8 Best Crime Movies on Netflix

The “Crime” movie genre can cover a broad range of films and include elements of sub-genres such as thriller, horror, drama, or even comedy. However, despite any differences they might have, crime movies of any stripe tend to share illicit or illegal activities. The director uses these thematic elements as a way to drive the plot forward and engage the audience. Our list of the best crime movies on Netflix will provide you with recommendations based on audience and critical scores, plot elements, writing, directing, and acting.

8. The Factory (2012)

Genre: Crime, Mystery
Netflix release date: April 14, 2015
Writers: Paul Leyden and Morgan O’Neill
Director: Morgan O’Neill
Running Time: 1 hour 44 minutes
IMDb Rating: 5.8
Rotten Tomatoes Score: N/A
MPAA Rating: R
Streaming on: Netflix US, Japan

The Factory stars John Cusack and Jennifer Carpenter as a pair of detectives on the trail of a local girl that has recently gone missing after her shift at a diner. They discover that her disappearance could be linked to the activities of a serial murderer. The killer is responsible for the recent deaths of several prostitutes in the Buffalo, NY area. The film does a decent job of creating an oppressive atmosphere thanks to the dark, wintry backdrop of the city in addition to the themes in the main plot.

7. Survivor (2015)

Genre: Crime, Action
Netflix release date: August 18, 2016
Writers: Philip Shelby
Director: James McTeigue
Running Time: 1 hour 36 minutes
IMDb Rating: 5.6
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 9%
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Streaming on: Netflix US, Canada, Japan

Survivor tells the tale of a U.S. embassy worker, portrayed by Milla Jovovich, who is framed for a terrorist bombing by the actual perpetrator, portrayed by Pierce Brosnan. Despite its relatively low ratings, the film still works as a vehicle that merges crime elements with some tense action sequences. It’s also a chance to see both leads in roles that are different from their usual ones; Jovovich is not an action star here and Brosnan is the villain rather than the hero.

6. Lila & Eve (2015)

Genre: Crime, Revenge/Thriller

Release date on Netflix: February 5, 2016
Writers: Patrick Gilfillan
Director: Charles Stone III
Running time: 1 hour 34 minutes
IMDb Rating: 5.8
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 40%
MPAA Rating: R
Streaming on: Netflix Canada, India, US

Lila & Eve is the story of a mother, Lila, (Viola Davis) consumed with grief over the murder of her son. At a support group meeting, she finds a woman named Eve, portrayed by Jennifer Lopez, who has also lost her daughter to violence. Both women are frustrated at the legal red tape that seems to prevent them from finding justice. They form a bond over their losses as they go on a quest for revenge. This is another film where the ratings may fool you. It’s easily one of the best crime movies on Netflix if you want revenge with a twist. Both female leads deliver powerful performances that elevate the movie above standard revenge thrillers.

5. Blue Caprice (2013)

Genre: True Crime
Release date on Netflix: April 14, 2015
Writers: R.F.I. Porto
Director: Alexandre Moors
Running Time: 1 hour 33 minutes
IMDb Rating: 6
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%
MPAA Rating: R
Streaming on: Netflix US

Blue Caprice is one of the best crime movies on Netflix in the True Crime Drama sub-category. It recounts the chilling tale of John Muhammad (Isaiah Washington) and the younger Lee Malvo (Tequan Richmond) in the days leading up to their famous sniper attacks in 2002. The solid performances of the two leads underscore the horrors of this chilling tale.

4. Cold in July (2014)

Genre: Crime Drama
Release date on Netflix: April 14, 2015
Writers: Nick Damici and Jim Mickle
Director: Jim Mickle
Running Time: 1 hour 49 minutes
IMDb Rating: 6.8
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%
MPAA Rating: R
Streaming on: Netflix Austrailia, Canada, Japan, US

Cold in July is an adaptation of the novel of the same name and one of the best crime movies on Netflix. It stars Michael C. Hall of Dexter fame, this time as a quiet, unassuming family man. The film begins with a home invasion gone wrong as Hall’s character kills the intruder. This act sparks a chain of events that seems to weave in and out of crime, mystery, and revenge genres all at once. The film is aided by tense moments, excellent dialogue, and the writing skills of Nick Damici and the direction of Mickle as they’ve worked together on several other projects.

3. The Iceman (2012)

Genre: Crime Drama
Release date on Netflix: April 14, 2015
Writers: Ariel Vromen and Morgan Land
Director: Ariel Vromen
Running Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
IMDb Rating: 6.9
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67%
MPAA Rating: R
Streaming on: Netflix US, India, Japan, Poland

The Iceman is a historical crime drama that tells the story of Richard Kuklinski. Kuklinski’s story begins as that of a family man who dubs films that he then sells underground to the mob. He is later recruited as a hitman, a secret he keeps from his family. The film is as much a character study as it is a crime drama. Interestingly, main star Michael Shannon works alongside Chris Evans in this film, bringing actors from the DC Cinematic Universe (Shannon as Zod) and the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Evans as Captain America) together. The movie is also starring James Franco.

2. Spotlight (2015)

Genre: Crime Drama
Release date on Netflix: June 22, 2016
Writers: Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer
Director: Tom McCarthy
Running Time: 128 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.1
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97
MPAA Rating: R
Streaming on: Netflix US, UK, Austrailia, Norway, Sweden, Czech Republic, Israel, Poland, Canada, Japan, Slovakia.

Spotlight is a crime drama starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, and Rachel McAdams as a three of a group of reports covering allegations of abuse within certain factions of the Catholic Church. Although the film is dramatized, it retains details from the true-life events to move the plot forward. The investigation at the center of the film became a Pulitzer Prize-winning story for the Boston Globe newspaper.

If you are interested in more productions with plots inspired by real events, you should also check out the best true crime documentaries on Netflix!

1. Seven (1995)

Genre: Crime, Thriller
Release date on Netflix: April 14, 2015
Writers: Andrew Kevin Walker
Director: David Fincher
Running Time: 126 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.6
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%
MPAA Rating: R
Available in: US, Russia, Lithuania, Hungary, Singapore, Germany, India, Hong Kong, Norway, Sweden, Czech Republic, Israel, Poland, Slovakia

This classic film is not simply one of the best crime movies on Netflix, but one of the best in the genre, full stop. In it, you’ll find excellent cinematography mixed with gripping writing. Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, and Brad Pitt offer stellar performances as a pair of detectives on the trail of a killer who seems determined to punish those guilty of the seven deadly sins.

Conclusion

Whether you’re in the mood for true crime, a crime film with mystery elements, or just the classic thriller, our list of the best crime movies on Netflix right now has something for you. Some of these films are relatively new while others are classics of the genre. Be sure to give some of them a watch and let us know your thoughts in our comments section.

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