The Best Crime Thrillers Streaming Right Now

December 22, 2022 0 By Cypher9ja

There’s just nothing like a good crime thriller. Whether you’re watching a heist unfold or a deadly game of cops and robbers, the right thriller can be both a pulse-pounding experience and an oddly comforting peak into a darker, more brutal world than the one you’ve created for yourself on your couch. And while so many thrillers pride themselves on creating a sense of unpredictability, the best films in the genre are so well-assembled that you’ll watch them again and again, despite knowing every twist, just to see how it was all put together.

So, whether you’ve seen every thriller classic a dozen times or you’re trying to get some remedial watching in, these are our picks for the best crime thrillers streaming right now, along with where to watch each one.

1. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

Year: 1974
Cast: Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Rating: R
Runtime: 104 minutes
Director: Joseph Sargent
Trailer: Watch here

The 1970s were a boom time for gritty, unforgettable crime thrillers, and while Dog Day Afternoon and The French Connection are often the standard bearers of the era, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three just might be the best of the bunch. The story of a group of robbers who hijack a train in New York City and the NYPD lieutenant tasked with preventing disaster, so much of Joseph Sargent’s film is framed around basic conversations which ring so true that you can’t help but believe it when the violence explodes. All-time great performances from Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw seal the deal.

2. No Country for Old Men

Year: 2007
Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin
Genre: Thriller, Crime
Rating: R
Runtime: 122 minutes
Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Trailer: Watch here

One of the best films of the 2000s, period, the Coen Brothers make our list twice because No Country for Old Men is basically perfect. An adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the same name about a hunter who stumbles upon a briefcase full of cartel money and ends up pursued by a ruthless assassin, it’s both a stylish thriller and a meditation on a fallen world full of violence and cruelty. The cast – led by Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, and Tommy Lee Jones – is among the best the Coens have ever assembled, and even if you’ve read the book and know where things are going, the direction means that it still feels like a film that’ll keep you guessing. Today it plays like a culmination of everything the brothers had learned about filmmaking up to that point, making it a true masterpiece.

Watch it on HBO Max

3. Parasite

Year: 2019
Cast: Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-sik
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rating: R
Runtime: 132 minutes
Director: Bong Joon Ho
Trailer: Watch here

Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning meditation on classism, income disparity, and the brutal sectarianism of wealth won plenty of fans for its deeply embedded symbolism and great performances. At its core, though, Parasite still plays like a masterclass in pure thriller filmmaking, a con movie that eventually shifts into something much more savage and unpredictable. The last hour of the movie will leave you in a constant state of nail-biting, anxious awe.

Watch it on Hulu

4. Blow Out

Year: 1981
Cast: John Travolta, John Lithgow
Genre: Crime, Mystery
Rating: R
Runtime: 108 minutes
Director: Brian De Palma
Trailer: Watch here

One of the greatest practitioners of thriller cinema of all time, Brian De Palma, crafted this brilliant and thrilling reimagining of Blowup in the early 1980s and found a great central performer in John Travolta. While Blowup deals with a photograph, Blow Out tracks a movie sound designer (Travolta) who’s out recording sounds one night when he hears what might have been a tire blowing, or might have been the fateful gunshot that signals a covert assassination. What follows is a dizzying journey of obsession and danger that remains one of De Palma’s very best.

Watch it on HBO Max

5. Hell or High Water

Year: 2016
Cast: Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Rating: R
Runtime: 102 minutes
Director: David Mackenzie
Trailer: Watch here

Before he was the mastermind of the Yellowstone universe, Taylor Sheridan scripted this all-time-great heist film about two Texas brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) who launch a bank robbing spree in order to pay back the debts levied on their family’s ranch. Jeff Bridges co-stars as the Texas Ranger tasked with tracking the boys down, and the result is one of the 21st century’s great games of cat and mouse. Sheridan’s knack for gripping crime drama is on full display, and director David Mackenzie pushes the action into pure thriller territory, right down to the wildly unpredictable final minutes.

Watch it on Netflix

6. Nightcrawler

Year: 2014
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Rating: R
Runtime: 117 minutes
Director: Dan Gilroy
Trailer: Watch here

Jake Gyllenhaal stars in Dan Gilroy’s fiendish neo-noir film as Lou, an ambitious petty criminal who figures out he can make some real money by roving the streets of LA at night, shooting footage of grisly accidents for new stations. It’s a capitalist’s dream, but everything starts to unravel when Lou stumbles upon a fresh crime scene with a high body count and starts to reframe the narrative to suit his own needs. It’s a great debut for Gilroy as a filmmaker, and the nervous, kinetic Lou might be Gyllenhaal’s best work to date.

Watch it on HBO Max

7. Gone Girl

Year: 2014
Cast: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris
Genre: Mystery, Drama
Rating: R
Runtime: 149 minutes
Director: David Fincher
Trailer: Watch here

David Fincher has made a lot of great thrillers throughout his career, but none of the others have ever reached the twist-laden indulgence of Gone Girl, his adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestseller starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. Affleck is fantastic as the husband who becomes a suspect in his wife’s missing person case, Pike is absolutely transcendent as the title runaway, and Fincher’s trademark precision is on full display as the story just keeps getting stranger, darker, and more luscious. Throw in another instant classic score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, and it’s a must-watch.

Watch it on HBO Max

8. Blood Simple

Year: 1984
Cast: John Getz, Frances McDormand
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rating: R
Runtime: 119 minutes
Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Trailer: Watch here

The debut film by Joel and Ethan Coen remains one of the best first features ever made, and arguably the brothers’ best attempt at pure, nerve-jangling thriller cinema. It all stems from a straightforward noir idea: A jealous husband (Dan Hedaya) hires a sketchy private detective (M. Emmet Walsh) to kill his cheating wife (Frances McDormand), and things start to go perilously off the rails from there. Featuring some of the most tension-laden camera work in all of neo-noir cinema, Blood Simple is proof that the indelible style of the Coen Brothers was there from the very start.

Watch it on HBO Max

9. Emily the Criminal

Year: 2022
Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Theo Rossi
Genre: Crime, Drama
Rating: R
Runtime: 97 minutes
Director: John Patton Ford
Trailer: Watch here

Aubrey Plaza has spent her post-Parks and Rec years branching out into increasingly more challenging dramatic roles, and she reaches a new apex with John Patton Ford’s Emily the Criminal. In the title role, Plaza is a down-on-her-luck young woman struggling to claw her way out of student debt whose prospects are crippled by a felony conviction. When she meets a man (Theo Rossi) who’s willing to pay her big bucks to join a low-level crime ring, she unlocks new financial possibilities and a savagery within herself that she’s long since tried to bury. Featuring great work from Plaza and Rossi and a gripping story, Emily the Criminal is one of 2022’s best crime films.

Watch it on Netflix

10. Becky

Year: 2020
Cast: Lulu Wilson, Kevin James, Joel McHale
Genre: Crime, Action
Rating: R
Runtime: 93 minutes
Director: Cary Murnion, Jonathan Milott
Trailer: Watch here

A skinhead criminal (Kevin James) and his pals hatch an escape plan and head to a secluded house where they’ve apparently stashed something worth grabbing. What they find there is a family vacation in progress and one young girl with a chip on her shoulder (Lulu Wilson) who’s not going to put up with their intimidation. With a simple-yet-gripping premise and powerful central performances from Wilson in the title and James playing far, far against type, Becky is a thrilling hybrid of crime drama and revenge slasher, and by the end, it’ll have you simultaneously cheering and covering your eyes to mask the gore.

Watch it on Showtime