Posted by Matt Kranis @mattkranis
President of the Salacious Crumb Fan Club. Staff Writer at Movie Pilot. Twitter: @Matt_Kranis
Matt Kranis

Audiences are endlessly fascinated by the true crime movies, eager to dive into the dark minds of real life criminals and those tasked to take them down. But for newbies, it can be a pretty daunting genre to enter. Luckily, we're running through the 50 most essential true crime movies for newcomers and diehard fans alike.

Note: Considering the sheer number of them, we've decided to leave true crime documentaries off of this list (well, with one notable exception).

1. The Wrong Man

Henry Fonda as Manny Balestrero
Henry Fonda as Manny Balestrero
  • Release Year: 1956
  • Director: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Starring: Henry Fonda, Vera Miles and Anthony Quayle

This one's notable because it was one of Alfred Hitchcock's few films based on a true story. The movie follows Manny Balestrero (Henry Fonda), a New Yorker accused of robberies he didn't commit, and traces the attempts made to clear his name as his life slowly falls apart. It also includes one of Henry Fonda's best performances, a feat considering his illustrious career.

2. In Cold Blood

Robert Blake and Scott Wilson as Perry and Dick from 'In Cold Blood.'
Robert Blake and Scott Wilson as Perry and Dick from 'In Cold Blood.'
  • Release Year: 1967
  • Director: Richard Brooks
  • Starring: Robert Blake, Scott Wilson and John Forsythe

Author Truman Capote's In Cold Blood was a pioneering work in the true crime genre, and its film adaptation is no exception. The movie captures the true story of Perry Smith (Robert Blake) and Dick Hickock (Scott Wilson), who in 1959 killed an entire family in Holcomb, Kansas after a robbery gone wrong.

3. Bonnie And Clyde

Bonnie and Clyde ride off after a robbery.
Bonnie and Clyde ride off after a robbery.
  • Release Year: 1967
  • Director: Arthur Penn
  • Starring: Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway

An influential film of the New Hollywood movement of the late '60s and '70s, Bonnie And Clyde's success extends beyond the true crime genre. Penn and producer/star Warren Beatty brought levels of sex and violence that Hollywood had never seen before alongside a cinematic style influence by French New Wave filmmakers, all wrapped in the iconic true story of American outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. The movie pushed its contemporaries to experiment with new forms, helping give birth to one of Hollywood's most artistic periods.

4. The Honeymoon Killers

Tony Lo Bianco and Shirley Stoler as the titular Honeymoon Killers.
Tony Lo Bianco and Shirley Stoler as the titular Honeymoon Killers.
  • Release Year: 1970
  • Director: Leonard Kastle
  • Starring: Tony Lo Bianco and Shirley Stoler

Inspired by "Lonely Hearts Killers" Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez, this crime classic follows their murder spree from 1947 through 1949. The duo lured their victims in through lonely hearts ads in the newspaper, and the film's moody mix of shocks and laughs made it a cult classic.

5. 10 Rillington Place

  • Release Year: 1971
  • Director: Richard Fleischer
  • Starring: Richard Attenborough and John Hurt

Richard Attenborough will be fondly remembered as dino-loving tycoon John Hammond from Jurassic Park, so seeing him as British serial killer John Christie might come as a shock. Christie killed at least seven women in his home at 10 Rillington Place, and hid them all in the walls of his apartment. The movie captures Christie's brutal crimes and the false accusations brought upon his neighbor Timothy Evans (John Hurt).

6. Serpico

Al Pacino as Frank Serpico.
Al Pacino as Frank Serpico.
  • Release Year: 1973
  • Director: Sidney Lumet
  • Starring: Al Pacino, John Randolph and Jack Kehoe

This true crime classic, inspired by the life of New York police officer Frank Serpico, finds Al Pacino on the right side of the law as the famous NYPD whistleblower. One of the defining movies of the '70s, Serpico shows how power corrupts while capturing the gritty feel of New York City.

