comics and animated series. Then I thought McClane, but realized without Dirty Harry, there is no John McClane.

  11. THIS is a tough one. and I’m not a fan of having to choose just one. LOL.

    so many good choices here, and some obvious ones too. so I’m gonna go with the road less traveled and say Kevin Spacey in The Negotiator. I laugh every time he hangs up on Samuel L. Jackson!

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