Murder, Drugs & Deception: The Top 5 True Crime Movies

Murder, Drugs & Deception: The Top 5 True Crime Movies

Chloe Seaman
July 19, 2017

In an upcoming movie from HBO, Oscar-winning actor Al Pacino plays Joe Paterno – the once-praised former college football coach who came under fire for allegedly covering up the crimes of Jerry Sandusky.

You may recall the scandal. It continues to make headlines since 2011. Sandusky was the assistant football coach for Penn State when he was convicted on 45 counts of sexual abuse of children.

During the trial (which took place in 2012), multiple reports of Sandusky showering naked with and sexually abusing young boys emerged.

Court documents indicate that Paterno knew about Sandusky’s sexual abuse of minors since 1976 and did nothing about it.

This true crime film is under being directed by Barry Levinson, who most recently directed The Wizard of Lies about Bernie Madoff – the con man who operated the most notorious Ponzi scheme in history.

Movies about crime never seize to both captivate and disturb audiences. The fact that the following crime dramas are based on true stories makes these films even more compelling.

1. Goodfellas (1990)

This classic film directed by the legendary Martin Scorsese tells the rise and fall story of mobster and FBI informant Henry Hill (Ray Liotta). Growing up in Brooklyn, Hill idolized the “wise guys” and, as a teenager, becomes inducted into the world of crime. Along with his partners Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) and Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci), Hill finds himself a member of the mob. That is, until he’s forced out of his gangster life.

2. The Untouchables (1987)

This film depicts the efforts of organized crime fighter Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) in his mission to take down crime lord Al Capone. Set in Chicago during the Prohibition Era, Ness combines his efforts with patrolman Jimmy Malone (Sean Connery), gunslinger rookie George Stone (Andy Garcia) and accountant Oscar Wallace (Charles Martin Smith) in this action-packed, big-budget crime drama.

3. The French Connection (1971)

Set in New York City in the 1970s, this film follows the characters of Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle (Gene Hackman) Buddy Russo (Roy Scheider) (based on real-life detectives Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso) as they set out to uncover the criminal responsible for smuggling $32 million of heroin into the United States. This is one crime drama that doesn’t fail to stun an audience. It was the first R-rated film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

4. American Gangster (2007)

After his crime chief boss suddenly dies, loyal driver and right-hand man Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) begins to build his own illegal empire; quickly becoming the number one importer of heroin in Harlem. Honest policeman Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) senses a shift of power in the drug underworld sets out to catch the power player. This film depicts shows that there are two sides to the American Dream.

5. Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Perhaps one of the only crime movies to be humorous, this film tells the true story of con man Frank W. Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio) who successfully forged millions of dollars by posing as a pilot, a doctor and a prosecutor, and applying his skill of check fraud, all before his nineteenth birthday. Directed by Steven Spielberg and co-starring Tom Hanks as the FBI agent in pursuit of Abagnale, this film tells a story almost too crazy to be believable.

Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.