7. Dog Day Afternoon

Pacino isn't exactly a good bank robber.
Pacino isn't exactly a good bank robber.
  • Release Year: 1975
  • Director: Sidney Lumet
  • Starring: Al Pacino, John Cazale, Charles During, Chris Sarandon and Lance Henriksen

Dog Day Afternoon is easily one of the defining movies of the '70s. Starring Al Pacino, the story's based on a failed bank heist committed by John Wojtowicz and Salvatore Naturale in 1972. The movie excels by turning the robbers into its heroes, encapsulating the anti-establishment sentiments of the time with fast-paced action and compelling character drama.

Looking for more great movies? Check these out:

8. Helter Skelter

Steve Railsback as Charles Manson alongside his followers.
Steve Railsback as Charles Manson alongside his followers.
  • Release Year: 1976
  • Director: Tom Gries
  • Starring: Steve Railsback and George DiCenzo,

The Manson Family murders took the nation by storm in the late '60s, and their aftermath reverberated through much of the '70s. This two-part TV movie was inspired by the massively successful true crime book of the same name, chronicling the family's murder spree as well as the arrest and trial of Charles Manson. It was one of the first movies based on Manson's exploits, and captured his story at a time when its impact on the country was still fresh.

9. The Onion Field

James Woods provides a stellar performance in 'The Onion Field.'
James Woods provides a stellar performance in 'The Onion Field.'
  • Release Year: 1979
  • Director: Harold Becker
  • Starring: John Savage, James Woods, Franklyn Seales and Ted Danson

Based on the true crime book of the same name, The Onion Field tells the story of LAPD detectives Karl Hettinger (John Savage) and Ian Campbell (Ted Danson), who were kidnapped by a pair of criminals (James Woods and Franklyn Seales) after a routine traffic stop. Campbell was executed while Hettinger escaped, and the film follows the twisty lives of Hettinger and the criminals following the event. As Hettinger deals with survivor's guilt, the criminals try to game the legal system to reduce their sentences.

10. Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer

  • Release Year: 1986
  • Director: Jack McNaughton
  • Starring: Michael Rooker, Tom Towles and Tracy Arnold

Based on the life and confessions of serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer is one of the most brutal movies of the '80s. Blending true crime with horror, star Michael Rooker brings Henry to life with a bone-chilling performance, chronicling his daily life as a sadistic killer. The real-life Lucas claimed to have killed 600 people, and while a vast majority of his claims were refuted he was convicted of murdering 11 people — more than enough to inspire this twisted tale.

11. At Close Range

Sean Penn and Christopher Walken as father and son.
Sean Penn and Christopher Walken as father and son.
  • Release Year: 1986
  • Director: James Foley
  • Starring: Christopher Walken and Sean Penn

For a compelling taste of small town crime, look no further than At Close Range. This drama was inspired by the rural Pennsylvania crime family led by Bruce Johnston, Sr., known for their expertly coordinated burglaries throughout the '60s and '70s. This one shines thanks to performances by Christopher Walken as the gang's leader and Sean Penn as his son, who ultimately causes the group's downfall.

12. The Untouchables

  • Release Year: 1987
  • Director: Brian De Palma
  • Starring: Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Robert De Niro, Andy García and Charles Martin Smith

The story of FBI legend Elliot Ness is ripe for adaptation, so it should come as no surprise that Brian De Palma brought it to life in The Untouchables. The action-crime epic stars Kevin Costner as Ness, following his formation of a law enforcement squad to take down Al Capone (Robert De Niro) in Prohibition era Chicago. De Palma's dedication to shining a light on the heroes of the era, proving that not all cops are corruptible.

13. The Thin Blue Line

Still from a reenactment in 'The Thin Blue Line'
Still from a reenactment in 'The Thin Blue Line'
  • Release Year: 1988
  • Director: Errol Morris

The Thin Blue Line is one of the most influential true crime movies to date. The film, from renowned documentarian Errol Morris, blends traditional documentary elements with reenactments to chronicle the story of Randall Dale Adams, a man wrongfully convicted of murdering a police officer and sent to death. The film actually helped Adams get released from prison, and paved the way for our current trend of true crime documentaries and "ripped from the headlines" stories.

