The Top 10 Buddy Cop Movies

Everyone can appreciate a classic buddy cop film, and The Nice Guys starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe is bringing the genre back in style. For those unfamiliar with buddy cop films, the general formula is as follows: Two polar opposite characters become unlikely partners, and must find a way to work together in order to crack an unsolvable case. Usually one is wild and unpredictable, while the other is calm and reserved. Sometimes, it’s a rookie who goes by the books paired with a veteran who knows how to bend the rules. Through their adventure together, the two often learn something about each other as well as themselves. Here are the top 10 buddy cop movies!

10. The Other Guys

Columbia Pictures

After detective Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) accidentally shoots Derek Jeter during the world series, he’s paired up with detective Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell) as punishment. Neither of them are given any serious cases, and receive zero respect from the other officers as a result. However, when the main cops are out of the picture, it’s up to the other guys to crack the case. Wahlberg’s hot-temper unpredictably paired with Ferrell’s hilarious shenanigans make for one entertaining movie.

9. Beverly Hills Cop

Paramount Pictures

Beverly Hills Cop stars a young Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley, a cop on a mission to find out who is behind the murder of his best friend. After Axel is denied the chance to take the case because of his close relationship with the victim, he decides to investigate on his own. Because of his history of disobeying rules, Axel is trailed by the cops Rosewood and Taggart. In the end despite Axel’s antics, the three of them find a mutual respect and work together to bring the bad guy to justice.

8. Starsky and Hutch

Warner Bros. Pictures

Serving as somewhat of a prequel to the TV series, David Starsky (Ben Stiller) and Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson (Owen Wilson) are two undercover cops in 1975 California. In this duo, Starsky is the loud and upfront one while Hutch is much more easygoing. They team up to bring down the drug kingpin, Reese Feldman (Vince Vaughn) who plans to bring in a new untraceable type of cocaine. In case the film couldn’t get any better, Snoop Dogg plays their underworld contact Huggy Bear.

7. Let’s Be Cops

20th Century Fox

Perhaps the only pair on this list who are not actually cops, Justin Miller (Damon Wayans, Jr.) and Ryan O’Malley (Jake Johnson) are two friends who mistake a masquerade party for a costume party and show up as boys in blue. When they realize they’re being treated as actual officers of the law, they decide to indulge a little and have a little fun. Only problem is, real cops start showing up to ask questions and real criminals start shooting at them.

6. The Nice Guys

Warner Bros. Pictures

Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is asked to investigate the death of a fading porn star named Misty Mountains after her aunt claims she’s seen her alive. He accepts the job upon learning another girl named Amelia is somehow connected to the case. However, Amelia prefers not to be found and hires Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) to intimidate March from approaching her. After the two are both attacked by thugs also looking for Amelia, they agree to work together to investigate the mysterious case in 1977 Los Angeles.

5. 21 Jump Street

Columbia Pictures

Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) go undercover as high school students to investigate a new synthetic drug called HFS aka “Holy Fucking Shit”. Ice Cube who plays the role of Captain Dickson, gives them their new identities. However, they mix their covers up and struggle to fit in with their peers. More shenanigans ensue when they take some of the drugs themselves to not blow their cover.

4. Hot Fuzz

Universal Pictures

Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is an excellent policeman who consistently strives to take that extra step to keep society safe. Unfortunately, his efforts make the rest of the police force look so abysmally awful that he is transferred to Sandford, Gloucestershire to prevent further embarrassment. In Sandford, he meets Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) and initially finds that the town has barely any crime at all. However, upon further investigation, he uncovers a conspiracy darker than anything he has encountered before.

3. Rush Hour

New Line Cinema

As punishment for being reckless and dangerous, James Carter (Chris Tucker) is assigned by the FBI to babysit Detective Inspector Lee (Jackie Chan) in order to keep them both out of the way of a kidnapping investigation. However, Inspector Lee and Carter decide to take matters into their own hands and investigate on their own to save the kidnapped girl. But they must first figure out how to work through their personal and cultural differences.

2. Bad Boys

Columbia Pictures

Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) and Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) are two narcotics detectives in the Miami Police Department who must recover 100 million dollars worth of stolen heroine in five days or have their division shut down. Filled to the brim with explosions and action (as expected by director Michael Bay), Bad Boys is a ton of fun. Also, a lot of the dialogue was improvised by Lawrence and Smith including the famous, “Now back up, put the gun down and get me a pack of Tropical Fruit Bubbalicious”. “And some Skittles.”

1. Lethal Weapon

Warner Bros.

Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) is a veteran homicide sergeant who is paired with narcotics sergeant Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) after Riggs flies into a psychotic rage during a drug bust. Riggs used to be a U.S. Army Special Forces soldier, but became unstable after his wife died in a traffic accident. The unlikely partners work together to solve a murder case that was meant to look like suicide. The calm and experienced demeanor of Murtaugh and the volatile nature of Riggs makes for one enjoyable ride. Just in case you didn’t know, this is the film where the line, “I’m getting too old for this shit” comes from. 

Did your favorite buddy cop film make the list? Let us know in the comments below.