Criminal Justice Movies For an Exciting Study Break

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No matter how dedicated you are to college, everyone needs a break from time to time. There’s no better way to take a little respite from studying than to be transported to a whole new place by a great movie. You can kick back with friends and blow off some steam. So while you’re learning the ins and outs of criminal justice, why not take a look at some of the best cop movies ever made? They’re all action-packed, full of fun, and who knows … maybe you’ll learn a thing or two.

Cop Land

Sylvester Stallone, Robert DeNiro, and Ray Liotta. It’s hard to get much better than that. Cop Land is a small town outside of New York where most of the residents are all members of the NYPD. One night, a racially-charged incident occurs with one of the newer cops on the force, and several different characters all try to cover it up in different ways. Eventually, Stallone is selected to investigate the cover-ups, and the conflict ensues from there. It’s an entertaining movie with a great cast, and the perfect way to unwind from the stressful college life on a Friday night.

Training Day

Training Day depicts two detectives who work for the LAPD. It follows them through 24 hours of their lives as they work undercover on the narcotics unit. It sounds like a simple premise, but the movie proves to be anything but. The action never stops, and there are constant twists and turns in the plot. Denzel Washington stars in the film and even earned an Academy Award nomination for his role. Not bad for a cop movie…

The Departed

The Departed won four Academy Awards. What else do you need to know? If you haven’t already seen it, you need to run out and find it. If features Jack Nicholson as a mob boss. Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio both play cops. There are great shots of Boston and the surrounding area, and the soundtrack is top notch. All of that combines to make The Departed a riveting film that everyone should see.


Serpico is based on a true story, and that’s what makes the film so interesting. It stars Al Pacino as a cop who goes undercover. Except unlike most undercover cases, he’s going undercover to discover corruption within his own police department. He is harassed and threatened by his fellow cops, and experiences tons of personal problems as the result of his stressful work. But he never gives up and is ultimately able to make change within the department.

Magnum Force

Magnum Force starts out as a criminal is acquitted of the charges that have been leveled against him. He leaves the courthouse and gets into his car. As the car is driving, a cop pulls it over. But just as the window is rolling down to speak with the officer, he shoots all the passengers in the car. That is the scene that Clint Eastwood comes upon, as he plays the detective charged with investigating the case. There’s plenty of intrigue in this one, a great popcorn movie.

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