14. A Cry In The Dark

  • Release Year: 1988
  • Director: Frank Schepisi
  • Starring: Sam Neil and Meryl Streep

The death of Azaria Chamberlain, a nine-week old Australian baby who disappeared during a camping trip with her parents in 1980, took Australia and much of the world by storm. Frank Schepisi's A Cry In The Dark, known as Evil Angels in Australia and New Zealand, follow's Azaria's parents in the aftermath as they deal with a media firestorm after being accused of killing their daughter.

15. Goodfellas

  • Release Year: 1990
  • Director: Martin Scorsese
  • Starring: Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco and Paul Sorvino

Goodfellas is arguably the greatest gangster movie of all time, and one of Martin Scorsese's finest works. Of course, what makes it even more special is that it's based on the story of real-life mobster turned FBI informant Henry Hill. Ray Liotta stars as Hill with an all-star cast including Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Paul Sorvino and more. This one shines thanks to its superb acting, and while the characters were based on real people Scorsese gave his actors the freedom to improvise, crafting more natural performances.

16. Reversal Of Fortune

  • Release Year: 1990
  • Director: Barbet Schroeder
  • Starring: Jeremy Irons, Ron Silver and Glenn Close

If you're interested in the inner-workings of the legal system, you'll want to check out Reversal Of Fortune. Jeremy Irons stars as real life aristocrat Claus von Bülow, who was accused of trying to kill his wife when she fell into a diabetic coma. The film sees the wealthy businessman hire an expert legal team, but head defense attorney Alan Dershowitz (Ron Silver) is convinced he's guilty.

17. Let Him Have It

Christopher Eccleston as Derek Bentley.
Christopher Eccleston as Derek Bentley.
  • Release Year: 1991
  • Director: Peter Medak
  • Starring: Christopher Eccleston, Paul Reynolds, Tom Courtenay and Tom Bell

Former Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston stars in this story based on the execution of Derek Bentley, a British man who was hanged for murder in 1953 under shaky circumstances. Bentley, who was developmentally disabled, fell in with a gang that committed a robbery gone wrong, with the 16-year old gang leader killing a cop. But a justice system eager for punishment sent Bentley to death for the minor's crime, with the film illustrating the disconnect between true justice and the rulings of the court.

18. Heavenly Creatures

Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey in 'Heavenly Creatures.'
Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey in 'Heavenly Creatures.'
  • Release Year: 1994
  • Director: Peter Jackson
  • Starring: Kate Winslet, Melanie Lynskey, Sarah Peirse, Diana Kent and Clive Merrison

Heavenly Creatures brings New Zealand's famous Parker-Hulme murder case to the big screen, starring Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey as a pair of teenagers constantly ignored and belittled by their parents who see murder as their path to happiness. It's not until the end that the crime is committed, with the entire film serving as the perfect crescendo towards the violent act.

19. Vendetta

  • Release Year: 1999
  • Director: Nicholas Meyer
  • Starring: Christopher Walken, Clancy Brown and Bruce Davison

In 1891, eleven Italian-Americans were lynched for their alleged involvement in the murder of New Orleans police chief David Henessey,and this HBO movie captures the events surrounding Henessey's death. The events brought the notion of an Italian-American Mafia to the country's consciousness for the first time, making Vendetta an important historical account.

20. Donnie Brasco

  • Release Year: 1997
  • Director: Mike Newell
  • Starring: Johnny Depp, Al Pacino, Michael Madsen and Anne Heche

Plenty of movies have followed undercover cops, but most don't live up to Donnie Brasco. Johnny Depp stars as Joseph Pistone, the real-life FBI agent who infiltrated New York City's Bonanno crime family in the '70s under the alias of Donnie Brasco. Over six years, he rose through the ranks of the family before his operation was ended, resulting in over 100 convictions of Mafia members. But the movie really shines thanks to Depp's performance as well as Al Pacino's as Lefty Ruggiero, a hit-man who develops a strong bond with the undercover agent and unwittingly provides much of his knowledge on the Mafia's inner-workings.

