The 10 best detective movies to watch on Netflix, HBO, and more
The Batman has been in wide release for over a week now, and by any measurable standard, it’s a massive success.
We have a list for you. Compiled here are 10 great detective movies that you can stream right now from the comfort of your home! and more. Some of them even share a little DNA with the costumed crime-fighter that inspired this list!
Director Joel Schumacher fell out of favor with audiences after his last run at Batman led to the nearly universally reviled Batman & Robin. Since his wildly colorful and proudly cartoonish endeavor landed with such a thud, it’s hard to not see his follow-up to it, the restlessly grim thriller 8mm, as a massive overcorrection back to adult fare.
This leads Cage’s investigator into the late ’90s world of underground, black-market pornography. It’s clear that if Schumacher had been asked to go “grim & gritty” with his Batman films, he could have definitely made a more seamless follow-up to Tim Burton’s Bat-entries. 8mm’s oppressively grim tone may be too much for some but this is a visually impressive film that contains a great central performance from Cage as a man forced to stare too long into the darkness, who tries to rise above and do the right thing against all odds. Which in the end, fits perfectly with many of the other protagonists mentioned on this list. In my opinion, 8mm is an unfairly slept-on piece of late ’90s pulp that deserves reevaluation.
8mm is available to watch on Hulu or for free with ads on Tubi.
Joint Security Area
A murder has occurred at the DMZ separating North and South Korea.
Joint Security Area is available to watch for free with ads on Tubi.
Every entry on this list deals with some pretty heavy subject together the pair traverse a gritty, urban hell full of drug dealers, informants, and other lowlifes looking for details about what happened and who is responsible. What if you need a break from it all and just want to laugh? That’s where Mystery Team comes in. This hilarious comedy from a then-mostly unknown Donald Glover and his partners in the sketch comedy troupe (Derrick Comedy) that gave him his start, is about a trio of “kid detectives” who were once the darlings of their sleepy, little town … when they were seven years old and solving cute crimes for other children.
Mystery Team is available to watch for free with ads on Tubi and Pluto TV, or for free with a library card on Hoopla.
At their core, detective stories are about the search for truth. That simple idea is perfectly personified by writer/director Joe Carnahan’s gritty 2002 police drama Narc. As a filmmaker, Carnahan has made bigger movies (The Grey) and certainly more outlandish ones (Copshop), but this early entry in his career is arguably his finest work.
Narc is available to watch on Hulu and Paramount Plus.
The Nice Guys
If you only know Shane Black from his work on Iron Man 3, then you owe it to yourself to check out The Nice Guys and see why he is such a cult favorite among people who adore noir films.
The Nice Guys is available to watch on Hulu.
Before director Denis Villeneuve did the seemingly impossible task of bringing a faithful adaptation of the classic sci-fi novel Dune to the big screen, the French Canadian filmmaker turned in this densely-layer mystery about child abduction and the numerous lives affected by it. At the center of Prisoners’ labyrinth tale is one of the great screen sleuths of the last 10 years, Detective Loki, played by Jake Gyllenhaal.
Prisoners are available to watch on Hulu.
Which translates to “Detective” in English, makes for a great entry point into the world of Indian cinema. There are no typical Bollywood-style musical breaks in the film, and a surprising amount of very well done and exciting action scenes. If The Batman left you craving some quality fight scenes to go along with the sleuthing and you’re feeling adventurous, Thupparivaalan has got you covered.