When did our fascination with crime films begin? Maybe it’s the spike in adrenaline we experience when we see a villainous deed being committed by a character. Perhaps it’s the sense of closure we get from seeing a heinous criminal brought to justice. The types of crime represented in crime films range from petty stealing to brutal murder. Some of the most compelling crime fiction doesn’t even focus on the criminal acts themselves but rather on the damaged minds of the perpetrators.
1. The Departed (1995)
The Departed is a crime thriller that was directed by Martin Scorsese. It was a huge hit at the box office and won four Oscars. The story centers on two Boston Southies, Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) and William Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio), who infiltrate two separate gangs. Their escalating conflict leads to violence and death.
2. In Cold Blood (1995)
In Cold Blood tells the true story of the quadruple murders of a Kansas family and the trial and execution of the murderers. Truman Capote’s novel was a pioneer of the non-fiction novel, or New Journalism. Filmed in stylish black-and-white cinematography by Conrad Hall, In Cold Blood is one of the last great films available on solarmovie. Richard Brooks transformed Capote’s novel into a compelling crime story that was not afraid to depict the injustices of America’s criminal justice system.
3. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
The Silence of the Lambs was an important film for women, paving the way for a new wave of crime thrillers that emphasized dogged female characters. Jodie Foster’s brusque, independent Clarice Starling subverted traditional gender dynamics in one of the best performances of her career.
Director Jonathan Demme adapted Thomas Harris’s best-selling novel of the same name, and it’s a haunting portrait of human evil. The most memorable character is the brilliant Hannibal Lecter, played by Anthony Hopkins, who agrees to help Starling investigate a notorious serial killer.
4. The Great Gatsby (1995)
The Great Gatsby is one of the most popular books in high school literature classes. Originally published in 1925 by Charles Scribner’s Sons, it remains a standard in American culture today. Fitzgerald’s novel is set in the Roaring Twenties and captures the economic boom of that era. It also explores the hedonistic lifestyle of the new rich and famous.
5. The Wolf of Wall Street (1995)
One of the most successful films to ever come out of New York, The Wolf of Wall Street is a cautionary tale about the dangers of greed and power. The movie is based on a memoir by Jordan Belfort and stars Leonardo DiCaprio as the titular stockbroker.
As Belfort climbs the ranks, he blurs the ethical boundaries between business and crime by pumping and dumping stocks, creating Stratton Oakmont and amassing an enormous fortune. Yet he also falls prey to drugs and womanizing.