21. Chopper

  • Release Year: 2000
  • Director: Andrew Dominik
  • Starring: Eric Bana, Simon Lyndon, Kate Beahan and Vince Colosimo

Inspired by the autobiography of Mark "Chopper" Read, this flick stars Eric Bana as the infamous Australian outlaw and follows his days going in and out of prison, showing how his actions slowly alienate all his friends — even the criminals. Chopper might think his actions are justified, he says he "never killed anyone that didn't deserve it," but the movie shows that the freedom of a lawless lifestyle might not be worth it in the long run.

22. Bully

The kids of 'Bully' await sentencing for their crime.
The kids of 'Bully' await sentencing for their crime.
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Director: Larry Clark
  • Starring: Brad Renfro, Bijou Phillips, Rachel Miner, Michael Pitt, Leo Fitzpatrick, Kelli Garner and Nick Stahl

The best true crime movies tell stories that could take place in any town — even your own — and Bully is no exception. The film follows the 1993 murder of Bobby Kent, who was killed by a group of his friends after he physically, emotionally and sexually abused them for years. It's the sort of small town story that's so horrifying because of how common it really is.

23. Catch Me If You Can

Abagnale impersonated a pilot to get free flights — and plenty of babes.
Abagnale impersonated a pilot to get free flights — and plenty of babes.
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks

Spielberg knows how to make brutally serious movies, though Catch Me If You Can takes a lighter approach to true crime with its look at the life of conman and counterfeiter Frank Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio). The movie might follow a criminal, but DiCaprio's Abagnale is both sympathetic and fun, inviting audiences on a globe-trotting adventure.

24. Dahmer

Jeremy Renner as Jeffrey Dahmer in 'Dahmer.'
Jeremy Renner as Jeffrey Dahmer in 'Dahmer.'
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Director: David Jacobsen
  • Starring: Jeremy Renner

Notorious serial killer, cannibal and necrophiliac Jeffrey Dahmer has inspired plenty of movies, but Dahmer takes a more concentrated look at the killer's murder spree. Jeremy Renner plays Dahmer, with the film's unique structure simultaneously charting the beginning and end of his serial killing career.

25. Monster

  • Release Year: 2003
  • Director: Patty Jenkins
  • Starring: Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci

Monster serves as a perfect example of the crime genre's ability to make you sympathize with the criminal. With her Oscar-winning performance, Charlize Theron makes you really understand Aileen Wuornos, a real-life prostitue who murdered her Johns and stole their money. Her first kill comes from self-defense, but the character quickly begins to kill for survival, emphasized by Theron's ability to really make you understand the trauma Wuornos endured throughout her life. You just might find yourself rooting for her to get away with her crimes.

26. Veronica Guerin

Cate Blanchett in 'Veronica Guerin.'
Cate Blanchett in 'Veronica Guerin.'
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Director: Joel Schumacher
  • Starring: Cate Blanchett, Gerard McSorley and Ciarán Hicks

Cate Blanchett brings another solid performance as title character Veronica Guerin, an Irish journalist murdered for her investigations into Dublin's drug trade in 1996. The film follows Guerin's twisty investigation as she follows false leads and faces increasing threats from drug kingpin John Gilligan (Gerard McSorley). She died for her work, but her death galvanized Dublin authorities and citizens to take control of the city's rampant drug problem.

27. Wonderland

Val Kilmer as John Holmes in 'Wonderland.'
Val Kilmer as John Holmes in 'Wonderland.'
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Director: James Cox
  • Starring: Val Kilmer, Kate Bosworth, Dylan McDermott, Lisa Kudrow and Josh Lucas

The Wonderland murders remains one of L.A.'s greatest unsolved cases, resulting in the deaths of four individuals in the same apartment on July 1, 1981. This film looks at all the suspects involved, including famous porn star John Holmes (Val Kilmer), shining the spotlight on an often overlooked crime.

28. Alpha Dog

Zack (Anton Yelchin) gets kidnapped in 'Alpha Dog.'
Zack (Anton Yelchin) gets kidnapped in 'Alpha Dog.'
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Director: Nick Cassavetes
  • Starring: Anton Yelchin, Justin Timberlake, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Shawn Hatosy, Bruce Willis and Sharon Stone

Based on the 2000 kidnapping and murder of Nicholas Markowitz, Alpha Dog presents a twisty tale of L.A. crime that touches on all the hallmarks. From drugs and kidnapping to murder, this one features an unflinching portrait of teenage hedonism and debauchery. It also marks on of Anton Yelchin's best performances in the role of Zack, the movie's dramatized version of Markowitz.

