The 20 best crime thrillers on Netflix right now

jguerrasio@businessinsider.com (Jason Guerrasio)
·8 mins read
Tom Cruise in "The Firm."
Tom Cruise in "The Firm."

Paramount

A good crime thriller can make any boring night into an exciting one, and Netflix has a nice collection from the genre to watch right now.

Whether you are into stories on people out for vengeance ("Double Jeopardy," "Taxi Driver," "Blue Ruin"), pulling off a heist ("The Town," "Good Time," "Inside Man"), or working in organized crime ("Donnie Brasco," "Legend," "Killing Them Softly"), these movies all are memorable and will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end credits.

Here are the 20 best crime thrillers on Netflix right now:

Note: Numerous titles drop off Netflix monthly, so the availability of titles below may change.

"Blue Ruin"

Macon Blair in "Blue Ruin."
Macon Blair in "Blue Ruin."

Radius-TWC

This tense thriller follows a man (Macon Blair) out for justice when he learns that the man who murdered his parents 20 years ago is getting out of prison.

Blair's performance as a regular guy tormented by the past is a powerful one and so is director Jeremy Saulnier's ("Green Room") spotlight on how sloppy and difficult it is to commit a murder.

"Donnie Brasco"

(L-R) Al Pacino and Johnny Depp in "Donnie Brasco."
(L-R) Al Pacino and Johnny Depp in "Donnie Brasco."

TriStar Pictures

Based on a true story, we follow Johnny Depp as he plays an FBI undercover agent who gets in real deep with the mob, particularly with an aging foot soldier (Al Pacino).

Depp and Pacino are fantastic opposite one another.

"Double Jeopardy"

Ashley Judd and Tommy Lee Jones in "Double Jeopardy."
Ashley Judd and Tommy Lee Jones in "Double Jeopardy."

Paramount

Ashley Judd plays a woman who was framed for her husband's murder and believes he was behind it and still alive. Learning someone accused of a crime can't be prosecuted again for that same crime, she sets out for her revenge six years later once out of prison.

She soon gets help from her parole officer, played by Tommy Lee Jones, who eventually believes her.

This is one of those great late-1990s crime thrillers that are ageless.

"Drive"

Ryan Gosling in "Drive."
Ryan Gosling in "Drive."

FilmDistrict

In Nicolas Winding Refn's slick modern-day crime noir, Ryan Gosling plays a stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway wheelman. But when he helps out his neighbor (Carey Mulligan) he finds himself in deep trouble.

On top of the great performances, composer Cliff Martinez crafts a fantastic score that sucks you into the story.

"End of Watch"

(L-R) Michael Peña and Jake Gyllenhaal in "End of Watch."
(L-R) Michael Peña and Jake Gyllenhaal in "End of Watch."

Open Road Films/"End of Watch"

Director David Ayer ("Suicide Squad") delivers a gritty drama with Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña playing two LAPD cops who find themselves taking on a drug cartel on the streets of LA.

What heightens the drama in this one is that the movie is filmed in a documentary style.

"The Firm"

(L-R) Gene Hackman and Tom Cruise in "The Firm."
(L-R) Gene Hackman and Tom Cruise in "The Firm."

Paramount

Based on the best-selling John Grisham novel, Tom Cruise plays a young lawyer who gets hired by one of the most esteemed law firms in the country only to learn it's completely corrupt. We then follow Cruise's Mitch McDeere character as he tries to take down the whole racket.

The movie also has a great supporting cast that includes Gene Hackman, Jeane Tripplehorn, Wilford Brimley, Ed Harris, Holly Hunter, and Hal Holbrook.

"Free Fire"

Ben Wheatley's "Free Fire."
Ben Wheatley's "Free Fire."

Film4 Productions

This wacky crime movie is as funny as it is blood-soaked.

Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Sam Riley, Shallot Copley, and Noah Taylor are just some of the cast of characters who make up the two gangs who show up to a deserted warehouse and end up in a huge shootout.

"Good Time"

Robert Pattinson in "Good Time."
Robert Pattinson in "Good Time."

A24

Robert Pattinson plays Connie, who along with his brother, Nick (Benny Safdie), set out to do a bank robbery. But when things go wrong and Nick is caught by the cops, Connie has to race through New York City to try to figure out a way to get him out, leading to a tense-filled evening.

Pattinson gives one of his best performances in this Safdie brothers movie that got them on Hollywood's radar.

