June 27, 2013

20 Buddy Cop Movies Worth Seeing Again

While the genre's been compacted into a cliche over the years (especially immediately following its heyday in the late '80s and early '90s), and also justly satirized for it, the fundamentals of the buddy cop film return each summer to theaters.

Here are twenty films from the genre that's been a mainstay in theaters and weekend cable programming. By Voice Film Club.

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Turner & Hooch (1989)
Scott Turner (Tom Hanks) is only days away from leaving the department -- a play on the buddy cop stand-by of the veteran officer being close to retirement, of course -- until a local man is killed and Hanks is forced to "partner" with the dead guy's dog, Hooch.
Turner & Hooch (1989)
Scott Turner (Tom Hanks) is only days away from leaving the department -- a play on the buddy cop stand-by of the veteran officer being close to retirement, of course -- until a local man is killed and Hanks is forced to "partner" with the dead guy's dog, Hooch.
48 Hrs. (1982)
A prototype of the '80s buddy cop movie, and one of its greatest: Grizzled cop (Nick Nolte) pairs with Eddie Murphy, who is at his most smart-assed.
48 Hrs. (1982)
A prototype of the '80s buddy cop movie, and one of its greatest: Grizzled cop (Nick Nolte) pairs with Eddie Murphy, who is at his most smart-assed.
Cop and a Half  (1993)
Ironically adored by anyone older than 8 who also doesn't have children, Cop and a Half stars Burt Reynolds and Norman D. Golden III, a precocious boy who adorably proclaims: "I'm your worst nightmare: an eight-year-old with a badge!"
Cop and a Half (1993)
Ironically adored by anyone older than 8 who also doesn't have children, Cop and a Half stars Burt Reynolds and Norman D. Golden III, a precocious boy who adorably proclaims: "I'm your worst nightmare: an eight-year-old with a badge!"
FEDS (1988)
For these ladies, it's a battle of brains vs. braun. Rebecca De Mornay as Ellie DeWitt (physically tough but not very smart) and Mary Gross as Janis Zuckerman (the opposite) play FBI Academy cadets in FEDS, co-written and directed by Daniel Goldberg, perhaps best-known as a producer for The Hangover franchise.
FEDS (1988)
For these ladies, it's a battle of brains vs. braun. Rebecca De Mornay as Ellie DeWitt (physically tough but not very smart) and Mary Gross as Janis Zuckerman (the opposite) play FBI Academy cadets in FEDS, co-written and directed by Daniel Goldberg, perhaps best-known as a producer for The Hangover franchise.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang  (2005)
A hilarious take on old-school hardboiled detective novels, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang takes the best of the genre and turns it on its head with amateur detectives infiltrating Hollywood's dark side. This is Robert Downey Jr. at his not-so-smooth-talking best, before he became Tony Stark. And Val Kilmer positively shines as Gay Perry, the aptly-named private investigator. -- Tatiana Craine
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
A hilarious take on old-school hardboiled detective novels, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang takes the best of the genre and turns it on its head with amateur detectives infiltrating Hollywood's dark side. This is Robert Downey Jr. at his not-so-smooth-talking best, before he became Tony Stark. And Val Kilmer positively shines as Gay Perry, the aptly-named private investigator. -- Tatiana Craine

In the Heat of the Night (1967)
A winner of five Academy Awards -- but not one for Sidney Poitier's powerful performance -- In the Heat of the Night pairs Poitier's Detective Virgil Tibbs with Rod Steiger's Police Chief Bill Gillespie. "Now just what do you do up there in Pennsylvania to earn that kind of money?" asks an incredulous Gillespie about money found on Tibbs, to which Tibbs responds, "I'm a police officer." The two work together to solve a murder, but only after Tibbs' police chief back in Philadelphia tells him to stay in Mississippi to solve the crime.
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
A winner of five Academy Awards -- but not one for Sidney Poitier's powerful performance -- In the Heat of the Night pairs Poitier's Detective Virgil Tibbs with Rod Steiger's Police Chief Bill Gillespie. "Now just what do you do up there in Pennsylvania to earn that kind of money?" asks an incredulous Gillespie about money found on Tibbs, to which Tibbs responds, "I'm a police officer." The two work together to solve a murder, but only after Tibbs' police chief back in Philadelphia tells him to stay in Mississippi to solve the crime.
Hot Fuzz (2007)
Secretly every buddy cop flick is a platonic love story, and there may be no better on-screen bromance than the one between Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in Hot Fuzz. Add in some explosions and you've got a flick that'll make you cheer, not just for violence, but for friendship. -- Cory Garcia
Hot Fuzz (2007)
Secretly every buddy cop flick is a platonic love story, and there may be no better on-screen bromance than the one between Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in Hot Fuzz. Add in some explosions and you've got a flick that'll make you cheer, not just for violence, but for friendship. -- Cory Garcia

Dirty Harry (1971)
Released in late 1971, Dirty Harry introduced the figure of the Legal Vigilante that would prove so useful to Richard Nixon in the upcoming election year. Dirty Harry was a dirty man for a dirty time—an authority figure who hated authority. More than the original anti-Miranda, anti–Great Society cop film, Dirty Harry was Easy Rider in reverse, featuring a hippie as serial killer rather than victim. In its day, the movie was critically and commercially overshadowed by The French Connection, but en route to inspiring four sequels, it became a mainstream cult film. --J. Hoberman
Dirty Harry (1971)
Released in late 1971, Dirty Harry introduced the figure of the Legal Vigilante that would prove so useful to Richard Nixon in the upcoming election year. Dirty Harry was a dirty man for a dirty time—an authority figure who hated authority. More than the original anti-Miranda, anti–Great Society cop film, Dirty Harry was Easy Rider in reverse, featuring a hippie as serial killer rather than victim. In its day, the movie was critically and commercially overshadowed by The French Connection, but en route to inspiring four sequels, it became a mainstream cult film. --J. Hoberman

Freebie and The Bean (1974)
This is the gritty '70s version of the buddy cop flick, which is to say you may find yourself laughing even though the characters are deplorable. They may be awful people, but they do get in to some mighty fine car chases. Why didn't more casting directors pair up James Caan and Alan Arkin? -- Cory Garcia
Freebie and The Bean (1974)
This is the gritty '70s version of the buddy cop flick, which is to say you may find yourself laughing even though the characters are deplorable. They may be awful people, but they do get in to some mighty fine car chases. Why didn't more casting directors pair up James Caan and Alan Arkin? -- Cory Garcia

Lethal Weapon (1987)
Murtaugh (Danny Glover) and Riggs (Braveheart), just hate each other at the beginning of this Richard Donner movie, but of course (SPOILER ALERT!) end up close friends by the end of this 1987 release that launched a four-film franchise.
Lethal Weapon (1987)
Murtaugh (Danny Glover) and Riggs (Braveheart), just hate each other at the beginning of this Richard Donner movie, but of course (SPOILER ALERT!) end up close friends by the end of this 1987 release that launched a four-film franchise.