29. Out Of The Blue

  • Release Year: 2006
  • Director: Robert Sarkies
  • Starring: Karl urban, Matthew Sunderland, Lois Lawn, Tandi Wright and William Kircher

This film captures New Zealand's Aramoana massacre, the country's worst shooting spree which resulted in the deaths of 13 innocent bystanders. Karl Urban stars as one of the first police officers at the scene of the crime, with Matthew Sunderland as killer David Gray. It's notable for its realistic but sensitive look at the reactions of regular people in the wake of a massive tragedy.

30. American Gangster

  • Release Year: 2007
  • Director: Ridley Scott
  • Starring: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Cuba Gooding Jr.

Ridley Scott brought us one of the best crime movies of the '00s with American Gangster, the true story of Harlem drug kingpin Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) and the detective tasked with taking him down. The story really illustrates the complexities of New York in the '70s and the crime in the city. Lucas's drug trade helped bring money to Harlem, but it was obviously illegal, further complicated by scores of corrupt cops that helped keep drugs on the streets.

31. Zodiac

Robert Downey Jr. and Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Zodiac.'
Robert Downey Jr. and Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Zodiac.'
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Director: David Fincher
  • Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Edwards

The Zodiac killer is one of the most notorious serial killers in U.S. history, and David Fincher's Zodiac looks at the mystery surrounding his identity through the men that tried to hunt him down. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Robert Graysmith, the real-life political cartoonist turned writer who's dedicated much of his career towards unraveling the mystery behind Zodiac. with Robert Downey Jr. as the crime reporter who works with Graysmith to crack the case. While they don't come to a solid conclusion, Zodiac is still an impressive procedural, finding pleasure in the investigative process while showing its affects on the investigators.

32. The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford

Brad Pitt as Jesse James.
Brad Pitt as Jesse James.
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Director: Adam Dominik
  • Starring: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard, and Sam Rockwell

True crime goes to the Old West in this must-see Western starring Brad Pitt as legendary robber Jesse James and Casey Affleck as Robert Ford, the man who killed him. While the movie dramatizes the relationship between the two men it's still based in fact, making it one of the few westerns that falls into the realm of true crime. It also happens to be one of the best westerns of the last 20 years, so you should probably check it out either way.

33. An American Crime

Catherine Keener and Ellen Page in 'An American Crime.'
Catherine Keener and Ellen Page in 'An American Crime.'
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Director: Tommy O'Haver
  • Starring: Catherine Keener, Ellen Page, Hayley McFarland, Ari Graynor, Evan Peters and James Franco

This true crime nightmare chronicles the murder of 1965 murder of 16-year old Sylvia Likens at the hand of Gertrude Baniszewski. The movie plays more like a horror film, as Baniszewski tortured Likens to death with the help of her children. Catherine Keener plays Baniszewski with Ellen Page as Likens, and the pair's solid performances really bring this grisly affair to life.

34. Savage Grace

Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne in 'Savage Grace.'
Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne in 'Savage Grace.'
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Director: Tom Kalin
  • Starring: Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne

Family drama is a ripe subject for true crime, illustrated well in Savage Grace. The movie, based on the book of the same name, chronicles the incestuous relationship between socialite Barbara Daly Baekeland (Julianne Moore) and her son Antony (Eddie Redmayne). Antony murdered his mother, and solid performances from Moore and Redmayne bring their complex, troubling relationship to life perfectly.

35. Bronson

  • Release Year: 2008
  • Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
  • Starring: Tom Hardy

This unique biopic stars Tom Hardy as Michael Gordon Peterson, better known as Charles Bronson — Britain's most notorious prison inmate. The flick spans Bronson's entire criminal career, including his wild stints in prison in solitary confinement, with the criminal serving as both its main character and narrator. Hardy repeatedly breaks the fourth wall for one of his most memorable performances.