"I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore"

Elijah Wood and Melanie Lynskey in "I Don't Feel at Home in this World Anymore."
Elijah Wood and Melanie Lynskey in "I Don't Feel at Home in this World Anymore."

Netflix

"Blue Ruin" star Macon Blair wrote and directed this great dark comedy crime thriller starring Melanie Lynskey as a depressed woman who after being burgled finds a new purpose in life: tracking down the thieves. She teams with her weird neighbor (Elijah Wood) to track them down and they find themselves going up against people more twisted than them.

Lynskey and Wood are fantastic together in this one, we really want to see them in a movie together again.

"Inside Man"

(L-R) Denzel Washington and Clive Owen in "Inside Man."
(L-R) Denzel Washington and Clive Owen in "Inside Man."

Universal Pictures

Spike Lee delivers a heist movie that's going to keep you guessing until the end. Clive Owen plays the bank robber who has taken hostages and Denzel Washington plays the detective who is trying to get the hostages out and solve the crime.

"Kill the Messenger"

Jeremy Renner in "Kill the Messenger."
Jeremy Renner in "Kill the Messenger."

Focus Features

Jeremy Renner gives one of the best performances of his career playing newspaper reporter Gary Webb who discovers that the CIA has supported the smuggling of cocaine into the US and used the profits to support the Contras in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Renner is fantastic as Webb, who becomes a marked man in the newspaper world as rival papers try to discredit him.

"Killing Them Softly"

Brad Pitt in "Killing Them Softly."
Brad Pitt in "Killing Them Softly."

The Weinstein Company

After three guys rob the wrong card game (members are protected by the mob), enforcer Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) is brought in to make everything right.

Pitt is great here in this slow-burn crime caper.

"Legend"

Tom Hardy plays twin brothers in "Legend."
Tom Hardy plays twin brothers in "Legend."

Studiocanal

Tom Hardy plays real-life identical twin gangsters Ron and Reggie Kray, who during the 1960s terrorized the London underworld.

Hardy is great in a pair of roles that show off all his skills.

"The Lincoln Lawyer"

Matthew McConaughey in "The Lincoln Lawyer."
Matthew McConaughey in "The Lincoln Lawyer."

Lionsgate

In this courtroom crime drama, Matthew McConaughey plays Mickey Haller, a lawyer known for operating out of his Lincoln Town Car. Haller is hired to defend the son of a businesswoman, but he soon learns this is not going to be an open and shut case.

"Molly's Game"

Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba in "Molly's Game."
Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba in "Molly's Game."

STX Entertainment

This looks at the rise and fall of Molly Bloom, a former Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game until it was crumbled by the FBI.

Jessica Chastain gives a powerful performance as the strong-willed Bloom who will not go down without a fight.

"Patriots Day"

Mark Wahlberg in "Patriots Day."
Mark Wahlberg in "Patriots Day."

CBS Films

Directed by Peter Berg, this movie looks at the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the city-wide manhunt for the suspects that followed.

The movie includes an impressive ensemble: Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Monaghan, J.K. Simmons, Kevin Bacon, and John Goodman.

"Taxi Driver"

Robert De Niro in "Taxi Driver."
Robert De Niro in "Taxi Driver."

Columbia Pictures

Martin Scorsese's classic stars Robert De Niro who decides to take a stand after being fed up with the crime and filth of New York City.

"The Town"

Rebecca Hall and Ben Affleck in "The Town."
Rebecca Hall and Ben Affleck in "The Town."

Warner Bros. Pictures

Directed by Ben Affleck, he also stars as the leader of a group of bank thieves who sets up his next heist while the FBI is hot on their tail.

It also doesn't help that he's also fallen for a woman (Rebecca Hall) who was a hostage on their last job.

"Uncut Gems"

Adam Sandler in "Uncut Gems."
Adam Sandler in "Uncut Gems."

Netflix

Josh and Benny Safdie return to the list, this time with Adam Sandler as the character Howie Ratner, a jeweler who has a horrible gambling problem that gets him into deep trouble.

The Safdies use their mix of showcasing the gritty New York City landscape with tension-filled scenarios to create a story you can't turn away from watching.

"Zodiac"

(L-R) Robert Downey Jr. and Jake Gyllenhaal in "Zodiac."
(L-R) Robert Downey Jr. and Jake Gyllenhaal in "Zodiac."

Paramount

David Fincher takes a deep dive into how the Zodiac Killer terrorized the citizens of San Francisco back in the late 1960s in this creepy crime thriller that stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Brian Cox, and Chloë Sevigny.

Do not watch this movie by yourself.

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