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50 Most Tense Undercover Movie Moments

Rush (1991)

The Moment: Officer Cates is forced at gunpoint to inject a shot of heroin into her arm, in order to convince a dealer that she’s legit…

Look Away When: Cates slowly takes her jacket off and begins to prepare the hit, her hands steadily beginning to shake as the reality of the situation hits home.

The Mob (1951)

The Moment: Broderick Crawford’s hard-nosed copper thinks he’s been made by another mobster… only for said mobster to reveal himself as a federal agent. What a relief!

Look Away When:
Crawford’s face falls when his cover is blown. You’re fully expecting him to buy it, when salvation suddenly presents itself.

Eastern Promises (2007)

The Moment: Viggo Mortensen’s undercover agent is forced to have sex with a prostitute in order to prove that he’s not a homosexual to his narrow-minded mob boss. Uncomfortable viewing…

Look Away When:
Said boss reveals that he’ll be sitting in on the encounter, just to make sure. Awkward, much?

Narc (2002)

The Moment: The warehouse interrogation, in which an increasingly unhinged Detective Oak proceeds to brutalise a pair of dealers with whom he has a history.

Look Away When:
The tension reaches fever pitch when Tellis steps in and attempts to get Oak to do things by the book…

Street Kings (2008)

The Moment: Detective Ludlow poses as an arms dealer, before purposely goading a group of Korean gangsters into kicking the crap out of him and stealing his car. A car that just happens to contain a tracking device…

Look Away When: As soon as the beating starts, you’re not certain whether Ludlow will survive to see his plan come to fruition…

Hard Boiled (1992)

The Moment: Tony Leung’s character finds himself forced to shoot a police informant, despite being a copper himself. How is he going to square this one up with his conscience?

Look Away When: Leung goes for his gun and pulls the trigger. We needn’t have worried however, as this being a John Woo film, it’s quite easy to non-fatally shoot someone in the chest.

The Fast And The Furious (2001)

The Moment: Having just exposed his inexperience as a street racer, Officer O’Connor is already running the risk of having his cover blown, only for matters to rapidly deteriorate with the arrival of the police.

Look Away When: A squad car recognises O’Connor in the middle of he and Dominic’s attempt to escape…

No Way Out (1987)

The Moment: Farrell manages to intercept the photo ID that places Brice in the frame as “Yuri” in the nick of time, finally engineering his escape from the Pentagon.

Look Away When: It’s pretty much all adrenaline from the moment Pritchard does for Sam, paving the way for Farrell to frame him.

Miami Vice (2006)

The Moment: Crockett and Tubbs pose as a pair of drug dealers in order to set up a meet with a crime kingpin’s chief enforcer. Said meeting is fraught, to say the least…

Look Away When: As soon as the guns come out. It’s pretty nerve-wracking from there until the end of the scene.

The Godfather (1972)

The Moment: Michael meets with McCluskey and Sollozzo under the pretence of wanting to thrash out a peace treaty. Little do they know, he’s actually planning his first hit…

Look Away When:
Michael makes his way to the bathroom. The behind-the-cistern fumbling is almost too much to take!

George Wales
George is GR's resident movie news person, based out of London. He understands that all men must die, but he'd rather not think about it.