36. Changeling

Angelina Jolie in 'Changeling.'
Angelina Jolie in 'Changeling.'
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Director: Clint Eastwood
  • Starring: Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich and Devon Conti

Inspired by the Wineville Chicken Coop murders of the late '20s, this film stars Angelina Jolie as Christine Collins, a mother whose son is believed to be murdered but reappears after several months. The only problem — the boy who returns isn't actually her son. As Christine fights battles the police to prove that the boy isn't her son, the movie takes a psychological turn, questioning her sanity in the wake of tragedy. Is the trauma in the wake of the murders making her go crazy? Or are the police plotting to get the case wrapped up with an imposter?

37. Mesrine

Vincent Cassel in 'Mesrine.'
Vincent Cassel in 'Mesrine.'
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Director: Jean-François Richet
  • Starring: Vincent Cassel

This two-part French epic has been referred to as France's Scarface, and that alone means it's worth checking out. Vincent Cassel excels as French gangster Jacques Mesrine, charting his rise from a small-time robber to one of France's most revered and feared gangsters. And the fact that it's all a true story makes the movie even more compelling.

38. I Love You Phillip Morris

Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor are happy to not be in prison.
Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor are happy to not be in prison.
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Director: Glenn Ficarra & John Requa
  • Starring: Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor

This black comedy is inspired by the memoirs of Steven Jay Russell, a conman who has escaped prison multiple times. This one shines thanks to Jim Carrey's oddball performance as Russell, with Ewan McGregor as his lover Phillip Morris. The blend of comedy, crime and a surprisingly heartwarming love story make this one stand out.

39. Bernie

Jack Black in 'Bernie.'
Jack Black in 'Bernie.'
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Director: Richard Linklater
  • Starring: Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConnaughey

True crime stories are dominated by dour dramas and sadistic mysteries, but Bernie brought some dark comedy to the mix. The film tells the true story of Bernie Tiede (Jack Black), a beloved mortician's assistant in small town Texas who murders a despised local millionaire and uses her fortune to support the community.

40. Snowtown

  • Release Year: 2011
  • Director: Justin Kurzel
  • Starring: Daniel Henshall, Lucas Pittaway and Louise Harris

Director Justin Kurzel is on the brink of Hollywood success, with 2016's Assassin's Creed set as his first tentpole release following years of indie success. And Snowtown was the film that launched his career, dramatizing the events surrounding Australia's Snowtown murders — one of the country's most publicized crimes

41. The Iceman

Michael Shannon as Richard Kuklinski in 'The iceman.'
Michael Shannon as Richard Kuklinski in 'The iceman.'
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Director: Ariel Vromen
  • Starring: Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder and Chris Evans

The Iceman blurs the line between crime drama and serial killer story with the tale of Richard Kuklinski, the mob hitman known as "the Iceman" for his habit of freezing victims to mask their time of death. Played by Michael Shannon, Kuklinski might be a hired hitman, but as the movie shows he seems to enjoy it a bit too much. Is it all a job for Kuklinski? Or is he just a serial killer who's found an outlet for his twisted talents?

42. The Wolf Of Wall Street

Leonardo DiCaprio partying in 'The Wolf of Wall Street.'
Leonardo DiCaprio partying in 'The Wolf of Wall Street.'
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Director: Martin Scorsese
  • Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie

Today, many would say that wall street powerhouses are the worst criminals of all, and that's seen perfectly in The Wolf Of Wall Street. This biopic stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort, the real-life stockbroker who took Wall Street by storm with his frat boy buddies — and plenty of illegal, corrupt and deplorable deals. The movie revels in depravity, with Belfort doing whatever it takes to make a buck from his clients and blowing his millions on lavish parties, globe-trotting trips and plenty of drugs. The worst part? It's all true.

