50 Craziest Movie Cops

Cadet Zed Police Academy 3: Back In Training (1986)

The Crazy Cop: Former leader of The Skullions gang, Zed’s recruited by the Police Academy and entered into training.

They attempt to turn him into a bona fide police officer. Good luck to them.

Most Lunatic Moment: You mean when he’s not screeching, yabbering and generally making a very loud noise?

How about the bit where Zed manages to bust open a door merely by screaming at it? Or decides eating a goldfish right out of its bowl is a good idea? Or any one of these (opens in new tab) ..?

Max Rockatansky Mad Max (1979)

The Crazy Cop: It’s all in the title.

Working in a post-apocalyptic future for the Main Force Patrol, Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) is a fearless rider who’ll do whatever it takes to see justice served.

He wears leather, which automatically makes him cool.

Most Lunatic Moment: Catching up with bad guy Johnny, Max handcuffs him to a car and ignites the petrol. Then chucks Johnny a hacksaw (opens in new tab) . Cold.

Harry Callahan Dirty Harry (1971)

The Crazy Cop: Inspector ‘Dirty’ Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood), who works for the San Francisco PD.

He’s known for his special ‘no-nonsense’ approach to policing. Which is putting it lightly.

Most Lunatic Moment:
“Do you feel lucky punk?” Obviously.

Martin Riggs Lethal Weapon (1987)

The Crazy Cop: LAPD man Martin Riggs, whose grief over the death of his wife has turned him into something of a volatile presence on the force.

Things only get worse when he’s paired up with “too old for this shit” Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover).

Most Lunatic Moment: Desperate gun-to-the-forehead moment aside, this little gem, in which Riggs get out on a ledge with a suicidal nut (opens in new tab) , is right up there.

Detective Alonzo Harris Training Day (2001)

The Crazy Cop: Well-respected LAPD Detective Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington), who champions his own special brand of street justice.

Yep, we have a vigilante on our hands.

Most Lunatic Moment: “You fool-ass, disloyal, bitch-made punk.”

Even with a gun held to his head, Harris is as cocky and crazy as ever (opens in new tab) .

Norman Stansfield Lon (1994)

The Crazy Cop: A corrupt DEA agent, Norman Stansfield (Gary Oldman) may look pretty dapper, but he’s actually totally hooked on the white stuff.

The film starts with him executing a little girl’s family during a drug raid.

Most Lunatic Moment: “Everyone!” Stansfield starts seriously losing his shit (opens in new tab)

John McClane Die Hard (1988)

The Crazy Cop: “Yippee-kay-aye motherfucker!” Everybody’s favourite badge-wearing action hero, John McClane is always in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Like in an LA high rise taken over by terrorists. Or an airport taken over by terrorists. Or…

Most Lunatic Moment: Oh, you know, blowing up a lift. Walking barefoot on broken glass. Destroying an FBI helicopter…

The Lieutenant Bad Lieutenant (1992)

The Crazy Cop: Known only as The Lieutenant (Harvey Keitel), this guy’s so hooked on cocaine he takes a few bumps first thing in the morning after dropping his kids off at school.

Then he gets drunk and has a threesome.

Most Lunatic Moment: This terrifyingly out-there scene in which The Lieutenant confronts Jesus Christ himself in a church (opens in new tab) .

Matt Cordell Maniac Cop (1988)

The Crazy Cop: It’s all in the film’s title, as undead Matt Cordell (Robert Z’Dar) goes on a killing spree, brutally murdering innocent people.

Most Lunatic Moment: In Maniac Cop 2 , Cordell decides the NYPD needs a little decorating done, and paints the walls red with cop blood.

A full-on massacre (opens in new tab) , in other words.

Terrence McDonagh Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans (2009)

The Crazy Cop: A New Orleans police sergeant who’s still adrift after the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina.

He’s addicted to painkillers, cocaine and cannabis – a volatile concoction that causes him to hallucinate a lot.

Most Lunatic Moment: So many to choose from, though the part where he demands a dead man is shot again because “his soul is still dancing” is particularly out there – especially when paired with McDonagh’s maniacal laugh.

Josh Winning has worn a lot of hats over the years. Contributing Editor at Total Film, writer for SFX, and senior film writer at the Radio Times. Josh has also penned a novel about mysteries and monsters, is the co-host of a movie podcast, and has a library of pretty phenomenal stories from visiting some of the biggest TV and film sets in the world. He would also like you to know that he "lives for cat videos..." Don't we all, Josh. Don't we all.