43. Blue Caprice

Tequan Richmond and Isaiah Washington alongside the titular blue Caprice.
Tequan Richmond and Isaiah Washington alongside the titular blue Caprice.
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Director: Alexandre Moors
  • Starring: Isaiah Washington and Tequan Richmond

Combining the true crime genre with post-9/11 domestic terrorism, Blue Caprice chronicles the story of John Allen Muhammed and Lee Boyd Malvo, the men responsible for 2002's Beltway sniper attacks. The movie looks at the relationship between Lee (Tequan Richmond) and John (Isaiah Washington), who became the boy's father figure and compelled him to become a murderer.

44. The Bling Ring

Robbing celebrities has its benefits in 'The Bling Ring.'
Robbing celebrities has its benefits in 'The Bling Ring.'
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Director: Sofia Coppola
  • Starring: Emma Watson, Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, Taissa Farmiga and Claire Julien

This true story takes its inspiration from the real life Bling Ring, a group of teenagers and young adults who robbed around $3 million worth of cash and belongings from residents in the Hollywood Hills. The contemporary setting and focus on youth culture's obsession with celebrity make this a particularly unique entry in the genre.

45. American Hustle

  • Release Year: 2013
  • Director: David O. Russell
  • Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence

This might fall under a loose definition of true crime, but David O. Russell's American Hustle is still one you'll want to see. Inspired by the FBI's ABSCAM Operation of the '70s and '80s, the film follows two con artists (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) tasked finding corrupt politicians willing to take bribes by an FBI agent played by Bradley Cooper. Russell's knack for handling a big ensemble shines yet again, and while it's not entirely true you still get some period accurate storytelling.

46. Devil's Knot

Colin Firth in 'Devil's Knot.'
Colin Firth in 'Devil's Knot.'
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Director: Atom Egoyan
  • Starring: Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon, James Hamrick, Seth Meriwether and Kristopher Higgins

This true crime feature chronicles the trial of the infamous West Memphis Three, a trio of teens accused of killing three young boys as part of a Satanic ritual in 1993. The film follows the aftermath of their acts, examining the truth behind the claims and their ultimate convictions. This one works well as a procedural, laying out the facts surrounding the case and leaving it up to the viewer to judge those involved.

47. Foxcatcher

Channing Tatum and Steve Carrell in 'Foxcatcher.'
Channing Tatum and Steve Carrell in 'Foxcatcher.'
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Director: Bennett Miller
  • Starring: Steve Carrell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo and Sienna Miller

Foxcatcher is a prime example of the true crime genre branching out, this case into the world of sports. Miller's movie charts the twisted relationship between eccentric millionaire John E. du Pont (Steve Carrell) and Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) as Schultz and his older brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo) train and coach at du Pont's Foxcatcher Farm wrestling facilities.

48. Black Mass

Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger in 'Black Mass.'
Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger in 'Black Mass.'
  • Release Year: 2015
  • Director: Scott Cooper
  • Starring: Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton and Benedict Cumberbatch

Johnny Depp is know for his outlandish characters, and brought his trademark style to the true crime genre with Black Mass. The movie charts the career of Whitey Bulger, the infamous Boston mobster who controlled much of the city's organized crime while working as an FBI informant. The movie provides another complex look at the symbiotic relationship between organized crime and law enforcement — one just can't exist without the other.

49. Legend

Tom Hardy played both Kray brothers in 'Legend.'
Tom Hardy played both Kray brothers in 'Legend.'
  • Release Year: 2015
  • Director: Brian Helgeland
  • Starring: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Christopher Eccleston, David Thewlis and Taron Egerton

Once again, Tom Hardy is the star of a modern true crime hit — and this time, he's playing twins. Legend charts the rise and fall of the Kray twins, East London's most notorious gangsters during the '50s and '60s. What makes this really stand out is Hardy's portrayal of both brothers, creating two unique cinematic gangsters for one solid film.

50. True Story

  • Release Year: 2015
  • Director: Rupert Goold
  • Starring: James Franco, Jonah Hill and Felicity Jones

This true crime character study stars James Franco as Christian Longo, a former fugitive who assumed the alias of journalist Michael Finkel while on the run after killing his wife and three children. And when the real Finkel (Jonah Hill) learns about Longo, the pair form a complex relationship — Finkel's looking for his next great story, and Longo wants help to clear his name.

Do you have a favorite true crime movie? Let us know in the comments below.